Thursday, May 25, 2017

Environmental Dashboard and Ground-state rotational constants examined: two very different areas of study by Oberlin researchers

Recent publications from faculty and staff (Oberlin affiliated authors are in bold font):

Clark, Shane; Petersen, John E; Frantz, Cindy M; Roose, Deborah; Ginn, Joel; Daneri DR. 2017. Teaching systems thinking to 4th and 5th graders using environmental dashboard display technology. Plos One 12(4):e0176322
Tackling complex environmental challenges requires the capacity to understand how relationships and interactions between parts result in dynamic behavior of whole systems. There has been convincing research that these "systems thinking" skills can be learned. However, there is little research on methods for teaching these skills to children or assessing their impact. The Environmental Dashboard is a technology that uses "sociotechnical" feedback-information feedback designed to affect thought and behavior. Environmental Dashboard (ED) combines real-time information on community resource use with images and words that reflect pro-environmental actions of community members. Prior research indicates that ED supports the development of systems thinking in adults. To assess its impact on children, the technology was installed in a primary school and children were passively exposed to ED displays. This resulted in no measurable impact on systems thinking skills. The next stage of this research examined the impact of actively integrating ED into lessons on electricity in 4th and 5th grade. This active integration enhanced both content-related systems thinking skills and content retention.

Demaison J, Craig Norman C, Gurusinghe R, Tubergen MJ, Rudolph HD, Coudert LH, Szalay PG, Csaszar AG. 2017. Fourier transform microwave spectrum of propene-3-d(1) (CH2=CHCH2D), quadrupole coupling constants of deuterium, and a semiexperimental equilibrium structure of propene. Journal of Physical Chemistry A 121(16):3155-66
The ground-state rotational spectrum of propene-3-d(1), CH2=CHCH2D, was measured by Fourier transform microwave spectroscopy. Transitions were assigned for the two conformers, one with the D atom in the symmetry plane (S) and the other with the D atom out of the plane (A). The energy difference between the two conformers was calculated to be 6.5 cm(-1), the S conformer having lower energy. The quadrupole hyperfine structure due to deuterium was resolved and analyzed for both conformers. The experimental quadrupole coupling and the centrifugal distortion constants compared favorably to their ab initio counterparts. Ground-state rotational constants, for the S conformer are 40582.157(9), 9067.024(1), and 7766.0165(12) MHz. Ground-state rotational constants for the A Conformer are 43403.75(3), 8658.961(2), and 7718.247(2) MHz. For the A conformer, a small tunneling splitting (19 MHz) due to internal rotation was observed and analyzed. Using the new rotational constants of this work as well as those previously determined for the C-13 species and for some deuterium-substituted species from the literature, a new semiexperimental equilibrium structure was determined and its high accuracy was confirmed. The difficulty in obtaining accurate coordinates for the out-of-plane hydrogen atom is discussed.