Tucson Local Media: University Of Arizona

University Of Arizona

Friday 11/14/2014
UA Eller College To Share Economic Outlook for 2015-2016

University of Arizona economists forecast what’s ahead for Tucson and nation at luncheon on December 12 at the Westin La Paloma Resort

TUCSON, Ariz. – Nov. 14, 2014 – The University of Arizona Eller College of Management will host its annual Economic Outlook Forecast Luncheon on Fri., Dec. 12 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Westin La Paloma Resort, 3800 East Sunrise, in Tucson. Presenters George W. Hammond, director and research professor at Eller’s Economic and Business Research Center, and Anthony Chan, Chase chief economist, will share their predictions for 2015 and 2016 regarding job growth, the housing sector, the stock market, interest rates and more.

Hammond said this is a must-attend event for C-level executives, business owners, financial managers, entrepreneurs, community leaders and anyone interested in Arizona’s economic health. “We stumbled a lot at the start of 2014, but the U.S. economy is back on track and growing again. However, the economy remains well below potential, which leaves a large segment of the population without adequate employment opportunities,” he said. “This is putting downward pressure on wage and income growth.  In contrast, the stock market posted strong results in 2013 and is still rising.”

While economic growth in Arizona and Tucson will be a main focus for Hammond, Chan will address the outlook for the global economy and financial markets.

“Moving forward, Arizona has an opportunity to shine, but our large metro areas, like Tucson and Phoenix, must work together to foster gains in educational attainment and workforce development, which will be key drivers of long-run growth in Arizona,” Hammond said.

Tickets are $80 per person if purchased before Nov. 25 or $85 per person thereafter. Reservations are requested by December 11. To reserve tickets, visit www.eller.arizona.edu/outlook. For more information, contact outlook@eller.arizona.edu or call (520) 621-0053.

Posted in Blogs, University of arizona, Ventureout on Friday, November 14, 2014 3:47 pm. | Tags: Ua Eller College , University Of Arizona , Westin La Paloma Resort , Economic Outlook , Luncheon , Dec. 12 Comments (0)

Wednesday 11/12/2014
UA Humanities Seminars

Four UA professors have received the 2014 Humanities Seminars Program Superior Teaching Awards.  Now entering its 31st year, the program, which is designed for adult learners, has served 15,000 people in the greater Tucson area.  This year’s awards bring to $239,000 the total payments to University of Arizona faculty members from the Humanities Seminars Endowment for Superior Teaching.

This year’s winners include Professor Meg Lota Brown for teaching “Milton and Revolution.”  Dr. Brown is Professor of English and Faculty Director in the Graduate College. She has received nearly every UA major teaching award, as well as recognition for her research, service, and leadership.

Professor Emeritus Peter E. Medine was recognized for his course, “The History Plays of Shakespeare’s Second Tetralogy.”  He has taught 12 courses for the Humanities Seminars and is the recipient of several Humanities Seminars Superior Teaching Awards.  His principal research interests center on English literature of the Early Modern period.    

“Roman Archaeology:  Myth and Reality” was the topic for Regents Professor David Soren’s course.  In addition to his many national and international awards, Dr. Soren was a founder of and the first Director of the Humanities Seminars Program.  He works in many fields including archaeology, classics, and art history.

Professor Emeritus Richard Hanson has taught eight courses in the Humanities Seminars Program.  This award is for teaching “Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance!” He created the nationally known Musical Theatre Program in the School of Theatre, Film & Television.

Posted in University of arizona, News, Pima pinal on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 4:00 am. | Tags: University Of Arizona , Ua Humanities Seminar Comments (0)

Tuesday 11/04/2014
What's Up UA? - Hiring Interns? Top 8 Tips for Companies

Companies relying on student interns must adhere to eight core best practices, incentives and goals, said Eileen McGarry, the executive director of Career Services at the UA.

McGarry shared her insights during the STEM Internship Business Forum held on campuslast week. As McGarry explained:

1. Company leaders must buy in to the internship program. Upper-level support is crucial to a program's success.

2. Supervisor-level personnel must be engaged in the internship program.

3. Assignments to interns must be authentic. Interns must work on projects in which they are able to help solve real-world problems.

4. Interns must receive regular feedback to ensure that they are learning and growing.

5. Companies should adopt a cohort model where possible. It is important that a culture of teamwork is emphasized and that interns feel part of a "culture of inclusion."

