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News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: phys.org

Traditionally, FRAP data have been used to measure molecular diffusion—the passive drifting of molecules within the jelly-like cytoplasm inside a cell. But these molecular movements aren't always so passive. In many cellular processes, molecules can be transported actively by molecular motors, which tow molecules around like locomotives dragging lines of freight cars. "We know that active transport is important in many cellular systems, but there wasn't any way to capture it from FRAP data," said Veronica Ciocanel, a Ph.D. student in Brown's Division of Applied Mathematics. "We've developed a modeling technique for FRAP data that includes active transport and can quantify details about how those dynamics work." In a paper published in the Biophysical Journal, Ciocanel and her colleagues demonstrated the technique by describing new details about how egg cells redistribute genetic material before they begin dividing to form an embryo. Getting more from FRAP To perform a FRAP experiment, scientists tag molecules that they want to observe with glowing fluorescent proteins. Then they zap the area of interest with a laser, which deactivates some of the fluorescent proteins and creates a small dark spot within the glowing mass. Then scientists watch as the dark spot dissipates, which happens gradually as darkened molecules drift out of the spot and still-fluorescent molecules drift in. The amount of fluorescence in the spot as time progresses is what's known as a recovery curve. The recovery curve can then be fed into a mathematical model that generates a diffusion coefficient, an average rate at which the molecules drift around. Some models can also tease out a binding rate (the rate at which molecules stop moving by attaching themselves to some other molecule or substrate), but there weren't any that could deal with active transport. Ciocanel set out to create one in collaboration with a lab led by Kimberly Mowry, a professor of biology at Brown. One of the things Mowry's lab studies is RNA localization in egg cells, or oocytes. Before dividing to form embryos, oocytes redistribute messenger RNA—critical genetic molecules—from near the nucleus of the cell to the outer membrane on one of the cell's sides. The process occurs across animal species and is essential to normal embryo development. Mowry's lab studies it in a frog species called Xenopus laevis because the species' oocytes are relatively large and easier to observe. Mowry and other researchers had shown that active transport via molecular motors, along with diffusion, was likely important to the localization process in Xenopus oocytes. There was also speculation that the transport wasn't unidirectional from the nucleus out to the membrane. Mowry had performed experiments suggesting that mRNA molecules actually move back toward the nucleus at times during the process. But it was impossible to capture all of those dynamics via FRAP. Working with Björn Sandstede, chair of Brown's Division of Applied Mathematics, Ciocanel developed models using sets of partial differential equations that could capture active dynamics. One model captured two states of molecular movement: simple diffusion as well as active transport in a single direction. A second more complex model captures diffusion, two-directional movement as well as the possibility that some molecules remain stationary for periods of time. Ciocanel then developed a set of numerical techniques to solve the model and give velocities for active transport motion. Once the models were created and could be solved numerically, Ciocanel ran them on synthetic FRAP data from a hypothetical system in which the contributions from active transport were known. She showed that the models could correctly reproduce the active dynamics from the synthetic data. Having validated the models, the researchers applied them to real data from FRAP experiments on Xenopus and were able to shed new light on the RNA localization process. "We were able to quantify the contributions from each of the mechanisms," Ciocanel said. "We can predict how much of the mRNA is diffusing, moving up and down or pausing along the way." The models were also able to confirm small but important nuances in the dynamics. For example, the research showed that bi-directional transport occurred more prominently in the part of the cell closest to the membrane. New insights like these could ultimately help scientists to get a more complete picture of the dynamics at play in this critical cellular process. But this is far from the only setting where the technique could be helpful. Active transport is known to occur in many cellular processes. Synaptic activity in the brain, for example, is thought to involved active mRNA localization. "Whenever there's active transport," Sandstede said, "this method allows you to learn about what's happening." Explore further: Barriers and molecular trains trap Joubert syndrome protein in cilia


