Welcome to the Kansas NSF EPSCoR (KNE) news and announcements blog. Stay up-to-date with all the happenings, discoveries, events and funding opportunities associated with KNE. Enter your email in the "Follow by email" box below an to the right to stay notified of new posts. Feel free to leave comments.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Acclaimed Hydrologist to Speak Oct. 3 at Kansas State University about Global Water Supply

Hydrologist Jay Familglietti
Jay Famiglietti, a senior scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and a professor at the University of California, Irvine, will give the talk, Water, Food and Energy: Interwoven challenges to sustainable resource management, as part of the Henry C. Gardiner Global Food Systems Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3, in Kansas State University's McCain Auditorium. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

For more information on his work, details of his lecture, and the KSU new release, click here.

Famiglietti's lecture will be shown live online at k-state.edu/globalfood/lecture-series. Kansas State University also will be tweeting live from the event, using the hashtag, #GlobalFoodSystems.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Wichita State University Assistant Professor Awarded an NSF/ACI grant

Dr. Gisuk Hwang, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Wichita State University, has been awarded an NSF grant through the NSF/ACI's flagship program called XSEDE (the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment).  His proposal is titled: Thermal Systems program, with the XRAS title, Optimal Designs of Heterogeneous Nanomaterials for Advanced Thermal Management Systems,

The grant awarded the following resources: a SDSC Dell Cluster with Intel Haswell Processors (Comet): 300,000.0 SUs SDSC Medium-term disk storage (Data Oasis): 2,000.0 GB.  These resources represent a significant NSF investment - ACI's portfolio of computational resources has increased in capability by more than two orders of magnitude over the past decade, and has become a fundamental enabler of NSF's research mission across nearly all disciplines today. Although SUs on different platforms do not all represent the same intrinsic computing strength, the XSEDE site providers have calculated the individual value of a SU and GB for their respective resources. Thus the allocation of SU/GBs awarded to Hwang would amount to approximately an additional $10,664.00 to support the scientific goals of the project.

The allocation of advanced computing, visualization, and storage resources by the XRAC is accomplished via a competitive process designed in a similar fashion to the NSF peer review system.

XSEDE is pleased to support this and other NSF-funded research activities to enhance the productivity of scientists and engineers by providing them with new and innovative capabilities that will facilitate scientific discovery,  enable transformational science/engineering, and encourage innovative educational programs.

Update from the National Science Foundation’s SBIR/STTR Program: Fall 2016

NEW SBIR/STTR Solicitations: 
The new SBIR Phase I and STTR Phase I solicitations are available! Take a look and get started soon. The deadline for SBIR and STTR proposals is December 6. 

Solicitation Changes:
An organization may submit no more than ONE Phase I proposal to this SBIR/STTR cycle (where SBIR/STTR cycle is defined to include the SBIR Phase I solicitation and the STTR Phase I solicitation with a December 6, 2016 deadline).

We’re hosting 7 webinars before the December deadline. Join us for the first one on Friday, Sept. 30th at 12:00 pm ET. 

Thinking of submitting? Start your registrations now.

These four registrations take time and are required to receive funding. You must register the same information in the same way in each of these systems to avoid problems later. 

1. Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS)
2. System for Award Management (SAM)
3. Small Business Administration (SBA) Company Registry
4. NSF FastLane - register company and Principal Investigator (PI)

Read through SBIR/STTR Topics: 
NSF welcomes proposals for research and development in all areas of science, engineering, and related education. Topics are suggestions. Check them out, here. Not sure where you fit? Consider Other Topics.

3 New Program Directors:
Three new SBIR/STTR Program Directors started this summer – Henry Ahn (Biomedical Technologies), Debasis Majumdar (Advanced Materials and Instrumentation), and Rick Schwerdtfeger (Semiconductors, Photonic Devices, and Internet of Things). Click here for a list of Program Director Contact Information. 

NSF staff will be at several events in the coming months. If you attend, come find our booth!

Water Environment Federation’s Annual Tradeshow and Conference (WEFTEC), Sept. 24-28, New Orleans, LA
WEFTEC is a water quality conference for thousands of professionals looking for water quality solutions and the latest innovation. NSF will sponsor the innovation showcase with 14 NSF-funded companies presenting. Learn more.

SBIR Women’s Networking Event & New England SBIR Conference, Oct. 5-6, Cambridge, MA
The events will convene women entrepreneurs, technology companies, inventors, leaders and supporters of STEM entrepreneurship and early-stage funding decision makers to discuss non-dilutive funding opportunities. Learn more.

SynBioBeta SF 2016, Oct. 4-6, San Francisco, CA
SynBioBeta SF 2016 is a conference for the synthetic biology industry – bringing the global community together to drive technology and business forward. Highlighted topics for this year include the future of food, biosecurity, engineered cell therapies, DNA storage, public engagement, and more! NSF Network Gets 20% Off Registration. Use Code “NSFSAVE20” Learn More & Register.

SXSW Eco 2016, Oct. 10-12, Austin, TX
SXSW Eco creates a space for business leaders, investors, innovators and designers to drive economic, environmental and social change. NSF Network gets 40% off the walk-up rate for SXSW Eco. Use code: “reg-eco-rate2partner4_f695dec569” Learn More & Register.

