Fresno, CA, United States
Fresno, CA, United States

California State University, Fresno is a public comprehensive university and one of 23 campuses within the California State University system. It is located at the northeast edge of Fresno, California, approximately 58 miles from the entrance to Yosemite National Park, and sits at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the San Joaquin Valley. The city of Fresno is the fifth largest city in California. The university is within an hour's drive of many mountain and lake resorts and within a three-hour drive of both Los Angeles and San Francisco.The university has a total enrollment of 23,060 undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students. It offers bachelor's degrees in 60 areas of study, 45 master's degrees, 3 doctoral degrees, 12 certificates of advanced study, and 2 different teaching credentials.The university's unique facilities include an on-campus planetarium, on-campus raisin and wine grape vineyards, and a commercial winery, where student-made wines have won over 300 awards since 1997. Members of Fresno State's nationally ranked Top 10 Equestrian Team have the option of housing their horses on campus, next to indoor and outdoor arenas. Fresno State has a 50,000-square-foot Student Recreation Center and the third-largest library, in terms of square footage, in the California State University system. Wikipedia.

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Sushkov S.V.,California State University, Fresno
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2012

We investigate cosmological scenarios in the theory of gravity with the scalar field possessing a nonminimal kinetic coupling to the curvature. It is shown that the kinetic coupling provides an essentially new inflationary mechanism. Namely, at early cosmological times the domination of coupling terms in the field equations guarantees the quasi-de Sitter behavior of the scale factor: a(t)eH κt with H κ=1/√9κ, where κ10 -74sec2 is the coupling parameter. The primary inflationary epoch driven by nonminimal kinetic coupling comes to the end at t f10 -35sec. Later on, the matter terms are dominating, and the Universe enters into the matter-dominated epoch which lasts approximately 0.5H0-1∼0.5×1018sec. Then, the cosmological term comes into play, and the Universe enters into the secondary inflationary epoch with a(t)eH Λt, where H Λ=√Λ/3. Thus, the cosmological model with nonminimal kinetic coupling represents the realistic cosmological scenario which successfully describes basic cosmological epochs and provides the natural mechanism of epoch change without any fine-tuned potential. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS | Award Amount: 217.94K | Year: 2015

Non-Technical Abstract:
This project supports materials science research of rare-earth related materials at an undergraduate institution. The primary focus is on the synthesis and characterization of superconducting materials and magnetic nanoparticles, with the goal of understanding their underlying mechanisms. Many versatile technical applications result utilization of the rare-earth compounds under study such as energy conservation and energy storage by applying superconducting materials and digital information storage and medical imaging by utilizing the magnetic nanomaterials. The research in the principal investigators laboratory allows direct participation of undergraduate and master-degree-program students in the experimental condensed matter physics, giving them hands-on experience at the early stage of their academic life. The research experience and practical placement provided by this project encourage students to pursue higher education and careers in the fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

Technical Abstract:
This project supports experimental research in the strongly correlated electron phenomena in rare-earth related materials. These phenomena arise from a subtle interplay between competing interactions, either electronic or magnetic. They can be controlled through tuning the experimental parameters such as temperature, magnetic field, chemical composition, and reduced dimensionality. The rare-earth materials under study can be used as model systems to probe the localized and itinerant nature of the electron states and test the existing theories for strongly correlated electron physics. These can be achieved through the synthesis of high-quality specimens and the establishment of transport and thermodynamic properties. In the rare-earth filled skutterudite systems Pr1-xNdxOs4Sb12, the principal investigator is aiming to understand the unconventional nature of the superconductivity in PrOs4Sb12 by the effect of neodymium substitution. Furthermore, via the investigation of the electronic structures of related compounds CeOs4Sb12, NdOs4Sb12, and SmOs4Sb12, it can give insight on the quantum critical behavior in the Pr1-xNdxOs4Sb12 system and the role of the quadruple moment fluctuation. The study of nanoparticles of gadolinium and neodymium can enhance the knowledge on the effect of reduced size on magnetic ordering, domain wall movement, and surface electron states.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 1.50M | Year: 2014

Recent national reports in STEM education outline a series of research-based recommendations for improving student learning and success for all students in STEM disciplines. These reports (e.g., Vision and Change in Biology Education, AAAS, 2011) call for systemic and institutional transformation efforts in undergraduate STEM education. Specifically, improved models for faculty development and program reform are needed to ensure that evidence-based reform methodologies become widespread instructional practices as opposed to isolated practices. These reforms are needed to continue to improve student learning and success, particularly for underrepresented minority student populations for which evidence-based reforms have shown to have the largest impact.

