AIP to Fund Programs Combating Racial Injustice, Inequities in Physics, Physical Sciences

The American Institute of Physics has established a $200,000 fund to support efforts by its 10 member societies and an AIP affiliated society, the National Society of Black Physicists, for actions that are a direct response to racial injustice. The AIP 2020-2021 Diversity Action Fund will have a special focus on society actions for Black students in the physical sciences, as well as programs focused on minority communities.

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Pandemic Puts Physical Sciences at ‘Tipping Point’ Between Perilous, Vibrant Futures

Commissioned by the AIP board of directors, “Peril and Promise: Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Physical Sciences,” outlines several areas where the scientific community has been tested by the pandemic and examines what the future could look like for the workforce, infrastructure and conduct of research. Calling it “a tipping point,” the panel challenges leaders in government, academia, the private sector and other areas who depend on the physical sciences to craft specific recommendations to address the pandemic’s impacts.

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Six Argonne researchers receive DOE Early Career Research Program awards

Argonne scientists Michael Bishof, Maria Chan, Marco Govini, Alessandro Lovato, Bogdan Nicolae and Stefan Wild have received funding for their research as part of DOE’s Early Career Research Program.

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Academic Achievement isn’t the Reason There are More Men than Women Majoring in Physics, Engineering and Computer Science

While some STEM majors have a one-to-one male-to-female ratio, physics, engineering and computer science (PECS) majors consistently have some of the largest gender imbalances among U.S. college majors – with about four men to every woman in the major. In a new study published today in the peer-reviewed research journal, Science, NYU researchers find that this disparity is not caused by higher math or science achievement among men. On the contrary, the scholars found that men with very low high-school GPAs in math and science and very low SAT math scores were choosing these math-intensive majors just as often as women with much higher math and science achievement.

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Biohybrid Model Uses Organic Lungs, Synthetic Muscles to Re-Create Respiration Mechanics

Discussed in APL Bioengineering, researchers created a high-fidelity respiratory simulator that accurately represents the interplay between the abdomen, diaphragm, lungs and pleural space, the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the thorax and lungs. The model, using swine lungs, soft robotic materials and artificial muscles, allows precise tuning of pressure in each part of the system, so specific disease conditions can be tested. It also proved extremely useful for testing ventilator-only respiration by removing the elastomeric diaphragm.

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Targeting SARS-CoV-2 Enzyme with Inhibitors

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, many researchers are studying epidemiological models to predict its propagation. However, a mathematician and expert in complex systems decided to focus on finding targets within SARS-CoV-2 for new drugs to attack. In the journal Chaos, he discusses the dramatic increase in the sensitivity of the main protease of SARS-CoV-2 to small disturbances, which made him suspect there is a role for inhibitors to play in killing the virus.

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Survival of Coronavirus in Different Cities, on Different Surfaces

One of the many questions researchers have about the COVID-19 virus is how long it remains alive after someone infected coughs or sneezes. In Physics of Fluids, researchers examine the drying time of respiratory droplets from COVID-19-infected subjects on various surfaces in six cities around the world. Using a model well established in the field of interface science, the drying time calculations showed ambient temperature, type of surface and relative humidity play critical roles.

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