Thursday, February 11, 2016

Robert Owen contributes to significant findings by LIGO on gravitational waves

The exciting announcement of confirmation from the research collaborative LIGO of gravitational waves from colliding black holes has been picked up by a number of media outlets, including NPR  and Inside Science.  Robert Owen, Assistant Professor of Physics, is one of many collaborators who contribute to LIGO.  He “has for many years done calculations, animations, and theoretical work in support of this discovery,” observed colleague Dan Stinebring, Francis D. Federighi Professor of Physics and Astronomy.  Sinebring also observes gravitational waves, detecting these phenomena from supermassive black holes.  He collaborates as a contributor on the NANOGrav research project.  This is a remarkable achievement, and we are thrilled to recognize both Owen and Stinebring for their contributions to astrophysics.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

New faculty publications: Hormones in Alzheimer's; Students as Change Agents

Two new publications from faculty, alumna and staff, as indexed in Web of Science:

Burnham, Veronica L '14., and Janice E. Thornton (Professor or Neuroscience) 2015. Luteinizing hormone as a key player in the cognitive decline of Alzheimer's disease. Hormones and Behavior 76:48-56.  [full text from]

Partial abstract: "Luteinizing hormone, which is increased with age in both men and women (in response to removal of negative feedback), has surfaced as a potentially powerful player in the risk and onset of Alzheimer's disease. Mounting evidence in basic research and epidemiological studies supports the role of elevated luteinizing hormone in exacerbating age-related cognitive decline in both males and females. This review summarizes the recent developments involving luteinizing hormone in increasing the cognitive deficits and molecular pathology characteristic of Alzheimer's disease."

Daneri, Daniel Rosenberg (A. J. Lewis Assistant Project Manager), G. Trencher, and John Petersen (Professor of Environmental Studies). 2015. Students as change agents in a town-wide sustainability transformation: the Oberlin Project at Oberlin College. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 16:14-21.  [full text from]

Partial abstract:  "The potential of multi-stakeholder partnerships to enrich sustainability education through experiential learning is well documented. Yet there is less knowledge about the impacts on partnerships that result from student participation and the models that facilitate students to serve as agents of change and research. To address this knowledge gap, we examine the Oberlin Project at Oberlin College, an ambitious community partnership aimed at town-wide climate neutrality and sustainability. Findings show that contributions to stakeholder learning and partnership progress can occur through student participation models such as project-based learning, transacademic research, and internships."

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

10 Top Retractions of 2015, from Retraction Watch

Peer-review and fine editorial process do not guarantee scientific integrity and valid research results, sadly enough.  As reported in The Scientist, Retraction Watch has published its Top 10 Retractions of 2015 and the list includes published articles from such high profile titles as Science, Cell, Cancer Research, and Genes and Development.  Errors in judgment, neglecting essential statistical tests, falsifying data, plagiarism, and faulty study design were all reported.   Critical evaluation by all reviewers, editors and readers is still needed, even for high profile researchers with distinguished careers and piles of papers to their credit.  Fraudulent research can lead to legal action, a prison sentence and a judicial decision that grant funding must be repaid. Oh my.

Adam Marcus, Alison McCook, and Ivan Oransky contributed reporting on The Scientist story.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Dan Stinebring publishes in Astrophysical Journal with the NANOGrav Collaboration

Dan Stinebring, Physics and Astronomy, is one of 44 researchers from 12 different states plus Canada, China, England and Germany who co-authored this paper, just indexed in Web of Science:

The NANOGrav nine-year data set: observations, arrival time measurements, and analysis of 37 millisecond pulsars.
Astrophysical Journal 813 (1): :10.1088/0004-637X/813/1/65 NOV 1 2015.  Article no. 65.

Arzoumanian, Z; Brazier, A; Burke-Spolaor, S; Chamberlin, S; Chatterjee,
S; Christy, B; Cordes, JM; Cornish, N; Crowter, K; Demorest, PB; Dolch,
T; Ellis, JA; Ferdman, RD; Fonseca, E; Garver-Daniels, N; Gonzalez, ME;
Jenet, FA; Jones, G; Jones, ML; Kaspi, VM; Koop, M; Lam, MT; Lazio, TJW;
Levin, L; Lommen, AN; Lorimer, DR; Luo, J; Lynch, RS; Madison, D;
McLaughlin, MA; McWilliams, ST; Nice, DJ; Palliyagurui, N; Pennucce, TT;
Ransom, SM; Siemens, X; Stairs, IH; Stinebring, DR; Stovall, K; Swiggum,
JK; Vallisneri, M; van Haasteren, R; Wang, Y; Zhu, WW.

Partial Abstract:
"We present high-precision timing observations spanning up to nine years for 37 millisecond pulsars monitored with the Green Bank and Arecibo radio telescopes as part of the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) project. We describe the observational and instrumental setups used to collect the data, and methodology applied for calculating pulse times of arrival; these include novel methods for measuring instrumental offsets and characterizing low signal-to-noise ratio timing results."

Access the pre-publication manuscript at ArXiv

More about NANOGrav.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Distractions on the last day of classes

Looking out and looking in ...
Looking north from the science library: jackets not needed this mild December afternoon.

Standing in the corridor: Multiple reflections give the new books a new light.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Follow the Climate Change Talks in Paris: COP21

One of thousands of books
on climate change in OBIS
These select news sources are devoting special coverage to the United Nations Climate Change Summit in Paris, beginning today.  Follow one or all of them for different perspectives.

The Christian Science Monitor

The Guardian

National Public Radio


New Scientist

The New York Times

Science  American Association for the Advancement of Science

Scientific American

Thursday, November 12, 2015

God, hyenas, hormones, methylation, synthesis, hazards, Western Reserve, meteorite and glaciers...

Random nouns from
titles of books now
on the new book shelf!
Not to forget frogs,
physician, evolution, porpoises, senses...

Come and read.