All posts by: Sarah Hansen, M.S. '15


Three student walk down a sidewalk on campus holding an orange balloon about five feet in diameter tethered by ropes a few feet above their heads.

Getting Your Research Off the Ground—Balloons Give Students New Perspectives

The balloons have been a mystery to much of the campus community for years, with the colorful orbs dotting the campus sky in about the tenth week of almost every semester. But for the students in Charlie Kaylor’s class, the balloons represent a culmination of the knowledge and skills they’ve gained over the preceding 10 weeks, including disciplines like ecology, statistics, botany, and sociology. Continue Reading Getting Your Research Off the Ground—Balloons Give Students New Perspectives

Lots of skinny pink squiggly lines mixed with green dots and a green swath at the lower left; black backgroun

New “Life Magnified” USPS stamp series features Tagide deCarvalho’s images of microscopic life

Tagide deCarvalho produces artistic images of microscopic life that combine her skill at the lab bench with her artist’s eye. Her artwork continues to earn her accolades worldwide. “I just get so excited when I see things under the microscope,” she says, and her art is “a way to capture the excitement and share it with other people.” Continue Reading New “Life Magnified” USPS stamp series features Tagide deCarvalho’s images of microscopic life

Man in a suit stands onstage in a dark theatre, with a vertical banner that says "UMBC - GRIT-X" behind him.

Manil Suri’s new book, “The Big Bang of Numbers,” introduces readers to the wonder of math

It’s rare to meet a mathematician who is also a bestselling novelist, but UMBC’s Manil Suri is happy to be unique. “The Big Bang of Numbers,” Suri’s first nonfiction book, is written to show people who aren’t necessarily fond of math that the discipline is foundational to our world—and can even be fun. Continue Reading Manil Suri’s new book, “The Big Bang of Numbers,” introduces readers to the wonder of math

Two people stand to the left of a tree with a metal box and yellow label attached to the trunk. Another person stands to the right, speaking to someone off camera.

UMBC’s Matthew Baker and team study how urban trees respond to heat stress

On a sunny fall day in October, a handful of student and faculty researchers are scuttling around outside the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery. High-tech instruments sprawl across folding tables, alongside lower-tech equipment like a hole-punch, glass jars, clippers, and Ziploc bags. A drone about the size of a couch cushion sits on the grass nearby, awaiting instructions. Continue Reading UMBC’s Matthew Baker and team study how urban trees respond to heat stress

Group photo of five people on a staircase landing, bright windows behind them

UMBC’s Zhibo Zhang to clarify atmospheric dust’s role in climate with NSF grant

Natural dust particles and pollutants in the atmosphere affect Earth’s overall energy budget in nuanced ways. A new project will study how dust, pollutants, and water vapor in the atmosphere interact, to increase understanding of their overall effects on the global climate. Continue Reading UMBC’s Zhibo Zhang to clarify atmospheric dust’s role in climate with NSF grant

A cloud of grayish-purplish smoke -- like an explosion -- appears on a black background.

UMBC partners in NASA-funded TIGERISS mission to determine source of heavy elements on Earth

“All of that heavier stuff we see here on Earth and throughout the cosmos, like gold, and platinum, and lead—where did it come from, and how did it get distributed?” asks Nicholas Cannady. He serves as operations lead on TIGERISS, a new mission recently funded for up to $20 million over five years, that aims to help answer that question. Continue Reading UMBC partners in NASA-funded TIGERISS mission to determine source of heavy elements on Earth

Microscope image. Black background; neon green, tightly packed cylindrical-looking cells at the top, with more sparse layers of red, blue, purple, and green cells below.

Vision beyond sight: UMBC’s Phyllis Robinson to advance study of critical eye protein with $2.5M NIH grant

An eye protein called melanopsin can affect everything from our mood, to our sleeping and eating patterns, to our ability to adapt to time zone and seasonal changes. Robinson’s new work will focus on how certain modifications to melanopsin affect its function. “We’re looking at this cool molecule that affects our light-dependent behaviors in ways we’re not conscious of,” Robinson says. “It’s really exciting stuff within our field.” Continue Reading Vision beyond sight: UMBC’s Phyllis Robinson to advance study of critical eye protein with $2.5M NIH grant

five people stand on a rooftop with a blue sky and the UMBC library in the background

Ozone and thunderstorms: Two UMBC Ph.D. students receive prestigious NASA grants, mentor undergraduates

Maurice Roots and Kylie Hoffman, UMBC Ph.D. students in atmospheric physics, have received competitive Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) awards that will support the remainder of their graduate studies. Roots’s research project will focus on air pollution and Hoffman will target thunderstorms, both using remote sensing techniques. Continue Reading Ozone and thunderstorms: Two UMBC Ph.D. students receive prestigious NASA grants, mentor undergraduates

Two circles, each with many round blobs ranging from blue through green, yellow, and red, based on elevation of the crater. Each circle has a black line traveling from the edge (the pole location 4.25B years ago) to the center (present-day pole).

UMBC’s Viswanathan uses the Moon’s craters to track its shifting poles over 4.25 billion years

To trace the Moon’s poles over time, the research team examined the combined effects of more than 5,000 craters on the Moon’s surface. “All this cratering is like a record” of the Moon’s history, Vishnu Viswanathan says. The team found relatively stable poles over time, which would have created favorable conditions for accumulation of resources like water near the poles. Continue Reading UMBC’s Viswanathan uses the Moon’s craters to track its shifting poles over 4.25 billion years

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