This project will develop a comprehensive model for faculty-led teaching and learning reforms in foundational science and mathematics coursework. This effort will adapt a faculty learning community (FLC) structure as the basis for its model. Four FLCs called FLOCKs (Faculty Learning for OutComes and Knowledge) will be formed, one each in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. Each FLOCK will develop expertise to plan, implement and assess reform of a year-long gateway course series (e.g., CHEM 1A & 1B), guided by the literature, professional development experiences and discipline-based education experts.

The FLOCK members will regularly engage colleagues in discussions of the literature, plans for reform and outcomes achieved to help spread the use of more effective pedagogies. Finally, FLOCKs will work with institutional leaders to develop a sustainable operating model, including addressing faculty workload and promotion and tenure policies that may be barriers for reforms. FLOCKs will be coordinated across the disciplines by a steering committee comprised of FLOCK leaders and representatives from campus support units and stakeholder departments. An advisory board of external experts will guide FLC development and program reform efforts. The effort will receive strong support from campus leaders as it promises to help meet targets for improving student retention and graduation rates.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: IRES | Award Amount: 249.86K | Year: 2015

This project will provide international research experience for students from the California State University (CSU) system through collaborative research projects and educational experience on the ATLAS experiment of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland. This program will send 5 CSU students per year to work on ATLAS research projects for ATLAS Run-2 and ATLAS detector upgrades. The physics potential of incoming Run-2 will be 10 to 100 times greater than Run-1 during which the Higgs boson was discovered. The CSU students will improve the NLO Monte Carlo generators (NLOjet++, APPLGRID, etc.), perform jet cross-section related simulations and measurements with ATLAS data, extract the Parton Distribution Function (PDF), and understand systematic uncertainties in Top quark reconstruction. The measurements of spin and polarization properties of the Top quark are important tests of the Standard Model and are sensitive to new physics beyond the Standard Model. On ATLAS detector upgrades R&D, the CSU students will work on the installation and data analysis of small stand-along pixel detectors, and improving software packages in monitoring various inner detector components. On ATLAS Trigger and Data Acquisition (DAQ), the CSU students will develop associative memory variables for Fast Tracker (FTK), improve and optimize FTK variable resolution patterns, and conduct offline and online testing of FTK resolution patterns performance. The students will also attend the renowned CERN Summer Student Lecture Series given by top physicists from all over the world.

The Higgs discovery by ATLAS and CMS experiments of LHC in 2012 has captured the attention and imagination of the public and students throughout the world. This International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) project will support 15 students over three years working on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. This CSU international research project is focused on the largest university system in the country with 23 campuses and total population of approximately 430,000 students. Because CSU has very large minority and first-generation college student populations, student recruitment in this project will attract underrepresented students. Upon returning to the US, student participants will give colloquia, seminars, and invited talks at CSU campuses, high schools, and local communities about their ATLAS research work and the CERN summer experience.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: ROBERT NOYCE SCHOLARSHIP PGM | Award Amount: 1.72M | Year: 2014

Preparing future teachers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is critical for the development of a high quality STEM workforce and a STEM literate populace. The Western Regional Noyce Initiative (WRNI) is providing professional development opportunities for Noyce projects located in the western region of the United States through conferences, summer institutes and webinars, enabling Noyce Scholars and Noyce Teachers opportunities to share their experiences and to learn new research-based approaches to teaching. WRNI is helping to increase the number of future STEM leaders in the regions schools; leaders who are prepared to effectively implement the Next Generation Science Standards and/or the Common Core State Standards as more Western Region states fully adopt or include them in their STEM curricula. For Noyce leaders, there are opportunities for a better understanding of the Noyce program evaluation efforts both nationally and locally. Research findings are shared and those campuses that have had years of successful Noyce programs mentor newer campuses, broadening the impact of this initiative.

This two-year initiative provides an opportunity for over 320 Noyce Scholars, Fellows, and Teachers from up to 90 campuses throughout the Western Region to share experiences, learn new teaching strategies and upgrade content knowledge through an annual two-day conference in each year of the two-year project. The conferences are based upon current trends in education (e.g., new standards, recent research in cognitive science, and emphasis on differentiated instruction and English Language Learners) and are based on prior conference evaluations. The conferences expose participants to resources and professional development training in methods that employ proven practices in teacher preparation and induction. Participants are able to collaborate and share experiences, expertise, and skills with their peers and colleagues through presentations, concurrent sessions, person-to-person interactions, and follow-up online networking. The annual conferences also include special sessions for Noyce Leaders focusing on critical elements of project programming and evaluation protocols and outcomes from veteran programs. The science institutes incorporate the Hestenes Modeling approach to teaching with an emphasis on Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Math summer institutes focus on using the Lesson Study approach with an emphasis on Math Common Core Standards. The project emphasizes these emerging standards as important to STEM teaching with the understanding that not all of the states in the Western Region will have adopted the standards during the WRNI project. The summer institutes provide an opportunity for approximately 140 Noyce Scholars and Teachers to attend a professional development program at a Noyce campus in each of two summers (2014 and 2015).

