Breaking News
February 23, 2019 - Intensive therapy during early stages of MS leads to better long-term outcomes
February 23, 2019 - Prenatal Fluconazole Exposure Increases Neonatal Risks
February 23, 2019 - Mental Health Screening: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
February 23, 2019 - Study suggests birth mechanics are part of the process that leads to autism
February 23, 2019 - Unhealthy diet linked to poor mental health
February 23, 2019 - Study gives a snapshot of crocodile evolution
February 23, 2019 - Research finds steep rise in self-poisonings among young people
February 23, 2019 - American Gastroenterological Association announces “AGA Future Leaders Program”
February 23, 2019 - Scientists uncover new mechanisms regulating neural stem cells
February 23, 2019 - Combinations of certain insecticides turn out to be lethal for honeybees
February 23, 2019 - AHA News: Why Are Black Women at Higher Risk of Dying From Pregnancy Complications?
February 23, 2019 - NIMH » Anxiety Disorders
February 23, 2019 - Autistic people urgently need access to tailored mental health support
February 23, 2019 - Newly designed molecule could benefit people with Friedrich’s Ataxia
February 23, 2019 - Chinese CRISPR twins may have better cognition and memory
February 23, 2019 - Study finds new genetic clues associated with asthma in African ancestry populations
February 23, 2019 - Fetal signaling pathways may offer future opportunities to treat lung damage
February 23, 2019 - Early-stage osteoarthritis drug wins prestigious innovation award
February 23, 2019 - Researchers report positive findings with dasotraline for ADHD in children ages 6-12
February 23, 2019 - News study reanalyzes the effects of noncaloric sweeteners on gut microbiota
February 23, 2019 - New device allows scientists to reproduce blow effects on the heart in lab
February 23, 2019 - Holy herb identified as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease
February 23, 2019 - New technology platform digitally counts growth factors in single cells
February 23, 2019 - Surgery and other treatments offer viable options for adult scoliosis
February 23, 2019 - Reduced antibody adaptability may make the elderly more vulnerable to influenza
February 23, 2019 - Neighborhood income, education associated with risk of disability progression in MS patients
February 23, 2019 - Endocrine Society opposes new rule that restricts access to Title X Family Planning Program
February 23, 2019 - 2019 guidelines for management of patients with atrial fibrillation
February 23, 2019 - Surprise rheumatoid arthritis discovery points to new treatment for joint inflammation
February 23, 2019 - A just-right fix for a tiny heart
February 23, 2019 - UMass Amherst scientist explores role of citrus peel in decreasing gut inflammation
February 23, 2019 - Owlstone Medical and Shanghai Renji Hospital collaborate to initiate breath biopsy lung cancer trial
February 23, 2019 - AMSBIO’s comprehensive portfolio of knock-out cell lines and lysates
February 23, 2019 - New app reliably determines physicians’ skills in forming accurate, efficient diagnoses
February 23, 2019 - Peripheral nerve injury can trigger the onset and spread of ALS, shows study
February 23, 2019 - Researchers uncover mechanisms that prevent tooth replacement in mice
February 23, 2019 - Once-a-day capsule offers new way to reduce symptoms of chronic breathlessness
February 23, 2019 - FDA Adds Boxed Warning for Increased Risk of Death with Gout Medicine Uloric (febuxostat)
February 23, 2019 - Phone-based intervention aids rheumatoid arthritis care
February 23, 2019 - Opioid epidemic makes eastern inroads and targets African-Americans
February 23, 2019 - New identified biomarker predicts patients who might benefit from HER2-targeted agents
