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Natural and Physical Sciences News

    Addressing the Cost of Higher Education: Open Educational Resources reduce costs for students, enhance learning

    Male student wearing UMKC shirt with laptopThe cost of higher education is an issue, and one the University of Missouri-Kansas City is addressing.

    As part of the four-campus University of Missouri System, UMKC has had one of the lowest rates of tuition increase in the U.S. during the past decade. And despite this year’s tuition increase of 1 percent, efforts to keep the overall cost of education are continuing, and are working.

    For example, in June 2017, the University of Missouri-Kansas City joined UM System in the Affordable & Open Educational Resources (A&OER) program to save students money on textbooks and other course materials.

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    Kansas City Philanthropist and Children's Health Advocate Receives Honorary Doctorate, Gives Commencement Address

    David Westbrook gives the commencement address during Spring 2018 College of Arts and Sciences Commencement CeremoniesUnhindered by juvenile glaucoma that took his sight at age 17, David Westbrook (B.A. ’71) has proven that vision has nothing to do with one’s ability to see. He founded Corporate Communications Group, a communications and public relations firm he sold before taking his talent and dedication to longtime client Children’s Mercy.

    Westbrook attributes his lifetime of success to his parents and to the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His alma mater awarded him with an honorary doctorate at the 2018 College of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony, and he gave the address to the graduating class at Swinney Recreation Center on campus.

    “This is not a defining moment, this is a moment of celebration,” said Westbrook, who holds bachelor’s degrees in English and psychology from UMKC. “Defining moments are with your professors and your friends.”

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    VFW puts more “ease” into UMKC’s At Ease Zone

    Lynn Roth, III, Nick Lopez and Ethan Alexander pose for a photo on the new couch in the UMKC At Ease ZoneThe National Headquarters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars has put a little more “ease” into the UMKC At Ease Zone. The VFW recently presented student veterans with a much-desired couch for the space, along with a new coffee maker and a networked printer.

    The UMKC At Ease Zone, located on the second floor of Cherry Hall on UMKC’s Volker Campus, supports UMKC student veterans as they transition into community and campus life. The At Ease Zone is a collaboration between the College of Arts and Sciences’ School of Social Work and the UMKC Dean of Students.

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    UMKC Galaxy Evolution Group Assists with Planned Observations with Next Great Space Observatory

    UMKC Galaxy Evolution GroupThe James Webb Space Telescope, the scientific successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, is scheduled to launch in the spring of 2020. It is expected to make history as the largest astronomical observatory ever sent into space, and University of Missouri-Kansas City scientists and students will be among those getting the earliest access to it.

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    Over 360 students named to CAS Dean’s List for Fall 2017

    CAS Dean's List Fall 2017A total of 369 students in the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences were named to the Dean’s List for the Fall 2017 semester. The CAS Dean’s List recognizes excellent academic performance among full-time undergraduate students with a grade point average of 3.85 or higher for the term.

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    Chemistry Department Celebrates First Phase of Renovated Lab Space

    Beakers and Chemistry equipmentOfficials from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and McCarthy Building Companies recently gathered to commemorate the completion of the first phase of a $21.5 million project to renovate and modernize 75,000 square feet of laboratory space in the Spencer Chemistry and Biological Sciences buildings on the UMKC Volker Campus.

    “Renovating and expanding UMKC’s primary biology and chemistry teaching laboratories enhances our ability to offer outstanding research and academic degree programs in modern sciences at both the undergraduate and graduate level,” said Robert Simmons, UMKC associate vice chancellor of administration. “Modernizing outdated buildings benefits students, faculty and the community, while addressing functionality, enrollment capacity and deferred maintenance needs.”

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    2017 Winter Commencement Challenges Graduates to Better the World

    UMKC students at graduationApproximately 1,000 University of Missouri-Kansas City graduates, friends and families filled Swinney Auditorium to celebrate the culmination of years of late nights and hard work as graduates claimed their diplomas. The university held three ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 16 and presented two honorary doctorate degrees.

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    UMKC to Present Honorary Doctorates to Outstanding Kansas City-Based Authors

    Dean Wayne Vaught speaks to a faculty member at UMKC commencement in 2016Celebrated Kansas City-based non-fiction authors David Von Drehle and Candice Millard will be honored with honorary doctorates at mid-year commencement ceremonies Dec. 16 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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    Colliding Neutron Stars Produce Gold, Silver and Platinum

    A conversation with Mark Brodwin, assistant professor in the University of Missouri-Kansas City Department of Physics and Astronomy

    Scientists recently witnessed the spectacle of colliding neutron stars. What are they?

