New research and awards, events and experts, community updates, a look back, and our plans for the decade ahead.
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January 25, 2020 | Office of the Dean


College of Sciences at Georgia Tech

🔬 News and Notes


A Look Back and Our Path Forward

Inside the College of Sciences Strategic Plan: 2021-2030
Initiated in November of 2019, our new ten-year strategic plan has come together as a result of the efforts of many individuals across and beyond our community. Now, all College of Sciences staff, students, and faculty are invited to submit proposals for the funding of activities, projects, and initiatives that are relevant to the goals in the strategic plan and to the metrics of success in the implementation plan. Proposals are due January 29, 2021.

Cheers to 30 Years: Three Colleges Celebrate Three Decades
Georgia Tech students were able to major in topics related to the sciences and liberal arts since the early 1900s. But in 1990, the Institute officially organized those academic programs as colleges. The College of Sciences and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts were joined that year by the College of Computing — one of the first of its kind in the country. Learn more about our shared history through a collaborative timeline.

Our Research: 12 Reads

🔎 #StraightToTheSource Cuts through Covid-19 Confusion, Finds the Facts
The College of Science’s new social media series answers Covid-19-related community and frequently asked questions by directly examining scientific findings and research with resident experts.

Theory Plus Data, Across Disciplines: Southeast Center for Mathematics and Biology
The first two years of existence for Georgia Tech’s SCMB, which is led by center director Christine Heitsch with associate director Hang Lu, have been busy. A unique arrangement of senior scientists paired with postdoctoral and graduate researchers is currently studying six projects that sit squarely at the intersection of both disciplines.

👩‍🔬 New Advances for Old Problems: CCE Celebrates 10 Years Exploring Chemical Origins of Life
The NSF and NASA-funded Center for Chemical Evolution has completed its decade-long run with a deep impact on origins of life studies — and a cadre of early career scientists ready to take the reins on future research efforts. 

🙌 Fierce Collaboration: The Competitions that Drive Innovation
In the Georgia Tech community, creative friction between collaborators leads to better solutions. Greg Gibson and Joshua Weitz join Tamara Bogdanović and Laura Cadonati to share their stories of teamwork and partnership with Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine.

🧬 Bridging the Genomic Divide: Focusing on Precision Public Health in the U.S.
King Jordan and collaborators are working to bridge the pharmacology and genomics, or pharmacogenomic, research gap — and they’re sharing new findings and potential paths forward through a paper recently published in the journal BME Biology.

🐭 Survival of the Smallest: Uncovering Unequal Effects of Human Activity on Mammals
In a recent paper published in PNAS, Jenny McGuire and former postdoctoral researcher Silvia Pineda-Munoz examined fossil records spanning almost 12,000 years to determine the effects of human activity on where animals live — and were surprised by what they found.

📄 Hidden Symmetries and Periodic Origami: Folding New Physics into an Ancient Art
Physicists have applied the concepts behind the Japanese paper-folding art of origami to various scientific disciplines. Now, David Zeb Rocklin and his research team may have found some new ways to incorporate the folding techniques to "metamaterials."  

🔭 Exploring Oceans on Earth and Beyond: Reinhard Looks to the Skies and Seas
Chris Reinhard rounded out the end of 2020 with a pair of research successes — winning NASA funding for a new agency astrobiology push and co-authoring a Nature Geoscience paper on Earth’s oceanic “biological pump” with postdoctoral researcher Mojtaba Fakhraee.

⚡️ Shedding New Light on Polymer-based Electrochemical Cells
Led by Carlos Silva and John Reynolds, chemists and materials scientists have teamed up to investigate the complex nature of electrochemically induced charges in redox-active conjugated polymers. Their findings will help further research and engineering in the field of electro-active devices.

🤖 Spontaneous Robot Dances Highlight a New Kind of Order in Active Matter
Jeremy England and Daniel Goldman have joined fellow physics researchers in proposing a new principle by which active matter systems can spontaneously order, without need for higher level instructions or even programmed interaction among the agents — and they have demonstrated this principle in a variety of systems, including groups of periodically shape-changing robots called "smarticles."

📊 The Tension Between Awareness and Fatigue Shapes Covid-19 Spread
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, two human factors are battling it out: awareness of the virus’s severe consequences and fatigue from nine months of pandemic precautions. The results of that battle can be seen in the oddly shaped case, hospitalization, and fatality-count graphs, a new study led by Joshua Weitz suggests.

✌️ Aware, Awake, Woke: Finding the Meaning In Mindfulness
Paul Verhaeghen and University of North Georgia's Shelley Aikman have won a new Mind & Life Institute PEACE Grant that will continue studies into the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness meditation.