February 23, 2019 - Study offers new insights into mechanisms of changes in erythrocytes under stress
February 23, 2019 - Antipsychotic polypharmacy may be beneficial for schizophrenia patients
February 23, 2019 - Researchers investigate how marijuana and tobacco co-use affects quit attempts by smokers
February 23, 2019 - Patients with diabetes mellitus have high risk of stable ischemic heart disease
February 23, 2019 - Transparency on healthcare prices played key role in Arizona health system’s turnaround
February 23, 2019 - A comprehensive, multinational review of peppers around the world
February 23, 2019 - Study finds modest decrease in burnout among physicians
February 23, 2019 - A simple change can drastically reduce unnecessary tests for urinary tract infections
February 23, 2019 - Deep Learning-Enhanced Device Detects Diabetic Retinopathy
February 23, 2019 - Researchers discover new binding partner for amyloid precursor protein
February 23, 2019 - Modest decrease seen in burnout among physicians, researchers say | News Center
February 23, 2019 - Transplanting bone marrow of young mice into old mice prevents cognitive decline
February 23, 2019 - Mogrify to accelerate novel IP and cell therapies using $3.7m USD funding
February 23, 2019 - Johns Hopkins study describes cells that may help speed bone repair
February 23, 2019 - Scientists demonstrate influence of food odors on proteostasis
February 23, 2019 - Researchers unlock the secret behind reproduction of fish called ‘Mary’
February 23, 2019 - Acupuncture Could Help Ease Menopausal Symptoms
February 23, 2019 - Researchers use AI to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s
February 23, 2019 - On recovery, vulnerability and ritual: An exhibit in white | News Center
February 23, 2019 - Memory Stored in Unexpected Region of the Brain
February 23, 2019 - Several health experts worldwide gather at EUDONORGAN event
February 23, 2019 - Discovery of potent compound in native California shrub may lead to treatment for Alzheimer’s
February 22, 2019 - Researchers create new map of the brain’s own immune system
February 22, 2019 - ICHE’s reviews on surgical infections, unnecessary urine tests, and nurses’ role in antibiotic stewardship
February 22, 2019 - UK Research and Innovation invests £200 million to create new generation of AI leaders
February 22, 2019 - Takeda collaboration to boost fight against Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases
February 22, 2019 - Heavy drinking may change DNA, leading to increased craving for alcohol
February 22, 2019 - U.S. opioid deaths jump fourfold in 20 years; epidemic shifts to Eastern states | News Center
February 22, 2019 - 5 Questions with William Turner on Diversity in Medicine
February 22, 2019 - HHS Finalizes Rule Seeking To Expel Planned Parenthood From Family Planning Program
February 22, 2019 - Researchers uncover biochemical pathway that may help identify drugs to treat Alzheimer’s
February 22, 2019 - Biologist uses new grant to find ways to eliminate schistosomiasis
February 22, 2019 - Bag-mask ventilation to help patients breathe during intubation prevents complications
February 22, 2019 - AbbVie Announces New Drug Application Accepted for Priority Review by FDA for Upadacitinib for Treatment of Moderate to Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis
February 22, 2019 - Nature versus nurture and addiction
February 22, 2019 - New website connects researchers with data experts, resources | News Center
February 22, 2019 - Today’s Concerns About Drug Prices Echo The Past
February 22, 2019 - CT and Doppler equipment have low accuracy in detecting cerebral vasospasm and ischemia
February 22, 2019 - Study finds out similarity in function between healthy retina cell and tumor cell
University of Utah to establish first-of-its-kind dark sky studies minor in the US