    Brodwin: When a very massive star runs out of fuel to burn, it explodes in a huge supernova leaving behind a neutron star or, if the star is very massive, a black hole. A neutron star is a very compact ball of neutrons with the extreme density of an atomic nucleus. A typical neutron star has a mass twice that of our sun, but a size about that of Overland Park. It’s so dense that a teaspoon would weigh about as much as Mount Everest!

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    Kathleen Kilway to Receive STEMMy Award

    Dr. Kathleen Kilway shows students objects in a chemistry lab.Kathleen Kilway, Ph.D., Curator’s teaching professor and chair, UMKC Chemistry Department, will be recognized for her professional and technical excellence by the Kansas City Central Exchange with a STEMMy Award.

    The award will be presented by Central Exchange on Sept. 21 at the 4th Annual Stemmy Awards Luncheon at the Arvest Bank Theatre in downtown Kansas City.

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    CAS presents inaugural Royall Professorships

    Normal Royall Distinguished Professor AwardThe UMKC College of Arts and Sciences presented the inaugural Norman Royall Professorships to four faculty members during the College’s 2017 Fall Reception and Awards Ceremony. The Royall Professorship is the highest honor bestowed by the College.

    “As the highest recognition in the College, the Royall Professorship will reward faculty committed to research and/or teaching excellence, creativity and interdisciplinarity,” said Dean Wayne Vaught during the presentation.

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    Leaders in Learning: a celebration of faculty achievement

    University of Missouri-Kansas City faculty who received endowed professorships, promotions, tenure and other awards of distinction were recognized in 2017 with the Leaders in Learning celebration, an evening of dinner and jazz at Pierson Auditorium.

    A video tribute included praise for UMKC faculty from students as well as Kansas City Mayor Sly James.

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    Dark? Cold? Here's what to expect with Monday's solar eclipse

    Sky already looks different

    We all know Monday’s eclipse [August 21, 2017] will be a rare sight, and one you should view with safety-approved glasses.

    But if you want to be the smartest person at your eclipse watch party, there’s more you should know.

    Professor Mark Brodwin“It gets dark, and it gets cold, and the wind picks up, and the birds freak out, and you can see stars,” said Mark Brodwin, a UMKC astronomy and astrophysics professor.

    “It’s a very surreal and emotional experience, I’ve read. I can’t wait to experience it myself,” Brodwin said.

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    Astronomer shares pro tip for finding the best place to watch the eclipse

    From astronomers to outdoor enthusiasts, astrophysicists to laymen — many are giddy about the coming totality of a solar eclipse.

    2017 Solar eclipse path in MissouriBut where to watch it unfold is a question facing eclipse hunters as the Aug. 21 event approaches.

    Daniel McIntosh, a distinguished professor of astronomy and physics at UMKC, has diligently plotted out where he’ll observe the eclipse, and he shared a pro tip that he himself is using to pick out a location: find a hill with a view to the west.

    “So you can see the western horizon,” he said. “You’ll see the shadow as it comes toward you.”

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    UMKC geosciences graduate student researches accuracy of weather forecasts for NASA

    UMKC Geosciences graduate student Forrest Black poses for a photo with a sign welcoming people to NASA's Langley Research Center.Forrest Black isn’t a pilot, but he’s helping to make air travel safer and more efficient.

    Black, a UMKC geosciences graduate student, has been interning as a research assistant at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, since the fall of 2016.

    Black is researching how major weather events impact the National Airspace System (airports, navigation facilities and airspaces of the United States). He wants to develop a tool that will reconstruct the evolution of those events using weather and flight data.

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    Infusing Confidence in Undergraduate Researchers

    UMKC PR ClassroomEUReka Math Course Researched Kansas City Water Cutoffs

    Experiences in Undergraduate Research, or EUReka classes, play a critical role in the undergraduate curriculum at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The university takes advantage of its urban location to offer numerous opportunities for students at all levels to gain hands-on research experience that also benefits neighboring communities.

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    UMKC Physics and Astronomy Professor, Mark Brodwin, is a Consultant on the Stars

    KCREP Constellations imageHow can actors become knowledgeable on complex subjects for their plays? They consult with a college professor, of course.

    Mark Brodwin, Ph.D., professor in the UMKC Department of Physics and Astronomy, recently collaborated with the Kansas City Repertory Theatre on their current play, Constellations.

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    Honeywell and UMKC Expand Science and Innovation Collaboration

    Physics Honeywell collaborators Wrobel and LambtonStudents and faculty gain improved access to new technology

    The University of Missouri-Kansas City has signed a master collaboration agreement with Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies (FM&T), creating closer collaboration on research and development of new technology to meet national security needs.

    “UMKC is proud to partner with Honeywell,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton. “The collaboration will allow us to bring UMKC and Honeywell’s research expertise together, which will not only benefit our students and faculty, but also our national security.”

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    ALMA telescope to unlock mysteries of giant galaxy...