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] -- Understanding how proteins and other molecules move around inside cells is important for understanding how cells function. Scientists use an experiment called Fluorescence Recovery after Photobleaching, or FRAP, to investigate this molecular motion, and now Brown University researchers have developed a mathematical modeling technique that makes FRAP much more useful. Traditionally, FRAP data have been used to measure molecular diffusion -- the passive drifting of molecules within the jelly-like cytoplasm inside a cell. But these molecular movements aren't always so passive. In many cellular processes, molecules can be transported actively by molecular motors, which tow molecules around like locomotives dragging lines of freight cars. "We know that active transport is important in many cellular systems, but there wasn't any way to capture it from FRAP data," said Veronica Ciocanel, a Ph.D. student in Brown's Division of Applied Mathematics. "We've developed a modeling technique for FRAP data that includes active transport and can quantify details about how those dynamics work." In a paper published in the Biophysical Journal, Ciocanel and her colleagues demonstrated the technique by describing new details about how egg cells redistribute genetic material before they begin dividing to form an embryo. Getting more from FRAP To perform a FRAP experiment, scientists tag molecules that they want to observe with glowing fluorescent proteins. Then they zap the area of interest with a laser, which deactivates some of the fluorescent proteins and creates a small dark spot within the glowing mass. Then scientists watch as the dark spot dissipates, which happens gradually as darkened molecules drift out of the spot and still-fluorescent molecules drift in. The amount of fluorescence in the spot as time progresses is what's known as a recovery curve. The recovery curve can then be fed into a mathematical model that generates a diffusion coefficient, an average rate at which the molecules drift around. Some models can also tease out a binding rate (the rate at which molecules stop moving by attaching themselves to some other molecule or substrate), but there weren't any that could deal with active transport. Ciocanel set out to create one in collaboration with a lab led by Kimberly Mowry, a professor of biology at Brown. One of the things Mowry's lab studies is RNA localization in egg cells, or oocytes. Before dividing to form embryos, oocytes redistribute messenger RNA -- critical genetic molecules -- from near the nucleus of the cell to the outer membrane on one of the cell's sides. The process occurs across animal species and is essential to normal embryo development. Mowry's lab studies it in a frog species called Xenopus laevis because the species' oocytes are relatively large and easier to observe. Mowry and other researchers had shown that active transport via molecular motors, along with diffusion, was likely important to the localization process in Xenopus oocytes. There was also speculation that the transport wasn't unidirectional from the nucleus out to the membrane. Mowry had performed experiments suggesting that mRNA molecules actually move back toward the nucleus at times during the process. But it was impossible to capture all of those dynamics via FRAP. Working with Björn Sandstede, chair of Brown's Division of Applied Mathematics, Ciocanel developed models using sets of partial differential equations that could capture active dynamics. One model captured two states of molecular movement: simple diffusion as well as active transport in a single direction. A second more complex model captures diffusion, two-directional movement as well as the possibility that some molecules remain stationary for periods of time. Ciocanel then developed a set of numerical techniques to solve the model and give velocities for active transport motion. Once the models were created and could be solved numerically, Ciocanel ran them on synthetic FRAP data from a hypothetical system in which the contributions from active transport were known. She showed that the models could correctly reproduce the active dynamics from the synthetic data. Having validated the models, the researchers applied them to real data from FRAP experiments on Xenopus and were able to shed new light on the RNA localization process. "We were able to quantify the contributions from each of the mechanisms," Ciocanel said. "We can predict how much of the mRNA is diffusing, moving up and down or pausing along the way." The models were also able to confirm small but important nuances in the dynamics. For example, the research showed that bi-directional transport occurred more prominently in the part of the cell closest to the membrane. New insights like these could ultimately help scientists to get a more complete picture of the dynamics at play in this critical cellular process. But this is far from the only setting where the technique could be helpful. Active transport is known to occur in many cellular processes. Synaptic activity in the brain, for example, is thought to involved active mRNA localization. "Whenever there's active transport," Sandstede said, "this method allows you to learn about what's happening." The research was supported by the National Science Foundation (DMS-1408742) and the National Institutes of Health (GM071049).


