Williamstown, MA, United States
Williamstown, MA, United States

Williams College is a private liberal arts college located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States. It was established in 1793 with funds from the estate of Ephraim Williams. Originally a men's college, Williams became co-educational in 1970. Fraternities were also phased out during this period, beginning in 1962.There are three academic curricular divisions , 24 departments, 36 majors, and two master's degree programs in art history and development economics. There are 334 voting faculty members, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1. As of 2012, the school has an enrollment of 2,052 undergraduate students and 54 graduate students.The academic year follows a 4–1–4 schedule of two four-course semesters plus a one-course "winter study" term in January. A summer research schedule involves about 200 students on campus completing projects with professors.Williams College currently occupies 1st place in U.S. News & World Report '​s 2014 ranking of the 266 liberal arts colleges in the United States. Forbes Magazine ranked Williams the best college in the United States in its 2014 publication of America's Top Colleges. Wikipedia.

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Strauch F.W.,Williams College
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2012

An all-resonant method is proposed to control the quantum state of superconducting resonators. This approach uses a tunable artificial atom linearly coupled to resonators, and allows for efficient routes to Fock state synthesis, qudit logic operations, and synthesis of NOON states. This resonant approach is theoretically analyzed, and found to perform significantly better than existing proposals using the same technology. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Background Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an empirically supported treatment for treating and preventing depression that has been widely studied in perinatal populations. Previous meta-analytic reviews of CBT interventions in this population have not investigated potential moderators of treatment efficacy specific to this type of therapy. Method Forty randomized and quasi-randomized controlled trials assessing the efficacy of CBT during pregnancy and the first year postpartum were included in the meta-analyses. Change in depressive symptoms from pre-treatment to post-treatment was assessed in both treatment and prevention trials, and the difference in prevalence of postpartum depressive episodes was assessed in prevention trials. Characteristics of included studies, interventions and samples were assessed as potential moderators of effect sizes. Results CBT interventions resulted in significant reductions in depressive symptoms compared to control conditions in both treatment and prevention studies. In prevention studies, individuals who received CBT had significantly lower rates of postpartum depressive episodes compared to control conditions. In both treatment and prevention trials, interventions initiated during the postpartum period were more effective than antenatal interventions. In prevention trials, individually-administered treatments were more effective than group interventions and greater reductions in depressive symptoms were found in studies that included higher proportions of nonwhite, single, and multiparous participants. Limitations The methodological quality of included studies varied widely among studies eligible for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Conclusions There is strong evidence that CBT interventions are effective for treating and preventing depression during the perinatal period. Further methodologically rigorous studies are needed to further investigate potential moderators of treatment efficacy. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: SOLAR-TERRESTRIAL | Award Amount: 73.34K | Year: 2016

The main goal of this 3-year project is to enable a unique observational campaign during the 21 August 2017 total solar eclipse across the North America. The eclipse observations are unique because they provide a rare opportunity to discover new types of solar phenomena that may be linked to the solar cycle and space weather. The projects high-resolution studies of flaring and active regions at long radio wavelengths should provide information that is potentially useful for space weather predictions. Studies of the solar corona at eclipses have been a major part of the success of the Williams College department in attracting and training students. Undergraduate students, increasingly including members of underrepresented groups through Williams need-blind admissions policy, have been intimately connected with the eclipse expeditions in the past and the associated data reduction and analysis. This project would enable the active involvement and training of students at the Williams College to continue. Furthermore, since total solar eclipses are of widespread public interest in the countries from which they are visible, they provide an excellent opportunity for public education in the United States about astronomy in general. Therefore, this project directly supports the Strategic Goals of the AGS Division in discovery, learning, diversity, and interdisciplinary research.

This 3-year project is to take advantage of the 21 August 2017 total solar eclipse, especially to observe the white-light corona and work with highly processed images that bring out detail and extreme contrast, allowing improved measurements of dynamics of coronal plumes and other coronal features, especially coronal mass ejections (CMEs), and to observe the green-line (Fe XIV), and red-line (Fe X) coronas to contrast regions of different temperatures. The solar observations include exquisitely high resolution observations with a Fabry-Perot. Also, high-frequency (>1 Hz) power spectra of coronal loops will be used to compare mechanisms of coronal heating. Spectrographic observations will allow the project team to investigate changes of the spectral-line ratios over the solar-activity cycle as the cycle, now past a low maximum, declines toward. Radio telescopes, including the Jansky Very Large Array, will provide the best-ever mapping of active regions to pinpoint the different locations of radio and EUV eruption origins.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ALGEBRA,NUMBER THEORY,AND COM | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2016

The central questions in this project concern how events are distributed in diverse systems, such as energy levels of heavy nuclei, leading digits in sets of data, and the prime numbers among the integers. Similar to the central limit theorem in probability and statistics, there seem to be universal spacing laws that govern these and other phenomena; thus studies in one of these topics can frequently provide useful insights in the others. Understanding these systems requires the development of tools and techniques in complex analysis, Fourier analysis, number theory, and probability. Some of the topics have immediate practical applications; for example, the Internal Revenue Service uses Benfords law to locate corporate tax fraud. Many of questions under study in this project have components that are amenable to numerical experimentation; these and tractable special cases will be investigated with undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral research assistants. The investigator will also continue work in mathematics education. In addition to providing professional development opportunities to students (such as arranging for them to referee for journals, contribute to Mathematical Reviews, write expository articles for journals, and co-organize special sessions at professional society meetings), the investigator will involve students in expanding the Math Riddles web page (mathriddles.williams.edu), a site that is used in junior high and high schools around the world to excite students about mathematics.

