2011 Higher Education Projects
PROJECT: Use of Radio Telescopes in an Undergraduate Environmental Science Curriculum
PI: Richard Myers, Professor of Environmental Science, APU
This project seeks to incorporate the use of a Very Small Radio Telescope (VSRT) to observe the 11 GHz line of ozone in the mesosphere, as well as introduce students to the basic principles of remote sensing through construction and use of a small radio telescope. Ozone observations will be conducted in conjunction with the Mesospheric Ozone System for Atmospheric Investigations (MOSAIC) project operated by Haystack Observatory and MIT. A MOSAIC site was established on the Alaska Pacific University (APU) campus in September and we have collected ozone measurements continuously since then. Formal learning activities will be developed to make use of APU’s ozone spectrometer and the MOSAIC network. The second aspect of the project will enable student teams to construct very small radio telescopes and use these in performing a variety of experiments.
PROJECT: Support for GEOL493 Quarternary Geology Prince of Wales Island/FOP 2011
PI: Cathy Connor, Professor of Geology, UA Southeast
The purpose of this field course is to provide meaningful, on-ice, glaciological research experiences for undergraduates in the physical sciences, who are seeking careers in the earth, environmental and climate sciences. This course will be offered through the University of Alaska Southeast’s Environmental Science Program and participating students will receive 3-9 upper division ENVS credits. The glacier camp research facilities of the Foundation for Glacier and Environmental Research, located on the USFS-permitted, bedrock nunataks across the Juneau Icefield, will be used to shelter participates and enable delivery of the course’s academic program. This proposal also requests $4,510 to support travel for 7 UAS undergraduates and 1 faculty member to travel to Juneau to Ketchikan and Prince of Wales Island for the 2011 Alaska Cell of the Friends of the Pleistocene (FOP) sponsored by the Alaska Quaternary Center at UAF. UAS students can participate in this 3 day field experience and earn 2 supper division science credits by enrolling in a course offered through the Environmental Science Program at UAS during fall 2011 semester. The FOP field trips enable Alaska’s experts in climate, soil, geomorphology, oceanography, anthropology, palynology and paleontology to gather and visit sites of interest that have yielded important information about the natural history of the region over the past 2 million years.
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PROJECT: Higher Ed STEM Training with an Ocean Observation System
PI: Hector Douglas, Assistant Professor of Biology, UA Kuskokwim Campus
This curriculum development proposal will serve as a proof of concept demonstrating that ocean
exploration can be used to develop some of the same skills and aptitudes important for space
exploration. A marine autonomous recording unit will be deployed for three months on the
ocean bottom near a system of ocean passes in the Andreanof Islands. College students early in
their education will be trained to use computer software programs that perform automated search
functions. They will use this software to systematically search hours of recordings and locate
cetacean vocalizations. They will program pattern recognition software to accomplish this task,
and then they will measure acoustical properties of the vocalizations. They will then analyze
these data sets to determine the species of cetaceans present, the times and duration of their
occurrence, the relative intensities of their signals, and inferences regarding their behaviors.
Students will learn how the same technology and analytical skills are employed in Earth and
space observations. This project will help to attract and retain rural Alaskan and native Alaskan
college students in STEM disciplines.
The Space Systems Engineering Program provides interdisciplinary students with hands-on experience in all aspects of space systems engineering through a design, build, launch paradigm
applied to balloon and rocket payloads and small satellites. The current project, the Alaska Research CubeSat (ARC), was one of 12 CubeSat payloads selected for launch under the first NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative. ARC will be the first satellite designed, built, tested and operated by engineering and science students from UAF. The satellite is designed as both an
educational tool and a platform to facilitate rapid development of scientific and technology demonstration missions at UAF. Successful implementation of this development platform will demonstrate the ability for UAF students to compete for Low Earth Orbit (LEO) research opportunities.
PROJECT: Development of a New College-Level Course in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
PI: Debendra Das, Professor, UAF Institute of Northern Engineering
The purpose of this proposal is to develop a new college-level course in nanoscience and
nanotechnology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. This will be a stacked course (4xx/6xx) suitable
for the undergraduates at the 400 level, and for the graduate students at the 600 level. The name of the
proposed course is “Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer Characteristics of Nanofluids.” Nanoscience
and nanotechnology are evolving rapidly. They are desirable areas of studies for students to apply new
concepts and new systems in their research. Many universities across the nation are introducing such
courses and therefore it is essential that at UAF, we offer such opportunities to our students. After
completing the course, they will be able to apply this technology that may enhance NASA’s research and
development capability. The course will cover a new generation of heat transfer fluids, called nanofluids--nanometer size particles dispersed in conventional fluids-- possessing a characteristic of enhancing heat transfer substantially. These fluids are ideal candidates in the transfer of thermal energy through heat exchangers, which are ubiquitous in NASA missions. The course will teach, how using these fluids, size and weight reduction of the heat exchange systems, can be achieved. The size and weight reduction willbe beneficial in NASA missions by downsizing the hardware and enhancing the payload carrying capacity. This course will meet the need in the education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and development of workforce to achieve NASA’s strategic goals. For our
graduates, the course will enhance their opportunity for a bright future because of the training in the state of-the-art technology.