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Understanding how proteins and other molecules move around inside cells is important for understanding how cells function. Scientists use an experiment called Fluorescence Recovery after Photobleaching, or FRAP, to investigate this molecular motion, and now Brown University researchers have developed a mathematical modeling technique that makes FRAP much more useful. Traditionally, FRAP data have been used to measure molecular diffusion -- the passive drifting of molecules within the jelly-like cytoplasm inside a cell. But these molecular movements aren't always so passive. In many cellular processes, molecules can be transported actively by molecular motors, which tow molecules around like locomotives dragging lines of freight cars. "We know that active transport is important in many cellular systems, but there wasn't any way to capture it from FRAP data," said Veronica Ciocanel, a Ph.D. student in Brown's Division of Applied Mathematics. "We've developed a modeling technique for FRAP data that includes active transport and can quantify details about how those dynamics work." In a paper published in the Biophysical Journal, Ciocanel and her colleagues demonstrated the technique by describing new details about how egg cells redistribute genetic material before they begin dividing to form an embryo. Getting more from FRAP To perform a FRAP experiment, scientists tag molecules that they want to observe with glowing fluorescent proteins. Then they zap the area of interest with a laser, which deactivates some of the fluorescent proteins and creates a small dark spot within the glowing mass. Then scientists watch as the dark spot dissipates, which happens gradually as darkened molecules drift out of the spot and still-fluorescent molecules drift in. The amount of fluorescence in the spot as time progresses is what's known as a recovery curve. The recovery curve can then be fed into a mathematical model that generates a diffusion coefficient, an average rate at which the molecules drift around. Some models can also tease out a binding rate (the rate at which molecules stop moving by attaching themselves to some other molecule or substrate), but there weren't any that could deal with active transport. Ciocanel set out to create one in collaboration with a lab led by Kimberly Mowry, a professor of biology at Brown. One of the things Mowry's lab studies is RNA localization in egg cells, or oocytes. Before dividing to form embryos, oocytes redistribute messenger RNA -- critical genetic molecules -- from near the nucleus of the cell to the outer membrane on one of the cell's sides. The process occurs across animal species and is essential to normal embryo development. Mowry's lab studies it in a frog species called Xenopus laevis because the species' oocytes are relatively large and easier to observe. Mowry and other researchers had shown that active transport via molecular motors, along with diffusion, was likely important to the localization process in Xenopus oocytes. There was also speculation that the transport wasn't unidirectional from the nucleus out to the membrane. Mowry had performed experiments suggesting that mRNA molecules actually move back toward the nucleus at times during the process. But it was impossible to capture all of those dynamics via FRAP. Working with Björn Sandstede, chair of Brown's Division of Applied Mathematics, Ciocanel developed models using sets of partial differential equations that could capture active dynamics. One model captured two states of molecular movement: simple diffusion as well as active transport in a single direction. A second more complex model captures diffusion, two-directional movement as well as the possibility that some molecules remain stationary for periods of time. Ciocanel then developed a set of numerical techniques to solve the model and give velocities for active transport motion. Once the models were created and could be solved numerically, Ciocanel ran them on synthetic FRAP data from a hypothetical system in which the contributions from active transport were known. She showed that the models could correctly reproduce the active dynamics from the synthetic data. Having validated the models, the researchers applied them to real data from FRAP experiments on Xenopus and were able to shed new light on the RNA localization process. "We were able to quantify the contributions from each of the mechanisms," Ciocanel said. "We can predict how much of the mRNA is diffusing, moving up and down or pausing along the way." The models were also able to confirm small but important nuances in the dynamics. For example, the research showed that bi-directional transport occurred more prominently in the part of the cell closest to the membrane. New insights like these could ultimately help scientists to get a more complete picture of the dynamics at play in this critical cellular process. But this is far from the only setting where the technique could be helpful. Active transport is known to occur in many cellular processes. Synaptic activity in the brain, for example, is thought to involved active mRNA localization. "Whenever there's active transport," Sandstede said, "this method allows you to learn about what's happening."