This research project studies a variety of problems on L-functions, additive number theory, and Benfords law. A central theme is an analysis of gaps between events. The main topic concerns zeros of L-functions; connections have been observed between these and high energy nuclear physics and random matrix theory (RMT). Among the questions under study are: n-level densities (main and lower order terms) for zeros of L-functions, alternatives to the Katz-Sarnak determinantal expansions that are more amenable for comparisons between number theory and RMT, determining the optimal test functions to bound excess rank, biases in second moments of Fourier coefficients of L-functions, modeling zeros near the central point through excised RMT ensembles, large gaps between zeros of L-functions, the density of states and behavior of the eigenvalues of structured random matrix ensembles, generalized Zeckendorf decompositions and the gaps between summands, generalized sum and difference sets, Ramsey theory for sets avoiding 3-term geometric progressions in finite fields and non-commutative settings, and Benfords law in fragmentation problems and fraud detection.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH | Award Amount: 277.51K | Year: 2015

A non-technical description of the project that explains the significance and importance

Exceptionally severe storms in 2013-2014 transported very large boulders (50-430 metric tons) on Irelands Aran Islands. Some of these boulders were tens of meters above sea level and some were hundreds of meters inland. This project will analyze these boulders together with meteorological information, numerical modeling, and physical modeling in a scaled wave tank, to detail the relationships between wave energy and the movement of heavy objects.This research will train undergraduate and graduate earth scientists in analysis of coastal erosion. School groups from the field locations in Ireland will be involved in the project as citizen scientists, and the results will be communicated to both professional organizations and local communities. The project will establish a predictive relationship between storm-wave power and the inland extent of boulder movement that can serve as an index of the destructive power of storms, which will be of value to coastal communities, policy makers, and coastal engineers as part of long-term coastal hazard assessment. This project is part of the US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership program and it is co-funded by the NSF Office of International Science and Engineering.

A technical description of the project

The project has three goals, which will be carried out via collaboration with researchers in Ireland. The first goal is to map topography and bathymetry of Irelands Aran Islands, to collect pressure data from submerged sensors that will monitor wave heights in real time, and to continue monitoring year-to-year movement of coastal boulders. The second is to numerically model wave height augmentation in the coastal zone, to understand how storm waves are amplified to the point where they can move very large masses at great heights and distances inland. The third goal is to create a scaled wave-tank experiment combining the field measurements and numerical models, to provide additional constraints on physical processes happening as waves impact the shoreline. This integrated approach will provide an accurate assessment of near-shore high-energy processes that could be used to forecast inshore propagation of wave energy for specific sea states and coastal bathymetry.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: WORKFORCE IN THE MATHEMAT SCI | Award Amount: 369.99K | Year: 2014

In the Williams College SMALL REU program, for ten weeks each summer (nine in residence at Williams and one at home), 20 to 30 undergraduates work on research projects under the direction of a faculty member. There are usually between 4 and 6 groups each summer of various sizes. Topics will be drawn from algebraic geometry, Bayesian statistics, combinatorics, commutative algebra, computational cartography, computational geometry, CR structures, discrete geometry, dynamics and ergodic theory, graph theory, hyperbolic manifolds, knot theory, mathematical biology, mathematical physics, measure theory, minimal surfaces, neural networks, number theory, parallel processing, particle collisions, probability, random matrix theory, Riemannian geometry, symmetry groups, and the topology of robotics.

The goal of this REU is to introduce undergraduates to the excitement and challenge of doing original research in mathematics. In the process, students naturally learn a great deal of background and are encouraged to present as well as publish their work, all invaluable for graduate school. The variety of mathematical activities provides a rich intellectual environment. Our nation needs a wider appreciation and understanding of mathematics, and cannot afford to leave anyone out. We have increased the numbers of women and under-represented minorities participating in the program over the last five years, and we are continuing to look for new and better ways to encourage applications from women, minorities, first generation college students, and other under-represented groups. Students, faculty and the broader mathematics community will benefit from the presentation and publication of original research. Students will develop a lifetime network of peers and mentors, and many of them will pursue graduate studies, partially because of their REU experience. Almost all students publish papers in research journals and many present their results at national and international research conferences.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 15.00K | Year: 2016

This proposal is to fund a conference on isoperimetric problems on manifolds with density to take place at Williams College in Williamstown, MA on February 6, 2016. This conference will bring together experts in the field with newer researchers, graduate students and undergraduates interested in this area. The conference will provide the opportunity for researchers at all levels to interact, learn from one another and network. The slides from the talks will be posted on the website so a broader audience can reap the benefits. Every effort will be made to encourage and support women and underrepresented minority participation.

