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Past Highlights

Setpember 2003





NSF Announces Three Awards to Extend the Reach of Terascale Facility


NSF's emerging Extensible Terascale GridThe National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced $10 million in awards to Indiana and Purdue universities, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and The University of Texas to enhance the capabilities of NSF's Extensible Terascale Facility (ETF) with not only computing resources, but also scientific instruments and data collections. Through the new awards, the ETF will put neutron-scattering instruments and other unique resources online for the nation’s research and education community. The four awardees will join the five current partners in the ETF, a multi-year effort to build and deploy the world's largest, fastest, distributed computational infrastructure for general scientific research. The new awards fund the high-speed network connections needed to share resources across the ETF infrastructure, commonly known as the TeraGrid.
Image: Dennis Day, NSF
Read the full story. ... Posted 09/29/03


NSF'S 'FIBR' to Mix Disciplines, Use Breakthroughs on 5-Year Explorations into Biology's Mysteries


a collection of amoeba, stained redHow do species arise? Do they even matter among microbes? And what does sex – or more precisely, genetic recombination – do for Daphnia? These questions are among those to be pursued by the National Science Foundation's new Frontiers in Integrative Biological Research (FIBR) program, which today announced its first six five-year projects. Totaling $30 million, they employ boldly creative approaches, integrate a variety of disciplines, and draw expertise from a variety of institutions to address grand challenges. The FIBR projects also draw upon recent breakthroughs in biology, such as genomics, enhanced information technology, high-throughput instrumentation, imaging and wireless technologies, sophisticated sensors, improved geographic information systems and other advances of the past decade.
Photo by Kevin Foster of the Strassmann/Queller group, Rice University
Read the full story. ... Posted 09/29/03


NSF Grants Help Popular Science's "Brilliant 10" Define the Cutting Edge of Science


news imageThe September 2003 issue of Popular Science features the magazine's second annual PopSci Brilliant 10 list—10 scientists who are working in hybrid disciplines, defining new fields and whose work is "watched and admired (and certainly envied) by colleagues." The National Science Foundation (NSF) has supported seven of this year's Brilliant 10 in their pioneering efforts. NSF funds 10,000 new awards each year based on reviews of their scientific merit and broader impact on society. NSF awards have supported 123 Nobel laureates and have led to such developments as Doppler radar, the Internet, Web browsers and the Google search engine, American Sign Language, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ink jet printers and tissue engineering.
Read the full story. ... Posted 09/29/03


Liberty Bell Web Portal Unites History and Technology


Liberty Bell websiteThe National Science Foundation, in collaboration with the National Park Service's Independence National Historical Park and MicroStrain, Inc. of Williston, Vermont, has created a new web portal to feature the history and technology surrounding the Liberty Bell's journey to its new home on October 9, 2003. Combining images, videos, and easy-to-read text, the website presents details about the new sensor technology that will alert engineers and movers if the Bell’s famous crack shows signs of spreading.
Image: National Science Foundation
Read the full story. ... Posted 09/23/03
View the website.

NSF Announces $14M Planetary Biodiversity Inventory Awards


Mercator Projection world mapNSF, in cooperation with the ALL Species Foundation, has announced an important new strategy to discover, describe and classify Earth’s species. By some estimates as many as 90 percent of living species are unknown to science, and traditional approaches to discover them are unacceptably slow, scientists say. International teams of scientists are focusing existing expertise and collections on coordinating and prioritizing field, laboratory and museum studies to rapidly expand knowledge of species diversity in habitats all over the planet. New species will be described, phylogenetic relationships analyzed, and ALL Species classified based on fossil, morphological and molecular evidence.
Image: iStockPro
Read the full story. ... Posted 09/23/03


"Doppler on Wheels" to Intercept Eye of Hurricane Isabel, Future Weather Model Zooms in for Forecast


Hurricane Isabel taken at 10:15 a.m. EDT on Sept. 16, 2003Three "Doppler On Wheels" (DOW) mobile radars developed partly at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) are heading toward the mid-Atlantic coast to intercept the eye of Hurricane Isabel as the powerful storm hits land. Meanwhile, the nation's next-generation weather model, developed at NCAR and other labs, is training its electronic "eyes" on a virtual Isabel at NCAR's supercomputing center in Boulder. The DOWs will deploy at or near the coast in the direct path of the storm. "From a head-on position," says NCAR affiliate scientist Josh Wurman, "the DOW can collect unprecedented high-resolution data and rapid-scan Doppler radar data from inside the eye."
Image courtesy: NOAA
Read the full story. ... Posted 09/16/03