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The lack of a standardized procedure for collecting data about elusive and hard to find species like the great white shark has to date seriously hampered efforts to manage and protect these animals The lack of a standardized procedure for collecting data about elusive and hard to find species like the great white shark has to date seriously hampered efforts to manage and protect these animals. But now a marine biologist, an applied mathematician and a software developer from Stellenbosch University joined expertise to develop a custom-made software package, called Identifin, which may offer a solution to this problem. Dr Sara Andreotti, a marine biologist in the Department of Botany and Zoology at SU, have collected over 5000 photographic images of the dorsal fins of white sharks along the South African coastline as part of her research on the population structure of South Africa's great white sharks. This is because the trailing edge of the dorsal fin provides a unique trade, analogous to a human fingerprint. Over six years she managed to manually build a database with information on when and where an individual white shark was sighted. In those cases where she was able to collect a biopsy from the shark, the genetic information was linked to its profile. But she was doing all this manually on her personal computer. "I nearly lost my head. I quickly realised that in the long term updating the database was going to consume more and more of my time. That is when I headed over campus to the applied mathematics division and asked for help. I was stunned when they became all excited about my data," she laughs. Prof. Ben Herbst, a specialist in machine learning, and Dr Pieter Holtzhausen, a software engineer then busy with his PhD in Applied Mathematics, were literally overjoyed to be able to work with Dr Andreotti' s data base. Dr Holtzhausen explains: "We used an algorithmic technique called dynamic time-warping to match the fingerprints. With this technique, any data that can be turned into a linear sequence can be analysed. The technique is often used in speech recognition software." The image recognition software they developed, called Identifin, compares a semi-automatically drawn trace of the back edge of the dorsal fin to existing images in the database. The images in the database are then re-arranged and ranked by probability of match. If there is a match, the database photograph in the first position will be the correct one (see multimedia images). However, while working with Michael Meyer, a marine scientist from the Department of Environmental Affairs, and shark conservationist Michael Rutzen from Shark Diving Unlimited, Dr Andreotti realised that the software needed some more tweaking if it were to fit the ideal of sustaining a large database for the long-term monitoring of the white shark population. "The software had to be capable of quickly matching the fin identification of a newly photographed shark with a possible existing match in the database, and to automatically update the sharks' id catalogue. The database also had to be user-friendly and structured in such a way so that different researchers can use it over the long term," she explains. While there is still room for improvement, the success of the first trials boosted their hope that in the near future they will be able to use Identifin to monitor white shark populations on a large scale. "Previously, while at sea, I had to try and memorize which shark is which, to prevent sampling the same individual more than once. Now Identifin can take over. I will only need to download the new photographic identifications from my camera onto a small field laptop and run the software to see if the sharks currently around the boat have been sampled or not. "By knowing which sharks had not been sampled before we can focus the biopsy collections on them. This saves us both time and money when it comes to genetic analysis in the laboratory," she adds. Dr Andreotti says to date the lack of standardization of data collection has been a major limitation to combining datasets of worldwide distributed species: "We hope Identifin will offer a solution for the development of a South African and then global adaptive management plan for great white sharks." The next step is to adapt Identifin for the identification of other large marine species and help other researchers facing the same kind of struggles. Andreotti S, Rutzen M, Wesche PS, O'Connell CP, Meÿer M, Oosthuizen WH, Matthee CA (2014) A novel categorisation system to organize a large photo identification database for white sharks Carcharodon carcharias. African Journal of Marine Science 36:59-67. Available online at http://www. Andreotti S, Heyden S von der, Henriques R, Rutzen M, Meÿer M, Oosthuizen H, Matthee CA (2016) New insights into the evolutionary history of white sharks, Carcharodon carcharias. Journal of Biogeography 43:328-339. Available online at http://onlinelibrary. Andreotti S, Rutzen M, Walt S van der, Heyden S Von der, Henriques R, Meÿer M, Oosthuizen H, Matthee C (2016) An integrated mark-recapture and genetic approach to estimate the population size of white sharks in South Africa. Marine Ecology Progress Series 552:241-253. Available online at http://www.


