Wednesday, August 22, 2007

UMass Amherst - $9.2 million in NSF grants

As blogged on the site (click on the title to go to the article).

Some of you will have personal knowledge about this, but as an onlooker, I was impressed with the range of these projects that got funded by the NSF. It is, I know, a competitive process.

Congratulations to those individuals and groups who have collectively shown that UMass Amherst is an institution doing interesting work (and we beat MIT - woohoo!). Here is the list of awardees as published in the Springfield Republican blog:

The following are the grants awarded by the National Science Foundation, and the person directing each of the funded projects.

Awarded to the University of Massachusetts:

$200,000 - A data collection project, Prashant Shenoy
$300,067 - A project in nanotechnology, Sigfrid Yngvesson
$316,365 - Research involving emulsified products (two or more liquids blended together, such as ice cream or mayonnaise), Michael Henson
$350,001 - A project in wireless networks, Donald Towsley
$404,132 - A project relating to the search of vast archives of data or information, W. Bruce Croft
$442,000 - Research in Internet running on light, Tilman Wolf
$513,600 - Biofuels research, George Huber
$597,503 - A project involving the teaching of science, Morton Sternheim
$600,000 - Research into the transfer of data on the Internet, Arunkumar Venkataramani
$979,098 - Research into the teaching of science, John Clement
$1.5 million - Renewable energy research, Sankaran Thayumanavan
$3 million - A project in cellular engineering training, Susan C. Roberts
To Smith College:
$125,240 - Computer science research, Ruth Haas
$315,760 - Research in biogeochemistry, Elizabeth Jamieson

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cells lead astray

The New York Times has an article in today's Science section about lead, and its historical uses. It's not hard to see why people were so enthusiastic about lead in ancient times-- it's easy to find and recover, it has a low melting point, and it's malleable. Lead also gets cozy with sulfur, which is why there are so many health problems associated with it. Some of these problems were known by Hippocrates in 400 BC, but lead was so useful that people weren't ready to do without it. The most significant problems are experienced by young children, whose brain development is affected by lead molecules which disrupt some proteins by seeking out sulfur. Other animals are also affected by ingesting lead.
In my previous career in public health, I became a Certified Lead Inspector for housing. In New England, with its older housing stock, lead paint is a persistent issue. While Europe banned the residential use of lead paint in the 1920s, the US didn't until the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a regulation in 1978 prohibiting its use in residential settings. At first, I thought that flaking lead paint was the big problem, since kids often eat the flakes (Apparently, lead lends a sweet taste to substances, which is why the Romans used it to treat wine.), but it is also present in house dust as a result of friction on window sashes and door jambs. Lead from gasoline contributed to the environmental load as well.
Here are some UMass Library databases you can search for more information on lead in the environment and it's effects on humans and other animals. Remember that you may have to use your OIT login information if you want to connect from off-campus.
CAB Abstracts
Engineering Village
Environment Index
Food Science and Technology Abstracts
Kirk Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology
LexisNexis Environmental
PubMed: UMass Amherst subscription
Web of Science
Zoological Record
If you're interested in the biochemistry of lead, try Beilstein.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Journal Science to leave JSTOR

After nearly a ten year relationship with JSTOR, the Mellon-founded online journal archive, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has decided to end its association pulling the journal Science from the journal archive, effective 31 December 2007. This is the first time that a member publisher has left the over 900 title journal archive since its beginning in 1994.

In a statement, a Science spokesperson said that: “AAAS shares the belief that it is now time to assume full responsibility for maintaining a complete electronic archive of its flagship publication.”