Florence, SC, United States
Florence, SC, United States

Francis Marion University is a state-supported liberal arts university located six miles east of Florence, South Carolina, USA. It is named in honor of American Revolutionary War hero Brigadier General Francis Marion. Wikipedia.

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Dossett J.N.,University of Texas at Dallas | Ishak M.,University of Texas at Dallas | Moldenhauer J.,Francis Marion University
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2011

The testing of general relativity at cosmological scales has become a possible and timely endeavor that is not only motivated by the pressing question of cosmic acceleration but also by the proposals of some extensions to general relativity that would manifest themselves at large scales of distance. We analyze here correlations between modified gravity growth parameters and some core cosmological parameters using the latest cosmological data sets including the refined Cosmic Evolution Survey 3D weak lensing. We provide the parametrized modified growth equations and their evolution. We implement known functional and binning approaches, and propose a new hybrid approach to evolve the modified gravity parameters in redshift (time) and scale. The hybrid parametrization combines a binned redshift dependence and a smooth evolution in scale avoiding a jump in the matter power spectrum. The formalism developed to test the consistency of current and future data with general relativity is implemented in a package that we make publicly available and call ISiTGR (Integrated Software in Testing General Relativity), an integrated set of modified modules for the publicly available packages CosmoMC and CAMB, including a modified version of the integrated Sachs-Wolfe-galaxy cross correlation module of Ho et al. and a new weak-lensing likelihood module for the refined Hubble Space Telescope Cosmic Evolution Survey weak gravitational lensing tomography data. We obtain parameter constraints and correlation coefficients finding that modified gravity parameters are significantly correlated with σ 8 and mildly correlated with Ω m, for all evolution methods. The degeneracies between σ 8 and modified gravity parameters are found to be substantial for the functional form and also for some specific bins in the hybrid and binned methods indicating that these degeneracies will need to be taken into consideration when using future high precision data. © 2011 American Physical Society.

Yanson R.,Francis Marion University | Johnson R.D.,University at Albany
Computers and Education | Year: 2016

Using data from 143 individuals, this study examined how pre-training socialization and task complexity affected learning in an online environment. A controlled laboratory experiment, using a 3 (socialization) × 2 (complexity) between subjects design was conducted. Participants were assigned to either more or less complex training and received either face-to-face, online, or no socialization before beginning the training. Results indicated that those who received face-to-face socialization performed better than those who received either online socialization or no socialization. There was no learning difference between the online and no socialization condition. Those who received simpler training performed better than those who received more complex training. Socialization and complexity were not interactively related. Implications for research and practice are discussed. © Published by Elsevier Ltd.

A live individual of Synophis insulomontanus, one of the three new species of fishing snakes discovered in the Andes of Ecuador and Peru. Credit: Germán Chávez Commonly known as fishing snakes, the Synophis genus has been expanded with as many as three new species following a research in the Andean cloud forests of Amazonian Ecuador and Peru. Not only is the discovery remarkable due to the rarity of new snake species being discovered, but also because this is the first time this mysterious and already eight-member genus is recorded from Peru. The study is published in the open-access journal ZooKeys. The three new species have been identified as a result of both field and laboratory work, undertaken by Dr. Omar Torres-Carvajal, Museo de Zoología QCAZ, Ecuador, in collaboration with herpetologists from Peru (CORBIDI) and the United States (Francis Marion University). The new species differ from their closest relatives in scale features, male sexual organs and DNA. The unusual discoveries took place in areas within the 1,542,644 km2 of the Tropical Andes hotspot, western South America. Although they are commonly known as fishing snakes, these reptiles most likely do not eat fish. Their diet and behavior are poorly known. So far, it has only been reported that one species feeds on lizards. The fishing snakes have long been known to live in cloud forests on both sides of the Andes of Colombia and Ecuador. Yet, it seems they have waited all along to make an appearance. The new species described herein, along with a recent description of one species from southwestern Ecuador also published in Zookeys, has duplicated the number of species of fishing snakes from four to eight over the span of several months. During their recent expeditions to several localities along the Andes of Ecuador and Peru the authors collected several individuals of fishing snakes, which they suspected to be previously unknown. After comparing their specimens with those deposited in a number of natural history museums, the authors' suspicions only became stronger. Consequently, the scientists examined the male snakes' sexual organs (hemipenes) and DNA evidence. The results left no doubts that the specimens belonged to three undescribed fishing snake species. "We started working with fishing snakes a year ago as new specimens were collected in poorly explored areas of the Amazonian slopes of the Andes in Ecuador and Peru," explains lead author Dr. Omar Torres-Carvajal. "At that time only four species of fishing snakes had been described, and they were recognized in the literature as one of the most rare and secretive groups of snakes in South America." "In less than a year, we and other herpetologists doubled the number of known species of fishing snakes, showing that their diversity had been greatly underestimated," he points out. "This story is similar to the story of the woodlizards (Enyalioides), a group of dragon-like lizards with more than half of its species discovered in recent years in the tropical Andes," the scientist reminisces. "This tells us that this hotspot is more diverse than we thought, so it is very important that basic biodiversity research is properly funded," Dr. Torres-Carvajal concludes. "Otherwise, we might never know what other scaly creatures are crawling around us." Explore further: A rather thin and long new snake crawls out of one of Earth's biodiversity hotspots More information: Omar Torres-Carvajal et al. Description and phylogeny of three new species of Synophis (Colubridae, Dipsadinae) from the tropical Andes in Ecuador and Peru, ZooKeys (2015). DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.546.6533

