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Archive for April 21st, 2016

UT astronomers, student discover free-floating planetary-mass object in family of stars

Astronomers at The University of Toledo have identified a new object in space approximately 100 light years away from Earth estimated to be roughly five to 10 times the mass of Jupiter and 10 million years old.

The free-floating planetary mass object identified by researchers as a brown dwarf is called WISEA J114724.10-204021.3, or just WISEA 1147 for short. A brown dwarf is a lightweight star that lacks enough mass to fuse hydrogen into helium, the process that makes stars like the sun shine.

A young, free-floating world sits alone in space in this illustration from NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. The object, called WISEA J114724.10-204021.3, is thought to be an exceptionally low-mass brown dwarf, which is a star that lacks enough mass to burn nuclear fuel and glow.

A young, free-floating world sits alone in space in this illustration from NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. The object, called WISEA J114724.10-204021.3, is thought to be an exceptionally low-mass brown dwarf, which is a star that lacks enough mass to burn nuclear fuel and glow.

The new object is a member of the TW Hydrae family of stars and is located in the Crater constellation.

“We estimate it is one of the youngest and lowest-mass free-floating objects yet discovered in the solar neighborhood, which is within 300 light years,” said Dr. Adam Schneider, UT postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and lead author of the new study to be published in The Astrophysical Journal. “This is not orbiting a star, so it is not a planet. It likely formed on its own in isolation like stars. We can use this to help us inform our understanding of chemistry and cloud structure of exoplanets, which are planets that orbit stars other than the sun.”

According to NASA, this discovery provides new clues in a mystery of galactic proportions regarding possibly billions of lonely worlds that sit quietly in the darkness of space without any companion planets or even a host sun. Where do the objects come from? Are they planets that were ejected from solar systems, or are they brown dwarfs?

This map from NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology shows the location of the TW Hydrae family of stars where UT astronomers found the lone planetary-mass.

This map from NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology shows the location of the TW Hydrae family of stars where UT astronomers found the lone planetary-mass.

“We are at the beginning of what will become a hot field – trying to determine the nature of the free-floating population and how many are planets versus brown dwarfs,” said co-author Dr. Davy Kirkpatrick of NASA’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

UT undergraduate student James Windsor, a sophomore studying astrophysics, is listed as one of the study’s co-authors.

“James played a vital role at the outset of the study by identifying WISEA 1147 from a candidate list of several thousand,” said Dr. Mike Cushing, associate professor of astronomy and director of UT’s Ritter Planetarium. “Exposing undergraduates to cutting-edge research plays an important role in their education, and I am happy that in this case it resulted in a pretty amazing discovery.”

UT sophomore James Windsor is an astrophysics major who helped astronomers identify the new object in space.

UT sophomore James Windsor is an astrophysics major who helped astronomers identify the new object in space.

“To make the discovery and have a student be involved is just awesome,” Schneider said.

“The ability to do research like this as an undergraduate student is one reason I chose to attend UT,” Windsor said. “This whole experience is mind-blowing. I’m a kid who grew up in the village of Paulding, Ohio, dreaming of becoming an astronomer.”

For more information, click here.

New AVP/dean of students on campus

The University of Toledo welcomed the new associate vice president and dean of students, Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell, on April 4.

Cockrell has several years of experience working in student affairs at various universities. Most recently, he served as associate vice provost for student affairs and dean of students at Jackson State University in Mississippi.

Cockrell

Cockrell

“Dr. Cockrell is a great addition to the University,” said Dr. Kaye M. Patten, senior vice president for student affairs. “He brings a wealth of experience and background working closely with students, and he is truly committed to student success.”

His prior student affairs experience also includes work in various positions at Mississippi University for Women, Ohio State University and Florida International University.

Cockrell received his bachelor of science degree in family studies from Mississippi University for Women in 2003, then continued on to obtain a master of science degree in educational leadership and student affairs from Florida International University, and a doctor of philosophy in urban higher education from Jackson State University. He also completed a study abroad tour through Bowling Green State University in higher education.

“I am excited to join The University of Toledo community,” Cockrell said. “It is evident that UT has a strong commitment to the holistic development of all students.”

Cockrell added that he already has plans to improve the UT experience for students.

