From the Interim Director
A Calm Pool at the Base of the Rapids

AS I REFLECT BACK on the journey of these past few months here at UNH and EOS, I’m reminded of the whitewater rafting trip I made down the West Branch of the Penobscot River during a period of high discharge in early summer. In Class 4 or 5 rapids, and in what seemed like suspended time, we bounced off boulders with names like Exterminator and Troublemaker before landing in a calm pool at the base of the canyon. It was an exhilarating ride, and what a relief upon reaching the pool!

In like fashion, after a stretch that has offered its own unique set of challenges to the UNH/EOS community, it feels good to now be in a period of relative calm in the wake of some key appointments that will help us move forward collectively with clearer vision and renewed strength.

At one time during the summer, there were three ongoing searches for top leadership positions, all of which have a governance role with respect to EOS. Now we have two excellent leaders in place – John Aber as provost and Jan Nisbet as the senior vice provost for research – and we look forward to Harlan Spence assuming the reins as EOS director in January.

Nisbet’s new position supplants that of the vice president for research – meaning the responsibility for the university’s research mission is now brought into the provost’s office, which was already charged with the instruction mission (headed up by Lisa MacFarlane as senior vice provost). And, recently, Julie Williams was named senior vice provost for engagement and outreach, thus rounding out the team responsible for the university’s three-part academic mission.

Provost Aber has emphasized that, in his view, the term “academics” includes all three of these missions. To that end, EOS is ready to embrace this view as we look for ways in which our faculty can continue to contribute to the whole academic mission of the university.

– Janet Campbell

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Spheres Online

University of New Hampshire's Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space has been publishing its science news in print form as the Spheres newsletter. As of this issue, it is now an electronic newsletter.

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Fall 2009
In this Issue of Spheres

Quantifying Quicksilver

Lose 10,000 Pounds, Lighten Your Footprint

Peat Soup

Mucking About in the Name of Science

From the Lamprey to the Beltway, Again

News and Notes
Northeast Consortium Gets NOAA Funding, RecognitionNew Year Will Bring New Leadership to EOS
Faculty, Staff, and Student News
From the Interim Director

Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS),
Morse Hall, 8 College Road,
Durham, NH 03824

Interim Director:
Janet Campbell
Assoc. Director
David S. Bartlett
Editor: David Sims
Design: Kristi Donahue
Circulation: Laurie Pinciak

Fall 2009

News and Notes
Faculty, Staff, and Student News

UNH RECENTLY RECEIVED a three-year $1.3 million “ADVANCE” grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support the advancement and leadership of women faculty in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The grant makes UNH part of a larger national effort to transform institutions of higher education in areas where women are traditionally underrepresented. The proposal submitted to NSF was a collaborative effort led by President Mark Huddleston and included EOS interim director Janet Campbell, a co-principal investigator on the proposal, and CSRC’s Ruth Varner, now ADVANCE program director for UNH.

IN MID-OCTOBER scientists and engineers from the SSC celebrated the first major results from the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) mission, which launched in October 2008 and carries onboard two ultra-high sensitivity cameras containing important components designed and built at UNH.

From a highly elliptical Earth orbit the IBEX satellite is exploring the outer solar system using unique energetic neutral atom imaging (instead of photons of light) to create maps of the boundary between our solar system and the rest of our galaxy. The first IBEX sky maps and scientific results, which feature an unexpected narrow bright “ribbon” in the sky and the flow of interstellar hydrogen, helium, and oxygen through our solar system, have been published in five papers in Science. Says mission co-investigator and lead UNH scientist Eberhard Möbius, “Today, with IBEX, about 50 years after the beginning of the space age, humankind is able to ‘stick its head out’ of our heliosphere, get an idea what our galactic neighborhood is like, and see how it shapes the protective bubble that surrounds us.” Möbius notes that the mission's success would not be possible without the efforts of UNH/IBEX scientists, engineers, support staff, and students too numerous to name.

IBEX poster



IBEX Orbit

Mark McConnell of the SSC received funding of $150K to support studies with NASA's Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope.

CSRC’s Erik Hobbie was elected as a member-at-large to the board of the Association of Ecosystem Research Centers at their annual meeting in September. The meeting focused on briefing policymakers on Capitol Hill about the effects of climate change on urban ecosystems. EOS is a member of the AERC.

THE STEREO team at the SSC hosted the 20th STEREO Science Working Group meeting in Meredith, NH in late October. Some 50 attendees from various states as well as foreign attendees from France, Germany, and Ireland took part. Presentations were given by EOS members Toni Galvin, Kristin Simunac, Mark Popecki, Yong Liu, Charles Farrugia and graduate student Joshua Barry. The group took an excursion to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, which serves as an education and public outreach (EPO) partner to STEREO. The local organizing committee consisted of Galvin, Simunac, and SSC administrative manager Christine Williams.

Matt Magnusson, senior research scientist for UNH’s Carbon Solutions New England, reports CSNE was awarded $139,945 to track the environmental and economic results of projects funded by the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Fund or RGGI – the only cap and trade program for carbon dioxide in the United States and involving 10 states in the Northeast, including New Hampshire. The NH Public Utilities Commission awarded grants to 30 separate projects ranging from home retrofits to workforce training on energy efficiency to municipal, industrial, and commercial energy efficiency initiatives. Magnusson is taking the lead on tracking the results of these projects. CSNE director Cameron Wake notes that Magnusson, who received his MBA from the UNH Whittemore School of Business, is now enrolled in the NRESS Ph.D. program.

Andrew Hart (B.S. Chemistry 2008) received the Mr. & Mrs. S. Morris Locke Award from the Chemistry Department for outstanding/excellence in research. Hart was also one of twenty elite students selected from around the nation for the six-week NASA Student Airborne Research Program. As part of the program, students acquired hands-on research experience in all aspects of a scientific campaign using a major NASA resource, including the DC-8 “flying laboratory,” for studying Earth system processes, calibration/validation of space-borne observations, and prototyping instruments for possible satellite missions. Hart is now a graduate student working with CCRC’s Barkley Sive doing atmospheric trace gas analysis.

Physics undergraduates Colin Joyce and Joshua Stawarz joined recent graduate Jeffrey Tessein in attending the 2009 Solar Heliospheric and Interplanetary Environment (SHINE) conference held in Wolfville, Nova Scotia last summer. Together they authored (either as first author or co-author) nine papers presented on topics ranging from the characteristics of solar wind turbulence and heating of the solar wind to the generation of waves by newborn interstellar pickup ions. They were joined by David Connick, a recent graduate of Colby College, who is currently working in the Space Science Center and who presented his work on the current state of the solar minimum.

George Hurtt, who was recently named director of the Complex Systems Research Center (succeeding Steve Frolking), reports that he presented a plenary oral presentation at the 8th International Carbon Dioxide Conference in Jena Germany on land-use scenarios for the upcoming IPCC-AR5 report and gave a seminar at Boston University on the same topic November 6th. Hurtt also notes that members of his Global Ecology Lab at EOS will have multiple presentations at the upcoming AGU meeting in San Francisco including those by himself, Justin Fisk, Louise Chini, Katelyn Dolan. Research & Discover students Genevieve Noyce, Olivia DeMeo, Danielle Haddad, Amanda Hyde, Kaitlyn Steele, Wade Shaver, Jordan Goodrich, Haley Wicklein, and Claire Treat will also be presenting at AGU bringing the cumulative program total at the annual meeting to 37, not counting alumni. -DS