Archive for the 'Science Technology and Society' Category

Undergraduate Research Publication

The Spectra is once again accepting undergraduate research submissions. Publication in The Spectra is a great way to highlight your undergraduate achievements and give yourself experience in research writing. Original research from undergraduate students of any year will be accepted until Monday, Oct. 1. You are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.  More information can be found at

Science Fair Mentors Needed

Dear Chairs, Faculty, Postdoctoral Trainees, and Graduate Students:

We, the University of Virginia scientific community, have a significant outreach opportunity that can have a powerful impact on local and regional students interested in the sciences. Our U.Va. community is filled with potential mentors (faculty, postdocs, and graduate students), and we have a chance to encourage and inspire the next generation of scientists. Mentoring student research for the science fair is part of many other STEM outreach activities U.Va. is undertaking to broaden our impacts and engage our local community, such as the High School Science, Technology, and Engineering Research Program (HooS-STER,

Mentors will be asked to make 2 or 3 visits to local schools during which they will offer feedback and advice to students who are developing science fair projects. In the past, this kind of mentorship has helped students not only place well in the fair, but accomplish good science and learn about the research process. A small donation of your time can help U.Va. play a vital role in helping build a better future for the world through science education. If you are interested in making a difference, please contact Michelle Prysby, A&S Director of Science Education and Public Outreach (, 243-4292) and Daniel Gioeli, PhD at

Are We Alone? — Extraterrestrial Intelligence

aloneReserve your seat at Register

Linda Hall Library Fellowships

Linda Hall Library, Kansas City, MO, is pleased to announce that resident fellowships for 2013 are now available. Though the Library is open to anyone who wishes to use the collections, fellowships up to $3,500 per month will assist scholars in financing a research visit.

Resident fellowships are offered for the duration of 1 to 9 months in support of research projects in science, engineering, and technology; in the history of science, engineering, and technology; or in interdisciplinary topics that link science or technology to the broader culture. Applications from U.S. and international scholars are welcome.

Recipients of fellowships are expected to work full time on their research projects while at the Library, to engage with other resident scholars, and to offer a presentation on their work to the general public.

Doctorate-seeking scholars, post-doctorate scholars, and independent scholars who can demonstrate similar professional or academic experience are eligible to apply.

Application Information:
The application deadline for 2013 fellowships is January 3, 2013. Recipients will be notified in early spring 2013. Please see the Linda Hall Library Fellowships webpage for more information and application instructions:


Donna Swischer
Director, Fellowship Program
Linda Hall Library
5109 Cherry Street
Kansas City, MO 64110

The Power of “Cabin Porn”: Producing and Consuming Electricity in Norwegian Leisure Cabins

Finn Arne Jørgensen
Rice Hall 128
University of Virginia
September 20, 2012, 3:30-5:00pm

The somewhat speculative phrase “cabin porn” reflects a growing international interest in cabins, shedworking, and rustic, exurban living off the grid – most of it romanticizing rural and low-tech lifestyles. A number of books, magazines, and websites (the most popular of the latter named simply “Cabin Porn”) encourage people to explore their inner Thoreau at their own cabin. The cabin has become an arena where people try to work out their ambivalent relationship to technology and all the bothersome things of modern life (including other people). The history of Norwegian cabins demonstrates what happens when this dream of more authentic living at the cabin comes true – very often, our wish for simplicity and comfort becomes a spearhead for technological upgrades. This talk will examine the question of electricity generation at the cabin, particularly focusing on the complex negotiations between consumers, commercial interests, property developers, available technological infrastructure (i.e. “the grid”), and cultural values about cabin living. The history of the Norwegian leisure cabin thus gives us insight into the unintended technological consequences of the dream of a simple life in nature.

Finn Arne Jørgensen is an assistant professor in history of technology and environment at Umeå University, Sweden, and a former visiting researcher at the UVA STS Department (2005-06). His first book, Making a Green Machine: The Infrastructure of Beverage Container Recycling, was published by Rutgers University Press in 2011. In this STS colloquium talk, he will present parts of his research on the history of the Norwegian leisure cabin, situating it within a larger international discussion of environment, technology, and society.

Faculty Development Seminar Series

A new SEAS faculty development seminar series has been organized.  Its focus will be discussion of emerging distributed communication and collaboration solutions in engineering instruction.  All seminars will be held on Fridays, from 10 – 11 a.m. in Rice Hall 032 (directly beneath the auditorium) at the University of Virginia.

The sessions will be available live on the web for those who might like to join the sessions from afar and recorded for those who cannot attend live.  All are welcome.  Details regarding access to the broadcasts will be provided closer to the time of the seminars.

These sessions are intended to be semi-formal presentations with plenty of Q&A throughout.  We hope you will join us.  Finally, note that two of the sessions will be led by our colleagues Malathi, Reid, and Michael who were recently funded by President Sullivan’s Hybrid Course Challenge.

