Physics Research of ODU’s Hyde Wins Support of French Government
A leading research agency in France has selected Old Dominion University physicist Charles Hyde (Quest, Vol. 2, Issue 1, 1998) for a program that arranges collaborations between French researchers and elite foreign scientists.
Under the appointment, Hyde will take a primary role in research projects at the Laboratoire de Physique Corpusculaire (LPC Particle Physics Laboratory) in the central French city of Clermont-Ferrand. LPC is affiliated with l’Universite Blaise-Pascal, which already has a cooperative agreement with ODU.
The collaboration is sponsored by the “Chaire d’Excellence” program of the Agence Nationale de la Recherche. Only five awards were made in the past year, covering all disciplines of science at all French research institutes. The award includes a research grant worth a little more than $1 million over 2007-11 and a faculty appointment at Blaise-Pascal.
Hyde is known internationally for his probes of the atomic nuclei via a process called virtual compton scattering. He has a longstanding research relationship with French physicists with whom he has worked in France and at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News. At least four French institutes, including the LPC, have expressed interest in contributing to the ongoing $300 million, energy doubling upgrade of the Jefferson Lab accelerator and to associated experimental equipment.
During the term of the award, Hyde will divide his time between duties at the LPC and ODU.
Two State Appointments Go to Plichta
Stacey Plichta (Quest, Vol. 9, Issue 2, 2006), professor of community and environmental health, was appointed to the Virginia Governor’s Commission on Sexual Violence and selected as a committee member of the Intimate Partner Violence Hospital Policy Development Group of the Virginia Department of Health.
She also received the Great Science for Better Health Award from ODU’s College of Health Sciences.
Gheorghe Makes Headlines with Terrorist Threat Simulation
Any terrorist group or rogue nation with access to intermediate-range rockets could mount an attack on military or civilian satellites, according to an article by Adrian Gheorghe (Quest, Vol. 10, Issue 2, 2007), a critical infrastructures expert on the engineering faculty of Old Dominion University. The article has been the basis of news reports worldwide.
Widely available computer utilities and instructional material in textbooks could make the rocket attack possible by anyone with a modest infrastructure and proficiency with space vectors, the article asserts.
Gheorghe, the Batten Endowed Chair in Systems Engineering at ODU, wrote the article together with Dan Vamanu of the National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering in Romania. It was published in the spring 2007 issue of International Journal of Critical Infrastructures.
The authors make a case for placing deliberate satellite sabotage higher on the security agenda. They say the threat extends to satellites used for global positioning, weather monitoring, television broadcasts and other communications, as well as for strictly strategic purposes.
Marine Geologist Darby Spends Summer in Frozen North
Dennis Darby (Quest, Vol. 1, Issue 1, 1997; and Vol. 9, Issue 1, 2006), a paleoclimatologist on the Old Dominion University faculty who has made more research trips to the Arctic Circle than he can count on his frostbit fingers and toes, participated in an International Polar Year expedition in August and September 2007 that may be his most interesting visit ever to the frozen north.
The expedition was of special import because of concerns about global warming, and because countries bordering the Arctic region are eager to accomplish the bottom mapping necessary to stake claims to undersea regions of the Arctic Ocean.
The ODU professor of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences participated aboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden in the LOMROG expedition, so called because it involved work along the submerged Lomonosov Ridge off Greenland. A new nuclear-powered Russian icebreaker also was involved.
Russia is among the nations trying, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to claim huge amounts of Arctic Ocean territories where it someday can accomplish deep-sea oil drilling and mining. Geological evidence must back up the claims and that is where scientists such as Darby come in. He said his LOMROG expedition was organized in part because of Denmark’s desire to lay claim to the ocean bottom off Greenland (which is a territory of Denmark).
As a climatologist, Darby was more than happy to tag along. He is interested in sediment from sea ice and the ocean bottom that holds secrets about weather patterns going back millions of years. Weather trends in the Arctic have a major impact on weather elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, and scientists are eager to learn how much, if any, of the current global warming has been caused by predictable weather cycles rather than manmade pollution.
Plants of the Bible and the Quran
“Figs, Dates, Laurel, and Myrrh: Plants of the Bible and the Quran,” the new book by Lytton John Musselman, ODU’s Mary Payne Hogan Professor of Botany and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, was published in the fall of 2007 by Timber Press. The lavishly illustrated edition celebrates more than 100 plantsranging from acacia, the wood of the tabernacle, to wormwood, whose bitter leaves flavor absinthethat are named in the Old Testament and New Testament, including the Apocrypha, and the Quran.
Musselman has studied plants of Biblical lands for three decades and has published several books, including “Jordan in Bloom Wildflowers of the Holy Land” (2000), commissioned by Her Majesty Rania Al-Abdullah, Queen of Jordan. For more information about the new book, visit www.timberpress.com and do an “author” search for Musselman.