“I look forward to working collaboratively with the administration, faculty, staff and students to enhance the student experience and to initiate co-curricular learning opportunities to maximize both the personal and professional endeavors of UT’s students,” he said.

Anatomy donor memorial service to take place April 24

The UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences will hold its Anatomy Donor Memorial Service Sunday, April 24, in Nitschke Hall Auditorium.

Held annually, this service is a private ceremony where family and friends of those who have donated their bodies for medical education and research are invited for a time of remembrance.

College of medicineKeynote speakers, faculty and students will talk about the importance and impact of the donor program and convey their gratitude.

The service also will honor donors and their families with a live musical program performed by students.

“As first-year medical students, we are profoundly grateful for the sacrifice these individuals have chosen to make in the name of medical education. Their selfless gift allows us to go beyond our textbooks and lectures and learn anatomy in the most realistic way possible, by identifying different structures in a real-world context and fully appreciating their relationships to each other in a three-dimensional framework,” Kevin Zhang, a first-year medical student, said.

In addition to its educational value, the Anatomical Donation Program makes it possible for medical research to be conducted. Several researchers will be present at the memorial service.
“The donated bodies provide insight into physiological processes for researchers and lay the foundational anatomical knowledge for the next generation of health-care providers,” Zhang said. “In this way, donors have a lasting impact even after they have passed away.”
Once a cadaver has been fully studied, the remains are cremated and returned to a family member or interred in UT’s communal memorial plot at the Historic Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo.

The Anatomical Donation Program was started at MCO in 1969, and it continues to stay strong thanks to the generosity of donors and the Department of Neurosciences, which manages the program.

“Over time, the process of donation has been streamlined to make it straightforward for individuals to become donors, knowing that all cadavers are treated and cared for with gratitude, professionalism, and respect throughout the entire time that they are studied,” Zhang said.

Anybody who is interested in becoming a donor, or who would like to learn more about the Anatomical Donation Program and memorial service can contact the Department of Neurosciences at 419.383.4109, send an email to bodydonation@utoledo.edu, or click here.

Dare to Juice event April 21 to promote healthy living

Thirsty? Need an energy boost without the crash? Come by Rocky’s Attic in the Student Union Thursday, April 21, at 7 p.m. and get not only a free, fresh and organic green juice, but also find out ways to live and eat healthy.

As part of Diversity Month, the Juice House student organization is hosting an event to connect the members of the UT community with health professionals, local businesses, and alumni who have a passion for living a healthy lifestyle.

rockysFlyerCurious about the local water issue? Want to know about how the water affects your health? Find out more Thursday night by visiting the poster session that will be held during the juicing event.

Juice House was founded by University students and local community members who recognized the need for healthy living among college students on the UT campus.  

“Juice House cares about health for the body and the community,” said Tiffany Richmond, a UT alumna and communications coordinator with Juice House, who is pursuing a PhD at Bowling Green State University. “The diverse community here at The University Toledo is beautiful — we are beautiful people, on a beautiful campus, living a beautiful life — @Daretojuice.”

This free, public event is sponsored by the Juice House, Kroger and Vitamix.

For more information, click here.

UT to host open educational resources conference April 27

Teachers interested in learning about open educational resources and other technology advancements for their classrooms are invited to participate in a free conference at The University of Toledo.

The Open Educational Resources: Active Learning and Technology Conference will be held Wednesday, April 27, from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. in the Radisson Hotel Grand Ballroom on the UT Health Science Campus.

Business Hlogo 1c Black“High school and college teachers will have the opportunity to come together to learn about some of the latest trends in classroom technology and how they can incorporate these into their lessons to engage their students,” said Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, UT associate provost for online education.

Keynote speaker Meredith Jacobs, assistant director for academic programs for American University Washington College of Law, will lead the first discussion at 8:30 a.m. titled “Open Educational Resources: What Are Open Educational Resources, Why Use Them, and How to Use Open Licenses.”

Other topics throughout the day will include embracing technology for personalized teaching, the Evaluating Digital Content for Instructional and Teaching Excellence learning project, the INFOhio digital library resource, tools to engage students, and legislative and regulatory issues.

Register by Monday, April 25, to attend the conference co-hosted by UT Online and the University Teaching Center at tinyurl.com/UTALT2016.