Facebook Icon Youtube Icon Twitter Icon Flickr Icon Vimeo Icon RSS Icon Itunes Icon Pinterest Icon
Sunday, September 25, 2016

Search Google Appliance

Gravitational Waves Detected from Second Pair of Colliding Black Holes

June 15, 2016
Contacts: 

Matthew Wright 301-405-9267
Lee Tune 301-405-4679

UMD physicists contribute to second observation of ripples in space-time

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Gravitational waves—ripples in the fabric of space-time—have been observed for the second time, by an international team of scientists that includes UMD physicists. Like the historic first detection announced this past February, these gravitational waves were also generated by the merger of two black holes.

The ability to detect these waves, created by violent cosmic collisions, excites scientists because it provides a new way to observe the universe, to “hear” a previously undetectable soundtrack of the cosmos.

Both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors—located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington—detected this gravitational wave event, named GW151226. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) and the Virgo Collaboration used data from the twin LIGO detectors to make the discovery, which is accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters

Two black holes merged and released gravity waves that reached Earth on December 26, 2015, marking the second observation of gravity waves by the twin LIGO detectors. Credit: Max Planck Institute/SXSGravitational waves carry information about their origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Physicists on the LIGO and Virgo teams concluded that the final moments of a black hole merger produced the gravitational waves observed on December 26, 2015. 

LIGO’s first detection on September 14, 2015 resulted from a merger of two black holes 36 and 29 times the mass of the sun. In contrast, the black holes that created the second event were relative flyweights, tipping the scales at 14 and eight times the mass of the sun. Their merger produced a single, more massive spinning black hole that is 21 times the mass of the sun, and transformed an additional sun’s worth of mass into gravitational energy. 

“It's fabulous that our waveform models have pulled out from the noise such a weak but incredibly valuable gravitational wave signal,” said Alessandra Buonanno, a UMD College Park Professor of Physics and LSC principal investigator who also has an appointment as Director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam, Germany. Buonanno has led the effort to develop highly accurate models of gravitational waves that black holes would generate in the final process of orbiting and colliding with each other. 

“GW151226 perfectly matches our theoretical predictions for how two black holes move around each other for several tens of orbits and ultimately merge,” Buonanno added. “Remarkably, we could also infer that at least one of the two black holes in the binary was spinning.”

The merger occurred approximately 1.4 billion years ago. The detected signal comes from the last 27 orbits of the black holes before their merger. Based on the arrival time of the signals—the Livingston detector measured the waves 1.1 milliseconds before the Hanford detector—researchers can roughly determine the position of the source in the sky.

“It is very significant that these black holes were much less massive than those observed in the first detection,” said Gabriela Gonzalez, LSC spokesperson and professor of physics and astronomy at Louisiana State University. “Because of their lighter masses compared to the first detection, they spent more time—about one second—in the sensitive band of the detectors. It is a promising start to mapping the populations of black holes in our universe.” 

The first detection of gravitational waves, announced on February 11, 2016, was a milestone in physics and astronomy. It confirmed a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and marked the beginning of the new field of gravitational wave astronomy. 

“We could tell within minutes that GW151226 was very likely a real event. We all just marveled at it for a while,” said Peter Shawhan, an associate professor of physics at UMD and an LSC principal investigator. “By December we were sure that the first event was genuine and we had a fairly mature draft of that paper, which finally came out in February. But it was very satisfying to know, even then, that we already had a second event on our hands.”

The second discovery “has truly put the ‘O’ for Observatory in LIGO,” said Albert Lazzarini, deputy director of the LIGO Laboratory at Caltech. “With detections of two strong events in the four months of our first observing run, we can begin to make predictions about how often we might be hearing gravitational waves in the future. LIGO is bringing us a new way to observe some of the darkest yet most energetic events in our universe.”

Both discoveries resulted from the enhanced capabilities of Advanced LIGO, a major upgrade that increased the sensitivity of the instruments and the volume of the universe probed compared with the first-generation LIGO detectors. 