Student Spotlight

Building a Thesis and Testing Theories, One Deepfake Video at a Time
Engineering Psychology graduate student Zachary Tidler is taking on deceptive digital technology with the help of his advisor, an assortment of synthetic media, and the work of a renowned British scientist.


Test. Mask. Distance.

The success of Georgia Tech’s asymptomatic testing program depends on everyone who visits campus taking advantage of fast, free, easy weekly tests — along with continuing to mask, distance, and socialize outdoors. Learn about spring testing here, and drop by campus sites weekly to grab your test, sticker, and cookie.


Georgia Tech Distributes Covid-19 Vaccines

In collaboration with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), the Institute began distributing the Covid-19 vaccine earlier this month. The rollout plan for the campus community consists of consecutive phases with corresponding groups.

Learn more about the rollout, catch last week’s Vaccine Town Hall recap and #StraightToTheSource post, read Coulter BME's 9 Things to Know About the Covid-19 Vaccines, and check out Stamps Health Services’ Covid-19 Vaccine FAQs.


Awards and Accolades


Experts in the News

Saporta Report | Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera: ‘Science Works Y’all’

GT News | EAS Student Tyler Vollmer Competes at U.S. Figure Skating Championships

The Biotech Podcast | The Kerplunk Model, Covid Testing and Scientific Publication

WFMJ | AI-powered COVIDvoice Screening Tool Needs You

Samsung | How Samsung is Shaping Technology Accessibility For All

WorkCare | Keeping an Eye on the COVID Exposure-Risk Ball

Scripps News | Are some states luckier than others with selling winning lottery tickets?

Psychology Today | The Stake in Gambling With Covid-19 Is Life

AJC | We’re not just spouses: Stories of international spouses at Georgia Tech

Living Building Chronicle | What’s the post-COVID ‘new normal’ for green buildings?

Redac France Culture | Covid-19's Impact on Higher Education

Oxford University Press | A Mind Over Matter: Philip Anderson and the Physics of the Very Many

Forbes| Do Covid-19 Risk Calculators Help People Make Informed Decisions In a Pandemic?

11Alive | What is causing vaccination delays in Georgia?

Psychology Today | The Stake in Gambling With Covid-19 Is Life

Nature | Ways to look after yourself and others in 2021

AJC | Georgia Tech faculty member: I didn’t think I connected with my students online. They disagreed.

University Business | How 3 big universities stifled COVID on campus

CNBC | Rethinking stimulus: How Covid economic recovery can help battle climate change

The Guardian | How to break our addiction to air travel

Nature | Rethinking travel in a post-pandemic world

Nature | What’s your risk of catching COVID? These tools help you to find out

AJC | University of Georgia to change COVID-19 surveillance testing method

BBC | Covid: Online tool calculates risk at gatherings

GT Office of the President | Conversations on the Hill: Julia Kubanek, M.G. Finn, Joshua Weitz, Greg Gibson

Inside Climate News | In Georgia, Buffeted by Hurricanes and Drought, Climate Change Is on the Ballot

WABE | Calculating Your Risk Of Coronavirus Exposure As The Pandemic Surges

U.S. Senate | Coastal Georgia Rising: A Conversation About Sea Level Rise

WSAV | Rhode Island senator connects with coastal Georgia experts for virtual climate change panel   

Nature | How the first life on Earth survived its biggest threat — water

Science | Tension between awareness and fatigue shapes Covid-19 spread

Forbes | 3D Printers May Be Toxic To Humans

Grist | What if net-zero isn’t enough? Inside the push to ‘restore’ the climate.

Wapa Televisión | John Wise and Emily Alicea-Muñoz: Arecibo Observatory Feature

GT News | Local Company Plays Part in Tech’s Surveillance Testing Program

AJC | Plan for climate solutions takes Georgia-specific approach

Saporta Report | Georgia Tech wins national award for teaching students to address sustainability, social justice

Express | California wildfires: Biggest wildfires on record cost $150bn

Reuters | Storms that slammed Central America in 2020 just a preview

UC Boulder | Marder to head up RASEI, with joint appointments at ChBE and Chemistry

11Alive | Georgia Tech's testing program proof we can cut COVID-19 cases if we try

World Economic Forum | This new tool helps you calculate your event’s risk of COVID-19

