Waterville, ME, United States
Waterville, ME, United States

Colby College is a private liberal arts college located on Mayflower Hill in Waterville, Maine, USA. Founded in 1813, it is the 12th-oldest independent liberal arts college in the United States. Colby was the first all-male college in New England to accept female students in 1871.Approximately 1,800 students from more than 60 countries are enrolled annually. The college offers 54 major fields of study and 30 minors. In part because of Colby's location, more than two thirds of Colby students participate in study abroad programs. Colby College competes in the NESCAC conference. Wikipedia.

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Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: NFRP-12-2015 | Award Amount: 3.05M | Year: 2015

HoNESt (History of Nuclear Energy and Society) involves an interdisciplinary team with many experienced researchers and 24 high profile research institutions. HoNESts goal is to conduct a three-year interdisciplinary analysis of the experience of nuclear developments and its relationship to contemporary society with the aim of improving the understanding of the dynamics over the last 60 years. HoNESts results will assist the current debate on future energy sources and the transition to affordable, secure, and clean energy production. Civil societys interaction with nuclear developments changes over time, and it is locally, nationally and transnationally specific. HoNESt will embrace the complexity of political, technological and economic challenges; safety; risk perception and communication, public engagement, media framing, social movements, etc. Research on these interactions has thus far been mostly fragmented. We will develop a pioneering integrated interdisciplinary approach, which is conceptually informed by Large Technological Systems (LTS) and Integrated Socio-technical System (IST), based on a close and innovative collaboration of historians and social scientists in this field. HoNESt will first collect extensive historical data from over 20 countries. These data will be jointly analyzed by historians and social scientists, through the lens of an innovative integrated approach, in order to improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying decision making and associated citizen engagement with nuclear power. Through an innovative application of backcasting techniques, HoNESt will bring novel content to the debate on nuclear sustainable engagement futures. Looking backwards to the present, HoNESt will strategize and plan how these suitable engagement futures could be achieved. HoNESt will engage key stakeholders from industry, policy makers and civil society in a structured dialogue to insert the results into the public debate on nuclear energy.

The present research examined longitudinal relations of the Big Five personality traits with three core aspects of subjective well-being: life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect. Latent growth models and autoregressive models were used to analyze data from a large, nationally representative sample of 16,367 Australian residents. Concurrent and change correlations indicated that higher levels of subjective well-being were associated with higher levels of Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness, and with lower levels of Neuroticism. Moreover, personality traits prospectively predicted change in well-being, and well-being levels prospectively predicted personality change. Specifically, prospective trait effects indicated that individuals who were initially extraverted, agreeable, conscientious, and emotionally stable subsequently increased in well-being. Prospective well-being effects indicated that individuals with high initial levels of well-being subsequently became more agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, and introverted. These findings challenge the common assumption that associations of personality traits with subjective well-being are entirely, or almost entirely, due to trait influences on well-being. They support the alternative hypothesis that personality traits and well-being aspects reciprocally influence each other over time. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Bluhm R.,Colby College
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2015

Gravitational theories with fixed background fields break local Lorentz and diffeomorphism invariance either explicitly or spontaneously. In the case of explicit breaking it is known that conflicts can arise between the dynamics and geometrical constraints, while spontaneous breaking evades this problem. It is for this reason that in the gravity sector of the Standard-Model extension (SME) it is assumed that the background fields (SME coefficients) originate from spontaneous symmetry breaking. However, in other examples, such as Chern-Simons gravity and massive gravity, diffeomorphism invariance is explicitly broken by the background fields, and the potential conflicts between the dynamics and geometry can be avoided in most cases. An analysis of how this occurs is given, and the conditions that are placed on the metric tensor and gravitational structure as a result of the presence of an explicit-breaking background are described. The gravity sector of the SME is then considered for the case of explicit breaking. However, it is found that a useful post-Newtonian limit is only obtained when the symmetry breaking is spontaneous. © 2015 American Physical Society.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 22.50K | Year: 2016

This grant will provide travel funds for undergraduates to attend the biennial meeting of the International Congress on Infant Studies in 2016, 2018, and 2020. Undergraduates who are presenting work at the conference and/or who are from underrepresented groups (including ethnic/racial minorities and first generation college students) will receive a subsidy to attend the meeting and will participate in professional socialization activities during the meeting. Promotion of undergraduate research experiences will help to cultivate the next generation of infancy researchers.