Advanced LIGO’s next data-taking run will begin this fall. By then, scientists expect further improvements in detector sensitivity could allow LIGO to reach as much as 1.5 to two times more of the volume of the universe compared with the first run, which has already resulted in two major findings. 

The Virgo detector, a third interferometer located near Pisa, Italy, with a design similar to the twin LIGO detectors, is expected to come online during the latter half of LIGO’s upcoming observation run. Virgo will improve physicists’ ability to locate the source of each new event, by comparing millisecond-scale differences in the arrival time of incoming gravitational wave signals.

The research paper, “GW151226: Observation of Gravitational Waves from a 22 Solar-mass Binary Black Hole Coalescence,” by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration, has been accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters

New Joint UMD Sadat Chair-Brookings Institution Poll Explores American Attitudes on Middle East Refugees

June 14, 2016
Contacts: 

Sara Gavin 301-405-1733

Dr. Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings InstitutionCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – As ongoing conflicts in the Middle East cause refugees to flow out of multiple war-town countries in massive numbers, the question of whether to admit more refugees into the United States continues to be a source of debate for Washington policymakers and U.S. presidential candidates. A new survey conducted by Dr. Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, sheds light on American attitudes towards refugees from the Middle East—from Syria, Iraq and Libya, in particular. The poll’s key findings were released Monday, June 13 during an event held at the Brookings Institution to launch a two-day forum on the refugee crisis. 

The new poll finds that the majority of Americans (59 percent) believe the United States should accept refugees from Middle East conflicts, assuming they are screened for security risks. Support is stronger among Democrats (77 percent) and Millennials (68 percent). Opposition is strongest among supporters of Donald Trump (77 percent) and Republicans (63 percent). 

Survey participants who indicated they were opposed to taking in refugees are closely divided between being concerned about terrorism (46 percent) and worrying about the economic burden (41 percent). Nine percent say they are concerned about having more Muslims in the U.S. To varying degrees, Americans are divided on the issue of moral obligation to help refugees from Middle Eastern conflicts, with somewhat more obligation toward Iraqi refugees (54 percent), followed by Syrian refugees (51 percent), then Libyan refugees (49 percent). Of younger Americans responding to the poll, 60 percent believe the United States has a moral obligation to help Syrian refugees.

“One of the biggest concerns of those opposing taking in refugees from the Middle East is terrorism. Yet the public has a hugely exaggerated perception of the degree to which refugees pose a risk. When asked how many refugees they believe have been arrested since 9/11 over terrorism charges, only 14 percent said less than five, and 28 percent said over 100. The actual total is 3,” said Professor Telhami.

When asked if they believe the U.S. should take in more war refugees, Americans were more likely to support initiatives that passed the responsibility to non-governmental organizations and to prefer those that dealt with refugees abroad, rather than at home. The most favorable response was sending humanitarian professionals to refugees abroad (79 percent), followed by American support to charities helping refugees abroad (60 percent).

The survey was conducted between May 20 and May 31, 2016 with a nationally represented sample, including an oversample of Millennials, from a probabilistic panel of participants recruited by Nielsen Scarborough of 1,580 adults. Responses were weighted by age, gender, income, education, race, geographic region and partisan identification. 

Read more about the poll’s key findings.  

UMD Transportation Experts Issue Impact Reports & Forecasts for Metro's SafeTrack Work Plan

June 10, 2016
Contacts: 

Alyssa Wolice 301-405-2057
Lee Tune 301-405-4679

First Safety Surge Poses Minimal Effects on Area Traffic, Measurable Crowding on Metrorail

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland’s National Transportation Center (NTC@Maryland) issued today its first of more than a dozen transportation impact reports and forecasts slated for release throughout the various phases of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) SafeTrack, the accelerated track work plan for the Metrorail system. 