Geophysicists at the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at the Tokyo Institute of Technology report in Nature Geophysics (online 27 Feb 2017) a new model for the existence of a deep mantle conveyor belt system that may have operated inside the Earth since its formation about 4.5 billion years ago. Most earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain building, sea-floor spreading, and other major geological activities on Earth are driven by so called plate tectonics, where large sections of the Earth’s crust move as coherent blocks — or plates — that crash together, pull apart, slide on top of each other, and pass one another at their boundaries. Beneath the plates lies the 3000 km thick rocky mantle, composed of hot pliable rock that slowly deforms and churns under the immense pressures and temperatures of the deep interior. This churning motion, or mantle convection, acts to remove heat from the Earth’s interior, similar to the circulation in a slowly boiling pot of stew. Mantle convection ultimately drives the motion of tectonic plates. In turn, the plates also stir the mantle, where they are subducted because of sliding on top of each other, and sink through the mantle to great depths. Scientists have long wondered whether the Earth’s mantle is well mixed by this stirring and the churning convective motions (mantle convection), or if the lower part of the mantle is different in composition than the upper part. That some plates are subducted to the very base of the mantle, travelling 3000 km in about 200 million years, has been traditionally taken as evidence for a well-stirred and mixed mantle stew. The poorly-mixed Earth’s mantle stew In this research, the scientists took a new approach by considering whether the chemical composition of mantle rocks affects the churning convective motion. Some rocks deform and flow more readily than others, behaving like water as opposed to high viscosity liquids such as honey. For example, pouring water into a pot of stew results in the water mixing with the stew even without much stirring. Needless to say, it would take much more time for honey to mix with stew. Notably, if dumplings are put into stew, then both components will never mix. Even though dumplings are generally deformable; the boiling stew just flows around the dumplings because it is much more deformable, or less viscous, than dumplings. Now, in the Earth, lower mantle-rocks behave more like stew than dumplings (or more like water than honey) depending on their chemical composition. If rocks in the lower mantle are relatively enriched in silica (or SiO2, which is also the main component of sand), they are more viscous and behave more like dumplings compared to silica-depleted rocks, which are weaker and behave more like the stew itself. This is intriguing because many meteorites that are considered the building blocks of Earth have a higher silica content than rocks in the upper part of Earth’s mantle. To make up the balance of silica-depletion in most mantle rocks that have been probed, at least some rocks in the lower mantle should be relatively silica-rich. So, the Earth’s mantle might be a bit like a well-mixed, silica-depleted stew with some poorly-mixed silica-rich dumplings near its base. To study the churning motion of the mantle stew, Maxim Ballmer and his colleagues at ELSI added a strong silica-rich layer into numerical simulations of mantle convection. They found that, after a major overturn of the initially imposed layering, the mantle became organized into large roll-like convection cells, where weak silica-depleted rocks fill the upper mantle and circulate around strong silica-rich blocks in the lower mantle along a giant conveyor belt (Fig.1). Giant blocks of ancient rocks hidden beneath Africa and the Pacific? In the simulations, this pattern of churning convection remained stable for many billions of years, and longer than the age of the Earth. The strong silica-rich blocks in the lower mantle are probably more than 1000 km in diameter and 10,000s km long, making up approximately 15% of the mantle’s mass. Ballmer and his colleagues think that they are hidden far below Africa and the Pacific, shaped like giant sausages or donuts. The existence of such strong domains can explain why some of the subducted plates do not sink toward the base of the mantle, but rather pond at intermediate depths, where they encounter the strong sausages or donuts. The long-term stability of these domains can further account for the geochemical diversity of deep-sourced lavas at the Earth’s surface. While some lavas are related to melting of mantle rocks that have been recycled from the near-surface crust and circulated through the mantle, others trace evidence of ancient domains that have avoided circulation and recycling since the earliest days of our planet. The survival of ancient rocks in the convicting mantle has been a long-standing puzzle to many scientists, but may now be resolved as a consequence of inefficient mixing between strong silica-enriched rocks and the much weaker silica-depleted mantle. Maxim D. Ballmer1,2*, Christine Houser2, John W. Hernlund1, Renata M.Wentzcovitch1,3,4 and Kei Hirose1. Persistence of strong silica-enriched domains in the Earth’s lower mantle. Nature Geoscience, online 27 Feb. 2017. 3Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, New York, USA. 4Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York, USA. About Tokyo Institute of Technology Tokyo Institute of Technology stands at the forefront of research and higher education as the leading university for science and technology in Japan. Tokyo Tech researchers excel in a variety of fields, such as material science, biology, computer science and physics. Founded in 1881, Tokyo Tech has grown to host 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students who become principled leaders of their fields and some of the most sought-after scientists and engineers at top companies. Embodying the Japanese philosophy of “monotsukuri,” meaning technical ingenuity and innovation, the Tokyo Tech community strives to make significant contributions to society through high-impact research. Website: http://www.titech.ac.jp/english/


