Posts tagged with "science"

Image of Telescope via Gabrielle Archulleta for Use by 360 Magazine

New Report Underlines Importance of Science and Tech Funding

Investments in science and technology research are vital to the United States’ economic growth and global leadership, according to a new report from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

The Biden administration has made science and technology (S&T) a centerpiece of its early policy agenda with ambitious targets for federal investments in research and development (R&D). There are also growing concerns in Congress about the United States’ global leadership in S&T-focused industries, especially in relation to China.

“As the high technology sector (e.g., advanced computing and communications, social media platforms and other web-based services) becomes an increasingly large part of the overall U.S. economy, federal funding for early stage R&D, which has been at the root of much of the technological progress of this past century, is more important than ever,” wrote the Baker Institute’s Kenneth Evans, a scholar in science and technology policy, and Kirstin Matthews, a fellow in science and technology policy.

While President Biden’s first budget proposal aims to authorize historic increases to federal R&D agencies, the authors argue that significant challenges remain to ensure long-term, international competitiveness across scientific disciplines and advanced technologies.

According to their report, shifting priorities between administrations, changes to the ideology of Congress and broader economic conditions in the U.S. at large have resulted in inconsistent funding for R&D. 

“Traditionally, federal funding for R&D receives bipartisan support in Congress, particularly for health and defense-related research activities,” the authors wrote. “However, since the mid-1990s, government spending on basic research has declined or stagnated as a share of the U.S. GDP, in part due to the intrinsic uncertainties about the ultimate impacts of basic research.”

Science and technology R&D is essential to creating new knowledge and tools, the authors argue, because it ensures the development of new products and technologies that can drive domestic and global economies. Economists estimate innovations stemming from S&T accounted for more than 60% of economic growth over the last century. 

Yet scientists have placed relatively little value on evaluating and communicating the broader societal impacts of basic research to the public and especially to policymakers, the authors argue. The authors encourage researchers, especially academic scientists driven to action by anti-science rhetoric during the Trump administration, to continue to engage in public outreach during the Biden presidency. 

“Universities should encourage and incentivize avenues for public engagement through increased support of existing programs or funding new activities for interested faculty, postdocs, graduate students and research staff,” they wrote. 

“Building public support for R&D, strengthening trust in scientific institutions and expertise, and increasing scientists’ participation in decision-making related to S&T issues are critical to ensuring that scientific discoveries and innovation benefit the broader public and that increased investment in R&D serves the public interest,” they continued.

The report was a collaboration with two Rice undergraduate students and research interns in the science and technology policy program—Gabriella Hazan and Spoorthi Kamepalli.

Art Exhibition illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

LA Art Show

The LA Art Show returns July 29th – August 1st. They’re not unaware that they aren’t considered the “cool kids” in the landscape of art fairs in LA, but they are the oldest (26 years) and frankly, the most popular with 60k visitors per year. Obviously this will be a different year but with their new director, Kassandra Voyagis and a primarily female team we have made a hard focus on what’s now.

The future is now.

Vellum LA, the first physical gallery for NFT-backed digital art in Los Angeles opens on Melrose Ave in September, and is presenting a world first major art fair NFT exhibition at the LA Art Show.

Titled Sea Change, the exhibit was created with top NFT marketplace SuperRare (also an official partner of the fair, their first), and curated by Nxt Museum curator Jesse Damiani with Vellum LA curator Sinziana Velicescu. It will also be the first public appearance of a brand new technology for displaying digital artworks in the real world, built by award-winning StandardVision.

Importantly, this first-of-its-kind show features only women and non-binary artists.

Artist List

Claudia HartAuriea HarveyKrista KimMarjan MoghaddamItzel Yard (Ix Shells)Blake KathrynNicole RuggieroSam Clover (PLANTTDADDII)Sabrina Ratté and more.