Funds will offset travel expenses for undergraduate attendees per meeting. Efforts to disseminate information about this opportunity will focus on developing a diverse applicant pool. In addition to learning about new research in infancy science, undergraduate attendees will be mentored at the meeting to ensure that they make the most of their conference experience. Supported students will participate in networking opportunities to learn about graduate school and post-college employment in research venues.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Campus Cyberinfrastrc (CC-NIE) | Award Amount: 380.25K | Year: 2017

The research partnership of Colby College, the University of Maine, and the Jackson Laboratory are building a dedicated research network to support projects in computational biology, computational physics and astrophysics, computational chemistry, and machine learning, The network is also expanding the capabilities available to faculty in the classroom, enabling more complex and modern classroom and laboratory activities.

The project provides 10Gb network connectivity to all academic buildings at Colby College to give all faculty access to state-of-the-art computing and data facilities, which is critical given the trends in all academic disciplines towards greater use of digital and computing resources. The project also creates a secure dedicated 10Gb research network connecting the Advanced Computing Group resources at the University of Maine and the large genomic databases at the Jackson Laboratory with researchers in variety of disciplines at Colby College.

The new research network provides the capability for researchers at Colby to obtain fast access to gigabyte and terabyte scale data sets from Jackson Laboratory or other sources and make use of advanced computing resources at the University of Maine with a high bandwidth and high availability connection. Using this infrastructure, researchers are able to execute analyses and simulations, and professors are able to assign projects and exercises in courses, that were not previously possible with the old infrastructure.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SEDIMENTARY GEO & PALEOBIOLOGY | Award Amount: 190.34K | Year: 2016

Earths biosphere experienced its greatest mass extinction ~251.9 million years ago at the end of the Permian Age. In approximately 60,000 years, the oceans experienced a loss of 90% of marine life. Many workers believe that a similar change co-occurred on land, but rock-and-fossil records from the continents are not well dated. For more than a century, the Karoo Basin, South Africa, has served as the center for interpreting the response of terrestrial ecosystems to this crisis. The current proposal uses a multidisciplinary, international team of geoscientists to refine the physical and chemical conditions around which the biological event is believed to have occurred in this basin. Field-and-laboratory training of undergraduate STEM students continues to be an integral component of the project, educating the next generation of geoscientists in an understanding of Earth Systems in deep time.

Mechanisms responsible for the end-Permian biodiversity loss are attributed to changes in atmospheric and oceanic chemistries. These were a consequence of the emplacement of basalt in a large igneous province, the Siberian Traps. Increasing atmospheric gas concentrations, accompanied by increasing global temperatures, stressed the physiological limits of the plants and animals. It is essential to know if these stresses affected both marine and terrestrial ecosystems, concurrently, or if their responses are temporally out of phase. This project will use stratigraphy, sedimentology, magnetic rock properties, and whole-rock and stable-isotope geochemistry to look at the physical and chemical conditions, in addition to paleontology and palynology to determine the biological components, and constrain these in time (employing high resolution geochronology). An empirical model will be developed to assess the stratigraphic applicability of paleobiological data, leading to a better interpretation of the latest Permian to earliest Triassic terrestrial transition.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: DMR SHORT TERM SUPPORT | Award Amount: 392.42K | Year: 2014

This project is supported under the NSF Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability Fellows (SEES Fellows) program, with the goal of helping to enable discoveries needed to inform actions that lead to environmental, energy and societal sustainability while creating the necessary workforce to address these challenges. Sustainability science is an emerging field that addresses the challenges of meeting human needs without harm to the environment, and without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. A strong scientific workforce requires individuals educated and trained in interdisciplinary research and thinking, especially in the area of sustainability science. With the SEES Fellowship support, this project will enable a promising early career researcher to establish herself in an independent research career related to sustainability. This SEES Fellowship project focuses on the development of sustainable alternative fuels for automobiles. Partnerships and activities in this project will broaden the reach of the research and help advance the PIs career development. For example, the Warner Babcock Institute brings expertise with commercialization of sustainable innovation; Eric Beckman will provide knowledge of life cycle assessment, and Beyond Benign will help with K-12 outreach. The PI will teach a course on green chemistry as well as lead a summer module on the subject as part of a summer bridge program for underrepresented minority students.

