Lunch & Learn: On the Formation of Massive Galaxies

Space probe All who listen to Jerry Ostriker, Professor of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University, come to know that we live in profoundly exciting times. We have learned only recently the age and composition of the universe, and for the first time, we are coming to understand how the galactic structures we observe throughout the sky came to be. Simply put, where do they come from, and how could they form if the early universe was relatively uniform? And how can we use them as standard objects unless we understand how and when they formed and how they evolved?

One of the key findings, said Ostriker at the September 29 Lunch ‘n Learn seminar, came from the WMAP satellite. Its observations of the Cosmic Background Radiation show the beginnings of structure in the aftermath of the Big Bang.

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Lunch & Learn: Wireless: Revolution and Evolution with H. Vincent Poor

Mobile communications graphic

Anyone, anytime, anyplace.

By virtue of its mobility, portability, and ease of connectivity, wireless connectivity provides users with unprecedented freedom, suggests H. Vincent Poor, Michael Henry Strater University Professor of Electrical Engineering and Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Wireless communications is among our most advanced, and rapidly advancing, technologies, he notes. New wireless applications and services emerge on an almost daily basis, and the number of users of these services is growing at an exponential rate. More than half of the world’s population uses cell phones, and this is only one of a dazzling array of wireless technologies that have emerged in recent times.

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Lunch & Learn: “e-Readers in the Classroom?” with Janet Temos, Stan Katz, Dan Kurtzer, and Trevor Dawes

Student with a Kindle

In the Fall term of 2009, Princeton conducted a pilot sponsored by the High Meadows Foundation, the University Library, and the Office of Information Technology, to assess the use of e-readers in the classroom. The reader used was the Amazon Kindle DX, a lightweight, portable e-reader with the capacity to hold approximately 3500 books, in three University courses.

The project aimed to explore the use of the e-readers in classes for which e-reserves were the primary readings. The printing of e-reserve readings at Princeton accounts for a large portion of printing in public clusters (total of 10 million sheets of paper last year). The e-reader pilot sought to target e-reserve readings and present them on an e-reader to see if printing could be reduced.

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Lunch & Learn: High Performance Computing at Princeton – Spring 2010

Molecule visualization

Princeton University has created a cyberinfrastructure, says Curt Hillegas, the Director of Princeton’s TIGRESS High Performance Computing and Visualization Center, itself a collaboration between the Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering (PICSciE). Developed within the past decade, this cyberinfrastructure consists of computational systems, data and information management, advanced instruments, visualization environments, and people, all linked together by software and advanced networks to improve scholarly productivity and enable knowledge breakthroughs and discoveries not otherwise possible.

At the April 8 Lunch ‘n Learn seminar, Hillegas noted that the University’s research computing activity has grown to keep pace with and to provide leadership for this international trend. Tigress maintains a vast hardware and storage infrastructure. And staff provide support for programming and for the new visualization facilities within the Lewis Science library.

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Lunch & Learn: The Technology of History with Carla Zimowsk

GIS image

The Technology Manager for the History Department at Princeton University, Carla Zimowsk has provided technical support for the department for 10 years. Not trained as a historian or a GIS expert, she draws upon graduate work in organizational communications and knowledge management. As a result, during the past decade, she has come to understand the needs of those she supports.

“The faculty all have stuff,” she began at the March 24 Lunch ‘n Learn seminar, “and it tells a story when pulled together.” In a trip to the Visualization Centre at the University of Birmingham several years ago, she suddenly realized the importance of visualizing data.

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