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Wyoming Space Grant Consortium Newsletter - PaSSWORD

Volume 6, November 30, 1995

(The PaSS Center is Funded by NASA Grant #NGT-40050)

Murray Gell-Mann Speaks to Public about Complex Systems and the Quark

On Sunday, February 5, 1995, Murray Gell-Mann gave a public lecture in the Fine Arts Theater. Murray Gell-Mann received the Nobel Prize in 1969 for his work on the theory of elementary particles. The "eightfold way" theory developed by Professor Gell-Mann brought order to the chaos of the 100's of particles discovered by smashing atoms apart. However, his greatest contribution was the discovery that all of the particles, including the neutron and proton, are composed of a fundamental building block that Murray Gell-Mann named "quarks". He and others later constructed the quantum field theory of quarks and gluons, called "quantum chromodynamics". This theory seems to account for all of the nuclear particles and the strong forces between them.

Professor Gell-Mann has also received many awards and has been the recipient of several honorary doctoral degrees. He has been a member of the Caltech faculty since 1955. Murray Gell-Mann also holds several other titles and is a member of various societies, foundations, and academic affiliations.

Although Murray Gell-Mann is a theoretical physicist, his interests extend to many other subjects including archeology, biological evolution, creative thinking, cultural evolution, depth psychology, historical linguistics, and natural history. He is also concerned about policies related to the world's environmental quality, population growth, and economic development, and about the stability of the world political system.

The public talk was based upon his new book titled, "The Quark and the Jaguar: Adventures in the Simple and the Complex". Professor Gell-Mann discussed simple and complex systems in great detail. He also recounted how he has come to understand the connections between the simplicity of particle physics and the complexity of systems that adapt to acquired information, such as the human mind.

Dr. Gell-Mann was invited to speak at the University of Wyoming by the Art Department and Cultural Outreach Program, and was Co-Sponsored by the PaSS Center. The Mathematics Department was also a sponsor. The talk was held at the University of Wyoming Fine Arts Theater and was attended by more than 150 people.

Topics included chance and simplicity versus complexity. Dr. Gell-Mann discussed how the simplistic early universe developed into the complex universe we know today. He postulated that the universe was originally governed by a few, simple laws and through chance those simple laws have grown into the complex laws of today. He stated, as a final example, that life on Earth started as simple one-celled organisms and has progressed into the human being. Dr. Gell-Mann also suggested that life on Earth may not end with humans but may develop into something more complex.

The talk lasted approximately one hour and was followed by 45 minutes of questions from the audience. Questions ranged from "How did you come up with the name 'quark'?" to "How does chance affect human free will?"

The PaSS Center has a Place on The World Wide Web

Current information about the PaSS Center may now be accessed via the Internet. This information includes due dates for proposals and descriptions for each grant program offered by the PaSS Center. Also, upcoming events such as teacher workshops and speakers will be announced via the Internet. Any publications that have resulted from participating with the PaSS center will be listed. In addition, available products such as CD ROMs and videos will be advertised.

In order to access our home page on the Internet, follow the directions below.

  • You must have access to Mosaic or Netscape Select Mosaic or Netscape
  • Under File, choose Open Location (in Netscape) or Open URL (in Mosaic)
  • Type in:

This will gain you access to the PaSS Center homepage. If you have any difficulties, or would like to know where to look for information on how to install Mosaic/Netscape for your computer, please do not hesitate to call us at (307) 766-2862.

First Meeting with Industry

The Wyoming Planetary and Space Science Center is interested in acquiring industrial affiliates for the purpose of sharing ideas regarding education. Specifically, we are interested in how the University of Wyoming might better prepare students for entering industry. Our primary interests are in area pertaining to planetary and space sciences.

Ball Aerospace hosted the first meeting between a University representative, a PaSS Center representative, and an industrial representative. David Aguilar was the industry representative from Ball Aerospace.

One discussion aimed at addressing the question "What are qualities that industry is looking for in new employees, and how can educators be more responsive in preparing students?" At Ball Aerospace, they look for new hires who are capable of critical thinking and who have strong communication skills. They do not look for specific degrees! Energy and enthusiasm were also aspects which were considered necessary for employment. Secondary elements included computer skills; primarily the ability to access and utilize the Internet for information gathering. Mr. Aguilar communicated that industry is no longer looking for permanent employees but rather prefer to hire people for specific projects and limited duration. Once the project is complete, one should grow and continue one's career most likely with another company, according to Aguilar.

Ideas such as those obtained during the first meeting between industry and the PaSS Center are valuable to the decisions regarding curriculum development that are being faced by certain departments at the University of Wyoming.

We sincerely hope that other industrial representatives will become involved.

The PaSS Center is currently planning to hold a second meeting sometime in June. Besides Ball Aerospace, we hope that Echo-Star, Hewlett Packard, IBM, and US West will participate. Interested persons should call Teresa Ciardi at (307) 766-2862.