NSF Awards Extend Middleware Development Efforts in Testing, Portals and Instrumentation


Computer circuits fling over image of a circuit boardThe National Science Foundation has awarded $9 million to support 20 projects as part of its ongoing NSF Middleware Initiative (NMI). The projects extend NMI's efforts to develop and distribute production-quality open-source and open-standards middleware and include awards that focus on experimental applications of new middleware capabilities. Middleware is software that connects two or more otherwise separate applications across the Internet and allows those applications to share computers, data, networks and instruments. NMI participants have so far issued three releases—packages of several dozen integrated components—that are pointing the way toward a persistent national middleware infrastructure for research and enterprise computing.
Image: iStockPro
Read the full story. ... Posted 09/15/03


NSF, Science Name Winners of Inaugural International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge


Photo of Mongolian Frost RingsThe National Science Foundation and the journal Science announced on September 11 the winners of the inaugural 2003 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. The winning entries are featured in the September 11 issue of Science and in the journal’s electronic edition “Science Online.” Two hundred ninety-seven entries qualified for judging. A panel of distinguished science communicators judged the entries on technical accuracy, creativity, innovation and communication impact.
Image Courtesy: Dee Breger, LDEO; sample courtesy of G. Jacoby
Read the full story. ... Posted 09/11/03


September 11, 2003 - Patriot Day


Flag at NSF for 9/11 anniversary"On this second anniversary of September 11, we all know that the events of that day have changed America and Americans forever. They have opened the box of the unimaginable and released the unthinkable. For the nation, its institutions, and its citizens, there is a loss of innocence about the security of our land and of our lives. In its place, we find a new vigilance for the unexpected," noted agency Director Rita Colwell and Deputy Director Joseph Bordogna in a message to NSF staff.
Image: Peter West, National Science Foundation
Read about NSF and Homeland Security . ... Posted 09/11/03


Baboon Fathers Really Do Care About Their Kids


Niwot Ridge LTER siteIn a finding that surprised researchers, a recent three-year study of five baboon groups at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya reveals that baboon fathers overwhelming side with their offspring when intervening in disputes. The study, which appears in the Sept. 11 issue of the journal Nature, was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Chicago Zoological Society, the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation and the National Geographic Society. Not that baboons have a bad-dad reputation, but their links to females and immature baboons are rather loose by primate standards. For example, females and males have multiple mating partners, and they do not form permanent bonds with each other.
Image Courtesy: Joan Silk, UCLA
Read the full story. ... Posted 09/10/03


Microbes Active in Colorado Snows Fuel Tundra Ecosystem


Niwot Ridge LTER sitePopulations of fungi blanketed by Colorado's snows are more active and diverse than previously thought, and are likely responsible for the productivity of the tundra ecosystem they are a part of, according to findings by scientists funded through the National Science Foundation's Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) and Microbial Observatories programs. The researchers have published their results in this week's issue of the journal Science. Christopher Schadt, now of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and a former graduate student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said "the discovery should help scientists gain greater insight into decomposition rates, carbon cycles and the roles of individual fungi in those processes."
Image Courtesy: Timothy Seastedt, Niwot LTER
Read the full story. ... Posted 09/04/03


NSF Publishes Unique Learning Resource in Time for New School Year


Book cover and CD for New Formulas for America's Workforce/Girls in Science and EngineeringThe National Science Foundation today published a first-of-its-kind resource for educators, parents and professionals seeking examples of unique and creative ways to explore science and technology and examine successful inquiry-based learning. The book, titled "New Formulas for America's Workforce: Girls in Science and Engineering," catalogs the methodology and results of 211 NSF grants issued since 1993. "This is a perfect back-to-school tool for those teachers, parents, homeschoolers, and administrators who want to see how research has identified hands-on learning that works," said Dr. Judith A. Ramaley, who leads NSF's Directorate for Education and Human Resources. "It is full of ideas, contacts, and research that makes it an essential element in the toolkit of every educator between the kindergarten and college undergraduate levels."
Read the full story. ... Posted 09/02/03


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