Each NFT at Vellum LA’s inaugural Sea Change Exhibition will be showcased on Luma Canvas displays, developed by Vellum LA’s technology partner Standard Vision to be the first ever collector digital art displays. Luma Canvas offers a museum-grade LED display ideal for digital art and NFTs, available in a variety of sizes for different viewing environments and artwork types. The Luma Canvas software allows owners to automatically upload their NFT collection directly onto Luma Canvas displays, which boast vivid, three dimensional qualities optimal for presenting digital works in a physical way.

LA Art Show will be one of the first major art fairs to hold live NFTs on the floor.

DIVERSEartLA

Curator Marisa Caichiolo returns with a focus on the presence, contributions, research and documentation of women and non-binary artists at the forefront of work at the intersection of art, science and technology represented by guests Museums and Institutions.

San Marcos Museum of Art (MASM) from Lima, Perú, which will bring a new media project by Peruvian artist Angie Bonino. “The Symphony Of Now,” consists of a video installation, and interactive sound installation focusing on the Andean techno de-colonial shamanism.

Museum La Neomudejar from Madrid is bringing DATA | ergo sum RELOADED by artist Ana Marcos, an interactive art installation that visualizes the capability of viewing machines using artificial intelligence to extract data by a simple observation of visitors.

Art Museum of the Americas (AMA) has joined with a special project curated by Fabian Goncálves, that will feature a compilation of material and an exhibition of the work of women artists who have played a central role in the development of new media practices throughout history and women and non-binary people whose forward-thinking practices are currently reshaping the field.

UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center is bringing a special project curated by Chon Noriega titled Immersive Distancing by LA-based artists Carmen Argote and Zeynep Abes, which will examine recent media art produced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now Art LA and Building Bridges Art Exchange have joined forces as local non-profit organizations to exhibit the work Agua by Luciana Abait, a video projection created as part of LUMINEX Project by Now Art LA. This work is inspired by the flood-myth motif that occurs in many cultures, in which water acts a healing and rebirth tool, often referencing ideas of creation, purification, and sustaining life. The projected FLOOD will run down the main aisle of the LA Art Show.

The most unconventional and anticipated contribution to the section is Tiffany Trenda, a multidisciplinary performance artist, known for exploring the relationship of the female body to today’s ever-changing technologies.

Galleries

While we won’t have as many international galleries, we have managed to bring together a fantastic roster of galleries that celebrate the experimental vibe that is LA.

2021 brings legendary LA galleries: Track-16 (first fair) and Coagula Curatorial. Plus 14 year-old wonder kid and LA native, Tex Hammond exhibits at his first fair under Acosta Arts.

Returning: Arcadia Contemporary, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Simard Bilodeau Contemporary, and Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery from London for the lineup of Modern + Contemporary.

The show will once again have an international presence with the Pigment Gallery returning from Spain, In The Gallery returning from Denmark, Gallery KITAI from Japan, and exploring new territory, the Spaceless Gallery based in Paris and operating through a circuit of innovative pop-up locations all over the world, looks beyond the walls of a traditional white cube space to provide an ever-changing experience for both our artists and audience. The gallery’s nomadic nature ties in with its decentralized art programs that aim to establish fresh dialogues between the exhibition venue, the works and the viewer integrating all art forms, including music and performance art.

Health via 360 Magazine for use by 360 Magazine

Rice Team Creates New Treatment for Diabetes

Rice University bioengineers are using 3D printing and smart biomaterials to create an insulin-producing implant for Type 1 diabetics.

 

The three-year project is a partnership between the laboratories of Omid Veiseh and Jordan Miller that’s supported by a grant from JDRF, the leading global funder of diabetes research. Veiseh and Miller will use insulin-producing beta cells made from human stem cells to create an implant that senses and regulates blood glucose levels by responding with the correct amount of insulin at a given time.

Veiseh, an assistant professor of bioengineering, has spent more than a decade developing biomaterials that protect implanted cell therapies from the immune system. Miller, an associate professor of bioengineering, has spent more than 15 years researching techniques to 3D print tissues with vasculature, or networks of blood vessels.

