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Dalai Lama Will Lecture and Dialogue at UMD, May 7

May 6, 2013

Media contact: 301-257-0073
Media registration: dalailamamedia@umd.edu

Media Registration and Credentials Required

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai LamaCOLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland will host His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama on Tuesday May 7, 2013 for two separate events – delivery of the prestigious Sadat Lecture and a dialogue with scholars of Sufism, a mystical Islamic tradition.

Media space is limited; credentialed media only; advance media registration required.


Sadat Lecture: "Peace Through Compassion: Connecting a Multi-Faith World"
In the morning, the Dalai Lama will join a long list of world leaders to deliver the Sadat Lecture. Before an audience of 15,000, he will speak in English for about 45 minutes, answering questions submitted by the audience. Tickets for the event were snapped up by the public in a matter of minutes. The UMD Sadat Chair for Peace and Development arranged for the visit.

Roshan Dialogue: "A Meeting of Two Oceans: Dialogue on Sufism and Buddhism"
In the afternoon, His Holiness will meet in a smaller venue for dialogue on two religious traditions: Islam's Sufi tradition and Tibetan Buddhism. UMD's Roshan Institute of Persian Studies organized the event. Note: We have reached capacity and are no longer accepting media requests to cover the dialogue event.


His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama calls himself "a simple Buddhist monk." He is a Nobel Peace Prize-winner and an international figure with a devoted following of millions. His web site describes him as "the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people." He actively seeks out both interfaith and scientific dialogues, writing in one of his many books, "If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims."


Tuesday May 7, 2013

Sadat Lecture: 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

  • State Department security requires that all media with video cameras, still cameras, laptops and iPads must arrive for check-in at 6:30 a.m. and be in place for a 7 a.m. security sweep. There will be no late entry.
  • All additional media must be in place 45 minutes prior to the start of the event.

Roshan Dialogue: 1:45 p.m. – 3 p.m.
**Only for media who have been pre-confirmed to attend this event

  • Check in for the Roshan Dialogue is between 11:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. All media with video cameras, still cameras, laptops and iPads must be in place for a 12:30 p.m. security sweep. There will be no late entry.
  • All additional media (without video equipment or large electronics) must be in place 45 minutes prior to the start of the event.


Both events will take place on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park 20742

Sadat Lecture: Comcast Center arena, campus of the University of Maryland, College Park 20742

Roshan Dialogue: Ina and Jack Kay Theater, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, campus of the University of Maryland, College Park 20742
**Only for media who have been pre-confirmed to attend this event

MEDIA REGISTRATION: Media space is limited and restricted to credentialed media who have pre-registered. Media badges will be distributed on site. To register, media representatives should send email requests to: dalailamamedia@umd.edu. Please indicate: name(s) and position(s), media affiliation, credentials possessed [these will be required at check-in] and full contact information so we can confirm your request. We will email you a confirmation of your registration, along with and parking and check-in details.

Sadat Lecture: Media badges will be distributed on site during check in at Gate C. Please bring identification and credentials to the check-in table.
Roshan Dialogue: Media must check in through the main entrance of the Clarice Smith Center to receive their tickets. Please bring identification and credentials to the check-in table. (**Only for media who have been pre-confirmed to attend this event)

Sadat Lecture & Roshan Dialogue: Absolutely no flashbulbs or additional lighting may be used by media (at the Dalai Lama’s request). The stage will be pre-lit for video.
Sadat Lecture Only: Photographers should expect a throw of 100 feet. There will be limited opportunities for escorted close-ups. 

AUDIO: Mult-box audio feeds will be available at both events.

STREAMING: Both the lecture and the dialogue will be streamed via the Internet. Details will be available at http://www.umd.edu on the day of the event.

For media registration email dalailamamedia@umd.edu

Terps Dig Deep to Win National Championship

May 2, 2013

Sara Gavin 301-405-9235

The University of Maryland beat out 21 other colleges and universities from around the country to take home the top prize in the National Collegiate Soil Judging Contest hosted by the University of Wisconsin at Platteville April 21 through April 26. COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland beat out 21 other colleges and universities from around the country to take home the top prize in the National Collegiate Soil Judging Contest hosted by the University of Wisconsin at Platteville April 21 through April 26. It marks the first time in 29 years the Terps have won this prestigious national competition. UMD's previous victories came in 1984 and 1972.