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 399.90K | Year: 2016

This project, developing a cloud-based instrument, aims to aggregate data driven from an array of body sensors. The instrument can be used in a wide range of wearable sensor-based medical applications. The proponents investigate research challenges focused on Biomedical Body Sensor Data Acquisition, Transmission, and Analysis. Recent advances in cloud computing and sensor technologies have made feasible to develop a software instrument that is able to integrate all aspects of heterogeneous biomedical body sensor systems, from sensor data preprocessing, transmission, and critical event detection at sensor side, to data reliability evaluation and enhancement, data analysis, sensor control at data aggregator (usually a smart phone or PC), and finally data storage, retrieval, and further extensive analysis at the cloud server.

Build jointly with UT-Dallas, the instrument development includes: 1. Android developing; 2. Mobile cloud computing; 3. Cloud infrastructure and set up; 4. Cloud API and Sensor side APUI; 5. Reliability Enhancement, and 6. Event detection. Its major components include: 1. A cloud cluster to support data storage/indexing analysis; 2. APIs for sensor side data preprocessing, critical event detection, and transmission strategies based on open source platform TinyOS; 3. Mobile App development ; and 4. API for sensor data access and analysis algorithms evaluation.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: CI REUSE | Award Amount: 110.45K | Year: 2016

This project will develop, formalize, and improve documentation and functionality for a set of codes
used for research and education in geophysics but of potential application in other fields. The project
will continue algorithmic development and documentation of software for geophysical analysis using
wavelets, vector spherical harmonics and Slepian functions. Examples are: in geodynamics, the description of deformation in and of the Earth; in geomagnetics, the lithospheric magnetic field; in geodesy, models of terrestrial and planetary gravity; and any directional spherical processes that are vectorial in nature in other fields of science and engineering. The codes support (or will support) decomposition of fields, harmonic analysis, power spectral estimation, inversion parameterization, vector
field analysis, and satellite data. The project will also develop software for analysis of Ground Penetrating
Radar data. The work will involve students and course work between two very different institutions in
continual use, testing, and input to the development of the codes.

Analyses in vector-spherical harmonics are well established, but only legacy code, mostly in Fortran, exists to date. Matlab or Octave software archives are much needed, especially in the light of modern-day mathematical methods which consist in forming optimized linear combinations of vector harmonics into bandlimited, geographically localized functions: the so-called Slepian basis. Designing algorithms, and programming them well, in a robust and reproducible manner, is demanding but not often considered a scientific objective per se. The society at large, and the scientific community, are best served when all research-grade and educational code is fully documented and available, ready to run by novice or expert alike. Matlab and Octave are portable, low-threshold scripting languages that blend low-level flexibility, intermediate complexity and high-performance.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: ELEMENTARY PARTICLE ACCEL USER | Award Amount: 340.00K | Year: 2015

The Standard Model (SM) of elementary particle physics gives an excellent description of the strong and electroweak interactions, the forces that influence the structure and behavior of elementary particles such as the proton and neutron. The SM also describes most of what we know about the visible matter in the Universe. The Higgs Boson, discovered at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland, was the last ingredient in this theory. Yet the overwhelming success of the SM seems only to emphasize its limitations. There are many open questions remaining. Why are there three families of quarks, elementary particles that make up the proton and neutron, and leptons, elementary particles such as the electron and muon? What is the nature of space-time itself? Do the extra dimensions suggested by string theories and string- inspired models really exist? Where do dark energy and dark matter fit into our current picture of the universe? Answers to these key questions can only be found by including new physics beyond the SM. This group will work with the ATLAS experiment at the LHC to look for this new physics by searching for new particles emerging from proton-proton collisions. An exciting feature of this program is that a number of undergraduate and Masters students from Fresno and other Cal State institutions will be involved. They will participate not only in this analysis thrust but will also gain hands-on experience helping in a variety of hardware projects from other ATLAS collaborators.