“If we really want to recapitulate what the pancreas normally does, we need vasculature,” Veiseh said. “And that’s the purpose of this grant with JDRF. The pancreas naturally has all these blood vessels, and cells are organized in particular ways in the pancreas. Jordan and I want to print in the same orientation that exists in nature.”

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes the pancreas to stop producing insulin, the hormone that controls blood-sugar levels. About 1.6 million Americans live with Type 1 diabetes, and more than 100 cases are diagnosed each day. Type 1 diabetes can be managed with insulin injections. But balancing insulin intake with eating, exercise and other activities is difficult. Studies estimate that fewer than one-third of Type 1 diabetics in the U.S. consistently achieve target blood glucose levels.

Veiseh and Miller’s goal is to show their implants can properly regulate blood glucose levels of diabetic mice for at least six months. To do that, they’ll need to give their engineered beta cells the ability to respond to rapid changes in blood sugar levels.

“We must get implanted cells in close proximity to the bloodstream so beta cells can sense and respond quickly to changes in blood glucose,” Miller said. “We’re using a combination of pre-vascularization through advanced 3D bioprinting and host-mediated vascular remodeling to give each implant several shots at host integration.” 

The insulin-producing cells will be protected with a hydrogel formulation developed by Veiseh, who is also a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Scholar. The hydrogel material, which has proven effective for encapsulating cell treatments in bead-sized spheres, has pores small enough to keep the cells inside from being attacked by the immune system but large enough to allow passage of nutrients and life-giving insulin.

“Blood vessels can go inside of them,” Veiseh said of the hydrogel compartments. “At the same time, we have our coating, our small molecules that prevent the body from rejecting the gel. So it should harmonize really well with the body.”

If the implant is too slow to respond to high or low blood sugar levels, the delay can produce a roller coaster-like effect, where insulin levels repeatedly rise and fall to dangerous levels.

“Addressing that delay is a huge problem in this field,” Veiseh said. “When you give the mouse, and ultimately a human, a glucose challenge that mimics eating a meal, how long does it take that information to reach our cells, and how quickly does the insulin come out?”

By incorporating blood vessels in their implant, he and Miller hope to allow their beta-cell tissues to behave in a way that more closely mimics the natural behavior of the pancreas.

Breaking News illustration via Nicole Salazar for use by 360 Magazine

Life on Jupiter

By: Skyler Johnson

A scientific study originally aimed at testing the capability of life on Venus has now shown that there is a chance for life not on our sister planet, but on the gaseous giant, Jupiter. 

The study aimed to figure out whether Venus could maintain life based on water activity, which is measured on a 0 to 1 scale, with 1 being pure water and 0 being the complete absence of it. The minimum viable water activity for life on Earth was determined to be 0.585, with Venus being 0.007, but Jupiter just reaching the threshold at 0.585. 

Jupiter is also the perfect temperature to maintain life, being -40 degrees F, which is just survivable. Life can only survive at that temperature and above. 

While these statistics may be exciting, you’re not exactly going to be seeing E.T. coming from Jupiter. After all, it’s a gaseous planet. Life, if any at all, would be existing within Jupiter’s clouds, and would only be made up of a single cell. The planet has a lot of Ultraviolet Radiation and very little nutrients, so sustaining life may not even be possible. Nevertheless, life is possible for the gaseous giant.

The scientific possibilities of this finding, while it may seem relatively minor given we don’t actually know if there’s life outside of planet Earth, it does offer some interesting possibilities. After all, we have no idea what these creatures may look like and what biological adaptations they may have in order to adapt to living in the dangerous conditions Jupiter provides. What we could end up finding might lead us to find ways to adapt as a species. 

Interestingly, if Jupiter ends up being inhabitable, there’s also a chance that one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, houses life beneath it’s under-ice ocean, which would be similar to Earth’s Deep Ocean hydrothermal vents, which are basically a volcano erupting underwater and spouting out life-providing sediments. While we have no idea what’s under Europa’s surface there have been some calls for a probe so we may soon get some answers. 