6. Interns should be paid for their work and be tasked with working on projects with real-world applications.

7. Accountability must be expected and emphasized.

8. Interns should be trained toward transferring their skills into full-time work in the field.

During the forum, UA President Ann Weaver Hart and Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, along with representatives from the UA STEM Learning Center announced a new process that will make it easier for businesses to connect with STEM interns. With life scientists, engineers, social science technicians and mathematical scientists being among the STEM positions expected to have the highest demand in southern Arizona through 2020, as reported by UA STEM Learning Center researchers, the UA is increasing support for the STEM fields.

"At Career Services, we are at the front door for talent positions," said McGarry, who urged area businesses to connect with the UA and its partners to identify interns. "There is a whole lot going on on our campus. We will help you get started on this process."

Learn more about UA's STEM initiative by reading "With Seed Planted, STEM Internships Can Grow."

Posted in University of arizona on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 3:05 pm. Comments (0)

Wednesday 10/15/2014
What's Up UA? - Close Encounter 'One in a Million'

Faster than a speeding bullet comes the comet Siding Spring, which will have the attention of UA scientists as it passes Mars on Oct. 19.

University of Arizona scientists have their eyes on Mars for the fly-by of comet Siding Spring, which will pass the red planet on Oct. 19, closer than any comet has ever zoomed past the Earth in recorded history.

"We expect Mars to be bathed in the comet's coma, the gas and dust clouds that make for their famous tails," said Roger Yelle, a professor of planetary science in the UA's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, who is on the science team of NASA's MAVEN spacecraft, which went into orbit at Mars on Sept. 21.

"The probability of an encounter like this is one in a million."

MAVEN — short for NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission — is the latest addition to an armada of seven spacecraft currently studying Mars, either observing from high above or roving and digging on the surface.

During the comet fly-by, NASA has programmed its orbiters to take measurements and images, then "duck and cover" behind the planet, just in case.

"It only takes a half-a-millimeter-size particle traveling at 56 kilometers per second to injure one of these spacecraft," said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA'sNear Earth Object Program Office.

Yelle and his colleagues anxiously await the arrival of the city-block-size chunk of ice, rock and dust on its first-ever journey toward the sun. Unlike so-called short period comets whose journey around the sun takes them into the inner parts of the solar system every few years or decades, Siding Spring is a long period comet, visiting the solar system for the first time from the far reaches of space.

The comet originated in the Oort Cloud, a vast region of space surrounding the solar system speckled with billions of far-and-few-between comets, some of which embark on journeys that bring them back into our system of planets from which they originated billions of years ago during the early evolution of the solar system.

"Those comets are especially interesting because they are pristine," Yelle explained. "Comets are leftovers from the birth of the solar system, but unlike short-period comets, which have been altered by the sun's heat and solar wind, Siding Spring has been in deep freeze, in deep space, for billions of years."

Alfred McEwen, a professor in the UA Department of Planetary Sciences, leads the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, known as HiRISE, on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, or MRO.

"This is the first time the nucleus of a long-period comet can actually be resolved by a telescope, either in space or on the ground," McEwen said. "Planning a spacecraft mission to these types of comets is nearly impossible because there is typically only about a year's notice between discovery and passage into the inner solar system."

Because comets such as Siding Spring are difficult to study, scientists know very little about them.

"We want to know the shape of its nucleus, rotation period, its brightness, and hopefully observe the inner coma for jets and outbursts," McEwen said.

All previously resolved comet nuclei are nearly black on their surfaces, despite being rich in ices. A key unanswered question is whether comets are formed black, become black from exposure to galactic cosmic rays, or are blackened over frequent visits to the inner solar system.

In hopes of lifting some of Siding Spring's secrets, the UA-led HiRISE camera team will interrupt its daily routine of photographing the Martian surface.

"We will roll the spacecraft and point HiRISE at the approaching comet," McEwen said. "The tricky part is to predict where the camera has to look, because the comet will be close and traveling fast. Photographing the comet's nucleus at its closest approach is like trying to photograph a speeding bullet while riding a roller coaster."

"Over the past month the comet has been observed to fade in brightness compared to standard comet models, but we should still get a good look at the nucleus even if the coma is not very active."

Comet Siding Spring first appeared on images taken by the UA's Catalina Sky Survey but was not identified as an Oort Cloud comet until independent discovery observations were made approximately four weeks later, by Robert McNaught at the Siding Spring Survey. The survey was one of three telescopes operated by CSS — and the only full-time asteroid survey in the Southern Hemisphere.

On Oct. 19, Siding Spring will race past Mars within 88,000 miles, less than a third of the Earth-moon distance, closer than any comet has ever passed the Earth in recorded history. Traveling at 35 miles per second, the comet — less than half a mile in diameter — would shoot over Los Angeles and out into the Pacific Ocean only one minute after it appeared over Manhattan.