In this proposed research plan, Professor Gao and his group at California State University, Fresno will continue to search for particles from new physics in di-jet events. The use of di-jet data as a way to search for new physics is a classic approach with a long history, and requires precise understanding of the jet energy scales expected from the SM. The PI has considerable experience in jet physics and is well aware of the challenges this presents. He intends to build on successful prior work in which new variables were identified that should discriminate a potential new physics signal from QCD. Such variables, by construction, use the radiation patterns from partons in a multi-variate analysis of the structures observed.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MATHEMATICAL BIOLOGY | Award Amount: 668.84K | Year: 2016

This Faculty Early-Career Development (CAREER) award supports an integrated research and education project aimed at determining how insects navigate in complex environments. The ultimate goal of this project is to determine how animals navigate in dynamic environments to advance our understanding of the perceptual, learning, and memory mechanisms underlying navigation. The outcomes of this research provide an understanding of dynamic control systems, reveal how the nervous system has evolved to handle unpredictability, and drive the development of novel navigational algorithms and biological sensors. This project is designed to provide learning and research opportunities to expand interdisciplinary education for underrepresented groups in the STEM majors. The investigator integrates this research into curriculum at multiple levels: (i) an introductory module that engages first-year biology students to use models and simulations to understand how animals move through the world; (ii) the development of a summer research program that recruits undergraduate students; (iii) the establishment of collaboration with high-school biology teachers to help establish the interdisciplinary approach to biology education before students enter university.

Insect navigation studies have a long history, but the mechanisms of control in changing naturalistic environments remain relatively unexamined. An integrative approach is used to elucidate how perception of the environment is computed and stored in the nervous system and acted upon by an organism. There are three major aims in the proposed research: (i) identify the local and global visual features that ants extract from naturalistic panoramic scenes; (ii) determine how the viewing behavior of ants comes to be directed towards the local and global cues used for route guidance; (iii) define the role of memory in stabilizing routes in the face of change. The proposed research brings the unpredictable nature of the field into the lab by employing virtual naturalistic environments in which complexity and instability can be introduced in a systematic fashion. For example, the investigator can add, remove, or displace the visual features within a scene in a closed-loop fashion simulating natural occurring changes in lighting conditions, wind displacement, and terrain geometry. This research is of general interest to visual and behavioral neuroscientists and to computer scientists working with autonomous robots. Visually dependent tasks that are broadly similar across a wide variety of animals with well-developed visual systems tend to have areas of convergence in their generating algorithms (e.g. path integration, visually guided navigation), although the specific neural implementation may differ between species. Insect navigational behavior provides an ideal platform to develop precise control models to describe and simulate cellular events, neural circuits, and complex behavior.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM | Award Amount: 64.94K | Year: 2017

The Faculty and Undergraduate Research Student Teams (FURST) program brings together small research groups comprised of undergraduate students and faculty from primarily undergraduate institutions (PUI) in order to provide them with a year-long research experience. The program also provides a one month long intensive summer immersion for its participants at an established summer REU site at Fresno State. FURST students get an opportunity to participate in professional workshops, presentations and academic discussions along with the REU students, whereas FURST faculty can take advantage of an on-site, in-person research collaboration with their peers within the FURST program. The programs main goal is to foster both student and faculty research at PUIs, with the specific goal of producing student and faculty authored publications, as well as presentations. The program is designed to be inclusive and accessible to teams from institutions with varying research focus and support, in order to mitigate cultural changes at institutions which may not consider research a quintessential component of their mission.

FURST students will be working on open problems in mathematics under the guidance of their faculty mentors. Research topics include community detection problems in networks, expanding the framework and analysis of the cop and robber game, the use of coarse Ricci curvature in data analysis and interpolation problems, the study and solution of the non-linear Riccati-Ermakov equation, as well as other non-linear dispersive partial differential equations. Strengthening their background in the selected research topic through readings and lecture at their home institutions will prepare FURST students to engage in research at the same speed as the REU students during the immersion phase. Students will be expected to submit the end product of their research for publication in a peer reviewed journal. FURST faculty will engage in solving open problems in their area of research while building collaborations with faculty at other institutions. Faculty are also expected to produce publishable work as a result of participating in the program. In accordance with the stated goals, the program will improve access to research for students at PUIs, where such opportunities are typically limited. It will also (re)-energize faculty at PUIs so that they remain active in research. By doing so, FURST will help transform the research culture at the participating institutions, especially since the bulk of the research activities will take place at FURST teams home institutions. While FURST student participants will learn skills through the program that are invaluable in graduate school and in the scientific workplace, the program will broadly impact the students at the involved PUIs by demonstrating to them (through student talks and presentations) that research can be part of the undergraduate educational experience. Finally, through the immersion in an active REU site, FURST students will gain exposure to the workings of an REU program, and will be able to make better informed choices about applying to REU as a potential next step in their academic development.

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