Staten Island, NY, United States

CUNY - College of Staten Island

www.csi.cuny.edu
Staten Island, NY, United States

The College of Staten Island is one of the eleven four-year senior colleges within the City University of New York system. Programs in the liberal arts and science and professional studies lead to bachelor's and associate's degrees. The master's degree is awarded in 13 professional and liberal arts and science fields of study. The College participates in doctoral programs of The City University Graduate School and University Center in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Nursing, Physics, and Psychology. Wikipedia.


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Loverde S.M.,CUNY - College of Staten Island
Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters | Year: 2014

This Perspective describes recent progress in the area of the molecular simulation of the interactions of hydrophobic and hydrophilic solutes with membranes. The ability to predict drug solubility prior to synthesis is an extremely desirable goal for pharmaceutical research. A major advantage of molecular dynamics is the ability to computationally probe both the drug solubility as well as the pathway for the transport of drugs across membranes. Computational methods to predict the interaction free energy of solutes with membranes have advanced significantly in recent years and can characterize the intra- and intermolecular state of the drug as well as perturbations of the drug to the membrane environment itself. In addition to a brief review on computational methods to characterize the transport of drugs across membranes, we will highlight recent discoveries and discuss the challenges and opportunities in the field. © 2014 American Chemical Society.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: DEVELOP& LEARNING SCIENCES/CRI | Award Amount: 593.71K | Year: 2015

Many developmental theories are built on the premise that freedom to move is necessary for healthy infant development and restricted movement is harmful. However, these theories were based on studies comparing Western infants whose caregivers used childrearing practices that encourage movement to children reared in impoverished environments such as orphanages in which they are deprived of opportunities to move freely but are also deprived of social interaction and affection. Infants raised in such impoverished environments display sweeping developmental delays that are not necessarily tied directly to restricted movement. This project capitalizes on a rare chance to study long-term effects of restricted movement on infant development by examining the use of a gahvora cradle in Tajikistan, Central Asia. Infants experience restricted movement in the gahvora but these infants are immersed in family life and therefore not otherwise deprived of social interaction.

Investigators Karasik, Adolph, and Tamis-LeMonda build upon the findings from their NSF-funded cross-sectional study in which they characterized variation in cradle use in infancy and explored how it relates to variability in motor development. The current project uses longitudinal sampling to examine concurrent effects of restricted movement on motor skills in infancy in 12- to 20-month-olds and long-term consequences after cradle use has ceased, at three to five years of age. This work will also provide insights into cascading effects of infant motor skills on development in other domains such as interactions with objects and people.

This study examines core issues in developmental psychology, including the effects of early motor experience and restricted movement on infant and child motor development. In particular, the study addresses whether restriction has immediate and long-lasting influence on motor development. Data will be shared with the broader scientific community through the Databrary.org video data-sharing library. This project will engage undergraduate students and researchers in the U.S. and abroad by offering training in research methods and developmental science.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: COMPUTATIONAL MATHEMATICS | Award Amount: 99.55K | Year: 2016

A wide variety of systems exhibit rare events -- events far from the average system behavior with low probability of occurring. Rare events can have significant consequences, and improved understanding of their occurrence can aid in the design or management of such systems. The characterization of the likelihood of rare events is essential in all systems in which stochasticity plays an important role, as it allows us to take advantage of such events if they are desirable and to avoid them if they present a threat. The outcomes of this project will contribute to the understanding of rare events in complex systems, in particular, fluid dynamics and related geophysical systems. Further applications include the characterization of extreme events in the context of epidemics, population dynamics, and molecular biology.

The goal of this project is to develop efficient computational methods to characterize the most likely way rare events occur in complex stochastic systems and to estimate the tails of their probability distributions. For this purpose, the investigators will develop efficient algorithms to compute the so-called instantons that are minimizers of the action functional that large deviation theory associates with the stochastic differential equation describing the systems evolution. Numerical methods to calculate instantons will first be developed in the context of turbulence (in particular Burgers equation, magneto-hydrodynamics (MHD), Navier-Stokes equations, and the surface-quasi-geostrophic (SQG) equation) driven by diffusive processes. Then the investigators will extend the methods to stochastic equations that are driven by non-Markovian noise (fractional Brownian motion) or jump-processes, which play an important role in physics, biology, and chemistry. Finally, the investigators will calculate fluctuations around the instantons to get finer estimates of their probability of occurrence via prefactor calculations.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ROBERT NOYCE SCHOLARSHIP PGM | Award Amount: 799.63K | Year: 2015