Soil judging develops and tests a student's ability to apply knowledge and skills to real-world natural systems. To "judge" a soil, students spend one hour in a 5-foot-deep pit describing the characteristics of the various layers that have developed in the soil, the ability of the soil to transmit and retain water and support roots, the geological history of the site, the long-term processes of soil development, the classification of the soil, and the potential challenges of using the soil for land uses such as building a home. In this contest, students studied the fascinating and complex soils of the driftless (unaffected by glaciers) region of southwestern Wisconsin.

"Describing soil judging to someone is always interesting because soils are something most people don't think about, but almost everyone has interacted with," says senior Isabel Enerson. "Soil judging is a competition, but it's also one of the best and most applicable learning experiences I have ever had."

Maryland's soil judging team braved freezing temperatures, high winds, rain, sleet, hail, and stores telling them that hand-warmers were "out of season" in order to bring home this year's trophy.Maryland's soil judging team braved freezing temperatures, high winds, rain, sleet, hail, and stores telling them that hand-warmers were "out of season" in order to bring home this year's trophy.

"We are a group of students with a genuine interest in soils and a deep respect for the earth," says senior Ryan Adams. "To be able to bond with others over this shared passion and represent the University of Maryland while doing so has been invigorating and unforgettable."

Members of the victorious team included Adams, Enerson, Davinia Forgy, Laurence Gindi, Heather Hall, Steph Jamis, Peter Lynagh, Jessica Rupprecht, Mujen (Jack) Wang, and Tyler Witkowski. Of the competing students, five are Environmental Science & Technology (ENST) majors, four are Environmental Science & Policy majors and one is majoring in Agricultural Science and Technology. ENST Associate Professor Brian Needelman served as the team's coach and graduate assistant Chris Palardy served as the assistant coach.

"My favorite part of soil judging is the depth of the interactions I get to have with the students," says Coach Brian Needelman. "The team made memories that will last a lifetime and bringing home a championship is very sweet icing on the cake. The students deserved it for all their hard work and dedication."

In addition to winning the overall competition, the UMD team won the group judging portion of the contest for the second year in a row. Also, Tyler Witkowski came in 3rd place and Davinia Forgy came in 8th place in the individual portion of the competition. The first place victory builds upon Maryland Soil Judging's impressive resume, with 10 "Final Four" finishes at the national competition and 22 regional championships.

UMD Robot Bird Takes Maneuverability to New Height

April 30, 2013

Rebecca Copeland 301–405–6602

First independently controllable wings make more realistic flight possible

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — In this age of advanced technology, how hard could it be to develop a robotic bird that flies by flapping its wings? Despite the apparent simplicity of the idea, it's very hard—if you want the bird to actually fly. And how hard could it be to make a robot bird whose wings can flap independently of each other? So hard that it's been a breakthrough that's been out of reach for engineers—until now.

University of Maryland professors S. K. Gupta and Hugh Bruck and their students have developed and demonstrated a new robotic bird, "Robo Raven," whose wings flap completely independently of each other, and also can be programmed to perform any desired motion, enabling the bird to perform aerobatic maneuvers. This is the first time a robotic bird with these capabilities has been built and successfully flown.

What makes building robotic birds so difficult? Not only is there a long trial and error process, but every error leads to a crash, often one that is fatal to the robot. This makes design iterations painfully slow.

(L-R) Students Luke Roberts, John Gerdes, and Ariel Perez-Rosado with Robo Raven.Gupta, a professor in Mechanical Engineering and the Institute for Systems Research in the A. James Clark School of Engineering, has been working on flapping-wing robotic birds for the better part of a decade. He and his graduate students, along with Mechanical Engineering Professor Hugh Bruck, first successfully demonstrated a flapping-wing bird in 2007. This bird used one motor to flap both wings together in simple motions. By 2010 the design had evolved over four successive models. The final bird in the series was able to carry a tiny video camera, could be launched from a ground robot, and could fly in winds up to 10 mph—important breakthroughs for robotic micro air vehicles that one day could be used for reconnaissance and surveillance. It even fooled a local hawk, which attacked the robot in mid-flight on more than one occasion.

Robo Raven's wings flap completely independent of each other.But the limitation of simultaneous wing flapping restricted how well the robotic bird could fly. So Gupta decided to tackle the much thornier problem of creating a more versatile bird with wings that operated independently, just like real birds. An unsuccessful attempt in 2008 led to the project being shelved for a while. Then, in 2012, Gupta partnered with Bruck and their graduate students to try again.