“Our center is a national resource dedicated to research and education,” said Lei Zhang, director of NTC@Maryland and Herbert Rabin Distinguished Professor in UMD’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “We hope that these reports will help travelers and transportation authorities better understand the potential spillover effects of SafeTrack so they may make informed decisions during each of the SafeTrack project phases.” 

The first NTC@Maryland report indicates that, in response to the June 4-16 continuous single-tracking of the Orange and Silver Lines, Metrorail riders should continue to expect long delays and significant crowding on trains, particularly during peak travel hours. Drivers, however, should not expect to notice a difference in traffic conditions on the major roadways in Virginia nearest the location of WMATA’s first safety surge project. 

The report shows that from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Monday, June 6, traffic volumes on I-66, I-395, and I-495 in the study area increased by just 3 percent in comparison to the previous eight Mondays in April and May 2016. While the morning peak period of traffic congestion measured on the upper bounds of congestion levels travelers had experienced on Mondays in the previous two months, this increase is still within the range of demand fluctuations typical for a Monday commute.

The full report is available online at http://go.umd.edu/ntcreports

Each NTC@Maryland SafeTrack report will include at least one or all of the following:

  • Analysis and Modeling: Using its integrated travel behavior and traffic simulator, which covers the entire Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and the University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Transportation Technology Laboratory’s (CATT Lab) Regional Integrated Transportation Information System (RITIS), NTC@Maryland will issue traffic trend maps and compare traffic patterns on area roadways during WMATA’s SafeTrack plan with average weekday traffic patterns.
  • Opinion Polls: The center is conducting non-scientific opinion polls to observe how individual travelers will adjust their travel decisions in response to specific SafeTrack surges. 
  • Traffic Predictions: Using NTC@Maryland’s unique modeling system, UMD researchers will issue traffic and transit impact predictions for typical weekday traffic demand and conditions in those areas most directly affected by the active SafeTrack phase(s).

NTC@Maryland was established in 2013 as one of five National Centers funded by the University Transportation Center Program of U.S. Department of Transportation. NTC@Maryland also benefits from support from several State Departments of Transportation, especially the Maryland State Highway Administration, and many local government and private-sector partners. 

Part of the Center for Advanced Transportation Technology (CATT), the CATT Lab houses the nation’s largest transportation database and supports national, state, and local efforts to solve transportation, safety, and security problems through the creation of software and systems for acquiring, analyzing, visualizing and communicating transportation data.

University of Maryland Professor Contributes to NAS Report on Gene-Drive Modified Organisms

June 8, 2016
Contacts: 

Graham Binder 301-405-4076

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources researcher helps conclude that gene-drive modified organisms are not ready to be released into environment

College Park, MD – As the discussion around gene-drive modified organisms has intensified to help combat public health issues such as Zika and other infectious diseases, the National Academy of Sciences has convened an expert committee to address a measured approach to research and governance of gene drive technologies.

The University of Maryland’s Dr. Lisa Taneyhill, a leading developmental biologist and associate professor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources contributed her expertise as a member of the 15-person committee. Taneyhill, in conjunction with her colleagues produced a new report from the NAS concluding that gene-drive modified organisms are not ready to be released into the environment and require more research in laboratories and highly controlled field trials. The committee recommends a collaborative, multidisciplinary, and cautionary approach in order to sift through the uncertainty posed by this fast-moving field of study.

Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values can be accessed at: http://nas-sites.org/gene-drives/. An archived recording of the report release event and a four page summary of key findings are also available through this link.

Lisa Taneyhill is available for media commentary. Her contact information is contained here.

Tiny Diamonds Could Enable Huge Advances in Nanotechnology

June 8, 2016
Contacts: 

Matthew Wright, 301-405-9267
Lee Tune, 301-405-4679

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Nanomaterials have the potential to improve many next-generation technologies. They promise to speed up computer chips, increase the resolution of medical imaging devices and make electronics more energy efficient. But imbuing nanomaterials with the right properties can be time consuming and costly. A new, quick and inexpensive method for constructing diamond-based hybrid nanomaterials in bulk could launch the field from research to applications.