SPRING, TX, February 23, 2017-- Christina Rene' Murata, Owner, Chief Executive Officer, and Process Safety Consultant with Risk Integrity Safety Knowledge, Inc. (RISK, Inc.), has been recognized as a Distinguished Professional in her field through Women of Distinction Magazine. Christine Rene' Murata was recently featured in Women of Distinction Magazine and will soon be featured in the Top 10 of 2016 edition.After completing her undergraduate work in 2004, Christina Rene' Murata began her career as an Assistant Engineer for an electrical firm in their Research and Development Department developing internal policies and procedures. Several years later, she relocated to California with her husband and took a position as an Administrative Assistant working in refinery before being promoted to Engineering Assistant turned Assistant Engineer. It was during that time that she became educated on Process Safety Management (PSM) that was required of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.As a Process Safety Consultant in the gas, oil, chemical, and petrochemical industries, Murata has been serving as Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Risk Integrity Safety Knowledge, Inc. (RISK, Inc.) for the past seven years. With two locations, one in Spring, Texas and one in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the company strives to offer a higher level of quality and integrity in PSM.Comprised of engineers, process safety specialists, and several other highly trained professionals in the field, RISK, Inc. offer a full range of technical consulting, training, and staffing services for OSHA's PSM and the Environmental Protection Agency's Risk Management Program."When I first got started in the industry in 2005, there were a series of minor incidents that impacted my husband, brother-in-law, and several friends due to undocumented changes in the field. Although minor, they had the potential to become quite serious and potentially life threatening. That was when I became actively involved in the PSM program. I work in this field today because it impacts lives in a positive way. I believe that everyone can and should go home to their loved ones safely and a quality PSM program can be critical. Today, I work to help other companies improve their safety programs, while also educating and working with them on improvements."In addition to Murata's daily responsibilities, she is training an assistant to take on the role of US Manager to run the US office so that she can focus on getting the organization's Brazilian office up to speed. When not working on RISK, Inc., Murata is working on an online course to coach women, specifically healers, teachers, and entrepreneurs, in the successful development of their own business through another business venture, CEO Essence. She has also recently partnered with Salvatore Laureano to develop a line of fashionable business attire for women.Murata holds a BA in Applied Physics and a BS in Applied Mathematics from Southern Oregon University, as well as a Master of Business in Global Enterprise Management from Jones International University. In her down time Murata is an active member of Center for Chemical Process Safety and American Institute of Chemical Engineers, participates annually in several events pertaining to her industry, and attends various events to both support and learn from colleagues.For more information, visit www.psmrisk.com About Women of Distinction Magazine:Women of Distinction Magazine strives to continually bring the very best out in each article published and highlight Women of Distinction. Women of Distinction Magazine's mission is to have a platform where women can grow, inspire, empower, educate and encourage professionals from any industry by sharing stories of courage and success.Contact:Women of Distinction Magazine, Melville, NY631-465-9024 pressreleases@womenofdistinction.net


News Article | March 2, 2017
Site: physicsworld.com

Deadline submission 10th March 2017. Registration now open! Nonlinearity plays an important role in many fields of Science, Engineering and Technology. The aim of this conference is to bring together researchers working on aspects of nonlinear phenomena and to encourage interaction between experts from different areas such as Applied Mathematics, Mathematical Analysis, Fluid Dynamics, Engineering and Physics. Recent theoretical developments, new computational methods and experimental findings will be presented and discussed.


