Saint Michael’s College,Principal Investigator, Professor Ellis-Monaghan of Grand Isle, and co-principal investigator Dr. Greta Pangborn, SMC assistant professor of computer science, of Winooski, have been awarded a three-year National Science Foundation grant of $200,000 for the period from September 1, 2010 through August 31, 2013.‘With this support, we’ll be able to explore math questions that have never been raised before,’ said Dr. Joanna Ellis-Monaghan, Saint Michael’s College associate professor of mathematics, ‘and those are the interesting questions.’‘This NSF grant allows us to continue the collaborative work between math and computer science of designing nanoconstructs, with student assistants, that has the potential for wide practical application,’ Dr. Ellis-Monaghan said.The professors, who have been collaborating for several years now, will involve four, funded, research assistants, who are Saint Michael’s students: Mary Spuches, a junior math major from North Syracuse, N.Y., Thomas Dickerson, a sophomore computer science major from Bristol, Vt., Christopher Lessard, a sophomore mathematics major from Stoneham, Mass., and Kelsey King, a sophomore mathematics and education double major from Lyndonville, Vt. These, and other students, will work on the project over the course of the three-year project.Awarding of this grant was enhanced by the strong track record these professors and others at Saint Michael’s have in propelling their students into post-graduate studies. Professors Ellis-Monaghan and Pangborn have co-authored a number of journal articles with students, and they have now or have had former students pursuing advanced math- and CS-related degrees at RPI, UNH, Colorado State, UVM, Notre Dame, NC State, Dartmouth, WPI, Johns Hopkins, the University of Chicago and elsewhere.The NSF funded project titled, ‘Collaborative Research: New Graph Theory from and for Nanoconstruct Design Strategies,’ focuses on using mathematics and computers to design nanoconstructs to carry out practical jobs in the future. These could be applied to such tasks as directing medicines within the body to precisely the right location for effective drug delivery, or any number of other challenges in chemistry, biology and other areas.Nano (tiny) technology has great promise for biosensors, nanoelectronics (inside high tech equipment), biomolecular computer activity, as well as drug delivery.DNA self-assembly of nanostructures‘Recent research has focused on DNA self-assembly of nanoscale geometric constructs,’Professor Ellis-Monaghan said, because DNA replicates itself. Working with biologists, the mathematicians and computer scientists have developed a variety of three-D structures from self-assembling DNA, including cubes, octahedrals, buckyballs, and even tiny boxes with opening lids.One essential element in the process is designing the molecules needed for the nanostructure, the fewer needed the better the design. The NSF grant specifically supports the professors and their students in developing the tools needed to minimize the number of molecules to be created for a given nanoconstruct. Professor Ellis-Monaghan says the potential for putting these constructs to practical use are boundless. In the meantime, she and Professor Pangborn and their student assistants will forge ahead in developing the necessary tools.Source: Saint Michael’s College. 9.8.2010Photo: Saint Michael’s College Professors Joanna Ellis-Monaghan and Greta Pangborn. Photo credit: Andy Duback Learn What Matters at Saint Michael’s College, The Edmundite Catholic liberal arts college, www.smcvt.edu(link is external) . Saint Michael’s provides education with a social conscience, producing graduates with the intellectual tools to lead successful, purposeful lives that will contribute to peace and justice in our world. Founded in 1904 by the Society of St. Edmund and headed by President John J. Neuhauser, Saint Michael’s College is located three miles from Burlington, Vermont, one of America’s top college towns. It is identified by the Princeton Review as one of the nations Best 371 Colleges, and is included in the 2011 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Saint Michael’s is one of only 280 colleges and universities nationwide, one of only 20 Catholic colleges, with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Saint Michael’s has 1,900 undergraduate students, some 500 graduate students and 100 international students. Saint Michael’s students and professors have received Rhodes, Woodrow Wilson, Pickering, Guggenheim, Fulbright, and other grants. The college is one of the nation’s top-100, Best Liberal Arts Colleges as listed in the 2011 U.S. News & World Report rankings.-30-
DES MOINES — As so many Iowans are dealing with excess water lately due to flooding, we’re reminded the resource is precious and not to waste it.Residents in towns where water treatment plants have shut down already know the value of fresh, clean water. Don Tormey, spokesman for the Iowa Utilities Board, says we should all check our homes for sources of drips to save water — and money.“Nearly one trillion gallons of water is wasted each year in the U.S. through minor residential drips and leaks,” Tormey says. “That’s equal to the total water used by more than 11 million homes.”A federal report finds 10 percent of homes have leaks that drain more than 90 gallons a day, typically through worn toilet flappers, faulty valves and dripping faucets.“According to the EPA, a faucet that drips once per second leaks 3,000 gallons a year and an average household leak can lead to 10,000 gallons of lost water annually,” Tormey says. “That’s a lot of water.”He suggests you check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water was used. A change in the meter reading indicates you could have a leak and there are a few ways you can check.“You can place a drop of food coloring in a toilet tank to check for leaks. Without flushing, wait 10 minutes to see if any color appears in the bowl. If it does, you have a leak,” Tormey says. “You can check your faucet handles, gaskets and fittings for signs of water outside the pipe that could indicate a leak. Also, if you have an irrigation systems, you should check that each spring.”Learn more about leaks and water conservation at the website: www.epa.gov/watersense.