University of Maryland researchers developed a method to build diamond-based hybrid nanoparticles in large quantities from the ground up, thereby circumventing many of the problems with current methods. The technique is described in the June 8 issue of the journal Nature Communications.

This electron microscope image shows two hybrid nanoparticles, each consisting of a nanodiamond (roughly 50 nanometers wide) covered in smaller silver nanoparticles that enhance the diamond’s optical properties. Image credit: Min Ouyang The process begins with tiny, nanoscale diamonds that contain a specific type of impurity: a single nitrogen atom where a carbon atom should be, with an empty space right next to it, resulting from a second missing carbon atom. This “nitrogen vacancy” impurity gives each diamond special optical and electromagnetic properties. 

By attaching other materials to the diamond grains, such as metal particles or semiconducting materials known as “quantum dots,” the researchers can create a variety of customizable hybrid nanoparticles, including nanoscale semiconductors and magnets with precisely tailored properties.

“If you pair one of these diamonds with silver or gold nanoparticles, the metal can enhance the nanodiamond’s optical properties. If you couple the nanodiamond to a semiconducting quantum dot, the hybrid particle can transfer energy more efficiently,” said Min Ouyang, an associate professor of physics at UMD and senior author on the study. 

Evidence also suggests that a single nitrogen vacancy exhibits quantum physical properties and could behave as a quantum bit, or qubit, at room temperature, according to Ouyang. Qubits are the functional units of as-yet-elusive quantum computing technology, which may one day revolutionize the way humans store and process information. Nearly all qubits studied to date require ultra-cold temperatures to function properly. 

A qubit that works at room temperature would represent a significant step forward, facilitating the integration of quantum circuits into industrial, commercial and consumer-level electronics. The new diamond-hybrid nanomaterials described in Nature Communications hold significant promise for enhancing the performance of nitrogen vacancies when used as qubits, Ouyang noted.

While such applications hold promise for the future, Ouyang and colleagues’ main breakthrough is their method for constructing the hybrid nanoparticles. Although other researchers have paired nanodiamonds with complementary nanoparticles, such efforts relied on relatively imprecise methods, such as manually installing the diamonds and particles next to each other onto a larger surface one by one. These methods are costly, time consuming and introduce a host of complications, the researchers say. 

“Our key innovation is that we can now reliably and efficiently produce these freestanding hybrid particles in large numbers,” explained Ouyang, who also has appointments in the UMD Center for Nanophysics and Advanced Materials and the Maryland NanoCenter, with an affiliate professorship in the UMD Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

This electron microscope image shows a hybrid nanoparticle consisting of a nanodiamond (roughly 50 nanometers wide) covered in smaller silver nanoparticles that enhance the diamond’s optical properties. Image credit: Min OuyangThe method developed by Ouyang and his colleagues, UMD physics research associate Jianxiao Gong and physics graduate student Nathaniel Steinsultz, also enables precise control of the particles’ properties, such as the composition and total number of non-diamond particles. The hybrid nanoparticles could speed the design of room-temperature qubits for quantum computers, brighter dyes for biomedical imaging, and highly sensitive magnetic and temperature sensors, to name a few examples. 

"Hybrid materials often have unique properties that arise from interactions between the different components of the hybrid. This is particularly true in nanostructured materials where strong quantum mechanical interactions can occur,” said Matthew Doty, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Delaware who was not involved with the study. “The UMD team's new method creates a unique opportunity for bulk production of tailored hybrid materials. I expect that this advance will enable a number of new approaches for sensing and diagnostic technologies."

The special properties of the nanodiamonds are determined by their nitrogen-vacancies, which cause defects in the diamond’s crystal structure. Pure diamonds consist of an orderly lattice of carbon atoms and are completely transparent. However, pure diamonds are quite rare in natural diamond deposits; most have defects resulting from non-carbon impurities such as nitrogen, boron and phosphorus. Such defects create the subtle and desirable color variations seen in gemstone diamonds.

The nanoscale diamonds used in the study were created artificially, and have at least one nitrogen vacancy. This impurity results in an altered bond structure in the otherwise orderly carbon lattice. The altered bond is the source of the optical, electromagnetic and quantum physical properties that make the diamonds useful when paired with other nanomaterials.

Although the current study describes diamonds with nitrogen substitutions, Ouyang points out that the technique can be extended to other diamond impurities as well, each of which could open up new possibilities. 

“A major strength of our technique is that it is broadly useful and can be applied to a variety of diamond types and paired with a variety of other nanomaterials,” Ouyang explained. “It can also be scaled up fairly easily. We are interested in studying the basic physics further, but also moving toward specific applications. The potential for room-temperature quantum entanglement is particularly exciting and important.”

The research paper, “Nanodiamond-Based Nanostructures for Coupling Nitrogen-Vacancy Centers to Metal Nanoparticles and Semiconductor Quantum Dots,” Jianxiao Gong, Nathaniel Steinsultz and Min Ouyang, was published in the journal Nature Communications on June 8, 2016.

UMD Taps Dr. Sonia Hirt to Lead School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

June 2, 2016
Contacts: 

Crystal Brown 301-405-4618

Dr. Sonia A. Hirt COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland today announced the appointment of Dr. Sonia A. Hirt as dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Dr. Hirt will officially assume her new role on October 1, 2016. 

“Dr. Hirt’s leadership skills and more than a decade of experience teaching and researching in the fields of architecture and urban planning make her the perfect candidate for this role,” said Mary Ann Rankin, UMD's senior vice president and provost. “I am enthusiastic about the future of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation under the leadership of Dr. Hirt.”

Dr. Hirt joins the University of Maryland from Virginia Tech where she most recently served as professor and associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. In that role, Dr. Hirt oversaw academic affairs across the College’s four schools, reported on all aspects of the College’s performance, set diversity goals and strategies, and coordinated alignment of the College’s academic programs with university priorities. She previously held positions as chair, director, associate professor and assistant professor of Urban Affairs and Planning in the School of Public and International Affairs. 

“I am thoroughly excited and deeply honored to join the Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation,” said Dr. Hirt. “The School’s accomplishments are known nationally and internationally. What I find especially compelling is the unique integration of the School’s four core fields—architecture, urban studies and planning, historic preservation, and real estate development—in a way that is intellectually coherent and thoughtfully centered on the notion of sustainability. The School has the potential to make (and remake) the world, literally speaking, one building, one development, one neighborhood, one community, and one city at a time. It will be an extraordinary privilege to serve a community of faculty, students and staff of such rare and incredible talent.”

Prior to her tenure at Virginia Tech, Dr. Hirt was a visiting associate professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in the Department of Urban Planning and Design; an assistant professor at University of Toledo in the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences’ Department of Geography and Planning; and an instructor at the University of Michigan’s Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning. 

Professor Hirt’s research explores three main themes: comparative urban form with a focus on Central and Eastern Europe, comparative urban planning and land-use regulation with a focus on Europe and the United States, and urban planning and design theory and history.  

Her recent book Zoned in the USA: The Origins and Implications of American Land Use Regulation has received several honors, including being part of Choice Magazine’s Outstanding Academic Titles List in 2016, Planetizen’s Ten Best Books in Urban Planning, Design, and Development in 2016, and the Urban Affairs Association’s Honorable Mention for the Best Book Award in 2015. Her earlier book Iron Curtains: Gates, Suburbs and Privatization of Space in the Post-socialist City received the Honorable Mention for the Book Prize in Political and Social Studies sponsored by Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

Dr. Hirt is the Co-editor of the Journal of Planning History and serves on the editorial boards of four other journals: Current Research on Cities, Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, Planning Practice & Research, and Urban Design International. 

Dr. Hirt earned her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in urban and regional planning from the University of Michigan, and her B.A. from the University of Architecture and Civil Engineering in Sofia, Bulgaria.

DeVos Institute at UMD to Examine Implications of 21st-Century Technologies for Cultural Sector

June 2, 2016
Contacts: 

Graham Binder, University of Maryland, 301-405-4076
Joseph Heitz, DeVos Institute of Arts Management, 301-314-0957

“Generation Elsewhere: Art in the Age of Distraction” gathers experts in technology, culture, neuro-science, and marketing to debate the future of the arts in the wake of 21st-century technologies

COLLEGE PARK, Md. and WASHINGTON, D.C. — The DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland, a global leader in training and consultation for cultural organizations, will investigate the impact of 21st-century technologies on artists, arts institutions, and arts audiences through a series of four debates from October to December, 2016. The project culminates in a white paper to be released in 2017.

Technology presents profound opportunities—and challenges—for the global cultural sector. While artists and administrators have more tools than ever to create, distribute, and market their content, they also face a tidal wave of digital surrogates for that content. The debate series, conceived by DeVos Institute President Brett Egan, will ask artists, arts administrators, and thought leaders to consider: 

  • What are the implications of these forces today? How might these forces accelerate, or change direction, in the years and decades to come?
  • How will audiences’ usage of technology to understand, navigate, and produce meaning from 9-to-5 affect their appetite for traditional art forms and institutions? 
  • What action must artists, managers, architects, and arts funders take to keep pace with decreasing attention spans and ever-more sensational, inexpensive virtual content?
  • Which cultural producers and institutions will flourish in this new environment? Which will falter?

The investigation is advised and co-curated by Tod Machover, composer, inventor, professor and head of the Opera of the Future group at the MIT Media Lab, and Sydney Skybetter, technologist, choreographer, writer, and founding partner of Edwards & Skybetter Change Agency. 

Additional Context

Four debates will frame the discussion, featuring thought leaders from the fields of culture, neuro-science, technology, and marketing. The series is designed to benefit arts managers, arts funders, artists, policy-makers, marketers, students, and academics.

  1. Technology, the Brain, and Audience Expectation: Vying for Attention in “Generation Elsewhere.” October 17, 2016, at The Phillips Collection (Washington, D.C.). As new technologies have dramatically altered modes of communication, work, and leisure, have they also changed—consciously or unconsciously—what today’s audiences expect from encounters with art? This debate explores how the brain is changing in response to new technologies, and how these changes can be addressed—even manipulated by—administrators and artists. 
  2. Virtual Realities and the Public Sphere: The Future of Cultural Architecture. October 27, 2016, at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island). What impact will an infinite supply of low-cost, high-quality, on-demand digital surrogates for art—available without leaving home—have on today’s cultural institutions?  Which cultural institutions will compete with most success in this environment? This debate investigates how tomorrow’s museums, concert halls, and arts centers will fare in a world changed by virtual and augmented reality.   
  3. The Emerging Means of Production: Anticipating the Next Digital Divide. November 15, 2016, location to be determined.  As more cultural content moves online and into the digital realm, will organizations that can acquire and monetize these new “means of production” capture market share before others even enter the market?  This debate will investigate the economic and representational complications that may result from this gap. 
  4. The Artist: Form, Means, and Meaning in the 21st Century. December 9, 2016, at the MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Massachusetts). What new stories can be told—and new experiences created—that are maximally synergistic and complementary with evolving tools and techniques? How will artists map their work on to the changing contemporary brain? Can artistic practice somehow evade—or perhaps benefit from—the changes affecting audiences in virtually every other aspect of their lives? What must managers and theater architects know about artistic practice in the digital age in order to ready their institutions for new modes of creation and distribution? How can technology enhance and extend—rather than inhibit or replace—human potential for expression, connection, and collaboration?

“Anyone who’s seen a toddler ‘swipe right’ or has awakened to an iPhone on their pillow understands that as tech changes, so do we” states Brett Egan. “Our debates respond to this new era—one we might call ‘Generation Elsewhere’—marked by tech that relentlessly distracts focus from the here-and-now. In a business that has, for centuries, relied on the attentive presence of paying audiences, we can’t ignore the depth and speed of this change. We are staging this series out of concern that, as a sector, we simply have not kept pace with its effects.”

“Over the past 30 years, technology in the arts has gone from being experimental, edgy, and exciting to seeming ubiquitous, app-like, and utilitarian,” says Tod Machover. “This investigation will serve to identify the truly significant value that technology has brought to the arts, and to re-kindle the explosive excitement of technological thinking. Truly inventive technology—hardware and especially software—is our era’s most vital and powerful creative medium for translating radical imagination into transformative artistic experience, for practitioner and public alike.”

“Emerging technologies, from the proscenium stage to the light-emitting diode, have always affected the ways and means of the arts. Change is nothing new. Yet the arts face disruption in the form of emerging media platforms such as virtual reality, most of which are far cheaper than and more accessible than going to a theater,” says Sydney Skybetter. “Ultimately, the question we are wrestling with through this programming is, ‘Do we in the arts mimic and encompass other forms of media, thus ceding what has defined us for centuries, or do we stick to our proverbial guns on the gambit that there has always been an audience for the arts, and thus, presumably, always will?’”

More information on “Generation Elsewhere: Art in the Age of Distraction” and how to register is available at www.DeVosInstitute.net. Attendance at each debate is limited and will be restricted to a registered audience.  Segments of each debate will be carried via the web.

The series is made possible with the support of the University of Maryland. 

UMD Study Finds Parental Perceptions of Neighborhood Environments Affect Children's Active Play

May 26, 2016
Contacts: 

Kelly Blake 301-405-9418

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A University of Maryland study found that parental perceptions of the home neighborhood environment were linked to how physically active their children were on a daily basis.

Dr. Jennifer Roberts, assistant professor in the Department of KinesiologyThe Built Environment and Active Play (BEAP) Study was published in Preventive Medicine Reports and led by Dr. Jennifer Roberts, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology. Dr. Roberts and her team surveyed the parents of 144 children, ages seven to 12 years old in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, to gauge perception of their home neighborhood built environment, including local aesthetics, active play areas, walkability and safety. Parents also provided information about their children’s active play levels, in order to determine whether or not they met the 60-minute/day Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans’ (PAGA) recommendation, as well as demographic information.

Parents who identified their neighborhood as having features that promoted physical activity, such as sidewalks or lighting to walk at night, were more likely to have children that met the PAGA guideline. Parents who estimated shorter walking distances between their homes and nearby destinations, such as an outdoor swimming pool or a trail, were also more likely to have active children.

“Our study adds to the evidence that built environments, including neighborhood amenities and facilities, influences children’s physical activity levels,” Dr. Roberts said.  

Other factors of the built environment were determined to predict the level of active play; for example, parents who disagreed with the statement, “There is a lot of litter on the streets,” were more likely to have children who met the active play guideline. Interestingly, the BEAP Study found that active children’s parents were more likely to report a high crime rate and being victim of a crime; the researchers posited that this may be due to such parents being outdoors more often. Another explanation may be that parents use precautionary measures so that a high crime rate in the neighborhood does not deter physical activity.

“By examining a diverse population of children (23.7 percent African American and 10.4 percent Asian American), this study brings to light the perceptions of parents from an otherwise underrepresented group of research participants in built environment and active play research,” Dr. Roberts added.

The research team recommends future studies that collect both subjective and objective built environment and physical activity data to further understand the relationship between the local environment and children’s active play.

Pages

September 22
Nation’s first “Do Good campus” to drive social innovation and a mission of service. Read
September 23
UMD draws standing room-only crowd for Research on the Hill event on health equity Read
September 23
Terps can reconnect with fellow alumni at Homecoming events, including service projects, networking opportunities,... Read
September 23
Congressman Chris Van Hollen to assist UMD community at Homecoming service event in packing nutritious meals for local... Read