There is an established need for well-qualified teachers in high-need school districts, which are often located in urban communities. New York City, in particular, has a need for teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) who are competent with a diverse and international student population. With funding from the National Science Foundations Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program, and in partnership with New York City District 31, as well as seven high schools and two middle schools in that district, the Robert Noyce Teacher Academy at the College of Staten Island (CSI) of City University of New York (CUNY) will recruit undergraduate STEM majors and prepare them to become secondary STEM teachers. The project will support an average of 8 Scholars per year, for a total of 24 new teachers. Each Scholar will receive 2 years of support. Most CSI students are first-generation college students and their families have high expectations. An honors program devoted to preparing high quality teachers of mathematics and science can play an important role in changing the perception of the value and prestige of teaching. Each semester these undergraduate STEM majors will spend 50 hours in a different high-need host school and will assume increasing teaching responsibilities from tutoring individual students, to tutoring groups, to presenting a do now, to teaching a lesson. Through advisement, they will satisfy the requirements for New York State initial teaching certification.

In addition to the host school experience, CSI Noyce Scholars will engage in a cohort structure; learning community environment; mentoring by STEM discipline faculty, education faculty, and collaborating teachers; and international professional development opportunities. A longitudinal research study will address questions such as: (1) What is the effect of specific features of the Noyce program? (2) What topics or issues should be added to the Noyce Scholars college experience to increase preparedness for teaching in a high-needs school? (3) How do changes in assessment and curriculum in the New York City Department of Education impact the CSI teacher education program and the preparation of Noyce Scholars? and (4) What are specific examples of discrepancies between CSI teaching preparation and school practices specifically in District 31? To address these questions, the project team will gather data from Noyce Scholars and collaborating teachers through surveys, portfolios, and the CSI institutional research office.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: PLANETARY ASTRONOMY | Award Amount: 565.66K | Year: 2016

The cool brown dwarf objects span the gap between stars with hotter temperatures and gas giant planets with much cooler temperatures. Scientists study these brown dwarf objects to understand how both planets and stars formed. The T dwarfs, a subset of the brown dwarfs, are the coolest well-populated group of these objects. Thus, they could be good analogs for the cool atmospheres of large exoplanets. However, we do not understand their atmospheric properties. The investigators will study those cooler substellar objects including T dwarfs and companions having planetary masses, and in-between transition objects. They will learn about the atmospheres, gravity, dust and cloud properties of these objects, and use this information to develop models to describe the properties of these substellar objects. This research serves the national interest by increasing our knowledge of these objects that are transitional between planets and stars, contributing to our understanding of planet formation. Undergraduate students from the CUNY colleges will work on this research. Public outreach events as different as the Astronomy on Tap program and Hayden Planetarium presentations will reach a diverse public audience.


Brown dwarf objects, of which T dwarfs are the coolest well-populated spectral class, are promising analogs for the cool atmospheres of exoplanets, but the diversity of their atmospheric properties is not yet well understood. The principal investigators and team will conduct a comprehensive study of cool, substellar objects, including L-T transition objects, T dwarfs, Y dwarfs, and planetary-mass companions. The team will derive the physical and atmospheric properties; identify and calibrate spectral diagnostics of secondary parameters like gravity, metallicity, and dust/cloud properties of these substellar objects; and provide detailed feedback from model fits; thus establishing a foundation for exoplanet atmosphere studies. The team has the data and analysis tools in hand to curate benchmark objects, generate template spectra, and identify spectral outliers; create spectral energy distributions; calculate bolometric luminosities; fit synthetic spectra from atmospheric models to low, medium, and high resolution spectra; constrain age, radius, and mass using kinematics and evolutionary models; and curate a public compilation of benchmark and outlier objects. The principal investigators are experts in empirical analysis of brown dwarf spectra, photometric and kinematic analysis of brown dwarfs, and analysis with synthetic spectra from cool model atmospheres. Undergraduate students from the student population of the CUNY colleges will be incorporated in projects related to this research. Public outreach events such as the Astronomy on Tap program, STARtorial science fashion blog, Hayden Planetarium presentations, and the AstroBetter website, will reach and interact with a diverse public audience.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: CONDENSED MATTER & MAT THEORY | Award Amount: 200.00K | Year: 2016

NONTECHNICAL SUMMARY

This award supports theoretical research and education on fundamental aspects of how and whether descriptions of matter, such as fluid dynamics and thermodynamics presented in textbooks emerge from a system composed of many tiny interacting particles, such as atoms or electrons. Recent progress on a phenomenon known as many-body localization highlights the possibility of a breakdown of the conventional thermodynamic description. The PI will carry out a theoretical study of model systems to explore and quantify the degree of this breakdown and to investigate the possibility that interesting intermediate states of matter interpolate continuously between textbook thermodynamics and fully many-body localized phases. In a wave picture of particles that do not interact, scattering from random imperfections leads to destructive interference among the waves resulting in quantum mechanical states that are localized and do not conduct electricity. It is thought that turning on interactions among particles can lead to a dynamical form of localization, many-body localization, a conceptual ingredient in this research project.

A significant offshoot of this work is the exploration and modelling of quantum control of localized states, novel experimental schemes for detecting many-body localization, and design of exotic models particularly favorable to numerical studies of these phenomena and novel approximation schemes to systematically extrapolate between classical and quantum mechanical simulations of matter. These theoretical studies will also complement and guide ongoing experimental efforts to imitate many-body localization using systems like ultracold atomic gases.

This project will contribute to training undergraduate and graduate students in the field of condensed matter physics and many-body dynamics more generally. The PI will continue mentoring diverse students at the undergraduate, graduate levels and postdoctoral researchers. The PI will continue to organize conferences and a weekly seminar at the Graduate Center, serving the research community at the City University, New York and nearby institutions. The PI will also continue to seek opportunities to contribute to international condensed matter community including through organization of workshops.


TECHNICAL SUMMARY

This award supports theoretical research and education to investigate dynamical phenomena in excited but isolated many-body systems. The primary physical motivation here is the phenomenon of many-body localization which is broadly defined as stalled ergodicity of strongly excited many-body dynamics, effectively at finite temperature or, better, finite entropy per particle. In certain quantum models a sharp dynamical transition is expected to separate localized from diffusive phases. Existence of such a transition in spin models of classical many-body dynamics is an intriguing possibility previously explored numerically by the PI and collaborators and tentatively ruled out due to prevalence of localized classical chaos. There are two complementary parts to the research agenda. The first part will be focused on developing conceptual and numerical tools for studying models of many-body localization that overcome limitations of commonly used methods. The phenomenology of emergent integrability recently introduced by PI and others for fully many-body localized spectra will be streamlined but also extended to cases where a nearby mobility edge might exist. Efficient variational methods, using matrix-product states will be developed to compute excited eigenstates of very long spin chains, but also to approximate many-body dynamics near classical trajectories. In parallel, the second part of the research agenda will explore the notion of many-body localization in novel settings: many-body localization in traps, self-dual models of many-body localization, adiabatic annealing into the Hilbert glass phase inside many-body localization. Each of these three model specific studies is expected to produce general insights into the physics of these dynamical transitions.

This project will contribute to training undergraduate and graduate students in the field of condensed matter physics and many-body dynamics more generally. The PI will continue mentoring diverse students at the undergraduate, graduate levels and postdoctoral researchers. The PI will continue to organize conferences and a weekly seminar at the Graduate Center, serving the research community at the City University, New York and nearby institutions. The PI will also continue to seek opportunities to contribute to international condensed matter community including through organization of workshops.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: DEVELOP& LEARNING SCIENCES/CRI | Award Amount: 375.00K | Year: 2016

Infants need frequent periods of rest or sleep for their physical and emotional well-being. Sleep also plays a very important role in learning and memory. Sleep helps babies to solidify newly learned information in their memories, a process known as consolidation. The goal of this project is to study the role of sleep in motor learning -- acquiring a new skill involving physical coordination of movement. The results will provide important insights into how the timing and quality of sleep infants experience influences their ability to consolidate new motor learning.

The proposed work bridges three areas of research: cognitive development, motor development, and sleep. Infants who have just begun walking independently will learn to complete a tunnel navigation task. Following the task, infants will experience a delay during which some will nap and others will not. The impact of napping on learning will then be assessed. A sleep monitor (actigraph) will be employed to assess individual differences in quality of sleep and how sleep quality relates to learning. Measures of sleep prior to training and on the following night will permit investigation of the unique contributions of day and night sleep to infant learning. This study will be the first to directly examine sleep and motor learning in infancy, the first to study the contribution of night sleep on infant motor learning, and the first to examine whether individual differences in the quality of sleep mediates the effect of sleep on learning. The proposed research will ultimately provide guidelines for balancing between enriched learning experiences and a protective environment that promotes rest and regulation. This project is being supported by a partnership between the National Science Foundation and the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: COMMS, CIRCUITS & SENS SYS | Award Amount: 307.16K | Year: 2016

Data centers have become the nerve centers of the modern information-driven economy, relying on large networks of fiber-optic links operating at data rates up to 10 gigabits per second. Going forward, these fiber-optic links must scale to higher speeds at an acceptable cost in both dollars and in watts, but todays solutions, using on-off keyed signaling and power-sensing receivers, will not meet cost and dissipation targets as rates exceed 40 gigabits per second. Neither will fiber-optic transceivers developed for telecommunication networks, as these require complex receivers, expensive lasers in both transmitter and receiver, and power-hungry digital signal processing. To close the performance gap, this research program will investigate fiber-optic links in which the polarization of the transmitted light is switched to carry the data. Polarization shift keying and Stokes vector modulation (which switches both the polarization and amplitude) can transmit multiple bits of data per transmitted symbol, greatly accelerating the links data rate while maintaining tolerance to fiber loss and other signal impairments. Research tasks will include theoretical study of noise impacts, optimization of advanced transmitter and receiver designs, simulation of polarization-modulated communication links, and experimental study in a lab testbed that incorporates dynamic optical networking. The timely and practical focus of this project will offer graduate and undergraduate students excellent opportunities to develop into productive practitioners in communications, fiber optics, and data center design. Beyond its direct impact on the student researchers, the program will offer additional educational benefits to the broader community by presenting lab tours and demonstrations to college and high-school students who might otherwise lack an opportunity to experience modern fiber-optic technology. Finally, by advancing the state of the art in data center technology, the project will contribute to economic growth as well as helping to keep the U.S. innovation pipeline well-filled.

The primary technical objective of this research program is to advance the understanding of multi-dimensional modulation techniques based on polarization-shift keying and Stokes vector modulation, as applied to fiber-optic transceivers for terabit-class data center networks (i.e., photonic networks in which each wavelength channel carries about 1 terabit per second of data). Such research is critically needed because no existing technique has been found that offers both the data throughput and the cost needed to support Big Data applications in the 2020-2030 timeframe. Scaling of massive data centers to meet future demands will require a radical shift in optical data link technology. Current development based on pulse amplitude modulation will not be able to reach the 1 terabit per second level, because it is based on a one-dimensional symbol space. Coherent lightwave systems developed for long-distance telecommunications offer multi-dimensional symbol spaces, but they are too costly and power-hungry, and their slow setup times will inhibit the rapid dynamic networking needed for data center networks. Polarization-based modulation formats can provide 2-D, 3-D, or even 4 D symbol spaces using direct (i.e. non-coherent) detection, once critical challenges are overcome. This program will study fundamental issues of symbol constellations and noise mapping into Stokes space, as well as low-complexity digital signal processing and multiple-input, multiple-output techniques to enhance both receivers and transmitters. Alternative Stokes vector receiver designs will be compared theoretically and experimentally for both unimpaired link budgets and impairment tolerance. In support of dynamic topologies, performance under rapid optical switching/routing will be directly tested. At all stages, the work will be socialized through publications, presentations, and bilateral collaborations, while preparing students to enter the industrial and academic communities.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: LINGUISTICS | Award Amount: 210.81K | Year: 2016

This project aims to further the study of New York City English (NYCE) - the varieties of English particular to New York City and the surrounding region - through the development and use of an innovative audio-aligned and parsed corpus of New Yorkers speech. The project will combine recent advances in speech corpus development tools with the special talents and backgrounds of undergraduates at the City University of New York (CUNY), to create the first such corpus of New York City English (the CUNY-CoNYCE). The CUNY-CoNYCE will be based on interviews with New Yorkers across the five boroughs and Long Island, conducted by CUNY undergraduates from Queens College, Lehman College (The Bronx), and the College of Staten Island. Because our student populations draw predominantly from neighborhoods across the five boroughs of New York City and Long Island, they are uniquely able to collectively gather and produce large quantities of speech data from all over the region. The ultimate product will be an on-line, freely accessible, ~1,000,000-word audio-aligned and grammatically annotated corpus of NYCE speech, which will be accompanied by a full set of digital, text-searchable recordings of the speech signal from which the corpus is transcribed.

