Fall 2005

Past, Present, and Future of Space Nuclear Propulsion in the United States

Dr. Samim AnghaieUniversity of Florida

Hosting Dept: Physics, Astronomy, Geosciences


Abstract:  The space nuclear power and propulsion program in the Unites States was motivated by the need to develop Intercontinental Ballistic Missile in early 1950’s. The nuclear rocket engine development program started in 1955 with the initiation of the ROVER project. The first step in the ROVER program was the KIWI project that included the development and testing of 8 non-flyable ultrahigh temperature nuclear test reactors during 1955-1964. The KIWI project was precursor to the PHOEBUS carbon-based fuel reactor project that resulted in ground testing of three high power reactors during 1965-1968 with the last reactor operated at 4,100 MW. During the same time period a parallel program was pursued to develop a nuclear thermal rocket based on cermet fuel technology. The third component of the ROVER program was the Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Applications (NERVA) that was initiated in 1961 with the primary goal of designing the first generation of nuclear rocket engine based on the KIWI project experience. The fourth component of the ROVER program was the Reactor In-Flight Test (RIFT) project that was intended to design, fabricate, and flight test a NERVA powered upper stage engine for the Saturn-class lunch vehicle. During the ROVER program era, the Unites States ventured in a comprehensive space nuclear program that included design and testing of several compact reactors and space suitable power conversion systems, and the development of a few light weight heat rejection systems. Contrary to its sister ROVER program, the space nuclear power program resulted in the first ever deployment and in-space operation of the nuclear powered SNAP-10A in 1965. The USSR space nuclear program started in early 70’s and resulted in deployment of two 6 kWe TOPAZ reactors into space and ground testing of the prototype of a relatively small nuclear rocket engine in 1984. The US ambition for the development and deployment of space nuclear power and propulsion was resurrected in early 1980’s, early 1990’s, and early 2000’s with the initiation of several research programs that included the SP-100. The current NASA focus is on the project PROMETHUS that among its primary objectives are development of the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO), Moon and Mars surface power, and Nuclear Thermal Propulsion system.



Thursday, September 8, 2005 4pm

Geographic Information Systems in the classroom: teachers & students working with complex software

Dr. Paul VincentValdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Physics, Astronomy, Geosciences


Abstract:  Over the last decade, geographic information systems (GIS) has become a widely taught university course. However, because this software is so complex, there has been an on-going debate over the best methods of instruction. As it has matured as a university subject and as the sophistication of the technology has increased, there has been an increased awareness of the cognitive factors involved in the teaching, learning, and implementing GIS. Specifically, the cognitive factors of spatial ability, human-computer interaction, problem solving ability, and geographic attitude have been recognized as particularly relevant to learning GIS. The research presented in this talk examines the relationship between these cognitive factors and success of novices learning to use GIS.

Thursday, September 15, 2005 4pm

Sorting by Bounded Length Reversals

Dr. Sherry FengValdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Math/CS


Abstract:  Sorting is one of the most basic and important problems in computer science. Usually the first algorithm taught in a computer science class is a sorting algorithm. Efficient and optimal sorting algorithms play a vital role in both theory and in applications. In this talk, we give a brief introduction about sorting by bounded length reversals. We talk about its application in computational biology and music theory, etc.

Thursday, September 22, 2005 4pm

Recent Extremely Active U.S. Hurricane Seasons: Climate Links and Future Implications

Dr. Brian BossakValdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Physics, Astronomy, Geosciences

Thursday, September 29, 2005 4pm

Human Memory Systems: Current and Past Research

Dr. Blaine BrowneValdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Psychology


Abstract:  Cognitive neuroscience is a vast and expanding field of research. One of the major areas of focus within cognitive neuroscience is memory. This talk will address the main parts of the human memory system such as working and long term memory with examples of each type. Also, the major brain areas correlated with different types of memory will be presented. Research will be discussed that shows how malleable our memory truly is and implications of these studies. An overview of false memory research using the Deese Roediger McDermott (DRM) paradigm will be presented and discussed. Historical research on memory will be discussed along with current research that is being conducted here at VSU.

Thursday, October 6, 2005 4pm

Improving TCP by Using Faster and More Accurate Feedback

Dr. Chunlei LiuValdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Math/CS


Abstract:  TCP is the foundation of the Internet. It uses network feedback to find out the status of the network and determine the transmission rate. However, when TCP is deployed on heterogeneous networks, its feedback is not always fast and accurate. In this talk, we will explore the characteristics of TCP feedback in wireless net

Thursday, October 13, 2005 4pm

Quantifying Agroecoystem Health at Multiple scales using Socioeconomic and Biophysical Data

Dr. Krishna Prasad VedrevuThe Ohio State University

Hosting Dept: Physics, Astronomy, Geosciences

Thursday, October 20, 2005 4pm

Great moments in history: trying to demystify what's going on with the species & population status of the Aussie mossies in the Culex sitiens Wiedemann subgroup species complex

Jo-anne KentUniversity of South Australia, Adelaide.

Hosting Dept: Biology

Thursday, October 27, 2005 4pm

Research in Chemical Kinetics

Dr. Jon BarnettValdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Chemistry

Thursday, November 3, 2005 4pm

Artificial Photosynthesis

Dr. Linda de la GarzaValdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Chemistry

Thursday, November 10, 2005 4pm

Antioxidant Boosting and Aerobic Exercise Performance

Dr. Max ShuteVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Hosting Dept: Biology


Abstract:  The generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) has been implicated in the onset of aerobic fatigue in humans. Therefore, by boosting our antioxidant defenses, we could, theoretically, delay fatigue and increase aerobic exercise performance. Many antioxidants have been tested in both animal and human models, predominantly finding benefit in animals but not in humans. The most widely examined have been vitamin E and vitamin C or combinations there of. Glutathione (GSH) is a major intracellular antioxidant tripeptide (glutamine, cysteine, glycine) which is concentrated in oxidative and detoxifying tissues. Its main role is as an electron donor in the reduction of hydrogen peroxide. By doing so it decreases the generation of other more powerful ROS and has the potential to have an aerobic ergogenic effect. GSH also plays a major role in regenerating oxidized vitamin E and vitamin C back to their biologically active forms after their oxidation. The GSH boosting drug N-acetylcysteine has shown promise in boosting GSH in trained humans and delaying fatigue. However, its non-oral administration and subsequent side effects preclude its ability to be an effective and practical ergogenic aid. Whey protein is rich in glutamylcysteine, a main precursor to GSH synthesis. However, the typical pasteurization process will denature the cysteine negating any potential GSH boosting effect. Specially pasteurized commercially available whey protein supplements, which do not denature the glutamyl cysteine groups, have been shown to boost GSH in GSH deficient diseased populations. So far GSH boosting in aerobic athletes, a population with already high levels of GSH, has proven difficult with these products. More research is needed to verify their usefulness for the competing or recreational aerobic athlete. This project was supported in part by AmmunoMed Llc., Dayton, OH and the Virginia Tech Graduate Student Association.

Thursday, November 17, 2005 4pm

Thanksgiving Break

Thursday, November 24, 2005