Siding Spring will never get close to the Earth, Yelle said.

"After its pass by the orbit of Mars, it will go back to the Oort Cloud and not come back for many millions of years, if ever," he said.

Scientists are not sure of what to expect when Siding Spring zooms by Mars. What is certain, though, is that there is no chance of an impact.

"Earlier on, there was some concern the dust trail could endanger the spacecraft, but that no longer seem to be a possibility," Yelle said. "Nevertheless, we are taking mitigation strategies to be cautious. When the comet is coming, we'll be hiding on the other side of Mars, and when it goes by, we'll turn the MAVEN spacecraft so that the least sensitive surfaces are pointing to the comet and can't damage instruments.

"After about an hour, we'll come out of hiding. MAVEN will be observing the comet for about three days before and two days after the fly-by."

In contrast, MRO will observe the comet during its closest pass to Mars, although the orbiter will be hiding behind Mars when the dust trail will pass, if it extends that far. 

Over eons, Mars has been losing its atmosphere to space, and MAVEN is a mission designed to study the physical and chemical aspects of that process.

"The atmosphere escape process happens from the upper parts of the atmosphere, close to the region that will be perturbed by the coma of the comet, mostly by water molecules," Yelle said. "They will hit the Martian atmosphere about 250 kilometers above the surface and heat it through their impact momentum, which will in turn tell us about the escape process. We will also study the comet itself — for example, ions that stream from its coma."

Posted in University of arizona on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 3:41 pm. | Tags: Mars , University Of Arizona , Space , Comments (0)

Monday 10/13/2014
What's Up UA? - Austin Hill: The Comeback Kid

If you were to look at the Arizona football record books in the receiving category, you would see senior Austin Hill’s name all in almost every category. In just two and a half years, he has the seventh-most receiving yards in a career (1,983 yards), the fifth-most receptions in a season (81 in 2012), the third-most receiving yards in a season (1,364 in 2012), tied for the most touchdowns in a season (11 in 2012), tied for eighth in career receiving touchdowns (16), tied for the third-most receptions in a single game (11 against Stanford in 2012), has the highest average gain per reception with a minimum of 10 receptions in a game (25.9 yards against USC in 2012) and has the second-most receiving yards in a game (259 against USC in 2012).

It is safe to say that Hill is one of the best receivers to ever put on an Arizona uniform. In his freshman season, he played in 10 games while starting one. He caught 21 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns. Hill blew up his sophomore year catching 81 passes for 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also averaged 104.9 yards per game and 16.8 yards per catch. He finished that year as a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the best wide receiver in the country.

Hill was poised to become a top receiver in the game his junior year, until he tore his ACL in spring practice. 

“I thought that I had lost everything,” Hill said. “I didn’t know what to do or how to react to the situation. I took a day where I didn’t really talk to anyone.”

Hill immediately began his rehab so he could get to full strength as fast as possible. For anyone who has ever torn their ACL, coming back from that injury is a long, grueling process that takes a lot of patience and hard work. 

“The rehab process was rough because it was the same thing every day for a couple months at a time,” Hill said. “Some days you had to take off to get rest, but I would feel good so I didn’t really want to. Then there were some days where I had to rehab and I felt horrible and I couldn’t take a break. It’s frustrating to be an athlete and then have to become non-athletic and learn to do everything again on one leg. It’s hard, physically and mentally.”

The strength staff Arizona is known as one of the best in the country. Strength coaches Chris Allen and Parker Whiteman pushed Hill to his limits to make sure that when he did come back, he would be better than he was before he got hurt.

“The strength staff, especially Parker (Whiteman) and Chris (Allen), really helped me,” Hill said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the strength and medical staffs at my side every day. I was able to really feel that they had my back and they would help me. They pushed me past my limit, and I think that helped me a lot.”

Hill’s fellow receivers DaVonte’ Neal and Cayleb Jones also made the rehab process easier on him. Neal and Jones redshirted the season per transfer rules.

“I always had a lot of time to talk to them on the sideline,” Hill said. “I was able to watch games and see what we were doing and I was able to become good friends with them because we had a lot more time to talk.”

As the year went on, Hill became more motivated every day. He wanted to play right away, but he knew he was a long way away, and that was his motivation.

“Every day was motivation for me,” Hill said. “I got a little more upset every day, especially the days I wasn’t able to rehab. It motivated me because I didn’t want to feel this way anymore and I wanted to get to 100 percent as fast as possible.”

