Geoffrey Hill, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, is the lead investigator for a $600,000 National Science Foundation grant entitled "Collaborative Research:Plumage redness and good genes in the house finch." The three-year project is in collaboration with Dr. Scott Edwards at Harvard University and will test a fundamental theory regarding the role of sexual selection in the evolution of disease resistance. A Biogrant and the AU Cellular and Molecular Biosciences Program, which has expanded institutional technical capacities and graduate research assistantship support for this kind of research, made this NSF grant possible.
The National Science Foundation awarded funding to Dr. Bill Hames (Geology and Geography) and Dr. Andreas Illies (Chemistry and Biochemistry) for a two-year instrumentation proposal titled “Development of Electronic Systems for Noble Gas Mass Spectrometers.” The light noble gases (helium, neon, and argon) provide powerful tools for determining the ages of earth materials and monitoring environmental processes. The electronic devices created in this two-year project will be developed and tested on a novel mass spectrometer that Hames and Illies recently constructed in the Auburn Noble Isotope Mass Analysis Laboratory (ANIMAL) at Auburn University. The Berkeley Geochronology Center (BGC), one of the premiere facilities for noble gas research, is a collaborating institution in this study. The instrumentation development will promote scientific gains in the analysis of extremely young materials, very small masses of material, and also the efficient acquisition of very large datasets. This equipment development also supports several current collaborative research projects in ANIMAL, including two geochronologic studies that have recently been recommended for funding by the National Science Foundation: Dr. Jim Saunders (Geology and Geography) and Dr. Hames are determining the age of gold deposits and associated volcanic rocks in Idaho and Nevada as part of a study of the early Yellowstone hotspot. Dr. Ashraf Uddin (Geology and Geography) and Dr. Hames are dating single grains of sediment sampled from the Carboniferous basins of Alabama and Mississippi, in order to understand the sources and history of sediments that formed coal and natural gas deposits of the southeastern US. These collaborative research projects support the activities of several graduate and undergraduate students, and provide examples of cross-disciplinary research for students in core science classes.
A research team from the Physics Department in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, which includes primary investigator, Dr. Stuart Loch, along with Dr. Mitch Pindzola, Dr. Connor Ballance and graduate student Charles Malespin, has been awarded a $163,432.00 grant from NASA. The team will collaborate with a group from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to calculate collected atomic data required to interpret the light given off by heavy elements in a supernova. This work is also intended to allow analysis of results from the next generation of X-ray telescopes, which will have a much greater spectral resolution. Additionally, the grant will allow Malespin to split his research time between Auburn University and the Goddard Spaceflight Center.
Dr. Yanzhou Cao of the department of Mathematics and Statistics was recently awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF.) The award of $138,874.00 will fund a project entitled Numerical Solutions of Time-Dependent Stochastic Partial Differential, which is a two-part project. The first part includes theoretical analysis where Cao will work to create fast, efficient, numerical algorisms to solve differential equations, as well as conduct error analysis on both the new algorism he constructs as well as existing algorisms.
Secondly, Dr. Cao’s findings will contribute to research performed by an interdisciplinary team of scientists from Florida State University, whose goal is to create a numerical simulation of ground-water flow in the karst aquifer. The karst aquifer provides a significant source of water for public and private use in the Southeastern United States. Dr. Cao, who is the co-primary investigator, along with his team, will attempt to simulate pollution transportation in the karst aquifer so they can create tools to clean out the pollution. As a team, the total NSF grant amount is $750,000.
Additionally, this project will fund several undergraduate and graduate researchers, and will allow Dr. Cao to present his findings at national conferences.