"Our new robot, Robo Raven, is based on a fundamentally new design concept," Gupta says. "It uses two programmable motors that can be synchronized electronically to coordinate motion between the wings."

The challenge was that the two actuators required a bigger battery and an on-board micro controller, which initially made Robo Raven too heavy to fly.

"How did we get Robo Raven to 'diet' and lose weight?" Gupta asks. "We used advanced manufacturing processes such as 3D printing and laser cutting to create lightweight polymer parts."

But smarter manufacturing and lighter parts were only part of the solution.

Robo Raven in flight. So the team did three more things to get Robo Raven airborne. They programmed motion profiles that ensured wings maintained optimal velocity while flapping to achieve the right balance between lift and thrust. They developed a way to measure aerodynamic forces generated during the flapping cycle, enabling them to evaluate a range of wing designs and quickly select the best one. Finally, the team performed system-level optimization to make sure all components worked well together and provided peak performance as an integrated system.

"We can now program any desired motion patterns for the wings," Gupta says. "This allows us to try new in-flight aerobatics—like diving and rolling—that would have not been possible before, and brings us a big step closer to faithfully reproducing the way real birds fly."

Life-Saving Technology Advances with $500k Fed Grant

April 29, 2013

Eric Schurr 301-405-3889

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Remedium Technologies, a medical device company founded by University of Maryland engineers has been awarded a $500,000 federal small business innovation research grant to test the company's high-pressure, sprayable foam for rapidly halting bleeding caused by traumatic injuries.

Remedium Technologies, a medical device company founded by University of Maryland engineers has been awarded a $500,000 federal small business innovation research grant to test the company's high-pressure, sprayable foam for rapidly halting bleeding caused by traumatic injuries. In collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Maryland, Remedium will complete pre-clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of its Hemogrip™ foam in controlling non-compressible hemorrhaging, bleeding that cannot be slowed or stopped using direct pressure. Hemogrip foam can be sprayed into an injured body cavity, where it expands and adheres to tissue to stop hemorrhaging within minutes. There are currently no hemostatic products available for treatment of non-compressible bleeds, which account for 85 percent of hemorrhage-related deaths.

The grant will also support additional UMD product research by the Complex Fluids and Nanomaterials Group in the Clark School of Engineering, directed by Remedium co-founder Professor Srinivasa Raghavan (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering).

"Remedium is honored to be recognized for its product development progress with this important Phase II funding from the National Science Foundation," said Matthew Dowling (Ph.D. '10, bioengineering), CEO and co-founder of Remedium. "We are enthusiastic in approaching pre-clinical trials with a product we see as critical in addressing non-compressible hemorrhage, which is one of the biggest unmet needs in trauma medicine today," said Dowling.

Hemogrip's life-saving technology is based on chitosan—a natural biopolymer found in the exoskeleton of shrimp, crabs, and other crustaceans. Chitosan is unique as a natural material because it is biocompatible, anti-microbial, and highly durable under a wide range of environmental conditions. When applied to wounds, Hemogrip creates a nano-scale, three-dimensional mesh, rapidly coagulating blood and staunching blood loss.

The Hemogrip Foam is dispensed from a handheld, lightweight canister that is easy to use by surgeons, soldiers and consumers alike. It can be removed quickly and easily without damaging tissue, and since it is based on chitosan—the second most abundant biopolymer on earth—it is also inexpensive.

Both the current $500,000 grant and an earlier $150,000 SBIR Phase I grant were awarded to Remedium by the National Science Foundation.  The company's research has also been supported by two Maryland Industrial Partnerships grants totaling $206,000, a $140,000 Maryland Proof of Concept Alliance grant, a $75,000 Maryland Technology Development Corporation Maryland Technology Transfer Fund grant, and a $200,000 Maryland Biotechnology Center Translational Research Award. In 2009, it received the UMD's Outstanding Invention of the Year Award in the Life Sciences from the Office of Technology and Commercialization.

The young company has been highly successful in business plan competitions, including winning first prize in the Community Resilience and Homeland Security division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's 2010 Global Venture Challenge; the "Most Promising Security Idea" award in the 2009 4th Annual Global Security Challenge; and 2nd place in the Faculty and Graduate Student Division of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute's 2007 $50K Business Plan Competition. Most recently, Remedium was a finalist in the Invest Maryland Challenge, a national early-stage business competition offering grants and services to high-tech and life sciences startups located or interested in moving to the State of Maryland.

The company has six patents pending related to the Hemogrip platform. Its products, which also include surgical sprays and bandages, are designed to be used by surgeons, soldiers, EMTs, or even unskilled helpers, in locations ranging from the operating room to the battlefield to emergency situations.

Americans Feel Less Rushed, Less Happy: UMD Research

April 29, 2013

Andrew Roberts 301-405-2171
Laura Ours 301-405-5722

Fewer Americans describe their lives as "always rushed," according to a new study by a University of Maryland researcher.COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Fewer Americans describe their lives as "always rushed," according to a new study by a University of Maryland researcher – this during a period when smart phones and electronic tablets made work and social life more time-intensive and ever- present.  Between 2004 and 2010, significantly fewer (about 8 percent of survey respondents) considered themselves so intensely rushed.

At the same time, that less hectic lifestyle did not translate to increased happiness. While feelings of being rushed have been associated with lower levels of feeling "very happy," during this period, Americans' reports of happiness also declined significantly.

"The result was almost the opposite of what I expected" says University of Maryland sociologist and time-use researcher John P. Robinson, who conducted the study.  "Until this 2010 survey, feelings of being rushed had continually increased or stayed at the same level." Robinson has been tracking responses to time survey questions since 1965, when he directed the first national time survey at the University of Michigan.

Robinson reported the findings in a February 2013 report in Scientific American, and more fully in the January 2013 issue of Social Indicators Research.

 While feelings of being rushed have been associated with lower levels of feeling "very happy," during this period, Americans' reports of happiness also declined significantly.Digging deeper, Robinson also found a decline in how often Americans felt they "had time on their hands they didn't know what to do with." Nearly half of people who reported "almost never" being rushed and "almost never" having excess time on their hands said they were "very happy" in their lives -- compared to only about 25 percent of the rest of the population. 

"This small slice of the population – perhaps less than 10 percent of the public – seems to have found a way to organize their lives in a way to resist the rat race and hurry sickness than afflicts the rest of us," Robinson concludes.

The drop in feeling rushed does not appear connected to increases in joblessness during this period, as more declines were found among those who were employed. Nor were there any age groups that felt less rushed.
The data come from the 2010 General Social Survey of the University of Chicago, and various other national surveys by the University of Maryland, the University of Michigan and the University of North Florida.

Cyber Symposium Tackles Policy, Tech, Privacy & More

April 26, 2013

Eric Chapman 301-405-7136

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – What if cybersecurity were addressed as a public health concern, with strict protocols required comparable to childhood vaccinations? Is it ethically and technically feasible for local governments and corporations to launch preemptive cyberattacks against hackers? Just how safe are those "trusted certificates" we rely upon almost daily for online banking and other important web-based transactions?

Michael Hicks, director of MC2These topics, and more, are up for discussion at a major cybersecurity symposium to be held next month at the University of Maryland. The two-day event, May 14 and 15 at the College Park campus, features keynote speakers from academia, the private sector and the federal government. These experts will offer forward-looking—and possibly provocative—views on the policies, technology and human behaviors needed to combat the ever-evolving threats posed by hackers and cyberthieves.

"These are thought-provoking topics that we fully expect to stimulate interesting dialogue among our symposium participants," says Michael Hicks (pictured right), director of the Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2), which is coordinating the annual event.

Research faculty from MC2, part of the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, will also be on hand for a series of tutorials and workshops. They will discuss the latest developments and technology related to privacy in social media, security forensics, protocols for secure cloud computation and communication, supply chain security, reverse engineering and program analysis, and more.

"Anyone wanting to understand the latest trends and solutions in cybersecurity—students, business leaders, policymakers and scientists—will benefit from these sessions," says Eric Chapman, associate director of MC2.

Several corporate partners of MC2, including Tenable Network Security, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, SAIC and Google, are sponsoring the event.

Keynote speakers are:

  • Fred Schneider, the Samuel B. Eckert Professor of Computer Science at Cornell University, who will discuss how past policies for enhancing cybersecurity—prevention, risk management and deterrence through accountability—have all proven ineffective, and that a new doctrine inspired by those used for public health should be considered.
  • Kathleen Fisher, a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), who will discuss the need to develop better "high-assurance" systems in critical areas like hospitals and military applications, where hackers' intrusions can have devastating consequences.
  • Randy Sabett, J.D., of counsel at ZwillGen PLLC, who will discuss the current controversy over an "active" cyberdefense—preemptive strikes against hackers—that is an increasingly considered option outside of classified government agencies.
  • Steven Bellovin, chief technologist for the Federal Trade Commission, who will discuss what he considers to be serious security flaws in a critical infrastructure used to protect web users—trusted certificate authorities—and how their being compromised can have a cascading effect on other online security.