He wanted to play in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl, so Hill was constantly being pushed by everyone to work as hard as he could and to never give in to the pain and frustration. The thought of giving up never crossed his mind because nobody would allow that.

“My goal was to be able to play in the bowl game,” Hill said. “If I wasn’t able to do that, I wanted to run out of the tunnel with the team. Neither of those were able to happen, but I never gave up on myself and neither did anyone else. Even if I wanted to give up, it would’ve been rough for me.”

After the 2013 season ended, Hill had a choice. He could enter the NFL Draft and have a very good chance at being selected, or return for his senior season and finish what he started. He decided to come back, and seems content with his decision.

When spring practice began in 2014, Hill began to participate more than he ever did. He was able to practice with the team and play in the spring game.

“It was during the spring when I felt that I was back,” Hill said. “I was running routes and everything was clicking. Even though I played with my brace on, that was the first time I felt like I was back. When my brace came off is when I felt that I was almost where I wanted to be and I was getting comfortable with my knee.”

Finally, fall practice began, and Hill was more than excited to start. Normally, players aren’t thrilled about having to go through fall camp, but Hill was just happy to be there because he wasn’t able to participate the year before.

“It felt good to be back with the team,” Hill said. “I don’t think anyone loves camp, but I had love for it for the first couple of days. I missed it because last year I had to watch everyone. I was happy because I could finally be with everyone again and run around with them instead of standing on the sideline.”

It is hard not to think about, but Hill tries to focus on the present and the future instead of thinking about how far he has come in the last year and a half.

“I try not to think about the past,” Hill said. “I try to stay in the present and think about what I can do in the future. When I get down on myself or something isn’t happening the way I want it to, my parents will remind me that last year you couldn’t even walk and that I should be happy that I can play because a lot of people aren’t able to come back from this injury.”

So far, Hill has picked up right where he left off. Through four games, he has 15 catches for 263 yards and three touchdowns. He is averaging 17.5 yards per catch, the highest of his career so far.

“Austin is a really smart guy,” head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “I know this year is really important to him because he wants to finish off his career right. He has great ball skills, but better than anything he has a great feel for the game.”

The senior has high hopes for his last year as a Wildcat as he wants play in a Rose Bowl and possibly farther.

“I want the team to be the best we can be,” Hill said. “I want to do anything that will help, even if that’s better blocking, and I don’t always have to catch the ball. My biggest goal is to do the best I can for the team and get us to a Rose Bowl.”

Hill has worked extremely hard for the past year and a half to get to this point.

“It’s definitely been worth it for me,” Hill said. “Being able to put on pads and run around with my teammates has made it worth it. It reminds me that I’m lucky to have been able to come back. As far as I can tell, I am moving in the right direction.”


Posted in University of arizona on Monday, October 13, 2014 2:00 pm. Updated: 2:07 pm. | Tags: University Of Arizona , Austin Hill , Comeback Kid , Wildcats Comments (0)

Monday 10/06/2014
What's Up UA? - Health, Wellness Practices Highlighted by Chinese Culture Festival

The recent Chinese Culture Festival, organized by the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona, featured lectures and workshops on acupuncture and food therapy by clinicians and researchers from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and Henan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The lecture series was attended by Andrew Comrie, the UA's senior vice president and provost; Iman Hakim, dean of the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health; and Weiheng Chen from the consulate general of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles.

The third annual festival opened with Confucius Institute Day at the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, which attracted more than 1,000 K-12 students and their parents, along with community members.

During the festival, faculty from the UA Department of East Asian Studies presented lectures on Confucius, Chinese public time-telling and Yellow River civilizations. An “Evening With Chinese Music” concert at Crowder Hall concluded the festival, with performances by Chinese musicians, the UA Purple Bamboo Ensemble and the Tucson Sino Choir.

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, in collaboration with the Carter Center, will conduct the eighth annual "China Town Hall: Local Connections, National Reflections" program. A live webcast and Q&A with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter will take place at 4 p.m. Oct. 16 in Chavez 111, to be followed at 5 by a lecture by Rian Thum, author of "The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History."

Posted in University of arizona on Monday, October 6, 2014 9:41 am. | Tags: University Of Arizona , Health , Wellness , Chinese Culture Festival , Comments (0)

Thursday 10/02/2014
What's Up UA? - Ready for a Super-Fast Internet? UA Scientists Are Fast at Work on It

Removing barriers along the way to a blazingly fast Internet is the declared goal of scientists at the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences who are leading an international consortium tasked with developing new technology to make it happen.

In 2008, the National Science Foundation gave a five-year, $18.5 million grant to establish an engineering research center (ERC) that is based at the UA and united with other universities in a collaboration known as the Center for Integrated Access Networks, or CIAN.

The NSF recently approved funding for the second half of the project, totaling about $17 million, more than half of which goes to the ERC at the UA. Each year, the center also receives roughly $2 million in support from corporate sponsors and an additional $1 million from other agencies.

"Our goal with CIAN is to remove the bottleneck of the Internet so the entire network becomes more scalable," said Nasser Peyghambarian, director of the ERC and professor in the College of Optical Sciences. "In other words, more users can access it at higher speed, lower cost and lower energy consumption."

As the number increases of end users accessing the Internet with computers and mobile devices, the network has to grow, become faster or both.

"It's not going to expand indefinitely, so we have to create new technologies to be able to handle that growing demand," Peyghambarian said. 

The key to accomplishing that goal lies in developing a hybrid architecture that marries electronics and optics, and that is exactly what Peyghambarian and his colleagues are working on at the ERC.

"As an end user right now, you have to rely on electronics for the information you are trying to send or receive through the Internet," Peyghambarian explained. "Your computer and smartphone are electronic devices. They send electronic signals into the data superhighways of the Internet, and those have always been fiber-optic networks. But the optical signals are being transformed back into electronic signals at the receiving ends. The goal of CIAN is to bring optics closer and closer to the end user."

"People want more information going to their homes," added Daniel Kilper, a research professor of optical sciences and CIAN's administrative director. "Tomorrow's Internet no longer is about the information superhighway, it's more about information Main Street or information neighborhood — fiber-optics all the way to the home."

Dan Kilper, CIAN's administrative director, explains how optical components such as tiny laser mirror arrays modulate high-speed electronic signals to create a faster Internet. (Photo: Bob Demers/UANews)
Daniel Kilper, CIAN's administrative director, explains how optical components such as tiny laser mirror arrays modulate high-speed electronic signals to create a faster Internet. (Photo: Bob Demers/UANews)

To achieve that new kind of capability and bandwidth going to individual users, scientists and engineers have to reduce the cost and energy consumption of the photo-electronic components. One of the key technologies developed by CIAN involves arrays of miniaturized mirrors to control laser pulses that in turn modulate high-speed electronic signals, a process known as optical circuit switching.

"We develop new photonic integrated circuits using a technology called silicon photonics," Kilper said. "We can take all these bulky optical components here and put them onto a chip, and then we can start to integrate that optical chip with the electronic chip, either side by side or even potentially on the same chip to gain efficiency, reduced cost and reduced power consumption so that these devices can be mass-produced and go out to individual users.

"With today's commercially available systems you can already achieve transmission rates of 400 gigabits per second, but we're looking at a terabit and beyond," Kilper said.

The research at CIAN has garnered much industry interest, attracting 20 industry affiliates ranging from hot startups such as Calient and Bandwidth10 to industry heavyweights including Fujitsu, Texas Instruments, Intel and Samsung.

CIAN doesn't focus on the research alone but plays an important role in education at several levels. Graduate students have gone on to apply their expertise in companies working on making the faster Internet a reality. Some have founded their own companies specializing in integrated optical-electronic circuits; others have embarked on careers at other universities.

In educating students, CIAN follows the guidelines of Engineer of 2020, an initiative spearheaded by the National Academy of Engineering to equip engineering graduates with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in emerging and future markets.

"Future graduates need to have new capabilities that go beyond engineering," Peyghambarian said. "They need to be entrepreneurs, and they have to come up with new ideas, so we train our students and put them in workshops to become entrepreneurs of the future."

In addition to its core funding, CIAN has attracted renewed and additional funding for two three-year programs bringing research experience to undergraduates (REUand teachers(RET), with a special emphasis on minorities and underserved communities including Native Americans, Hispanics and African-Americans.

"We have been engaged in outreach to Indian reservations, where education and outreach have been received really well," Peyghambarian said. "In addition, we have a program for veteran education, funded by NSF specifically for that purpose."

"CIAN illustrates the remarkable diversity of optics and photonics applications pursued by the College of Optical Sciences," said Dean Thomas Koch. "Our college has a culture of being able to successfully meld basic research, teaching and service to industry, allowing us to offer an unparalleled educational experience for our students. Our faculty and students constantly push the boundaries of what's possible through discovery and innovations, with breakthroughs in the applications of light that impact virtually every field of science and industry."