The scientific core of the project is on the creation of new materials for high-efficiency fuel cells. The production and combustion of gasoline for use in domestic automobiles continues to be a worldwide source of global carbon emissions and driver of fossil fuel demand. Long term controls on atmospheric carbon levels will require the commercial implementation of nonpolluting alternative technologies that rely on readily available and renewable fuel sources. This project is focused on the creation of new polymer electrolyte membranes (PEMs) that will enable the development of viable automotive hydrogen fuel cells. The project includes synthesis, characterization, and potential commercialization of poly(meta-phenylene oxides) for use as proton conducting membranes in automotive fuel cells. Sulfonation of poly(para-phenylene oxides) (PPO) has yielded materials with proton conductivties similar to Duponts nafion, but the viability of sulfonated PPO or the related polymers PES and PEEK for fuel cell applications is limited due to their susceptibility to oxidative degradation. Recent research in the host mentors lab elucidated a novel route to more oxidatively robust meta-linked aryl ethers via an SNAr step-growth mechanism. With these poly(meta-phenylene oxides) now readily available for the first time, the PI proposes to create sulfonated, carboxylated, alkylated, and basic-residue-tagged poly(meta-phenylene oxides), to optimize the construction of such materials, and to measure and maximize their ion conduction capacity for application in fuel cells. The co-polymerization of two inexpensive, functionalizable monomers, a 1,3-diphenol (a biorenewable feedstock) and a 1,3-benzenedihalide (or heteroaromatic analogue) presents the opportunity to easily incorporate multiple functional groups with minimal synthetic effort and waste. In order to evaluate the industrial viability of these materials for commercial application, the PI will perform life cycle and market analyses.Research by the PI/SEES Fellow and undergraduate students in the host mentors lab would entail synthesis of functionalized poly(meta-phenylene oxides) and spectroscopic/materials analysis, such as measuring thermal stability and phase transition behavior. Collaboration with the partner mentor will focus on more sophisticated materials and applications analyses, such as ion conduction measurements, oxidative stability, chemical degradation pathways, and membrane preparation. The proposed activities include high impact research in organic synthesis and polymer chemistry by creating materials in a sustainable way that can be used in societys push for cleaner fuel sources. The PI will seek to communicate this research to the scientific community, industry, K-12 students, undergraduate and public audiences.

Colby College is keen to recruit and retain a racially and ethnically diverse student body, especially within the sciences. With the understanding that early and continued research activities positively influence students to follow career paths in science, faculty at Colby created the Colby Achievement Program in Sciences (CAPS), a research-based summer bridge program for incoming first-year students of African American, Latino/a, and Native American backgrounds. The summer program combines coursework and research directly with faculty in the summer before the first year, and fosters relationships with faculty and staff that persist upon matriculation. The program takes the form of thematic 1-week research modules conducted by faculty with the entire CAPS class. During the grant period, the PI will lead a green chemistry module as part of the CAPS program, as well as teach an upper-level course on the same subject during the academic semester. The PI would further broaden the reach of the work by partnering with Beyond Benign for K-12 and public outreach. In order to engage a larger public audience, the PI will seek to help students publish in local newspapers stories that they write for class about principles of green chemistry being adopted in the local business community.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SCIENCE, TECH & SOCIETY | Award Amount: 86.34K | Year: 2015

General Audience Summary

This project uses historical methods to evaluate the extent and relative costs of Russian nature transformation activities from 1900 to the present. It is situated at the intersection of history of science and technology on the one hand, and environmental history on the other. It will study various projects embraced by Russian leaders to transform nature in the effort to improve economic performance, military preparedness, agricultural production, and industrial growth. Such projects include the building of huge hydroelectric-power stations, irrigation systems, transport and water transfer canals, and the draining wetlands. Many of the projects had significant social and environmental costs, such as the loss of hundreds of thousands of prisoners who were forced into the Stalinist gulag laborers in large-scale public works projects; and many ecosystems in Russia continue to suffer degradation from the projects to this day. The project is relevant to contemporary issues; under Vladimir Putin, Russia has again embraced many large scale, and potentially environmentally unsound projects. By considering the way in which Russian officials responded to the public in areas of critical technological choices, the project will shed light on the keys to reaching proper decisions about whether and where to pursue major pubic works projects, and how to balance environmental risks with the public good.