September 14

A preliminary investigation of the MOOC* model of instruction

Led by Ed Berger

October 5

The use of real-time learning environments for international, cross-cultural discussion and learning in STS

Led by Stephanie Moore

October 26

Hybrid Course Development: Computer Networks

Led by Malathi Veeraraghavan

November 16

Hybrid Course Development: Introductory Systems Engineering

Led by Reid Bailey and Michael Smith

December 7

“Flipping” the Classroom: Tools and techniques

Led by James Groves, Ed Berger, Stephanie Moore, and Michael Redwine

* MOOC – massive open on-line course

For more information contact:

James F. Groves, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Engineering & Society
Assistant Dean, Research and Outreach
School of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Virginia
85 Engineer’s Way, 017 Rice Hall
P.O. Box 400235
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4235
Ph: 434-924-6261 Cl: 434-227-1237

Unmanned Vehicle Autonomy

Addressing the Limits to Unmanned Vehicle Autonomy Through Human-Computer Collaboration

Speaker: Andrew Clare

Science, Technology, and Society Program
Spring 2012 Colloquium Series
Date: Thursday April 12, 2012
Time: 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Location: Rodman Room
Thornton Hall
University of Virginia

In the future, teams of networked Unmanned Vehicles (UVs) will be utilized for military operations, border patrol, atmospheric research, forest firefighting, search and rescue, and cargo delivery among other uses. Recent advances in UV autonomy along with the development of optimization algorithms for dynamic scheduling of tasks for multiple UVs have enabled this future vision. The impending use of teams of humans and UVs in American airspace raises new ethical and legal issues. One key concern is that the uncertainty and time constraints inherent to command and control situations can cause poor performance by these automated systems. Thus, researchers at the MIT Humans and Automation Laboratory ( are developing mixed-initiative scheduling systems, where a human guides a computer algorithm in a collaborative process to solve the scheduling problem for the team of UVs. Examples from simulation-based experiments, indoor flight tests, and outdoor flight tests will show how such a human-computer collaborative system can best handle a realistic scenario with unknown variables, possibly inaccurate information, and dynamic environments. On-going research on this topic from Humans and Automation Lab will be described, including investigations into modeling both qualitative and quantitative aspects of how humans work with scheduling algorithms and teams of UVs. Finally, the impact of these research efforts on the relevant ethical and legal issues will considered.

Andrew Clare is a Ph.D. Candidate in the MIT Humans and Automation Laboratory in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He received his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering with Information Technology from MIT in 2008 and his M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT in 2010. He has held research internship positions with the U.S. Army Research Laboratories, General Electric Aviation, Aurora Flight Sciences, and the National Aerospace Laboratory in Amsterdam. He was the recipient of a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG) in 2008.

For more information on the STS colloquium series see:

Data Management Day

When: Thursday, April 12 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Where: Curry Library Innovation Commons (the CLIC),Curry School of Education, 3rd Floor, Ruffner Hall

The University of  Virginia Library’s Scientific Data Consulting Group is pleased to offer Data Management Day as a means to discuss research data issues and institutional initiatives aimed at addressing them. We hope that the day’s events increase awareness of data management issues and serve as a forum to discuss solutions and best practices for data management across the entire research life cycle. We have carefully developed an agenda that will appeal to researchers, graduate students, librarians and support personnel.

In order to foster broader information sharing and collaboration with our peer institutions, we have invited librarians and support providers from other Virginia institutions to attend in person, or participate via a video teleconferencing broadcast across the 4VA network. .

As speakers confirm their availability, we will continue to update the schedule. If you would like more information, please contact Sherry Lake at

Keynote Speaker: Alberto Conti
Innovation Scientist, Space Telescope Science Institute (

See for full schedule of events.

Data Rights and Responsibilities

Wednesday, March 28
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Brown Library Electronic Classroom (Room 133), Clark Hall
University of Virginia

Madelyn Wessel
Associate General Counsel

David Hudson
Associate Vice Provost for Research

Madelyn Wessel, Associate General Counsel, and David Hudson, Associate Vice Provost for Research, will discuss what you need to know about ownership of your research data. This talk will explore information from the Data Rights and Responsibilities document from the Brown Library website. Refreshments will be served.

This event is co-sponsored by the Scientific Data Consulting Group and Scholars’ Lab.

Please RSVP on our Facebook event page.

Preparing for Disasters and Terrorism

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Systems and Information Engineering Colloquium

1:30 – 2:45 pm

Olsson 011 , University of Virginia

Preparing for Disasters and Terrorism: Observations, current Federal programs and opportunities for improving preparedness

Mark A. Kirk, MD; Medical Director, UVA Medical Simulation Center; Associate Professor, Departments of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics

Preparedness and resilience are keys to surviving disasters.  Preparing for and responding to large-scale chemical accidents and acts of terrorism present significant problems for communities.  In order to save lives, communities, states and Federal government need a synergic, comprehensive overarching strategic plan.  In addition, the key elements for success include promoting a culture of preparedness, breaking down the silos, creating an interconnected, information sharing response community and training through realistic rehearsal.  History clearly identifies expected challenges we will face in a disaster.  We must understand these challenges more thoroughly through research and develop innovative processes to confront them.  This session is intended to provide an overview of challenges during disasters, a description of the elements of the emergency response system and an opportunity to discover potential collaborative research endeavors.

Mark Kirk is a board certified emergency medicine and medical toxicology physician with extensive field experience in prehospital medicine, emergency medicine, critical care toxicology, large-scale hazardous materials and chemical terrorism incident response, mass gathering medical care and disaster medicine.  He has extensive teaching experience with innovative technologies and traditional modalities.  He led the creation of several academic medical education programs including the development of the UVA Medical Simulation Center.  He recently completed a four-year tour with the Federal government where he created and led the Chemical Defense Program within the Department of Homeland Security.  He operates extensively across the Federal interagency and regional and state levels regarding public health preparedness.

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