On the edge of Cidade de Deus, or City of God, one of Rio de Janeiro’s most infamous neighborhoods, Western assistant professor of Geology and Physics/Astronomy Melissa Rice spent a week this summer teaching young students about space exploration and the importance of science and education.
During the middle of one teaching session, automatic gunfire crackled through City of God, just a few blocks away. This isn’t like any classroom at Western.
Geology's Jackie Caplan-Auerbach Spends Week at Sea Dropping Instruments Offshore of Kilauea Volcano
Requesting funding from research grants via the National Science Foundation (NSF) is usually a painstaking, yearlong process.
But when an extreme event occurs – such as the opening up of huge new vents in the southeastern flank of the Kilauea volcano on the big island of Hawaii, and the subsequent lava flows that have destroyed hundreds of homes in the communities of Leilani Estates and Kapoho south of Hilo – the NSF can bring funds to bear quickly, if scientists can be nimble enough to present a sound proposal.
Lasers, 3D printers and million-year-old fossils are bringing together high tech and ancient creatures in a digitization project by Assistant Professor of Geology Robyn Dahl.
Dahl uses laser scans to make 3D computer models of the specimens from the department’s fossil collection. Those scans can then be input into 3D printers so students can have tangible items for study, while the 3D models are viewable online in what Dahl calls “the YouTube of digital fossil scans.”