The field of manifolds with density has seen a dramatic increase of interest in recent years. Manifolds with density were fundamental in the proof of the Geometrization Conjecture and new advances have continued to push the field forward. This conference will allow researcher to set a roadmap for further critical developments.

The conference website is at http://web.williams.edu/Mathematics/csilva/FrankFest-2016.html

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM | Award Amount: 22.00K | 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 higher education.

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.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: AMO Experiment/Atomic, Molecul | Award Amount: 346.76K | Year: 2014

This research program, located at an undergraduate institution, involves table-top experiments with lasers and atoms to gain insights into the so-called Standard Model of particle physics that is typically studied by physicists at large particle accelerator facilities. In the present work, properties of the metal atoms thallium and indium are measured to very high accuracy. Results are then compared to state-of-the-art theoretical calculations of these same properties, as high-quality tests of the fundamental physics phenomena probed by these measurements rely critically on the combination of precise experimental results reinforced by accurate, independent atomic structure calculations. Students become involved in all aspects of the experimental work, designing and testing laser, optical, and signal processing systems, and carrying out data collection and data analysis procedures.

Over recent decades, highly-precise atomic physics experiments using lasers have contributed important insights into the physics of the Standard Model of particle physics. Such low-energy physics tests complement accelerator-based experimental work. The small size of these effects demands very high precision, extensive study of systematic errors, and careful experimental design. Also, the size of these manifestations of high-energy physics in atoms scale dramatically with Z, the atomic number, suggesting the use of very heavy (and therefore complicated) atomic systems. Yet in order for these measurements in heavy atoms to provide unambiguous tests of the Standard Model, equally precise atomic theory models of the atomic wavefunctions are required to distinguish the ordinary quantum mechanical behavior from the exotic particle physics phenomena being targeted. The PI and his students are continuing with an ongoing series of diode laser spectroscopy measurements of the atomic properties of Group IIIA atoms (thallium, indium) which can be compared to state-of-the-art atomic theory calculations. They study atoms both in heated vapor cells as well as a dense, collimated atomic beam apparatus. These atoms contain three valence electrons, challenging the approximation techniques required to accurately compute wavefunctions. This experiment-theory interplay has resulted in significantly improved accuracy in recent years, and therefore improved atomic-physics-based tests of fundamental particle physics processes in these heavy atomic systems. In the longer term, the group is planning to perform a new experiment to measure the Weak Interaction in an atomic beam of thallium atoms, using its parity-violating optical rotation signature, improving upon an experimental result by a group that included the PI some years ago.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: POP & COMMUNITY ECOL PROG | Award Amount: 244.12K | Year: 2015

Many mutualisms involve the exchange of a resource reward by one partner for some service by the other. Such interactions can influence the structure of ecological communities as well as the functioning of ecosystems. For example, in ant-protection mutualisms, ants protect plants or herbivores in exchange for a nectar reward. Ant mutualisms are hypothesized to have large effects on plant and herbivore species diversity and abundance. This project combines modeling and field work to explore the long-term consequences of a mutualism involving ant-protected herbivores. Understanding the feedbacks among plants, mutualistic herbivores and ants across multiple growing seasons will advance ecology by highlighting the potentially destabilizing effects of mutualisms on terrestrial ecosystems. This project brings together two researchers at a primarily undergraduate institution with a strong record of undergraduate training and incorporation of underrepresented groups in science. The proposed work will employ honors undergraduate research as its primary vehicle for outreach and training, including integrative empirical and theoretical approaches.

By definition, the short-term effect of mutualism is to increase population densities. In herbivore-protection mutualisms, this increase in population density may lead to over-exploitation of host plants in the long-term with corresponding negative consequences for protected herbivores. Preliminary results show that herbivory by the ant-protected herbivore, Publilia concava, reduces the attractiveness of its perennial host-plant, tall goldenrod, to subsequent generations. Using a two-way factorial design experiment (presence/absence of herbivores and presence/absence of ants) in two tall goldenrod field sites, this project will experimentally evaluate the consequences of the delayed herbivore effect on host-plants for host-plant selection and performance of Publilia concava. Repeated censuses of plants, herbivores, and ants over two years will document if herbivory mediates plant responses that influence herbivore performance and future host plant selection. These data will also be used to test a generalized spatial model of herbivore-protection mutualisms linking host choice behavior, induced plant resistance, and herbivore population dynamics. Results from the proposal will increase understanding of the potentially destabilizing effects of mutualism and the effect of host-choice behavior by herbivores on herbivore-plant dynamics following delayed effects of herbivory.

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