Technical Summary

This study will contribute to understandings of human-nature interactions in comparative perspective, and of the influence of political, ideological, cultural, financial, and other factors on these interactions. Due to the closed nature of Soviet and Russian society, little is known of the motivations for Russian nature transformation projects, nor the extent of their short- and long-term costs. Nor have specialists considered at length the evolution of scientific ideas and concepts used in these projects. In addition, they have been little compared with other such efforts, for example, massive hydroelectricity projects in Brazil, China and India, or water basin transfer projects in the US, South Africa, and Australia. The study will enable more complete comprehension how the sciences and engineering connected with the projects developed over time. It will enable better comprehension of the way in which governments and citizens come together to carry out massive public works projects, how funding evolves, and the nature of the scientific and engineering organizations who undertake them. It will also reveal something of the interaction between scientists and the public, and not only in the former Soviet Union, but in such transitional regimes like Russia. Finally, it will provide awareness of the costs and benefits of various projects advanced to ensure material comfort, safety, and productivity of citizens.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY | Award Amount: 27.30K | Year: 2017

With more than 65.3 million forced migrants worldwide, global displacement is at an all-time high. Most of the displaced are located in states adjacent to their countries of origin, primarily in the Middle East or Africa. One of the characteristics of contemporary displacement is that these countries of first asylum host the majority of refugees, who often live in limbo in camps or urban centers for years, while richer states keep refugees and migrants at arms length through policies of deterrence and border control. However, from 2014 through 2016 more than one million migrants reached Europe via the Balkan land route, breaching Fortress Europe in unprecedented fashion. This mass migration has far reaching impacts for the stability of the European Union and the lives of millions of refugees and migrants. Yet, almost no empirical research has been conducted on the route, leaving open questions about how the route was forged and the role of refugees themselves in its creation. These questions can only be answered through ethnographic fieldwork while many of the key actors and sites remain in place along the route. This research takes place in the context of the largest global forced migration since World War II. Findings will be disseminated to aid organizations that explore and manage the causes, consequences, and complexities of mass migration. The research also fosters international scientific cooperation, and will train undergraduate students in methods of anthropological data collection and analysis.

This RAPID award supports fieldwork in Egypt, Greece, Serbia, and Germany - countries of departure, transit, and destination - to understand mobility along the Balkan route. The investigators, Drs. Nadia El-Shaarawi and Maple Razsa of Colby College, have longstanding relationships with migrants and refugees from the Middle East, as well as networks along the route, which will allow them to gain access to sites that might otherwise be clandestine and inaccessible. Through participant observation and interviews at sites that have been crucial to recent migrant mobility, sites where migrants and humanitarian workers come together, the researchers will study the forms of negotiation and struggle that made the route possible. Further, they will investigate how migrants experience and manage efforts to restrict their movement. A focus on the route itself, and the ways that refugees and migrants sustained mobility within networks along the route, will provide an empirical alternative to analyses of refugees as victims as well as a methodological tendency to study refugees in place. Such an approach will shed light on how migrant mobility itself is organized, sustained, and curtailed. While the ongoing crisis is unique in scale, an understanding of its social complexity can inform our knowledge of other, similar processes of migration and displacement in the U.S. and worldwide. With the number of refugees only increasing globally, displacement remains a topic of important social and political concern.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: EVOLUTION OF DEVELOP MECHANISM | Award Amount: 480.00K | Year: 2014

Insect species with wing polyphenism grow to two distinctly different adult wing sizes, with distinctly different anatomical patterns. Therefore, while humans have a single developmental pathway to the size and pattern of the adult body and organs, the developmental process must diverge for different individuals of polyphenic insects. The importance of growth regulation to human health makes studies of polyphenic organ size potentially transformative. How is one form specified and realized in each individual? How does this ability evolve in the species where it occurs? How can alternate wing sizes affect the spread of insects into new habitats? This project seeks to understand the cues and alternative developmental processes that result in differently sized and patterned wings of a native Florida insect, the red-shouldered soapberry bug (Jadera haematoloma). This project will use high-throughput sequencing to compare the expression of genes in bugs of each wing pattern. For selected genes, functional tests will examine their interactions and roles in regulating organ size and wing pattern. The evolution of polyphenism will be explored by laboratory selection on wing size variation in soapberry bugs and in a related insect, the large milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus), which normally grows to a consistent adult wing size and pattern. This work will be conducted largely by undergraduate students, as part of an integrative curriculum that combines hands-on work in molecular genetics, evolutionary biology and ecology with related social science and humanities courses related to urban life and adaptation to new environments. Public K-12 students and teachers will assist in field surveys of the bugs to determine how wing sizes correlate with their northward expansion from Florida up the East Coast. Project personnel and undergraduates will exchange knowledge and experiences online to illustrate the process of scientific research to younger students.

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