We updated our Twitter handle to @NSFSBIR. Please follow us/tag us with your news. We’re happy to promote the successes of NSF SBIR funded companies. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Nebraska student travels to Kansas State University to conduct summer research in AMO Physics

Kurtis setting up his
research experiment.
   Kurtis Borne really enjoys the field of laser optics so when the opportunity to conduct further hands-on laser research as a participant in the Kansas State University (KSU) Atomic Molecular and Optics (AMO) Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program presented itself, he immediately applied. The main reason Kurtis wanted a research experience in AMO physics was because he had already spent a lot of time studying its theoretical principles while attending the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO).
   Kurtis is a native of Omaha, NE and is currently majoring in Physics and German with a minor in Mathematics.  He is also a Physics Lab Instructor and the Society of Physics Student Vice President at UNO.
  During this past summer, Kurtis worked in the James R. Macdonald Laboratory at KSU with Dr. Artem Rudenko and Dr. Daniel Rolles on a project titled “Visualizing ultrafast molecular motion in interferometric pump-probe experiments.”  The purpose of the project was to build a new interferometric setup for pump-probe experiments and to analyze the fragmentation patterns of cyclohexadiene (C6H8) from single pulse laser interaction.  When asked what he hoped to find as a result of his research, Kurtis said “The molecule I work with has been studied for decades. I hope that I can identify patterns that have already been confirmed, so we can continue on to more advanced methods of studying this molecule.”
The above diagram is a Dalitz Plot used to read
the energy distributions of three fragments 
  So far, his research has produced various fragmentation patterns of the molecule; and as a result, he has been able to conduct further studies of the associated geometry and energy that has been detected.  As for the impact of his research, Kurtis said it will assist the researchers at Kansas State University with applying the newly equipped delay stage for more accurate pump-probe experiments that test the dynamics of this molecule as well as other molecules.
  As for his personal learning experience, Kurtis said this AMO REU has taught him how to assemble and program optical equipment, to utilize the theory behind the experiments and to implement new methods for analyzing data. Overall, Kurtis enjoyed this opportunity and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in studying experimental AMO Physics, but added it requires a lot of time management, patience as well as a willingness to learn new skills.
   When he returns to his home institution, Kurtis plans to continue studying AMO Physics, and he wants to shadow individuals who work in laser induced-ultracold atom trapping so he can draw comparisons to his research.

Funding for this Research Experience was provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures."  The grant's educational objectives are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce or prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of atomic/molecular/optical science.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Kansas Physics and Physical Science Teachers "Model the Unseen" in their lesson planning with the assistance of Kansas NSF EPSCoR AMO Researchers

   On June 9-10, 2016, Kansas NSF EPSCoR continued its successful Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) physics teacher professional development initiative.  This year's title was “Modeling the Unseen in the Physical Sciences.” Twenty four high school and middle school physics and physical science teachers from all over Kansas participated in this two day educational opportunity held at Kansas State University (KSU) .
Dr. Chris Elles, Dr. Uwe Thumm, Mr. Jared Bixby, and Mr. Zach Conrad
  The objectives for the workshop involved addressing the Science and Engineering Practices listed in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), encouraging teachers to use modeling strategies in their lesson planning, and facilitating the opportunity to make curriculum connections to the cutting edge AMO Research occurring in Kansas. Participants reviewed the NGSS with Jared Bixby, Education Curator for the Sunset Zoo, and received an update of the state’s science assessment plan from Zach Conrad, Interim Science Consultant for the Kansas Department of Education.
Teachers tour the James R. Macdonald Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics Lab with Dr. Kevin Carnes
   Dr. Kevin Carnes, KSU Research Professor of Physics & Associate Director of Operations JRM Lab, and Dr. Charles W. Fehrenbach, KSU Research Assistant Professor of Physics, led tours of the James R. Macdonald Laboratory (JRM) explaining the history of the lab, the various lab equipment processes, lasers and the innovative AMO experiments currently taking place in the lab.
Penny Blue, Dr. Jackie Spears (KSU) and Dr. Paul Adams (FHSU) facilitate modeling instructional strategy discussions and lesson planning activities
    Penny Blue, a science instructor from Lyons High School in Lyons, KS and teacher participant from last year’s teacher workshop, provided an introduction to modeling instructional strategies. Then teachers were asked to review lessons they currently teach to identify ways to incorporate modeling practices into their instruction.  The first day ended with teacher’s discussing takeaways from the the tour and presentations with Dr. Jackie Spears, Professor of Curriculum & Instruction (KSU) and Dr. Paul Adams, Dean of the College of Education, Anshultz Professor of Education, and Professor of Physics at Fort Hays State University (FHSU) as well as preparing questions for the next day's interactive activities working with the Kansas NSF EPSCoR AMO Chemists and Physicists.
Round table discussions with Kansas NSF EPSCoR AMO Researchers
   On day two, teachers spent the morning participating in round table discussions with Kansas NSF EPSCoR AMO researchers: Dr. Chris Elles (KU), Dr. Uwe Thumm (KSU), Dr. Bret Flanders (KSU) and Dr. A.T. Le (KSU).  Each researcher provided a short presentation of their own research and talked about how they use models in their work.  Then, the researchers brainstormed with teachers to ascertain curricular connections to the AMO Research.  