UA's national partners in CIAN are the University of California San Diego; the University of California Los Angeles; the University of Southern California; California Institute of Technology, the University of California Berkeley; Columbia University and Cornell University in New York; Norfolk State University in Virginia; and Tuskegee University in Alabama. International partners are Aalto University in Helsinki, the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Darmstadt in Germany and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Daejeon, South Korea.

Posted in University of arizona on Thursday, October 2, 2014 10:06 am. | Tags: University Of Arizona , Super-fast Internet , College Of Optical Sciences , Comments (0)

Tuesday 09/30/2014
What's Up UA? - Using the Force: UA Police Officer Completes NASA Project

University of Arizona Police Officer Andrew Lincowski joined planetary scientists at NASA this summer to search for exoplanets that might have the potential to harbor life.

Haystacks uses high-fidelity spatial and spectral models of planetary systems to help astronomers search for earth-like planets in our galaxy. This model, which Lincowski helped develop, shows our solar system in a head-on view.

One night on patrol at the Posada San Pedro residence hall on the University of Arizona campus, UA Police Officer Andrew Lincowskifound himself stopping to help a student in need. This was not the kind of aid that police officers normally perform: Lincowski was summoned to assist with physics homework.

If this seems unusual for an on-duty officer, that's because it is. Lincowski is also an undergraduate student at the UA studying physics and astronomy, and recently he completed a summer-long internship at NASA.

The possibility of finding life-sustaining planets beyond our solar system has long captured the public's imagination, and the search is intensifying among today's top scientists. This past summer, Lincowski joined leading scientific minds at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centerin the investigation.

Lincowski traveled to Greenbelt, Maryland, over the summer as a NASA intern. Out of several hundred participants in the internship program, Lincowski was one of only 16 nationwide recipients of the prestigiousJohn Mather Nobel Scholarship, offered by the National Space Grant Foundation. During his stay, he participated in a project affectionately called "Finding the Needles in the Haystacks," otherwise known as theHaystacks Project.

"Haystacks is all about searching for Earth-like, extrasolar planets," says Lincowski. "This work is enabling us to determine what else is out there."

The existence of extrasolar planets, or exoplanets, wasn't confirmed until 1988. Since then, more than 1,800 exoplanets have been discovered. The goal of Haystacks is to create high-fidelity models of extrasolar planetary systems to help scientists identify exoplanets and investigate them for signs of life.

"These models will be the inputs for detailed simulations of exoplanet observations with future NASA missions, including ones capable of finding truly Earth-like planets," explains NASA scientist Aki Roberge, principal investigator on the Haystacks Project and a mentor to Lincowski.

Spotting the dim light that corresponds to a far-away exoplanet is a colossal undertaking. One of the most effective ways to determine what an Earth-like planet might look like is to study the properties of our own solar system. Lincowski's role in the Haystacks Project was to create a model of how our solar system would appear if observed from far away.

Lincowski's efforts on Haystacks will inform the development of the Advanced Technology Large-Aperture Space Telescope, a NASA flagship mission planned for launch between 2025 and 2035. ATLAST will scan the stars for signs of life beyond our own solar system, and provide scientists with new insights into the underlying physics governing our universe.

"Andrew did an amazing job on the project this summer, showing great independence and persistence," Roberge says. "I think Andrew is a born scientist. He combines intelligence and discipline with valuable skills in writing and communication."

When he's not preoccupied unraveling the mysteries of the cosmos, Lincowski can be found in uniform, serving protecting his fellow students as an officer in the UA Police Department.

After Lincowski graduated with an accounting degree from the UA in 2006, he began working for a homebuilder. When the housing market crashed, he decided that he'd had enough of accounting and joined the Tucson Police Department. He hopes to one day work for the FBI and investigate financial crimes.

Ultimately, his interest in mathematics and the origins of the universe led him back to the UA in 2011 to begin his studies in physics and astronomy. In the spring of 2012, he transferred from TPD to UAPD.

"I loved it," Lincowski says. "UAPD is different than city or town agencies — they truly partner with the community."

Since then, he has managed to juggle a full academic course load and a demanding career as a campus police officer. He says the role of UAPD is far more diverse than people might realize.

"It's important to educate students and faculty about law and safety," says Lincowski, who also serves as a UAPD liaison to the Posada San Pedro residence hall. "We spend a lot of time on public outreach, and teaching people how to prepare for and deal with emergencies."

Brian Seastone, chief of police at UAPD, calls the department's commitment to community-oriented policing "total engagement."

"At the University, you can go from responding to a fire alarm to talking to a Nobel laureate — it's an incredible place to work," Seastone says. "We don't want officers just going out there and patrolling, we want them getting involved in the campus community.