For more information or to register, go to www.cyber.umd.edu/events/symposium.

Why do guppies jump?

April 25, 2013

Heather Dewar 301-405-9267

COLLEGE PARK, Md - If you've owned a pet guppy, you know they often jump out of their tanks. Many a child has asked why the guppy jumped; many a parent has been stumped for an answer. Now a study by University of Maryland biologist Daphne De Freitas Soares reveals how guppies are able to jump so far, and suggests why they do it.

Soares, an expert in the brain circuitry that controls animal behavior, decided to study jumping guppies while researching unrelated evolutionary changes in the brainstems of Poecilia reticulata, a wild guppy species from the island of Trinidad and the forebear to the familiar pet shop fish. During that 2011 project, a guppy jumped out of a laboratory tank and into Soares' cup of chai.

"Fortunately it was iced chai and it had a lid on, so he stayed alive," Soares said. "That was enough for me. I had to use a high speed camera to film what was going on."

Soares, an assistant professor of biology, and UMD biology lecturer Hilary S. Bierman used high speed videography and digital imaging to analyze the jumping behavior of nine guppies from the wild Trinidadian species.
In a research paper published April 16 in the online peer-reviewed journal PLOS One, Soares and Bierman reported the jumping guppies started from a still position, swam backwards slowly, then changed direction and hurtled into the air. By preparing for the jump – a behavior never reported before in fish, according to the two biologists – the guppies were able to jump up to eight times their body length, at speeds of more than four feet per second.

Soares and Bierman concluded that guppies jump on purpose, and apparently not for the reasons other fish do – to escape from predators, to catch prey, or to get past obstacles on seasonal migrations.

The biologists hypothesize that jumping serves an important evolutionary purpose, allowing guppies to reach all the available habitat in Trinidad's mountain streams. By dispersing, they move away from areas of heavy predation, minimize competition with one another, and keep the species' genetic variability high, the researchers believe.

"Evolution is truly amazing," said Soares, who spent her own money on fish food, but otherwise conducted the study at no cost.

The video above captures a guppy's high flying technique.

"Aerial jumping in the Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata)," Daphne Soares and Hilary S. Bierman, published April 16, 2013 in PLOS One

UMD Students Honored for Outstanding Journalism

April 25, 2013

Dave Ottalini 301-405-1321

Members of the UMD chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists who attended the regional conference included (from left to right): Adviser Sue Kopen Katcef, Katie Wilhelm, Brett Hall, Brandon Goldner, Marissa Parra, Emily SchweichCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – Student journalists from the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism (pictured right) took home top honors at the recent Society of Professional Journalist's (SPJ) Region 2 Conference. Overall, students from the Merrill College and the UMD student newspaper – The Diamondback – took home 27 awards, including 9 first place awards – more than any other school in the region.

SPJ's Region 2 comprises Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Honorees received award certificates at the Region 2 Spring Conference in Norfolk, Va., and first-place winners will move on to the national MOE competition among category winners from the 12 SPJ regions.

National winners will be notified in the late spring and will be recognized at Excellence in Journalism 2013 in Southern California, Aug. 24 to 26. The awards are judged by professionals with at least three years of journalism experience.

The awards honor the best in student journalism. As such, judges were directed to choose only those entries which they felt were outstanding work worthy of such an honor. If the judges determined that none of the entries rose to the level of excellence, no award was given. Any category not listed has no winner.

School divisions are based on student enrollment, which includes both graduate and undergraduate enrollment: Large schools have more than 10,000 students, medium have 9,999 to 5,001 students, and small have fewer than 5,000 students.

For the full list of UMD awards, visit the Merrill College website here.

Hubble Brings Faraway Comet Into View

April 23, 2013

Heather Dewar 301-405-9267

This contrast-enhanced image of Comet ISON, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope on April 10, 2013, shows dust particle release on the sunward-facing side of the comet's nucleus, the small, solid body at its core. The image was taken in visible light with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3. Blue false color was added to bring out details in the comet structure. Blue false color was added to bring out details.  Credit: NASA, ESA, J.-Y. Li (Planetary Science Institute), and the Hubble Comet ISON Imaging Science Team. COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The NASA Hubble Space Telescope has given astronomers their clearest view yet of Comet ISON, a newly-discovered sun grazer comet that may light up the sky later this year, or come so close to the Sun that it disintegrates. A University of Maryland-led research team is closely following ISON, which offers a rare opportunity to witness a comet's evolution as it makes its first-ever journey through the inner solar system.