   During the afternoon session, the teachers were given time to enhance or create lessons to include the Science and Engineering Practices of the NGSS, modeling instructional strategies and curricular connections to the AMO research.  As was done last year, the follow-up sessions will include asking some teachers to present their workshop experiences, their new AMO lessons and any lessons learned after teaching those lessons to the Kansas Association Teachers of Science in April, 2017.

A Google Docs repository was created to store the lessons developed at the workshop. Teachers were encouraged to direct their colleagues across the state to use the resources housed in the Google Docs Kansas NSF EPSCoR AMO Physics Lesson Plan Repository.

Education and outreach funding for the physics teacher workshop was provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures."  The grant's educational objectives are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce or prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of atomic/molecular/optical science

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

2015 Kansas NSF EPSCoR Teacher Workshop Participants Present at the 2016 Kansas Association of Teachers of Science Conference

   As part of the follow-up activity to the 2015 Kansas NSF EPSCoR Summer Teacher Workshop “Connecting the Physics of Waves and Electromagnetic Radiation with the Next Generation Science Standards,” three physics teachers, Penny Blue from Lyons High School in Lyons, KS; Chery Shepherd-Adams from Hays High School in Hays KS; and Brian Vancil from Sumner Academy in Kansas City, KS presented the lessons they created during the workshop at the 2016 Kansas Association of Teachers of Science (KATS) conference.  Dr. Paul Adams, College of Education, Dean Anschutz Professor of Education and Professor of Physics at Fort Hays State University and Dr. Jackie Spears, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Director of the Center for Science Education in the College of Education at Kansas State University, chaired the session.  Both, Dr. Adams and Dr. Spears are Kansas EPSCoR Education and Outreach collaborators.

   During the summer workshop, teachers were asked to create lessons that would connect the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 grant “Collaborative Research: Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules and Nanostructures,” research with the newly adopted Kansas Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for high school physics.  As part of the follow-up the teachers were asked to report back on how the lessons were received in the classroom.  In addition, they were invited to speak about their experience at the KATS Conference that was held April 15–16, 2016 in Rock Springs, KS. Penny discussed several key behaviors of electromagnetic radiation by modeling a “Pinhole Camera Activity.”  Cheryl created a “Perspective Activity” to demonstrate light wave behavior passing through various devices and Brian explained how he used a simple bread board spectrometer to help students understand Spectrometry and discover that the energy of a photon is proportional to its frequency.  The session was well attended and well received.

This year the 2016 Kansas NSF EPSCoR Workshop titled “Modeling the Unseen in the Physical Sciences” will take place June 9-10 at Kansas State University.

Education and outreach funding for the physics teacher workshop was provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures."  The grant's educational objectives are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce or prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of atomic/molecular/optical science

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Manhattan High School Student Explores Growing Nanowires

    Zach Culbertson, a junior at Manhattan High School in Manhattan KS, enjoys learning about science research.  At school, he participates in the Science Olympiad, Scholars Bowl, Quest, FRC Robotics Club, Tennis, and Fencing.  He also enjoys studying Arabic, the Middle East and Politics.
    As part of a class assignment, Zach was asked to explore his career interests and select someone in that position of interest to interview. He knew he enjoyed science, engineering and “hands-on research." In addition, he knew "practical lab experience is very useful in any science career,” so, Zach decided to investigate a career in physics and to interview Dr. Bret Flanders, Associate Professor of Physics at Kansas State University and a member of the Kansas NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Collaborative Research: Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules and Nanostructures research team.  It was during this interview that Dr. Flanders saw great potential in Zach and offered him an afterschool internship opportunity to work in his lab.
    The focus of Dr. Flanders’ research is making electrodes for the creation of nanowires to be used for experiments involving electronic transfer.  Zach is responsible for constructing and thinning electrodes so that “we can ‘grow’ nanowires” on the tips of the electrodes by sending an electrical current through a solution containing the unique materials needed to create them.
Above are illustrations of methods used for growing nanowires.
    Zach said his lab task is to grow nanowires that can be used to study electronic transfers that will “help increase the speed and efficiency of the electronic devices.”  He stated that the best part of the internship experience is seeing the practical use and impact of what he has learned in his high school science classes.  Zach added that this internship has given him “lots of practical laboratory experience related to lab procedures and practices" as well as an opportunity to better prepare him for whatever kind of science career he chooses to pursue.
    As for his future plans, Zach said, “I would like to attend college, hopefully Harvard, and am looking at going into Aerospace Engineering or Biomedical Engineering, and Middle Eastern Studies. I would also like to try to get involved with the World Food Program as a volunteer.”

The Flanders Group works in the areas of soft matter nanotechnology and biological physics.  Current projects focus on measuring the distribution of cell-electrode residence times as a function electrode-voltage.

Education and outreach funding for this high school internship opportunity is provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures."  The grant's educational objectives are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce or prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of atomic/molecular/optical science.