"We are very fortunate that we have not only Andrew but a number of officers and civilian employees that are going to school, so they can see the student side of campus life and bring it back to UAPD. It makes us a better department."

When considering a drastic career change, Lincowski said it was important to be well rounded, have a financial plan, and be mentally and physically prepared to make the transition.

"You have to jump in with both feet, and be prepared for the long haul," he says. "You can't slack."

After the completion of his studies, Lincowski hopes to attend graduate school and complete a Ph.D. in astrophysics. He'd like to study high-energy physics, the origins of the universe, and the fundamental nature of matter and energy.

"Physics and astronomy are relatively far removed from the normal perception of most people, but everyone's technology is based on physics," Lincowski says. "We are at a point where computing technology is not going to progress much further without understanding and employing quantum mechanics. Advanced physics is required to continue to develop technology, even in biology and medicine."

Lincowski hopes that his efforts will help the public understand the importance of STEM education and increase awareness of scientific advancements.

"They say that civilizations are measured by their art and science," he says. "These things increase the quality of our lives, and move us forward as a species."


Posted in University of arizona on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 9:18 am. | Tags: Nasa Project , Andrew Lincowski , University Of Arizona , Police Officer , Comments (0)

Monday 09/29/2014
What's Up UA? - How New Social Movements Take Root

Contemporary movements, such as those initiated after the recent shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, can be born seemingly overnight in the digital age. UA researchers point to several factors.

UA sociologist Jennifer Earl has been investigating policing policies, and the relationship between protesters and the police, dating back to the 1960s.
After the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, #BlackLifeMatters — first used after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin — re-emerged in popular media and social media platforms, reigniting national conversations about policing practices, particularly in African-American communities.

Much like campaigns such as #YesAllWomen, #OccupyWallStreet, #BringBackOurGirls and #AllMenCan, the handle also has been used to animate community-based action, political debate and state agency response. The same can be said of #BlackLivesMatter, which has led to the organization of initiatives and protests similar to those of the Freedom Riders in the 1960s.

At a minimum, such campaigns have helped to get people talking about societal ills. In some cases, they have led to social reforms and policy shifts, suggesting that the role of technology and social media is revolutionizing contemporary movements, said Susan Shaw, an associate professor in the UA School of Anthropology.

Such initiatives indicate major changes in the ways that social movements form and evolve, said Shaw, who is among UA social scientists working to advance understanding about new movements.

UA sociologist Monica Casper, head of the UA's Department of Gender and Women's Studies, is teaching an honors course this semester on racial inequality and social justice in the wake of #BlackLifeMatters and the Ferguson case. Casper also has helped organize several campus events leading up to the "Black Life Matters Conference" to be held at the UA in January.

"There were several aspects of the Ferguson case that outraged people, including the fact that white police shot an unarmed black teenager and left his body in the street for hours. There was no apology, no accountability," Casper said.

"In the U.S., we are not even close to being 'post-racial,' and white supremacy runs deep in our institutions, histories, cultural memory and pop culture," Casper said of the need to understand activism represented by #BlackLifeMatters.

The birth of social movements

Casper, Shaw and other social scientists at the UA note at least three significant phenomena associated with new social movements:

  • Single-issue movements appear to be in decline, with evidence for unification around cross-issue organizing. 
  • Many new movements appear to launch after multiple grievances — especially in various parts of the nation —become evident in the larger public sphere.
  • The use of technology is aiding movement development, growth and sustainability.

For example, #BlackLifeMatters began in a smaller social circle. It is not only tied to cases sharing similar consequences — the shooting deaths of Kimani Gray in New York, Renisha McBride in Michigan and Martin in Florida — but it also evoked issues related to law enforcement policies, policing practices, black popular culture, media representation and the betterment of the African-American community.

"Brown's death, layered on top of the earlier tragedies, generated a national conversation, an outpouring of grief and a movement," Casper said.

Two schools of thought exist on how social movements are born and sustained. One holds that people organize around grievances. The other holds that grievances require a "political opportunity," an availability of resources necessary for organizing: time, money, space and access to media representatives.

Above all, social movements usually are established around issues of political and social equity, Casper said.

"Social movements are typically born out of some deep, shared concern and need to make change, and while they are often organized on behalf of social justice, they may also congeal around shared values, as in the anti-abortion movement," Casper said. "They often attract people who may be marginalized vis-à-vis the dominant society or group."

Shaw and Casper noted that a significant boon to launching new social movements has come through technology, specifically social media platforms with their immediacy and massive international networks.

