Monthly Archives: December 2012

Collaborative, actionable climate change research: How a new global framework is working in Africa

Dr. Fredrick Semazzi of N.C. State University and Dr. Brian Sims of the Department of Psychology

Dr. Fredrick Semazzi of N.C. State University, left, and Dr. Brian Sims of the Department of Psychology talk after Tuesday’s presentation.

Even the best climate data do little good if policy-makers don’t make effective use of them (and you don’t need to look any further than North Carolina for a demonstration). And the best intentions of engaged policy-makers are ineffective if they’re not informed by reliable climate data, which is the situation, for example, in the Horn of Africa.

Climate scientists around the world have some ideas about how to fix those  disconnects.  Dr. Fredrick Semazzi of N.C. State University briefed an interdisciplinary group of N.C. A&T faculty members and students Tuesday on the Global Framework for Climate Services, the main research component of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP).  Semazzi is an internationally prominent climate researcher and member of the Joint Scientific Committee of the WCRP.

One of the global framework’s strategies is to bring together climate researchers and end users, including leaders of government and the private sector.  The key to success is involving end users at the beginning of the process, in defining research questions, Semazzi said.

“You can’t simply do the research and hope that someone finds a use for it,” he said.  “Research needs to be responsive and synchronized with application.”

Researchers have successfully engaged government leaders in Africa, but huge gaps in observation capability on the continent have limited the effectiveness of their work. Now, with $75 million in international funding secured for demonstration projects, the gaps between capabilities and needs are starting to be addressed.  Dr. Semazzi himself is leading a team in developing a hydroclimate project for the critical Lake Victoria Basin region.

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NASA Center for Aviation Safety briefs its advisors

Students present research conducted by the NASA Center for Aviation Safety.

Advisory board members, students and faculty members mingle as the students present their research posters during the first day of the NASA Center for Aviation Safety’s meeting with its advisory board on Monday.

N.C. A&T’s NASA Center for Aviation Safety is holding a two-day meeting with its independent advisory board on campus this week. The 10-member group is hearing reports on the center’s research progress, touring new facilities, and discussing the center’s future plans.

The center’s work is concentrated on advanced materials and structures, integrated vehicle health management, aeropropulsion, and education and outreach.  Its new facilities include a dynamic testing lab and a thermal lab.  Principal investigator for the center is Dr. Kunigal Shivakumar.

The board includes representatives of NASA’s Glenn and Langley research centers, Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, the Air Force Research Laboratory, Army Research Office, Office of Naval Research, FAA, Purdue University, and University of Maryland.

For more photos, see the Aggie Research photo blog on Tumblr.

3 great blogs for scientists, engineers or anyone

Astronaut Andre Kuipers aboard the International Space Station

From Science is Beauty: “Astronaut Andre Kuipers watches a bubble in a drop of water as he enjoys his last days of weightlessness aboard the International Space Station”

With the semester break coming up, here are three blogs that can give you some good reading and intelligent thinking.  They all happen to be on Tumblr, where a lot of interesting stuff is going on these days.

Medical Engineering: Recent posts include The New Prosthetic that Treats Blindness, Lung-On-a-Chip, and Dolphin With a Prosthetic Tail.

Diversity in Science: Recent posts include 10 Tips for Women Students in Science Fields and Why female scientists don’t blog, but should.

Science is Beauty: Subtitle: “Scanning around the beauty on scientific pictures and concepts.”

3 gifts to get girls interested in engineering


GoldieBlox (photo from

Seasonal STEM-oriented advice from Fast Company’s

3 Gifts To Get Girls Interested In EngineeringIt’s never been easy being a female in the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Part of the problem is the dearth of females in these fields–a problem that begins early on in school when girls are discouraged from pursuing them. A crop of programs have popped up to change the ratio of girls in STEM, including Girls Who Code and SMU’s Engineering Camp For Girls. But why not give interested young girls a chance to explore the world of science and engineering at home–even if they’re not interested in K’NEX and Erector sets? (And yes, we know that plenty of girls are interested in those things). We’ve come up with a handful of gifts designed for the girl geek in your life.”

Reminder: Biofuels event at JSNN on Dec. 13