Engelhardt L.,Francis Marion University | Luban M.,Iowa State University
Dalton Transactions | Year: 2010

The Heisenberg model provides a simple but powerful theoretical platform for modelling magnetic molecules. In this article, we demonstrate that - despite its simplicity - an isotropic Heisenberg model successfully provides a comprehensive description of the magnetic properties of the {Fe 8}-cubane and the {Cr12Cu2} magnetic molecules. However, in order to achieve this success, it is necessary to employ a variety of sophisticated experimental and theoretical techniques. These include the use of pulsed-field measurements to observe a high-field (41 T) ground-state level crossing in the {Fe8}-cubane system, and tunnel-diode oscillator measurements, which we use to observe excited-state level crossings in the {Cr12Cu2} ring. For these two systems, the theoretical modelling was carried out using matrix diagonalization and quantum Monte Carlo calculations, respectively. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2010.

Weigl P.D.,Wake forest University | Knowles T.W.,Francis Marion University
Biological Reviews | Year: 2014

Temperate montane grasslands and their unique biotas are declining worldwide as they are increasingly being invaded by forests. The origin and persistence of these landscapes have been the focus of such controversy that in many areas their conservation is in doubt. In the USA some biologists have largely dismissed the grass balds of the Southern Appalachians as human artifacts or anomalous and transitory elements of regional geography, worthy of only limited preservation efforts. On the basis of information from biogeography, community ecology, regional history and palaeontology and from consideration of two other montane grassland ecosystems-East Carpathian poloninas and Oregon Coast Range grass balds-we hypothesize that these landscapes are more widespread than was formerly recognized; they are, in many cases, natural and ancient and largely owe their origin and persistence to past climatic extremes and the activities of large mammalian herbivores. © 2013 The Authors. Biological Reviews published by John Wiley © Sons Ltd on behalf of Cambridge Philosophical Society.

Newman N.A.,Francis Marion University
Designs, Codes, and Cryptography | Year: 2015

In this paper we solve the problem of decomposing (Formula presented.) into 4-cycles for all (Formula presented.) and (Formula presented.). This paper extends the results of “Enclosings of (Formula presented.)-fold 4-cycle systems” [Newman and Rodger, Des. Codes Cryptogr. 55:297–310 (2010)]. © 2013, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Engelhardt L.,Francis Marion University
American Journal of Physics | Year: 2015

We discuss how computers can be used to solve the ordinary differential equations that provide a quantum mechanical description of magnetic resonance. By varying the parameters in these equations and visually exploring how these parameters affect the results, students can quickly gain insights into the nature of magnetic resonance that go beyond the standard presentation found in quantum mechanics textbooks. The results were generated using an IPython notebook, which we provide as an online supplement with interactive plots and animations. © 2015 American Association of Physics Teachers.

Bell L.N.,Francis Marion University
Studies in Conflict and Terrorism | Year: 2016

This research note examines political institutional changes in the aftermath of terrorist assassinations. Contemporary assassinations are more often a component of wider campaigns of political violence rather than a singular attack on a head of state. The Global Terrorism Database counts 16,831 terrorist assassinations from 1970–2014, indicating significant frequency of these events and includes a wide range of targets from law enforcement officials to foreign diplomats. Utilizing survival analysis, the span of time from a terrorist assassination event to a change in political institutions within states is measured between target types. Outcome differences between target types are identified. © 2016 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 89.33K | Year: 2015

This collaboration among five diverse institutions will build and nurture a community of faculty committed to integrating computation in undergraduate physics courses. Although computational methods are important in physics research, they are scarce in the undergraduate physics curriculum. This project will address this need through faculty development workshops, a post-workshop support system, and a community building research project.

This project will focus on developing transportable, adaptable, and sustainable methods for infusing an instructional strategy into the undergraduate physics curriculum. It will place computer-based, algorithmic problem solving in a position that is coequal to traditional mathematical and experimental methods. Participants will develop computational exercises to be integrated into their physics courses at the workshops, and later will receive support to ensure that the integration of their developed materials into their courses is successful. Faculty ownership will be emphasized in the participants development activities and is essential for transportability and sustainability. The project will conduct a thorough research study of the effectiveness of the community building approach, as well as the degree to which integration of computation into undergraduate physics courses has increased. It will serve as a case-study informing the literature on change in higher education practices. This research component and its dissemination plan will ensure that the community will continue to grow not only in membership, but also in the large-scale assessment and implementation of best practices. When the computational materials developed are used in physics classrooms, STEM student learning across the country will be enhanced.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: FIELD STATIONS | Award Amount: 21.45K | Year: 2015

Wildsumaco Biological Stations (WBS) primary mission is scientific research and education (www.wildsumacobio.org). WBS itself is a collaboration between Francis Marion University (FMU), the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador and Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS). Although the station only opened in 2012, it is quickly becoming a hub for high quality teaching and research in the Sumaco region. WBS has hosted numerous undergraduate courses and produced a number of scientific papers and presentations. This grant allows for the development of a comprehensive five year plan to facilitate WBSs development into a world class ecological research station, with a number of societal benefits. First, because WBS is located in one of the worlds premier biodiversity hotspots, improving research at the station will increase our understanding of tropical biodiversity. In particular, developing partnerships with other field stations along the east slope of the Andes will allow for coordinated monitoring of biodiversity changes from lowland tropical rainforest to high elevation cloud forests. Second, developing the station will enhance educational opportunities for underrepresented groups. Most students at FMU come from poor, rural areas of South Carolina, with a very high proportion of minority students. The opportunity to conduct ecological research in one of the worlds biodiversity hotspots is a unique opportunity for many of these underrepresented groups, and one that not only engages them in science, but also global culture. Third, the enhanced research and education occurring at the station will have practical management consequences. The research being done at the Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary and within Sumaco National Park itself are helping to better educate park staff on local biodiversity, as well as inform management decisions and improve the potential to develop ecotourism as a viable alternative to the destructive timber practices that threaten the surrounding forest.

Key partners in this activity include the University of North Carolina Wilmington and the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. WBSs location in the Tropical Andes biodiversity hotspot, at the confluence of lowland Amazonian and highland Andean biotas, render it a site of global ecological and conservation significance. In addition to high potential for new species discovery, WBS is an ideal site in which to monitor distributional changes of species driven by global climate change and associated shifting climate envelopes in this megadiverse region. This planning process will produce a five year action plan for management of the station, identify infrastructure needs for current and future students and researchers, and establish and enhance scientific collaboration and educational outreach. This will be accomplished in part through three planning workshops. The first, in the USA, will seek advice and strategies from invited staff of established field stations. The second, in Ecuador, will seek input and solidify commitments from WBS managers, stakeholders, and the local community, and will include visits to three similar research stations to learn from their experience. The third and final workshop in the USA will distill and collate information from the previous workshops, and seek guidance from scientists and business faculty to draft the final five year plan of action. The plan will identify the most efficient strategy to maintain and enhance WBSs scientific and educational programs, the dissemination of research findings to the scientific community and general public, and recruitment of research groups and students (particularly minority students) to the station. The WBS website is located at http://www.wildsumacobio.org.

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