Wyoming to be Part of Five State Consortium named UMAC

The Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium being organized will include Wyoming. One of the primary goals for forming the Consortium is to develop a regional mechanism for the utilization and application of NASA's resources. One example might be the development of satellite data into a form that allows monitoring of crops for more optimal and precise application of fertilizer and the distribution of such information to farmers throughout the region. The member academic institutions are: University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Montana State University, University of Montana, University of Wyoming, and University of Idaho. US West Communications, Incorporated, and possibly Hughes Telecommunications and Space Company will act as industrial members and provide the telecommunications expertise necessary to communicate with the public that the five state consortium is to serve. The Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium has four main goals. The first is to introduce space technology and NASA programs into a region where few have experienced any benefit from the Agency's activities. The second goal is to enrich NASA's Earth Observing System and Mission to Planet Earth by empowering ordinary citizens to be information providers as well as consumers. Goal number three is to create real-world applications from Mission to Planet Earth data that will enhance economic development and the quality of life. The fourth goal is to assure that rural America has the opportunity to share fully in the benefits of new technologies.

By incorporating Public Access Resource Centers, the new consortium anticipates enabling groups of citizens with like interests to communicate among themselves. The Resource Centers will also convert raw data from NASA's Earth Observing System archives into useful information by developing practical applications, and will distribute the information in appropriate formats, suitable for all computer users. Furthermore, the Centers will tell the public about applications and data that are available, their utility, how to access and use them, and what decision support they provide. Finally, a communications web will be created enabling the public to influence decisions regarding space programs.

A proposal for the five state consortium is being developed to submit to NASA. Because the new consortium is still in the formative stages, the telecommunications network has not yet been established. If and when NASA approves the proposal for the Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium, we will notify the public via our home page. Persons wanting to become involved with the five state consortium should contact Paul Johnson or Pat McClurg at the University of Wyoming.

FREE 1995 Teacher Workshops

The UW Planetary and Space Science (PaSS) Center is again offering FREE hands-on computer workshops. The workshops are designed to help teachers of all subjects and grade levels integrate computers into their classrooms. No prior experience with computers is necessary. We are currently looking for sites to hold these workshops, and would prefer locations in the Northern part of the state this year. If your school is interested in hosting a workshop, please contact Pete Ellsworth, WIDT, at (307)766-6381, or Jim McClurg, UW Department of Geology, at (307)766-3386. Hosts will be responsible for recruiting ten to twenty participants and providing a computer for each person. The workshop is FREE and State Department of Education Continuing Education credit is available. Although it is not required, one hour of University of Wyoming credit is also available for $56.00 which is one half the regular price. Approximately fourteen hours is required for a workshop, to be spread over two days. The menu for this years workshop is: (1) an introduction to imaging concepts; (2) obtaining images; and (3) image processing and enhancement.

Introductory elements will encompass working with an integrated software package that includes a word processor, a spread sheet, a database, drawing and graphing capabilities. Also, the usefulness of these elements in classroom applications will be discussed. Participants will learn how to use ClipArt, scanners, digital cameras, video capture, the Internet, CD-ROMs, and Videodisks to acquire images. Finally, everyone will learn to use an image processing program. The processing program allows one to manipulate the images in a variety of ways including changing the shape and size of an image, adding labels and text, coloring and shading the image, smoothing and sharpening the image.

NEW CD ROM from The PaSS Center

A new CD ROM was created with new images, accessible by IBM compatibles and Mac.'s. The Wyoming Images CD created last year was revised and will be distributed to teachers free of charge this summer. Any additional CD ROMs will be available to the general public upon request. The revised CD has a new driver to navigate the database, select and store desired images, and prepare a "slide" show for presentation. All images are accompanied by text. Images are ordered by county, and fall into four different categories including "slides", remote sensing, maps, and miscellaneous. The miscellaneous category includes energy, Wyoming wildlife, Wyoming history, and a sub-category of miscellaneous items. The NIH image processing program was included to allow the user to manipulate an image in many ways, such as smoothing, sharpening, measuring, changing size and shape, and adding text.

PaSS Center Grant Programs

The Wyoming Planetary and Space Science Center is in the processes of reviewing the current grant programs. Some changes may be present in the selection criteria for the next round of proposals. We have decided to hold an informal Proposal Writing Work shop prior to the next round of proposals in an attempt to make clear PaSS Center and NASA goals. This workshop will be announced via the distribution of flyers to all UW Faculty and Administrators.

The Faculty Fellowship Program and the Research Seed Money Program are currently under review. However, each of the student fellowship programs is briefly described here for your convenience; only minor changes may are anticipated for these programs.

Graduate Fellowships

The Graduate Fellowship Program is intended to initiate new research projects that will result in publications in refereed journals, proposals to federal agencies, theses, and/or a M.S./Ph.D. degree.

Undergraduate Seed Money Awards

The Undergraduate Seed Money Awards are intended to act as Undergraduate Fellowships. Our primary goal for this program is to provide exceptional undergraduate students with "real" research experience which will promote further study and research in the field. It is essential that the project be for the benefit of the undergraduate student.

Upcoming Proposal Deadlines & PaSS Center Events

May 1995

Advisory Board Meeting to be Scheduled for late May

Fall 1995

Distinguished Scientist Public Talk to be scheduled

January 1995

An informal proposal writing workshop is planned for the second week of classes

February 21, 1996

Proposals will be due for Graduate Fellowships Proposals will be due for Undergraduate Seed Money Proposals will be due for Faculty Fellowships

We send flyers to all UW faculty and administrators announcing proposal deadlines and events approximately one month prior. Announcements are also posted on our door (PS 328) or near the bulletin board in the hall.


This page was last updated Tuesday, October 26, 2010 12:14 PM

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