News Article | March 1, 2017
Site: www.marketwired.com

Moody's Mega Math Challenge Participants Make Recommendations to the National Park Service on Dealing With Global Change FactorS PHILADELPHIA, PA--(Marketwired - March 01, 2017) - In recent years, the National Park Service (NPS) has tallied more than 300 million annual visits to sites of the national park system -- 417 parks covering more than 84 million acres. These sites range from well-known national parks like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, to smaller historic units like the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in NYC. Despite being in an era of accelerated technological and digital advancement -- according to Social Media Today, people now spend an average of five years and four months of their lives on social media -- America loves its national parks, as we've seen more than a 17% increase in NPS site visits over the last 20 years. This weekend, over 1,100 teams comprised of more than 5,100 students from the Digital Generation used their technological prowess to compete in Moody's Mega Math (M3) Challenge, where they used mathematical modeling to make recommendations about the future of our ever-important national parks to the NPS, the federal bureau within the Department of the Interior responsible for managing, protecting, and maintaining all units within the National Park System. According to the NPS, global change factors such as climate are likely to affect park resources and visitor experience in coming years and, as a result, their mission to preserve the natural and cultural resources and values of their system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of current and future generations. That's why the NPS was excited to work with M3 Challenge this year. "The National Park Service is privileged to work with the high school mathematicians in Moody's Mega Math Challenge," says Dr. Rebecca Beavers, Coastal Geology and Adaptation Coordinator at NPS. "These bright, young minds hold the keys to innovative solutions for many environmental concerns, including climate change." During the intensive M3 Challenge weekend, 11th and 12th grade students from throughout the U.S. spent 14 hours gathering and evaluating data on the changing landscape of our nation's parks, investigating ideas like sea level change risk and the effects of all climate-related events on coastal park sites. First charged with building a mathematical model to determine sea level change risk for five specific parks for the next 10, 20, and 50 years, participants were then tasked with assigning a single climate vulnerability score to any NPS coastal unit. Finally, students used this information to create a new model that predicts long-term changes in visitors for each park, and advise NPS on prioritization of where future financial resources should go. Organized by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), M3 Challenge gives high school students the opportunity to answer broad questions by applying mathematics and quantifying the related variables, and encourages them to study and pursue careers in science and math. "I tell my colleagues and students, even though I'm a trained pure mathematician, I believe applied mathematics, and in particular math modeling, will be the 'go-to' hot major on college campuses 10 years from now," says Dr. Neil R. Nicholson, Associate Professor of Mathematics at North Central College, and 2017 M3 Challenge problem author. "There is this push from all areas of life, whether it be politics, science, business -- to justify decisions with some sort of quantification. I look at this as exactly what math modeling does…It truly is an exercise in the liberal arts: understanding, research, validation, communication, application, and use of mathematics." As academically-rewarding as the M3 Challenge is, with 90 scholarship prizes totaling $150,000 up for grabs from The Moody's Foundation, students can't help but be motivated by the chance to earn some cash to help with college expenses, too. The Challenge is free, requiring only accessibility to the Internet. After two rounds of judging by professional applied mathematicians over the next eight weeks, six finalist teams will be selected to present their solutions to a panel of mathematical experts at Moody's Foundation headquarters in New York City on April 24. Approximately 90 teams will be recognized with team scholarship prizes, with the champion team receiving $20,000. "It would be absolutely wonderful to see ideas from M3 Challenge teams become part of the NPS discussion," Nicholson says. "To take ideas from eager, interested high school problem solvers and make meaningful real-world changes to existing systems? That's just cool." View the complete 2017 problem statement now, and learn more about M3 Challenge. Moody's is an essential component of the global capital markets, providing credit ratings, research, tools and analysis that contribute to transparent and integrated financial markets. Built on the recognition that a company grows stronger by helping others, The Moody's Foundation works to enhance its communities and the lives of its employees by providing grants and engaging in community service in local neighborhoods. The Moody's Foundation, established in 2002 by Moody's Corporation, partners with nonprofit organizations to support initiatives such as education in the fields of mathematics, finance, and economics, as well as workforce development, civic affairs, and arts and culture. For more information, please visit https://www.moodys.com/Pages/itc003.aspx About the Organizer The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an international society of more than 14,000 individual, academic and corporate members from 85 countries. SIAM helps build cooperation between mathematics and the worlds of science and technology to solve real-world problems through publications, conferences, and communities like chapters, sections and activity groups. Learn more at siam.org. Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/3/1/11G131824/Images/M3-c41362a29f5d9e5eb2d62122a58e2114.jpg Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/3/1/11G131824/Images/NPS-e53dfef13ea2b4e5a980a20c8109a085.jpg Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/3/1/11G131824/Images/Neil_R._Nicholson1-83a47cf5a31cb41a9d201b34fc86ca16.jpg