"Movements need direction, communication, and shared vision — something that has become quite easy to provide in our digital age, where social media has both ignited and enabled various movements," Casper said.

The Arab Spring protests that began at the end of 2010 are a significant example, having taken the international stage sparked by social media. In fact, social media interactions, especially those on Facebook, are credited with regime changes in the Arab world, Shaw said.

"With social media platforms, people can communicate outside of official challenges that are not monitored and, of course, have the capacity to reach mass audiences," Shaw said. "It also helps people who are facing stiff government resistance to find a way to communicate, gather and organize."

National shifts in policing practices

The period spanning the 1960s and '80s resulted in significant changes in policing policies related to protests, said Jennifer Earl, a UA sociology professor and an expert on social movements and movement repression.

Earl, recently funded with a National Science Foundation grant to study U.S. policing practices dating back to the '60s, said the '70s marked a move in policing from a repression model to a "negotiated management" approach.

The negotiation approach, the prevailing model by the late '70s, is designed to reduce force and decrease protest intensity, Earl said. Agencies have done this by implementing permit requirements and negotiating with protesters about the time, place and manner of protest, she said.

Since the '90s, however, the nation has seen a rise in "police militarization," a move to arm officers with tactics and weapons normally reserved for warfare. The negotiated management model has been irregularly implemented, Earl said.

"You can see, in situations like Ferguson, that even when you have models of practice that departments and chiefs of police agree on, that doesn't mean they are always implemented," she said. "So, in Ferguson, it was like watching different scripts for police action from the 1960s to the mid-1970s play out in fast forward."

The public response since Brown's death has aligned with what Casper and Shaw noted about new social movements.

"Ferguson did create some real public awareness about police militarization, and this is causing some pushback," Earl said. "Now some cities are saying, 'We don't want and we don't need these tools in our communities.' But where it will settle is hard to tell."

The country has not seen such a significant change in police policies since the '80s, Earl said, adding that post-9/11 concerns have had an effect.

"There are a lot of competing models for how police should handle protests, but a singular model that enjoys wide consistence in the law enforcement field? We are not there yet," Earl said. "We are still in that innovation process, and the best practices have not yet emerged. Police are still struggling with their responsibility to protect and also support protesters' rights."

Evidence of a change in organizing and action had been present for a while. 

"It was in the late 1990s with the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle that we began to see all manners of concerns addressed — labor, environment, class issues, anti-poverty," Shaw said.

"That was the first time we saw that, and I suspect we will see more of that as people become increasingly aware that many issues are interconnected and simultaneously demand attention to multiple points of view."

Posted in University of arizona on Monday, September 29, 2014 9:46 am. | Tags: University Of Arizona , Social Movements , Comments (0)

Friday 09/26/2014
What's Up UA? - PBS 'NewsHour' to Feature Inspirational UA Student

The inspirational story of Samir Madden, a UA junior who is a congenital quadruple amputee, will be featured on "NewsHour," airing at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 on PBS 6.

As president of the International Child Amputee Network, Madden works to increase awareness of children with limb differences in schools and classrooms. He teaches and mentors on issues of self-esteem, bullying and acceptance. He is studying history and religious studies at the UA.

Madden's story also is one of 14 that will be broadcast nationally as part of "American Graduate Day 2014," which will air from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 27 on PBS 6. UA PresidentAnn Weaver Hart will introduce the program.

"American Graduate Day 2014," hosted by author and U.S. Army veteran Wes Moore, will celebrate the exceptional work of individuals and groups across the country who are helping youth stay on track for college and career success. This year’s topics include early education, caring consistent adults, more and better learning, special needs, STEAM, dropout prevention and re-engagement, career readiness and college completion.

The program will be anchored by a series of 14 one-minute profile pieces that spotlight individuals around the country who are keeping students on the path to graduation.

Two additional Tucsonans will be featured in the broadcast: Tamara McKinney, program director of Reading Seed, and Tom Kramkowski, dropout prevention specialist and Youth on Their Own liaison.

McKinney is an advocate for reading proficiency and literacy in the K-3 student population. Reading Seed trains volunteers to work with struggling readers on motivation, phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.

Kramkowski works to identify, guide and assist at-risk teens in the Tucson Unified School District. Many of the students with whom he works lack the support of an adult and have no permanent residence or consistent home environment.

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRy7cnePYq0

Posted in University of arizona on Friday, September 26, 2014 9:07 am. | Tags: University Of Arizona , Pbs , Newshour , Inspirational , Students , Comments (0)

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