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Doing science at a social distance

The research part's cancelled, but an international Arctic workshop moves online.| Short Read

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They were set to leave for Siberia next week. Tyeen Taylor, a research fellow, and Valeriy Ivanov, an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, had multifaceted plans for their climate change research. 

They’d conduct field work measuring how it’s affecting vegetation and permafrost in the Arctic. They’d visit ethnic reindeer herders and local government officials to discuss how the region is changing. And they would lead “Navigating the New Arctic,” an international workshop for 30 researchers from all over the world. 

Travel bans and the worsening pandemic forced them to cancel the research trip. But they vowed to hold the workshop remotely. It will start March 25, roughly on schedule. 

“I’m pivoting to doing science at a social distance,” Taylor said.

“We are re-structuring to a virtual format that accommodates the realities of humans at home in a less than ideal situation—for example, the workshop is less time intensive and we’ve identified more focused and efficient objectives. We must accommodate time zones spanning about 12 hours of difference and the distribution of scientific disciplines across those time zones.”

Follow Taylor’s updates: on Twitter, @TyeenTaylor, Instagram @ttphilos and Facebook @TyeenCTscience. He’s planning to make a film about the experience. 

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  • Valeriy Ivanov

    Valeriy Ivanov

    Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read