ORISE offers scholarship opportunities to students pursuing careers in STEM
Mission to Mars Research Challenge
REAC/TS is an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education facility with the mission to strengthen the medical response to radiological and nuclear incidents. REAC/TS has recently partnered with NASA to provide specialized knowledge for the medical community and emergency planners in the area around the upcoming Mars Rover Launch. ORISE is hosting a research-based challenge for undergraduate students to research a partner supporting NASA’s upcoming Mars 2020 Launch, learn about the partner’s capabilities, and discuss why that partner is necessary for the mission.
1st Place: Ailene Edwards, University of Virginia
2nd Place: Juan Pablo Varela, University at Albany, SUNY
3rd Place: Rebecca Bennett, University of California, Berkeley
As many undergraduate students may recall, NASA’s Space Shuttle Program completed its mission in 2011. However, in recent years, NASA has launched an exciting, new program: Mars 2020. In this upcoming launch, NASA will be sending a rover to explore the Red Planet and search for signs of habitability and past microbial life. NASA has joined forces with many groups, including REAC/TS, an ORISE facility. Your challenge is to research a partner that is aiding NASA’s Mars 2020 Mission, learn about that partner’s capabilities, and discuss why that partner is necessary for the mission.
Autonomous Driving: Education in Communication
Autonomous and connected vehicles have the potential to improve the safety and efficiency of the transportation system. The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) in partnership with the National Transportation Research Center (NTRC) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is hosting a problem-based challenge for undergraduate students. The challenge for undergraduates is to develop a chart or infographic to communicate the levels of autonomous driving and sensor packages required to the public.
- 1st Place: Tergel Molom-Ochir, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Autonomous Driving and Its Sensor Technology
- 2nd Place: Jeleasa Grayned, Kennesaw State University, SAE International: Levels of Autonomous Driving & Sensor Packages
- 3rd Place: Aufia Zhowandai, Virginia Commonwealth University, Autonomous Vehicles
Congratulations to all of the winners!
The Problem: Autonomous and connected vehicles have the potential to improve the safety and efficiency of the transportation system. Vehicles that are able to automatically drive themselves in any condition or situation require a number of advanced sensors such as LIDAR, RADAR, and cameras, in addition to a fast communication network to communicate to each other and the traffic signal infrastructure in near real-time. The public is not yet generally familiar with the different levels of autonomy or the sensor packages and fidelity of the sensors needed for the different levels. In an effort to better inform the public about SAE levels of autonomous driving, what is the best way to put that information in a single chart?
The task: Develop a draft chart or infographic to communicate to the public the levels of autonomous driving and the sensor packages. You must provide supporting evidence using footnotes for citations on the chart/infographic and have a supporting document with additional information.
Instruments: A Problem in the Solution
Technology plays a key role in many fields, but it is not without limitations. Although technology has helped to make great advancements in data collection, there are times that the instruments themselves interfere in the measurements. The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is hosting a problem-based challenge for undergraduate students. The challenge for undergraduates is to identify a situation in which an instrument interferes with its own measurements and data collection, and to propose a solution to the problem.
1st place: Le Nguyen, Michigan State University, Neural Networks as a Solution to Spontaneous Emission in the IceCube Neutrino Detector
2nd place: Sayem Sinha, Syracuse University, Surveying in Science: “Fixing” the 2016 Election Polls
3rd place: Marina Beshai, Princeton University, The US Census: The Effective Silence of Underrepresented Groups
Ed Dumas, an affiliate of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), explained a problem in using drones as an instrument to measure weather data: Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division (ATDD) has been making wind measurements for years using gust probes attached to fixed-wing full-scale aircraft, and this technology is well-characterized. Probes have been tested in a wind tunnel and the uncertainty in both the wind measurements made from the gust probe and the velocity and angles (pitch, roll, and heading) of the platform itself that are combined to make the final wind measurement have been accurately characterized. Because NOAA has been able to characterize the uncertainty in each of the components that comprise the wind measurement, there is confidence in the ability of the overall system to accurately measure winds with respect to the Earth.
However, similar measurements are not as well characterized from a multi-rotor platform. The biggest challenge is the disruption of the local airflow that is made by the multiple propellers used to keep the vehicle aloft. Eddies from these propellers can destroy the existing eddies in the atmosphere and severely contaminate the wind measurement.
Drones measuring wind gusts are not the only example of an instrument interfering with its own measurements. Another example is attempting to measure absolute zero on the Kelvin scale using a thermometer. At absolute zero (-273.15 degrees Celsius), atoms stop moving. Absolute zero cannot currently be measured because the particles of the thermometer are moving, which raises the temperature of the substance being measured by keeping the atoms in motion. While this temperature difference is an insignificant amount at temperatures that we experience daily, it is a major problem when measuring absolute zero. So while the thermometer readings can approach absolute zero, the current thermometer technology is not capable of accurately measuring it.
Nuclear Power: A Safe Future
There has been a significant increase in usage of nuclear power plants in the past 60 years, which comes along with an increased need for attention on nuclear safety. The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) hosted a problem-based challenge for undergraduate students. The challenge for undergraduates was to develop a plan to improve nuclear safety for the future. Congratulations to our scholarship winners!
1st place: Lukas Poteracke, San Diego State University, Nuclear Reactors: The Frontier of Energy Innovation
2nd place: Aryobimo Wibowoputro, San Diego State University, Threats of Nuclear Power and Plans for the Future
3rd place: Cole Maguire, University of Texas at Austin, The Future of Nuclear Power
Radiation Exposure: What Not to Fear
Despite living in a world of constant radiation exposure, people have a negative association with the word “radiation.” In March, the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) hosted a problem-based challenge for undergraduate students. The challenge for undergraduates was to develop a strategic communication approach for the general public on the everyday occurrences of radiation, the benefits, risks, and safety of all types and uses of radiation.
1st place: Julia Trainor, Syracuse University, #RadiationReimagined: Strategic Communications Report
2nd place: Cole Maguire, University of Texas at Austin, Radiation and Its Communication to the Public
3rd place: Ian Wietecha-Reiman, Penn State University, Radiation Exposure PSA Proposal: Using the Internet to Placate Fears