Nevertheless, only time will tell what may be found on other planets. But with more information like with the study released today, who knows what the future may bring.

 

Image of Telescope via Gabrielle Archulleta for Use by 360 Magazine

Purdue Innovation Could Make Recycling More Profitable

By: Steve Martin

Hasler Ventures LLC plans to scale up to commercial levels a Purdue University patented technology that may accelerate the volume of waste plastic recycling.

The innovation is called Low-Pressure Hydrothermal Processing. It promises an economically and environmentally safe way to transform polyolefin plastic, the most common form of plastic, into gasoline, diesel fuel and other high-value items. Developed by Linda Wang, the Maxine Spencer Nichols Professor in the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering, the research was published in a 2021 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Fuel.

The United Nations estimates that more than 8 million tons of plastics flow into the oceans each year. Of all the plastics produced over the past 65 years (8.3 billion tons), about 12% have been incinerated and only 9% have been recycled. The remaining 79% have gone into landfills or the oceans. The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2050, the oceans will hold more plastic waste than fish if the waste continues to be dumped into bodies of water.

 “The key to solving this problem is to make it economically more attractive to collect and process the plastic waste stream into higher-value products at a significantly lower conversion cost,” said Dan Hasler, CEO of Hasler Ventures. “Current methods including incineration, pyrolysis and mechanical recycling have all proven to be ineffective or too costly, both financially and environmentally. They have not been able to draw the required private investment at a scale sufficient to divert the vast majority of the global 350 million tons of plastic waste produced annually from the landfill. We believe we can demonstrate first at pilot scale that hydrothermal processing is a less-expensive approach to produce fuels from plastic than from crude oil, making it a profitable venture to collect and process plastic, keeping it out of landfills and oceans.”

Purdue has put significant effort in this area for many years, said Mung Chiang, Purdue’s executive vice president for strategic initiatives and the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering. “Solving this plastic waste problem will greatly benefit the environment and future generations,” Chiang said.

The recently invented conversion process incorporates hydrothermal liquefaction and efficient separation. Once the plastic is converted into oil or naphtha, it can be used as a feedstock for other chemicals or further separated into monomers, specialty solvents, or other products. The clean fuels derived from the polyolefin waste generated each year can satisfy 4% of the annual demand for gasoline or diesel fuels. Some results of Wang’s study were published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering in 2019 and Fuel in 2020 and 2021. A video about the process is available online.

Hasler Ventures is collaborating with American Resources Corp. (NASDAQ:AREC) to use its Indiana-based chromatography pilot plant, currently in development, to demonstrate the technology.

Mark Jensen, president of American Resources Corp., said, “Once proven, the commercialized Purdue innovation could change perceptions about recycling plastics. We’re excited to support this environmentally critical project.”

Science Tech Illustration by Gabrielle Archuleta

WonderWorks Panama x Good Vibrations

WonderWorks Panama City Beach has an array of exhibits that help educate people about science. The newest exhibit on earthquakes, called Good Vibrations, opens June 11, 2021. Good Vibrations will spotlight Tuckaleechee Caverns, and how they document seismic activity around the world. The new exhibit was a topic request from educators, so it seemed appropriate that they also name the exhibit.

“We are happy to offer this new exhibit about earthquakes, which was a request by teachers,” said Michael Walsingham, general manager of WonderWorks Panama City Beach. “People will have a great opportunity to learn about seismic activity, along with where and how it’s measured.”

The Tuckaleechee Caverns are home to the most sensitive seismic station on Earth. It detects any and all tectonic movement anywhere in the world. If a country is testing a nuclear weapon or there is an earthquake, it has that information within seconds. Once it does, within 300 of a millisecond, it relays that important information directly to the U.S. Military; Vienna, Austria and Geneva, Switzerland. The information is collected 24/7 and is crucial to national security, as well as being able to provide earthquake information.

The exhibit, Good Vibrations will help share the importance of the Tuckaleechee Caverns and what they are doing in monitoring seismic activity. The information in the exhibit meets the educational standards on earthquake and seismic activity, and is one of WonderWorks’ many STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) related learning exhibits. The exhibit name was suggested by teachers.

“This is going to be a great summer, with families taking the time to include learning activities along with having fun,” added Walsingham. “At WonderWorks, we are where learning and fun come together, with the whole family enjoying their time here.”

WonderWorks Panama City Beach offers many STEM-related exhibits and activities all year long. There are also demonstrations, activities, virtual learning labs, science fair partnerships, homeschool days, and more. To get more information about the WonderWorks STEM programs, visit the site at: https://www.wonderworksonline.com/panama-city-beach/stem-programs/.

To see a full list of the COVID-19 safety measures in place at WonderWorks Panama City Beach, visit the site at: https://www.wonderworksonline.com/panama-city-beach/covid-19.

The interactive indoor amusement park offers STEM-focused activities for all ages. There are over 100 hands-on activities that are focused on the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math. Some of the exhibits will include a bubble room, Professor Wonder’s adventure, interactive sandbox, illusion art gallery, and xtreme 360 bikes. For more information on WonderWorks, visit the site at: https://www.wonderworksonline.com/panama-city-beach/.

Art by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

An Interview with Vax Force

By: Matthew Anthenelli

VAX Force is a team of all-black women from Springfield, Massachusetts who are bringing vaccine awareness and accessibility to their community. Beginning earlier this spring, the COVID-19 vaccination began its rollout to non-essential workers all across the globe. Whether it be from misinformation or lack of access, many people both in the United States and worldwide have not yet been vaccinated. Studies show that many marginalized communities are lacking access to vaccination sites and other resources. There’s also a concerning percentage of the population that are receiving and spreading misinformation about the science behind the vaccine.

VAX Force is a group of amazing and inspiring black women from Springfield, Massachusetts who have taken these matters into their own hands. We were lucky enough to be able to ask VAX Force a few questions about their mission in their community. Read what they had to say below.

The initiative to spread vaccine awareness amidst an age of misinformation is such a dire and important action to take. What inspired you to form the Vax Force and take matters in your own hands?  

Springfield, MA is the largest city in Western Mass and the third largest in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts yet much of the attention and resources were being given to Boston and the Eastern part of the state so Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris and Mayor Domenic J. Sarno took action and formed this committee so that the members could serve as direct resources for the citizens in Springfield, especially those living in vulnerable communities.  

Who are the members of the Vax force? How did you come together for this amazing and inspiring cause? 

There are wonderful leaders in public health, medicine, faith, research and diversity that are a part of Commissioner Caulton-Harris’s network .  The Mayor and the Commissioner extended invitations to join Springfield Vax Force to select individuals and they were excited to volunteer and lend their expertise, and in some cases roll their sleeves up and join our community outreach efforts.  

What groups or communities are being neglected from vaccine access the most? 

When we formed Springfield Vax Force Latinx, African-American, Caribbean, African, Vietnamese and immigrant communities did not have convenient access to the vaccine.  The vaccine was being distributed in suburban areas.  Fortunately, through the great work of Springfield Vax Force we now have access to the vaccine in all of the neighborhoods in the city.  Vaccine clinics are accessible within 1.5 miles of any neighborhood in Springfield.  

Why do you think misinformation is being spread about the vaccine? Anti-vax rhetoric was popular in the early 2000s, why do you think it returned ? 

There are anti-vaxxers using the digital platforms to spread misinformation and there are algorithms in place that widely circulate this disinformation wrapped in what looks like reputable sources, so folks are often seduced into sharing that information as if its factual – and it spreads like wildfire.  Aside from that, there is mistrust in the medical community by marginalized groups, and when those concerns that are often valid are not addressed, it provides an opportunity for anti-vaxxers to attach falsehoods to legitimate claims.  

How do you suggest that the average reader can convince loved ones or friends who may fear the side effects of the vaccine or the vaccine itself? 

The beautiful thing about social media is that is rich with narratives penned by people who have been vaccinated that are very open about their experiences and even those who have experienced the worst side effects were absolutely fine within 24 hours.  We also are over a year in and as time passes the studies become more longitudinal, so there is now evidence that supports the safety of the vaccine.  

You are making PSAs in order to inform and educate the youth on the significance of the vaccine. Do you think that the younger generation is the largest demographic of people spreading anti-vaccine misinformation or that the problem has more prevalence in older generations ? 

Older generations very quickly analyze risk versus reward when it comes to getting vaccinated and for them COVID-19 poses a far greater risk than the vaccine, and they were able to see that in real time with the death rate being more prominent in older individuals.  Additionally, older individuals have been around long enough to see the positive effects of vaccines throughout the decades and the eradication of viruses like measles, chicken pox, rubella and polio.  Individuals 45 and under are often the group spreading anti-vaccine misinformation.   

A big part of the Vax Force’s initiative had to do with the Faith and Science vaccination clinic. Do you think misinformation surrounding vaccinations is more prevalent in religious communities? 

Our research has shown that it is not. In fact, in our community, the faith leaders have been outstanding in sharing safety messages related to the COVID-19 vaccines.  

How can the average person who is already vaccinated help aid your cause? 

It’s important that we continue to be diligent with safety protocol. Being vaccinated does not mean that you are 100% protected against spreading COVID-19 or testing positive.  Although mandates are being removed, safety practices are still an individual’s right so we urge vaccinated people to remain cautious.  It also helps when vaccinated people share how seamless the process is from check in to receiving the shot, to observation.  

Where can people find out more about Vax Force and their mission? 

All the information you could possibly need can be found at the City of Springfield website

The Faith and Science event was a major success. What do you have planned next in Vax Force’s future? 

We are now targeting the young people in the City of Springfield ages 16-25. We have a young men’s and women’s basketball tournament coming up called Shot for Shot where young people who attend the tournament, receive promotional gifts and most importantly get vaccinated on site.  

The all-black VAX Force Team of Springfield, Massachusetts
Art by Mina Tocalini of 360 Magazine for use by 360 Magazine

Purdue Engineers Discover Cooling Technology

Hiking gear fabric has cooling effect that may make your next smartwatch more comfortable

Watch a video about this research on YouTube or read the full research paper here

As smartwatches become more powerful, they will generate more heat. To prevent burns or rashes, what if a material touching the skin could feel as cool as metal, but also be flexible enough to be worn on the wrist?

A team of Purdue University engineers has discovered that a type of fabric typically used for hiking gear has remarkable heat-conducting properties on par with stainless steel, potentially leading to wearable electronics that successfully cool both the device and the wearer’s skin.

The material is made of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fibers, which are sold commercially under the brand name Dyneema. These polymer-based fabrics are marketed for their high strength, durability and abrasion resistance, and are often used to create body armor, specialty sports gear, ropes and nets.

Purdue heat transfer researchers recently investigated other uses for the fabric, namely as a cooling interface between human skin and wearable electronics (see a video about this research on YouTube). Their research is published in Scientific Reports.

This fabric has great flexibility and thermal properties. If you stitch it differently, weave it differently or start blending the polymers with different materials, you could tailor the fabric’s properties to different applications, said Justin Weibel, a research associate professor in Purdue’s School of Mechanical Engineering.

If a material has a high thermal conductivity, that means heat dissipates through the material more easily. There are many heat-dissipation methods for fabrics, from the simple (moisture-wicking); to the intricate (conventional fabrics with heat-conducting strands woven in); to the very complex (liquid-cooled garments worn by astronauts).

Your next smartwatch or virtual reality headset could be more powerful than your current smartphone, so we need to dissipate heat away from the electronic components to keep the wearer comfortable, said Aaditya Candadai, who recently completed his Ph.D. at Purdue doing research on this project. These polymer fabrics have amazing thermal properties that can keep these devices cooler and avoid low-degree skin burns.

The team discovered these properties by benchmarking Dyneema against conventional cotton fabrics, as well as polyethylene sheets in rigid non-woven form. They obtained several different commercially manufactured fabric samples and even wove their own samples from raw Dyneema fibers.

The researchers tested the fabric samples at the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Purdue’s Discovery Park. The samples went into a small vacuum chamber, with a metal wire laid across the surface as a heat source.

Using an infrared microscope, they could generate detailed data about how much heat was being conducted through the fabric’s surface, and in which direction. They found that the Dyneema fabric has 20-30 times higher thermal conductivity than other fabrics, comparable with steel.

The team also tested the fabric’s flexibility, which is important for wearable electronics.

There’s a balance; we don’t want to make thermally conductive materials that are so stiff, people won’t be comfortable wearing them, Candadai said. These polymer fabrics are in that sweet spot of having good conductivity and good flexibility.

The fabric naturally has these properties with no additional circuitry or other equipment, but the researchers also have plans to test how weaving in different materials affects the fabric.

We could integrate other types of fibers – carbon fibers, metal fibers – to achieve different combinations of properties, said Amy Marconnet, an associate professor of mechanical engineering.

As part of his work investigating the heat-conducting properties of fabrics, Candadai won an Art-In-Science award in 2019 for an infrared camera image showing how the fabrics transfer heat. The team’s research was performed within Purdue’s Cooling Technologies Research Center, a graduated National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center with support from industry leaders in thermal materials and electronics.

About Discovery Park

Discovery Park is a place where Purdue researchers move beyond traditional boundaries, collaborating across disciplines and with policymakers and business leaders to create solutions for a better world. Grand challenges of global health, global conflict and security, and those that lie at the nexus of sustainable energy, world food supply, water and the environment are the focus of researchers in Discovery Park. The translation of discovery to impact is integrated into the fabric of Discovery Park through entrepreneurship programs and partnerships.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at Purdue’s website.

Hotel at Night via Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

Soneva Fushi Resort Announces Summer 2021 Programming

Soneva has announced its Summer 2021 programming at the award-winning Soneva Fushi in the Maldives, featuring one-of-a-kind experiences, exceptional cuisine with Michelin-starred chefs, and acclaimed visiting experts through the ongoing Soneva Stars calendar. Americans visiting the Maldives need to show negative results of a Covid test taken within 96 hours of departure. Soneva has developed an unprecedented program of testing visitors on arrival, and every five days during their stay, to ensure a Covid-free vacation. Soneva has also developed a unique and eco-friendly process to eliminate 90% of mosquitos at Soneva Fushi.

This summer, diners can enjoy Michelin-starred cuisine from a line-up of acclaimed guest chefs at Soneva Fushi over the summer months, including Chef Stéphanie Le Quellec from the 2-Michelin-starred La Scene in Paris, Chef Heiko Nieder from the Dolder Grand’s 2-Michelin-starred The Restaurant, and Chef Paco Morales, the 2-Michelin-starred chef at the forefront of Andalusian cuisine.

Other experts in residence include glass artists Cheyenne Malcolm and Ben Sharp, who will be in residence at Soneva Art & Glass, the Maldives’ only hot glass studio, until August 26. In the realm of wellness, Tathata Kobayashi, a renowned Tai Chi Chuan teacher, will be sharing his extensive knowledge from August 20-September 10.

Those who want to reconnect with nature can join one of Soneva‘s new “Conscious Experiences.” Experiences include a journey around the resort’s organic gardens and waste-to-wealth recycling center, as well as learning about sustainable hook-and-line fishing with a family of local fishermen. Guests can also swim with majestic Manta Rays in the nearby Hanifaru Bay, home to one of the world’s largest manta populations.

Younger guests will be entertained with enriching summer camps for children and teens, and mentoring activities from Oppidan Education. Children can take part in treasure hunts, get active in a mini-Olympics, learn how to identify turtles, sail to the sandbank and much more. Teens are invited to learn about conservation and the environment, take a trip to a local island, discover how to cook tasty Maldivian snacks, and end their stay with a disco at The Den.

The new Soneva Academy enables older children to learn during their summer stay. The modular courses take children and teens aged 12+ from ‘junior’ to ‘expert’, and cover a range of fascinating topics, including the “Night Skies,” “Zero Waste and Plastic Pollution,” “Marine Life of the Maldives,” “Mosquitoes and Disease,” and “The Adventure of the Corbin,” a quest across the seas in the wake of an ancient galleon.

About Soneva

Soneva is a pioneering family of hospitality properties, offering holistic encounters in luxurious and inspiring environments – from world class resorts to outstanding natural locations.  Soneva Fushi, Soneva Jani and Soneva in Aqua in the Maldives and Soneva Kiri in Thailand rebuke the traditional concept of luxury and instead promise the luxury of time, purity and solitude. Every day, guests are encouraged to discover sandy feet, inspired minds and full hearts. Combining luxury with a conscientious approach to sustainability and the environment, and proactively changing the nature of hospitality, it delivers intuitive service and meaningful experiences to the guests.

Dolphin via Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

Venture Capital Funds Investing in Climate Change Innovation

Saving the planet from Climate Change devastation is one of the most important things we can do to date,  yet has often seen pushback from major investors who’ve focused their investments on safer industries like coal and oil. Luckily, there’s a growing trend of investment companies created for the purpose of saving the planet, promoting the idea that clean energy can benefit investors as well as our future, according to a new Venture Capital (VC) trend.

2021 has already seen multiple climate-focused fund launches. London-based One Planet Capital launched a fund for green tech, fintech, and sustainability-based B2C businesses, while actor Robert Downey Jr (Ironman, The Avengers) has founded FootPrint Coalition Ventures to invest in high-growth, sustainability-focused companies. European-based fund 2150 also launched this year, investing €200m ($240m) into start-ups developing sustainable technologies to lower carbon emissions in Europe’s cities. 

 The financial world used to think environmental issues couldn’t generate viable rewards, but another climate-focused fund, Congruent Ventures, believes a tipping point has been passed.

Congruent raises investment specifically for Climate Change solution start-ups and, with $300 million under management after closing its second fund at $175 million, managing partner and co-founder Abe Yokell said:

“If you brought up the word ‘cleantech’ to any institutional investor allocating to venture ten years ago, they would do their best to avoid the meeting, but now, there’s a fundamental belief that there will be significant financial returns investing broadly in climate tech over time.” 

Congruent’s portfolio includes electric vehicle charging provider Amply, which raised $13.2m last year from investors including Soros Fund Management and Siemens. Digitally controllable electrical panel company Span raised $20m in January through Congruent, with investors including Munich Re Ventures’ HSB Fund and Amazon’s Alexa Fund.

Congruent itself is well-founded, with investors including UC Investments, the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, Three Cairns Group, Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, and Surdna Foundation, among other institutions, foundations, and family offices.

Regulation A+ crowdfunding companies are also seeing investment, such as Digital Twins market leader Cityzenith, who recently launched their international ‘Clean Cities, Clean Future’ campaign as part of the Race to Zero movement.

Cities worldwide generate 70% of the world’s carbon emissions, but Cityzenith’s AI Digital Twin platform technology can help property asset management groups, city planners, and developers reduce emissions and move to carbon neutrality in the next ten years.

Cityzenith CEO Michael Jansen said at the launch of the ‘Clean Cities – Clean Future’ initiative: “We have to help the most polluted urban centers become carbon neutral, and we plan to do this by donating the company’s Digital Twin platform SmartWorldOS™ to key cities, one at a time, after every $1m we raise. We’re able to do this because of the recent surge of investment we’ve had as part of our $15m raise.”

Cityzenith is already benefiting from the funding shift, attracting $2.5m in investment since late 2020 through Regulation A+ crowdfunding and a surge in shares from $0.575 to $1.50 in just five months. The US company has raised $10m to date.

With a growing trend in climate change investment funds, hopefully we’ll be able to start decreasing carbon emissions and work towards saving the planet.