Like all comets, ISON is a " dirty snowball" – a clump of frozen gases mixed with dust, formed in a distant reach of the solar system, traveling on an orbit influenced by the gravitational pull of the Sun and its planets. ISON's orbit will bring it to a perihelion, or maximum approach to the Sun, of 700,000 miles on November 28, said Maryland assistant research scientist Michael S. Kelley.

This image was made on April 10, when ISON was some 386 million miles from the Sun – slightly closer to the Sun than the planet Jupiter. Comets become more active as they near the inner solar system, where the Sun's heat evaporates their  ices into jets of gases and dust. But even at this great distance ISON is already active, with a strong jet blasting dust particles off its nucleus. As these dust particles shimmer in reflected sunlight, a portion of the comet's tail becomes visible in the Hubble image.

Comet ISON may appear brighter than the full Moon around the time it approaches the Sun Nov. 28, but it is not yet visible to the naked eye. The Hubble Space Telescope snapped this image as ISON hurtles toward the sun at about 47,000 miles per hour. The image was taken in visible light, and blue false color was added to bring out details.  Credit: NASA, ESA, J.-Y. Li (Planetary Science Institute), and the Hubble Comet ISON Imaging Science Team. This image was taken in visible light with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3. The blue false color was added to bring out details in the comet structure.Next week while the Hubble still has the comet in view, the Maryland team will use the space telescope to gather information about ISON's gases.

"We want to look for the ratio of the three dominant ices, water, frozen carbon monoxide, and frozen carbon dioxide, or dry ice," said Maryland astronomy Prof. Michael A'Hearn. "That can tell us the temperature at which the comet formed, and with that temperature, we can then say where in the solar system it formed."

The Maryland team will use both the Hubble Space Telescope and the instruments on the Deep Impact space craft to continue to follow ISON as it travels toward its November close up (perihelion) with the sun.

For earlier images and research by the UMD team, see these links to earlier ISON releases:
Comet Debuting in New Deep Impact Movie Expected to Star this Winter
Astronomers Take a Closer Look at Comet ISON



Going Green Vertically

April 22, 2013

Sara Gavin 301-405-9235

ENST graduate student Scott Tjaden holds plans for the green wall he is installing on the Animal Sciences building.COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Inside one of the wings of the Animal Sciences building on the University of Maryland campus, students with the Department of Environmental Science and Technology (ENST) are constantly researching, testing and analyzing ways to make systems more energy efficient and sustainable. But ENST graduate student Scott Tjaden (pictured right) decided his latest project would be more appropriate for the outside of the building. "What better way to show what we're learning about and what we're researching on a large scale?" says Tjaden.

About a year and a half ago, Tjaden applied for and received a grant from the university's Sustainability Fund to install a green wall on the southern side of the Animal Sciences building. Green walls, or green façade systems, are designed to reduce the sun exposure of buildings in order to cut down on energy needed to condition the interior. They can also help protect a building's exterior, provide cleaner air and promote biodiversity.

Once completed, Tjaden's project will create UMD's very first green wall. "We're hoping this will spur more green walls on campus," he says.

Green Wall DiagramConstruction began early this spring on the wall's trellis system made of tension cable and horizontal rods. Vine-based plants will be installed at the base of the wall that will grow up the trellis system. Tjaden carefully chose plants native to Maryland including passion flowers and jasmine, incorporating school colors into his design. He also plans to create a butterfly garden at the bottom of the structure to make it more aesthetically pleasing. A group of five undergraduate students are assisting Tjaden as part of a capstone project.

Additionally, the green wall and one of the existing brick walls will both be equipped with monitoring devices. This will allow Tjaden to collect and compare data on temperature and energy fluxes between the two surfaces. He also plans to display that data on a TV monitor live inside the building's lobby. "This will extend the passing students' and visitors' knowledge of the system and they can see by the numbers how the system benefits buildings," says Tjaden.

Although Tjaden plans to have the plants installed at the green wall by Maryland Day, April 27, it will be a couple of years before the surface is completely grown in. Tjaden is set to graduate with his master's degree next May but hopes his efforts will inspire other students to take over his green wall project or, create their own.


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