In addition to answering questions about language variation and change in NYCE, the corpus will further research in all areas of linguistics, especially in phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, sociolinguistics, and discourse analysis. The use of oral history and sociological measurements of ethnic affiliation components in data collection will also make the CUNY-CoNYCE a useful tool for sociologists and anthropologists examining lived experience in urban settings, inter-ethnic relations, and near-term history of New York life. The project will also provide transformative research experiences for dozens of CUNY undergraduates, giving them unique research opportunities. Additionally, users of the corpus will develop an understanding of and appreciation for the grammar of non-standard dialects, and functions of non-standard speech as necessary linguistic resources for social integration.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: AMO Theory/Atomic, Molecular & | Award Amount: 91.33K | Year: 2017

NONTECHNICAL SUMMARY

The Division of Materials Research and the Division of Physics contribute funds to this CAREER award, which supports theoretical research and education on the dynamics of quantum systems made up from many interacting particles.

The project explores quantum systems that take anomalously long to approach thermal equilibrium (or, in some extreme cases, never approach equilibrium). The approach to equilibrium involves a system forgetting information about its initial state. For example, if a gas is initially put in the left side of a tube, and then is allowed to spread throughout the tube, it eventually forgets which side it started out in. This apparent forgetting is at odds with the laws of quantum mechanics, which in fact conserve information; it is believed that information about the initial state is never truly forgotten, but is stored in complicated, experimentally inaccessible correlations. How information migrates from measurable to hidden correlations is in general not understood.

This project approaches the general question from the perspective of states of matter related to glasses, in which forgetting is extremely slow. In the intermediate regimes, some sectors of the system are in equilibrium, whereas others are far from it. New theoretical methods that generalize conventional statistical mechanics are required to characterize these intermediate regimes. Developing such methods and using them to identify distinctive features of these intermediate regimes are primary objectives of this project. The other major focus of this project is to use slowly equilibrating systems for novel quantum applications, including heat engines, quantum memories, and sensors. Since equilibration corresponds to the forgetting or hiding of information, systems that are slow to equilibrate retain information for very long times; this observation underlies the various applications that will be explored in this project.

This project will take place at the College of Staten Island, which has a diverse student body including large proportions of first-generation college students, underrepresented minorities, and recent immigrants. Educational activities will include curricular development to make physics relevant for this wide range of students, including the reorientation of standard courses to emphasize general-purpose computational methods, which are useful in a wide range of professions, as well as development of new courses on complex systems. Outreach to the broader community will involve developing a mini museum that will illustrate universal phenomena in everyday life through simple interactive exhibits.


TECHNICAL SUMMARY

The Division of Materials Research and the Division of Physics contribute funds to this CAREER award, which supports theoretical research and education on the properties of interacting quantum systems that approach thermal equilibrium anomalously slowly: i.e., systems for which the thermalization timescale is much longer than other intrinsic timescales. These include isolated systems that are nearly integrable or nearly many-body localized, as well as related open systems. The main goals of this project are threefold: to develop computational methods suited to slowly thermalizing systems, to characterize distinctively non-thermal features of distribution functions in such systems, and to apply these distinctive features to quantum technologies.

The first main goal is to develop methods to describe the dynamics of slowly thermalizing systems. Existing approaches are typically limited to short times and/or small systems, owing to the growth of entanglement. This project will develop methods tailored to the intermediate and late-time behavior of slowly thermalizing systems. Specifically, field theories of the prethermalized regime, as well as mean-field and renormalization-group techniques that leverage the separation of timescales between interactions and thermalization to describe the emergence of thermal behavior. These methods will be applied to experiments involving ultracold atomic systems that are nearly integrable (one-dimensional dipolar gases) or many-body localized. The second main goal is to characterize the probability distributions of physical observables in slowly thermalizing systems, focusing on many-body localization. Such distributions are expected to be fat-tailed; this project will characterize these tails, and their implications for observables such as the nonlinear response. The third main goal is to explore applications of non-thermalizing systems (again, focusing on the many-body localized case) for quantum information science, quantum metrology, and quantum thermodynamics.

This project will take place at the College of Staten Island, which has a diverse student body including large proportions of first-generation college students, underrepresented minorities, and recent immigrants. Educational activities will include curricular development to make physics relevant for this wide range of students, including the reorientation of standard courses to emphasize general-purpose computational methods, which are useful in a wide range of professions, as well as development of new courses on complex systems. Outreach to the broader community will involve developing a mini museum that will illustrate universal phenomena in everyday life through simple interactive exhibits.

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