Health and Safety Matters Magazine | Use Ozone to eliminate airborne particles

Healthline | Travel Plans? This Interactive Map Will Show Your Risk for COVID-19

Weather | Will Extreme Weather Keep Getting Worse? Here's What Scientists Say

GT Alumni Mag | Jacket Copy: "Our Southern Eden" by Michael E. Maffett, Bio '68


Community News and Stories


Campus Updates and Beyond

Raheem Beyah Named Dean of College of Engineering

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall Named Homeland Security Advisor

Eric Vogel Named Executive Director of Institute for Materials

College of Design Dean Steven French to Step Down July 31

Karen Fite, Interim VP and Director of Enterprise Innovation Institute, Retires

Steve Wrigley to Retire as Chancellor of the University System of Georgia

Paul Goldbart Named Provost of Stony Brook University

Fauci to Receive Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage

Five things to know about Georgia Tech’s new strategic plan

SGA Publishes Executive Review for Summer, Fall 2020

New Georgia Tech Staff Council Leadership Takes Reins for 2021

McCamish Foundation Funds GT-Emory Parkinson’s Research

GT DEI Council Formed to Further Address Campus Disparity, Bias, and Inequity

Tech Will Help Manage DOE’s Savannah River Laboratory   

Leaders aspire to make Atlanta a global hub for peace education

Georgia Tech Names Commercialization Leadership

Serve-Learn-Sustain: Amplifying Impact at Georgia Tech since 2016

Meet Anna Stroup-Holladay, executive assistant and contact tracer


Upcoming E-vents

Jan 26          Conversations With Cabrera: Mauro Guillén

Jan 25-26     GT Virtual All Majors Spring Career Fair

Jan 28-29     2021 Suddath Symposium
Join over 200 colleagues from 10 countries for this free two-day virtual conference. Speakers include Georgia Tech’s Facundo Fernandez, Martha Grover, Nicholas Hud, Thomas Orlando, Loren Williams, and Cristian Crisan — plus speakers from Scripps, Furman, and more. Jack W. Szostak (Nobel Prize 2009) will deliver the keynote. Register now.

Feb 2         GT Rare Books: Newton’s “Principia & Opticks”

Feb 4         Petit Institute Antiracism Distinguished Lecture

Feb 8-12    GT Career, Research, and Innovation Development Conference
Georgia Tech's annual CRIDC offers graduate students and postdocs a unique opportunity to present their research, attend informational panels, and network with industry professionals. The 2021 CRIDC will be entirely virtual, offering a poster and innovation competition with cash prizes. Register here

Feb 17-18  2021 GT ExplOrigins Virtual Colloquium
The GT ExplOrigins group aims to highlight work involving space exploration; biological, geological, and astronomical origins; and astrobiology of any sub-field at Georgia Tech and beyond. Registration and abstracts for this free event are due January 29.

Ongoing  GT Health Initiatives: Spring Well-Being Series
Recurring spring virtual events include Mindful Mondays, TEDxTalk Tuesdays, Well-Being Wednesdays, VOICE Message Thursdays, and Flavorful Fridays. Sign up!

Ongoing  GT Biological Sciences: Spring Seminar Series

Ongoing  GT Chemistry and Biochemistry: Spring Seminars

Ongoing  GT Earth & Atmospheric Sciences: Spring Seminar Series

Ongoing  GT Mathematics: Spring Events

Ongoing  GT Neuro: 2021 Seminar Series

Ongoing  GT Psychology: Spring Colloquium Series

Ongoing  GT Physics: Spring Colloquia and Webinars

Ongoing  Ocean Visions: Ocean Solutions Talk Series


ICYMI 🗓 Recaps and Recordings:

GT Covid-19 Vaccine Town

GT Nonlinear Sciences: Understanding the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics

GT Astronomy: Jupiter and Saturn Conjunction

GT Martin Luther King Jr. Student Celebration

Kaye Husbands Fealing and Peter Swire: Rebuilding the Civic Square

2020 Fall Commencement Ceremonies


Open Opportunities

GT Serve-Learn-Sustain Internships
Potential partners and projects for Tech’s Serve-Learn-Sustain Summer 2021 Internships are live! Visit the SLS site to learn more about 2021 opportunities and how to apply.

Biolocity Early Stage Commercialization Program
Biolocity’s 2021 call for proposals is now open. All Georgia Tech faculty who might have an early stage technology with application to health and medicine and commercial potential are invited to apply by February 18.

L'Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellowship
This fellowship program awards five women postdoctoral scientists annually with grants of $60,000 each for their contributions in STEM fields and commitment to serving as role models for younger generations. Applications due January 29

ICYMI: CoS Strategic Plan Proposals
All College of Sciences students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to submit proposals for activities, projects, and initiatives that will contribute to meeting the goals of our strategic plan and implementation plan. Proposals are due January 29.