We Rejoice With You - Tallahassee Scientific Society - Florida State by wuzhenguang


									VOLUME 1 NUMBER 3                                                                                                                    NOVEMBER, 2007

    The Tallahassee Scientist

“We Rejoice With You . . .”
TSS Treasurer’s Scientific Endeavor Continues to Earn Recognition
                                                     Accolades continue to abound for Professor Naresh Dalal, the Paul A.
                                                     Dirac Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, at Florida State
                                                     University.     Dr. Dalal is also the new Treasurer of Tallahassee
                                                     Scientific Society.

                                                     Dr. Dalal recently helped to solve a scientific mystery that had stumped chemists for nearly
                                                     seven decades. In so doing, his team's findings may lead to the development of more-powerful
                                                     computer memories and lasers. He collaborated with three colleagues, Jorge Lasave, Sergio
                                                     Koval and Ricardo Migoni, all of the Universidad Nacional de Rosario in Argentina, to
                                                     determine why crystalline ammonium dihydrogen phosphate, or ADP, behaves the way it does.

                                                     "ADP was discovered in 1938," Dalal said. "It was observed to have some unusual electrical
                                                     properties that weren't fully understood -- and for nearly 70 years, scientists have been perplexed
                                                     by these properties. Using the supercomputer at SCRI (FSU's Supercomputer Computations
                                                     Research Institute), we were able to perform in-depth computational analyses that explained for
                                                     the very first time what causes ADP to have these unusual properties."

                                                     ADP, like many crystals, exhibits an electrical phenomenon known as ferroelectricity.
                                                     Ferroelectric materials are analogous to magnets in that they maintain a positively charged and a
                                                     negatively charged pole below a certain temperature that is characteristic for each compound.
           Professor Naresh Dalal,
                TSS Treasurer                          "Ferroelectric materials can stay in a given state of charge for a long time -- they retain their
                                                       charge after the external electrical source is removed," Dalal said. "This has made ADP and
other materials like it very useful for storing and transmitting data. ADP is commonly used in computer memory devices, fiber optic technology,
lasers and other electro-optic applications."

What researchers found perplexing about ADP was that it often displays a very different electrical phase -- one that may be called
antiferroelectricity. "With antiferroelectricity, one layer of molecules in a crystal has a plus and a minus pole, but in the next layer, the charges are
reversed," Dalal said. "You see this reversal of charges, layer by layer, throughout the crystal." Using the supercomputer at SCRI enabled Dalal and
his colleagues to perform numerous highly complex calculations that couldn't be duplicated in a laboratory environment. For example, they were able
to theoretically alter the angles of ADP's ammonium ions and then measure the effects on the crystal's electrical charge. That approach ultimately led
to their solution to the seven-decade mystery. "We found that the position of the ammonium ions in the compound, as well as the presence of
stresses or defects in the crystal, determine whether it behaves in a ferroelectric or antiferroelectric manner," Dalal said.

The team's research is important for two main reasons, Dalal said: "First, this allows us to further understand how to design new materials with both
ferroelectric and antiferroelectric properties. Doing so could open new doors for computer memory technology -- and possibly play a role in the
development of quantum computers.

"Second, our research opens up new ways of testing materials," Dalal said. "Using supercomputer modeling, we can quickly perform tests to see how
materials would react under a variety of conditions. Many such tests can't even be performed in the lab."

A paper describing Dalal, Lasave and Migoni's findings was published recently in the prestigious scientific journal Physical Review Letters. Titled
"Origin of Antiferroelectricity in NH4H2PO4 from First Principles," it can be viewed online at http://scitation.aip.org/getpdf/servlet/GetPDFServlet?

And there is more. Dr. Dalal , has been selected to receive the 2007 Southern Chemist Award from the Memphis Section of the American Chemical
Society. This award honors “an outstanding researcher who has brought recognition to the South,” specifically the states of Alabama, Arkansas,
Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. A medal and honorarium will be presented to
Dalal at a meeting of the Memphis Section of the American Chemical Society in December.

“It always is a great honor to be recognized by one’s peers in such a manner,” Dalal said of the award. “I’m particularly pleased because this award
recognizes the work I have done since I moved to Florida State in 1995.” He has made notable contributions to spectroscopic techniques spanning
                                                                                                                                See DALAL, page 2
DALAL, from page 1
frequencies from a few hertz to several terahertz over more than three decades of pioneering research in magnetic resonance spectroscopy, mainly
electron magnetic resonance. Such research has novel applications to a wide range of problems, from free radicals in toxicology and carcinogenesis
to ferroelectric and magnetic phase transitions in quantum solids, quantum dots, quantum computing and high-temperature superconductivity. Over
the course of his career, Dalal has been a prodigious writer and researcher, publishing scholarly articles in more than 350 publications.

“We at FSU and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory are of course delighted to hear of Professor Dalal’s latest peer recognition,” said Alan
G. Marshall, the Kasha Professor of Chemistry at FSU and director of the Ion Cyclotron Resonance Program at the magnet lab. “This one is
especially remarkable because it is based on research conducted in the Southern geographic region.”

Dalal came to FSU and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in 1995 from West Virginia University, where he held the Centennial Professor
Chair of Chemistry. He chaired the FSU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry from 1999 to 2007, and currently serves as an assistant dean in
FSU’s College of Arts & Sciences. Earlier this year, he was recognized as the top chemist in Florida by the Florida Section of the American
Chemical Society, which bestowed upon him its annual Florida Award (vide www.fsu.com/pages/2007/03/15/FloridaAwardInChemistry.html). He
also was named a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1999, and in 2003 was designated a Distinguished Research Professor, which
recognizes outstanding research and/or creative activity, at FSU.