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.marketwired.com

PHILADELPHIA, PA--(Marketwired - February 08, 2017) - Creativity. Teamwork. Outside-the-box thinking. The ability to write and communicate effectively. Not necessarily the first things that come to mind when you think of math, are they? Think again! In Moody's Mega Math (M3) Challenge, a high school math modeling competition organized by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics and sponsored by The Moody's Foundation, students must bring together a wide range of skills to provide insight into an open-ended math modeling problem and present their findings in the form of a written solution paper. Many of the most successful teams -- those that take home $150,000 in scholarships -- are comprised of students who are "good at math" but also willing to do research, brainstorm, and try things that may be outside their comfort zone. Modeling is a process that uses math to represent, analyze, make predictions, and provide insight into real-world phenomena. Building a useful math model does not necessarily require advanced mathematics -- students at all levels can model using the math that they already know or the free resources, including software, available on the M3 Challenge website. And in this math contest, a team's ability to explain how they arrived at their solution often carries as much weight as the model itself! "The goal of modeling is not necessarily to construct the most accurate model, and it is definitely not about constructing the most complicated model, but rather to construct the simplest model possible that still captures the essential, overall behavior of the system," says Kelly Black, professor of mathematics at University of Georgia, Athens, and M3 Challenge judge for the past eight years. "The team's model and their analysis of the model are important, but their exploration and their insights and predictions are more important than the models themselves." Brainstorming at the beginning of the project is an essential part of the modeling process as it helps reveal different directions that the math model can take. By being creative and open-minded, students can look at the same problem and have different perspectives into its resolution, allowing them to come up with valid alternative solutions. In fact, M3 judges welcome and reward creativity when reviewing solutions. "One of the things we as judges enjoy most is seeing what teams decide is most important in the problem and what method they use to solve it," says Black. As teams define their variables and build their model, they look to their personal toolkits when deciding which math and techniques to use. Nidhi Palwayi, a former student at Rutgers Preparatory School in Somerset, NJ, who appears in the "What is Mat­h Modeling" video series on the M3 website says, "What we found that we used most in our model was Algebra 2 -- Algebra 1 even -- which is interesting because it shows that we revert to what is most comfortable." When it comes time to write everything up as a polished solution paper, teams should keep in mind that this step is just as important as the effort it took to get to this point. "Judges understand that teams are working under a strict time constraint and that submitting a complete solution and report is nearly impossible," says Black. "It is therefore imperative that teams include a complete and well written summary and provide discussion of all aspects of the question if possible." For many students like Nidhi, M3 Challenge is a unique opportunity to put all of the skills they have been honing throughout high school into a fun and exciting 14-hour "taste" of what they will encounter in the real world. They begin to realize the value of this experience as they move on to college and careers -- whether they are math-related or not -- because the ability to think logically, solve problems, and collaborate in a team environment is a great foundation for future success. Registration for M3 Challenge is open until Friday, February 17, 2017. The free, Internet-based contest, which is sponsored by The Moody's Foundation and organized by Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, will begin Friday, February 24, at 12:00 p.m. EST and end Monday, February 27, at 8:00 a.m. EST. Teams may choose any continuous 14-hour period to work during that time frame. The contest is open to juniors and seniors seeking a pinnacle high school experience and the chance to win a share of $150,000 in scholarships. Learn more and register your team before February 17 at http://m3challenge.siam.org/. About the Sponsor Moody's is an essential component of the global capital markets, providing credit ratings, research, tools and analysis that contribute to transparent and integrated financial markets. Built on the recognition that a company grows stronger by helping others, The Moody's Foundation works to enhance its communities and the lives of its employees by providing grants and engaging in community service in local neighborhoods. The Moody's Foundation, established in 2002 by Moody's Corporation, partners with nonprofit organizations to support initiatives such as education in the fields of mathematics, finance, and economics, as well as workforce development, civic affairs, and arts and culture. For more information, please visit https://www.moodys.com/Pages/itc003.aspx About the Organizer The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an international society of more than 14,000 individual, academic and corporate members from 85 countries. SIAM helps build cooperation between mathematics and the worlds of science and technology to solve real-world problems through publications, conferences, and communities like chapters, sections and activity groups. Learn more at siam.org.


News Article | February 18, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

The winner of the $2,000 ZendyHealth Med Tech Scholarship grant is Albert Appouh, a Senior at Rutgers University. Albert is currently studying Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, and Economics. Students who applied for the scholarship were required to write a 1000-word essay, elaborating a startup idea for either a new company, new application, or new innovation meant to benefit the field of healthcare technology. Dr. Vish Banthia, founder of ZendyHealth, was hopeful that this opportunity “might empower college students to use their ingenuity to envision new innovations so as to impact positive changes as related to healthcare.” The outcome was inspiring as ZendyHealth heard from intelligent applicants all over the United States, from varying backgrounds, and received a large number of outstanding pitches. Albert Appouh stated that he was “truly honored” to have been chosen as this semester’s Med Tech Scholarship recipient. His essay displayed a depth of understanding of the field of healthcare technology that was truly impressive and his innovation proposal was particularly practical. He had the idea to create an app which could help prevent medication side effects and adverse interactions. Additionally, the app would double as a useful shopping tool for finding the best prices on both over-the-counter and prescription medications. We were extremely impressed with his startup idea and have hopes that he will pursue it to fruition at some point in the near future. ZendyHealth is also pleased to announce that they will be re-offering the scholarship for another semester. Students are welcomed to start applying now for the Fall semester of 2017 Med Tech Scholarship. The guidelines and requirements will be the same; however, the new deadline for all applications is August 15th and the grant will be $1,500. We look forward to hearing from more students with a passion for creativity!

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