    Phoenix Cluster impression by B. SaxtonTeam used ALMA telescope to unlock mysteries of giant galaxy at the center of Phoenix Cluster

    A team of astronomers including Mark Brodwin, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, have discovered a surprising connection between a supermassive black hole and the galaxy in which it resides.

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    Chemistry professor publishes book on black titanium dioxide

    Xiaobo ChenBlack TiO2 Nanomaterials for Energy Applications. The book, published through World Scientific Publishing, aims to present the recent progress on the research of black TiO2 nanomaterials and how they can be used in a number of clean energy applications.

    The book includes a theoretical analysis of TiO2 research, and provides a comprehensive review of the subject for students, researchers and practitioners in catalytic science, materials science, nanotechnology, green technology and chemistry.

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    UMKC Geosciences Graduate Student Interns at NASA

    Forrest Black, a Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Geosciences, spent this past fall semester interning at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

    As an intern, Black helped develop a tool that can ingest standard weather data and flight trajectory data for analyzing the impact of weather on aviation operations. He will stay in Virginia to work on this project throughout the spring 2017 semester.

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    $300,000 NSF Grant for Climate Research

    Prof. SunAssistant Professor of Geosciences Fengpeng Sun Ph.D. was recently awarded a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. As the principal investigator, Sun will work as an independent researcher on a three-year project, “High-resolution Climate Change Projections in Missouri.”

    Sun’s funded project is part of NSF’s Missouri Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program, “Missouri Transect: Plants, Climate and Community”, headed by Prof. John Walker at MU in Columbia. Missouri Transect is a five-year effort to build infrastructure, knowledge and collaborations in research and education across Missouri. As an established climate scientist, Sun brings to the Missouri Transect added expertise in the design of high-resolution regional climate modeling.

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    UMKC professor recognized by NASA for work on galaxies

    Mark Brodwin, UMKC Physics and Astronomy Professor A UMKC professor has been recognized for his work studying galaxies.

    Mark Brodwin, associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, won a NASA Group Achievement Award from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

    Brodwin was one of six recognized for groundbreaking research as part of the Massive and Distant Clusters of WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) Survey team, called MaDCoWS, for short.

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    A Bridge to the Stars

    An innovative pipeline to improve STEM diversity

    Inner-city high school students in Kansas City now have a unique opportunity to learn in a college classroom with a professional astronomer through A Bridge to the Stars Scholarship and Mentoring Program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

    The man behind the program is Daniel H. McIntosh, Ph.D., an award-winning professor of physics and astronomy, and a scientist researching the birth and growth of galaxies using the Hubble Space Telescope. As a teacher, McIntosh shares his knowledge, and his enthusiasm, to inspire others.

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    Chemistry Graduate competes in Rio!

    UMKC Chemistry graduate Courtney Frerichs (B.A. 2015) follows her dreams and competed in the Olympic games in Rio! See the complete story and how undergraduate advisor Prof. Drew-Gounev helped her make her dreams come true.

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    UMKC research team receives award for device that may help prevent a nuclear attack

    caruso

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A new tool may soon help the U.S. military stop a nuclear attack, and it was made in Kansas City.

    For the past 8 years, UMKC physics professor, Anthony Caruso, has led a research team of students and professors from UMKC, K-State and University of Missouri – Columbia to develop a new way to find radiation.

    “There’s just not that many options available because there are so many containers and it’s so easy to hide special nuclear material on one of these container ships,” said Caruso.

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    Syed E. Hasan Receives Fulbright Award

    Syed E. Hasan, Ph.D., UMKC geosciences professor emeritus, has been awarded a Fulbright award to Qatar by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB). Hasan will teach courses in waste management and environmental geology at Qatar University, and offer seminars at other Middle East universities, during the 2016 spring semester

    “Qatar, with its unique marine and desert ecosystems, needs to implement a waste management strategy that is compatible with its natural environment,” Hasan said. “I am looking forward to sharing my expertise in the field of waste management with students and faculty at Qatar University to help them develop a sound waste management plan for their country.”

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    Colorado cartoonist responds to Paris attack

    Colorado Cartoonist Mike Keefe, KUSA-TV 9 news reportDENVER - Longtime cartoonist Mike Keefe is responding to the terrorist attacks against French magazine Charlie Hebdo in the only way he knows how: by drawing.

    After 36 years at The Denver Post, Keefe now draws for the website Colorado Independent, which published his latest cartoon on the attacks.

    "This is exactly what cartoonists do. They see some injustice in the world and they either use humor, irony or drama to make a statement about it," he said.

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    UMKC collection offers trip way, way back in time

    KMBC News 9’s Joel Nichols visits the UMKC campus to tell the story of a man’s (Professor Gentile) lifetime love of our areas underground history.

    https://youtu.be/XJvXiVgqWqs

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