In the News

  • Institute for Data Engineering and Science Expands Leadership Team

    Over the last two years, the Institute for Data Engineering and Science (IDEaS) operations, research, and service portfolios have grown significantly. To accommodate this, IDEaS has taken steps to expand its current leadership team, granting new titles to two College of Sciences researchers. New Thrust Lead positions were created to focus on and opportunistically expand capabilities in important areas. Jeffrey Skolnick, Regents' Professor, Mary and Maisie Gibson Chair, and GRA Eminent Scholar in Computational Systems Biology in the School of Biological Sciences, is now Thrust Lead for Precision Medicine and Drug Discovery. David Sherrill, professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is the new Director for the Center for High Performance Computing (CHiPC). Sherrill previously served as IDEaS Asst. Director for Research and Education.

    Institute for Data Engineering and Science (IDEaS), Jul 26, 2021

  • Rat Nests Contribute To Fossil Record In Odd Wyoming Cave

    Since 2016, Jenny McGuire, an assistant professor in the Schools of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Biological Sciences, has traveled from Atlanta to northern Wyoming and its Natural Trap Cave to hunt fossils. The goal is to use those fossils to learn more from them about climate change's inpact on animal and human population. Pack rats and their cave nests are helping McGuire and her fellow scientists in their search for clues about how that region, its plant and animal life has changed over the last 30,000 years. The Billings Gazette has more coverage here. 

    Associated Press (via Billings Gazette), Jul 25, 2021

  • J&J shot recipients may need a booster; new advice on infected kids

    This Reuters roundup of the latest scentific studies on the coronovirus and Covid-19 vaccines includes new research from Joshua Weitz, Professor and Tom and Marie Patton Chair in Biological Sciences, and Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Quantitative Biosciences in the School of Biological Sciences. In a report recently posted on the medical website medRxiv ahead of peer review, Weitz and his co-authors advise, based on their computer models, that unvaccinated healthcare workers be assigned to work with vaccinated patients. In that scenario, if a healthcare worker becomes infected but does not realize it and shows up to work, "then the chance of onward spread is significantly reduced ... leading to lower rates in the facility as a whole," says Weitz.

    Reuters, Jul 23, 2021

  • Feel the heat: Students track impact of extreme heat in Atlanta neighborhoods

    Staying cool as temperatures rise can be a struggle during Atlanta's summer. Now Georgia Tech and Spelman College scholars are teaming up to take a closer, scientific look at the impact of high city temperatures and why some neighborhoods feel the heat more than others. Approximately 40 students will serve as data collectors for the urban heat campaign, using a small temperature sensor that they will assemble, program, and connect to a smartphone app with guidance from the UrbanHeatATL team, which includes Spelman College Environmental and Health Sciences Program, the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, the Partnership for Southern Equity, the Georgia Tech Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain, the Urban Climate Lab and the Georgia Tech Global Change Program and the City of Atlanta.

    11 Alive News, Jul 21, 2021

  • Savannah goes from hot to hotter as climate warms

    If you're a longtime resident of Savannah and you have a sneaking suspicion that summers in the Hostess City are hotter than ever, you may be right. A new city-by-city analysis by the nonprofit Climate Central indicates the average temperature of a Savannah summer day has increased by 2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1970.  The average number of days each year over 95 degrees has increased by 12 days. Kim Cobb, Georgia Power Chair, ADVANCE Professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Director, Global Change Program, did not participate in the Climate Central study but does comment on the changes, and mentions that her Smart Sea Level Sensors Project, which tracks flooding vulnerability in Chatham County, wants to expand to include an urban heat island component using internet-linked thermometers. (This story also ran in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.)

    Savannah Now , Jul 20, 2021

  • Vibrations from Forth Bridge and Queensferry Crossing could be harvested and turned into electrical power

    Traffic and wind cause low frequency vibrations to ripple through bridge building materials such as steel and concrete, but the energy normally travels away from its source before dissipating. Academics at Heriot-Watt University, alongside colleagues from Georgia State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology in the U.S., intend to capture and recycle this untapped source by using the principles of physics. Rachel Kuske, professor and chair fo the School of Mathematics, is one of the principal investigators for the project, which is also featured in Scottish Construction Now, FutureScot, The Herald Scotland, Digit, and Bridge Design and Engineering. 

    Edinburgh Evening News, Jul 19, 2021

  • Using Solar Radio Signals to Monitor Melting Ice Sheets

    A new method for seeing through ice sheets using radio signals from the sun could enable cheap, low-power, and widespread monitoring of ice sheet evolution and contribution to sea level rise. That's according to a study conducted by a team of glaciologists and electrical engineers that includes Winnie Chu, an assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

    SciTechDaily, Jul 17, 2021

  • These cities have the most stifling heat islands in the United States

    If you’ve ever walked through New Orleans, Newark or New York City on a hot summer day, you’ve probably felt warmth radiating off the buildings or witnessed the heat mirage permeating off pavement and rooftops. These cities, along with Houston, San Francisco and even relatively small places such as Burlington, Vt., feature some of the country’s most intense urban heat islands, according to a report by the independent research group Climate Central. Kim Cobb, Georgia Power Chair and ADVANCE Professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, says in the story: "We need to begin conversations about what cities can do and get through these acute heat periods. We can get ahead of the scramble and mobilize a community through its connective tissue.”

    Washington Post , Jul 15, 2021

  • Is Your Office Safe from Covid? What to Know Now That Your Boss Wants You Back

    To help answer Scientific American's question, the authors seek the expertise of Joshua Weitz, Patton Distinguished Professor and Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Quantitative Biosciences in the School of Biological Sciences. Two tools built by Weitz's team are included: the Covid-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool that estimates the probabilty of infection in groups of all sizes, given the rates of infection in an area; and a guide for estimating what proportion of each state's population has Covid-19 immunity, either through vaccination or natural infection. 

    Scientific American , Jul 14, 2021

  • Athens’ COVID-19 Numbers Are Creeping Up Again

    For the first time in several weeks, the Covid-19 seven-day moving average increased for Clarke County, from 1.3 daily new cases on July 1 to 5.9 on July 9, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.  A new tool from Georgia Tech researchers looks at vaccination immunity alongside natural immunity rates, i.e., rates of people previously infected with Covid-19. One of the Population Level Immunity tool developers is Joshua Weitz, Professor and Tom and Marie Patton Chair in the School of Biological Sciences, and Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Quantitative Biosciences.

    Flagpole , Jul 13, 2021