University of Utah to establish first-of-its-kind dark sky studies minor in the US

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

The W. M. Keck Foundation has awarded $250,000 to the University of Utah to establish a new undergraduate minor in dark sky studies, the first of its kind in the United States. Dark sky studies is an emerging field that explores the impacts of artificial light at night and the loss of our night skies through a broad range of disciplines. Housed in the College of Architecture + Planning, the minor is open to all students across the university who will explore issues through the lens of science, including in public health, urban planning, engineering, and the humanities, from religion to history and philosophy.

“Exploring ways to bring faculty together from across the campus and create inspiring, transdisciplinary courses finally came together with the W. M. Keck Foundation’s invitation for proposals,” said Stephen Goldsmith, associate professor in the Department of City & Metropolitan Planning and principal investigator for the project. “Their award paves the way for the creation of new knowledge and invites creative responses to the challenges that surround the disappearing dark.”

Students will also participate in field-based research, including developing new technology to measure light pollution. In subsequent courses, students will use the new device to collect, map and analyze data within communities along the Colorado Plateau interested in improving their night skies. The students will identify lighting hot spots and implement creative solutions, such as designing and installing cost-effective fixtures that address community issues.

The minor is the substantive next step for the U-based Consortium for Dark Sky Studies (CDSS), the first research center in the world focused on the interdisciplinary connections of artificial light and dark skies. The minor further illuminates the consortium’s role as an international leader in the field.

“Dark sky studies is a truly interdisciplinary field engaging disciplines ranging from the humanities, urban planning, and tourism to STEM and health,” said Daniel Mendoza, one of the minor’s core faculty members, who holds joint appointments in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and the Division of Pulmonary Medicine. “The University of Utah has been leading the way since the inception of the CDSS and, with the generosity of the Keck Foundation, we are establishing the groundwork for continued educational and research opportunities.”

A minor with major reach across campus

The minor in dark sky studies seeks to expand a new pedagogical model for transdisciplinary undergraduate studies. The minor’s core faculty reflect this philosophy: They are Mendoza; Goldsmith, co-director of the CDSS, who coordinates the urban ecology program in the Department of City & Metropolitan Planning; David B. Kieda, co-director of the CDSS, dean of the Graduate School, and professor of the Department of Physics & Astronomy; Kelly S. Bricker, professor, chair, and director of parks, recreation and tourism in the College of Health; and Cord Bowen, director of the U’s multidisciplinary design program in the College of Architecture + Planning.

Ten more faculty from all corners of campus will collaborate to develop syllabi and refine courses that break down the traditional silos between the different departments. These course instructors will become a new cohort of scholars in dark sky studies, providing them a platform for collaborating with peers from other institutions.

“The minor in dark sky studies provides students across campus with the opportunity to engage in highly relevant inquiry regarding a universally inspiring natural, cultural and economic resource that is clearly disappearing due to human habitat,” said Keith Diaz Moore, dean of the College of Architecture + Planning.

The minor will require 21 hours of coursework, including nine credit hours in three new interdisciplinary core courses tentatively named Public Health and Artificial Light; Arts, Humanities and the Night Skies; and Astronomy and Culture. Students will also take four electives from departments across the U campus to explore a particular aspect of dark sky studies.

Undergraduate research experience

The minor offers undergraduates research opportunities; the first is inventing a new tool for understanding the impact of artificial light at night in areas affected by skyglow. Skyglow is a phenomenon in which artificial light scatters into the atmosphere and creates a diffuse glow that is visible across long distances.

Professors Kam Leang of mechanical engineering, Marc Bodson of electrical and computer engineering, and Tucker Hermans of the School of Computing will mentor undergraduate students from the College of Engineering to design and develop drone technology, called a “Sky Drone,” that will be capable of carrying instruments that measure light levels and temperatures, and will export data into geographical information systems maps.

The Sky Drone will be the first of its kind–existing tools require an individual to record measurements by hand while traveling on foot, often taking weeks to survey an area. In contrast, the Sky Drone will rapidly and remotely measure and map artificial light sources over a large geographic space, saving substantial money and time. After its development, all students in the dark sky minor will utilize the Sky Drone to research the impact of skyglow in communities throughout the Colorado Plateau. Additionally, the technology could be patentable and become a vital tool for the increasing number of communities looking to improve their night skies and boost astro-tourism in their areas.

The program will use funds from the Keck Foundation to pay lecturers in dark sky studies, create new lighting survey equipment, purchase portable telescopes and provide student travel to regional field stations. Additional funds from the U will cover the cost of instructors and provide teaching and research assistantships for the new classes, student internships, access to field stations and observatories, and a meeting space for the CDSS. The U.S. National Park Service is funding a coordinator dedicated to dark sky research and community development within the Colorado Plateau.

“The dark skies minor will prepare students for the modern world by engaging them in truly integrated thinking and experience that locates their learning in the context of complex systems–an example of the best in undergraduate education at the University of Utah,” said Martha S. Bradley, senior associate vice president of undergraduate studies.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles