How light interacts with matter is one of the grand challenges of atomic, molecular and optical research. A Kansas and Nebraska consortium led by university researchers has received a three-year, $6 million award to understand ultrafast molecular processes on the order of a millionth of a billionth second, or one femtosecond. The award is divided equally between the two states.
Research activities in the two states involve 30 people and are led by Anthony Starace, professor of physics at UN-L, and Itzik Ben-Itzhak, university distinguished professor of physics at Kansas State University.
Each year KNE solicits transformational research proposals from early-career faculty members at Kansas' Regents Universities. These newly appointed assistant professors are eager to begin their research programs with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) or other federal funding agencies. KNE helps by jump starting their research with a First Award that will hopefully lead to a successful NSF proposal.
This year, KNE awarded nine First Awards in the areas of Climate and Energy research.
Engaging a broad spectrum of the education continuum in Kansas on the importance of STEM research (particularly climate and energy) is one of KNE's goals. To advance this goal KNE provided funding for Education and Diversity Grants that take a wide range of approaches, many of which involve summer workshops and symposia for students and teachers in the state.
Eugene Cody, an undergraduate American Indian Studies major at Haskell Indian Nations University (and enrolled member in the Hope tribe), was recruited to participate in the summer of 2013 Haskell Environmental Research Studies (HERS) Institute. During this time he developed a research project examining the air quality associated with the burning of coal in the homes of the native Hopi people in northern Arizona and to identify solutions to the resulting problems (air quality, climate change, water use, and human health). Cody was accepted as to the 2014 SOARS summer program and will spend ten weeks conducting original research at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) or at laboratories of other SOARS sponsors.
Kansas University geography associate professor, Jay Johnson, is the recipient of a 2014 Collaborative Research Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS).
Xin Fu, an assistant professor in electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Kansas was honored this spring with an NSF Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. In 2012, Fu received a Kansas NSF EPSCoR (KNE) First Award to support her research in energy efficient computing.