Dalal is the fifth faculty member in FSU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to receive the Southern Chemist Award, joining Gregory
Choppin (1971), Michael Kasha (1974), Earl Frieden (1987) and Alan G. Marshall (2004).
                                                                               with a public's immediate concerns or demands. Universities make
From Our President . . .                                                       commitments to the timeless, and these investments have yields we
                                                                               cannot predict and often cannot measure."

                                  THE August, 2007, issue of Scientific        So often those who are in control of the purse strings demand
                                   American carried, on page 29, a short       accountability. I would agree to a certain extent, but would also try to
                                   piece on the "Roots of Science Hatred"      explain that some institutions cannot be measured justly without an eye to
                                   by Charles Q. Choi, who discussed the       the future. There are countless inventions and concepts that would not
                                   findings of some Yale University            have been developed if only current applications were considered. I
                                   psychologists. It seems that before         doubt anyone could have foreseen the ubiquitous PC coming from the
                                   children can even speak, they are           original idea of the solid state diode to replace the bulky vacuum tube
                                   developing common-sense assumptions         diode, but that is what has happened. The world is much too complex to
                                   about the physical world, assumptions       make any kind of reliable predictions of the future utility of any
                                   that persist into adulthood and can clash   invention. For this reason, we need to rely on rational thought processes
                                   with scientific discoveries (and pre-       to make our decisions, and not what the current "politically correct"
                                   sumably scientific facts already known).    issues are. We need to learn to trust science to find solutions to our
     Dr. Barry Boerner,            It seems possible that science will meet    problems, even those which we bring upon ourselves by ignoring what
         TSS President             an exaggerated resistance in societies      science tells us. We will do that only when we, as scientists, are willing
where alternative views are championed by trustworthy authorities, such        to share our knowledge and enthusiasm with others, and promote science
as political or religious figures.                                             as a rational and objective way of seeing reality.
We seem to have lots of both in our country at present, who claim to be ‘Dispatched’ from Columbus, Ohio, to Naples, Florida:
seeking the truth while denying the truth that science provides. It is OSU’s Retired President to Head Up
unfortunate that this comes at a time when it is conceivable that our
continued existence could be threatened by our lack of response to the Florida Gulf Coast University
critical problems of today.                                               Former Ohio State University President Karen A. Holbrook isn't quite
                                                                          ready to enjoy the leisurely pace of retirement.
It would seem that we need to redouble our efforts to reach people of all
ages (even toddlers) about the benefits of science, and provide real This afternoon, Holbrook applied for the top job at Florida Gulf Coast
evidence of scientific truths. Perhaps my thinking of trying to develop University in Fort Myers - a college five times smaller than OSU.
toys that show some of the more subtle facts of our world may not have Holbrook, 64, moved to Longboat Key near Sarasota after retiring from
been off track after all.                                                 Ohio State June 30.

More recently, I read Harvard President Drew Faust's inaugural speech          Florida Gulf Coast is tiny compared to Ohio State, with slightly more
where she lamented that "American higher education in 2007 is in a state       than 9,000 students, 64 degree programs and a $130 million budget.
of paradox - at once celebrated and assailed." It seems that higher            Ohio State has nearly 52,000 students, almost 400 degree programs and a
education is revered and suspect, both critical to our survival as a world     $3.7 billion budget.
class economy but also thought to be archaic and out-of-date.
Universities are asked to provide metrics that show only a part of the         Before her five-year tenure as OSU's first female president, Holbrook
worth of the universities. President Faust suggests a more comprehensive       was provost of the University of Georgia for four years. She spent five
definition to contemplate: "The essence of a university is that it is          years before that as vice president of research at the University of
uniquely accountable to the past and to the future - not simply or even        Florida.
primarily to the present. A university is not about results in the next
quarter; it is not even about who a student has become by graduation. It is    Holbrook’s move to Florida is particularly significant because she has led
about learning that molds a lifetime, learning that transmits the heritage     an outstanding scientific career for several years, and comes to us from
of millennia, learning that shapes the future. A university looks both         the state usually acclaimed as leading in scientific endeavor. We hope to
backward and forward in ways that must - that even ought to - conflict         have her involved with Tallahassee Scientific Society sometime.
We’d Love to Hear From You!                                                November 13 - Stress, Depression and the Holidays, with Larry Kubiak
                                                                           of TMH’s Behavioral Health Center.
Please drop us a line when you can, to let us know of scientific
developments taking place in your ‘neck of the woods.’ We’d also like November 20 - Menopause II, with Temple Robinson, Medical
information on your achievements, or those of members of the Society Director, Bond Community Center.
with whom you are acquainted.
                                                                         November 27 - World AIDS Day, With Sheila Morris, State Department
Here’s our policy: we will send you an acknowledgment of you letter, of Health.
primarily via E-Mail. We will then publish your letter in the ensuing
issue of The Tallahassee Scientist - along with any applicable editorial Readers are invited to listen and reap the benefits.
comment.                                                                 ___________________________________________________________
Please send your letters by E-Mail, if possible, to halla@talgov.com.      On The Horizon . . .
Otherwise, please use regular mail to: The Tallahassee Scientist, 4335         Members are invited to attend the Society’s meeting to be held at
Sherborne Road, Tallahassee, FL 32303.                                          the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory on Thursday,
___________________________________________________________                     November 29, at 6:00/6:30 p.m., when the Society will discuss
                                                                                Beach Erosion.        Special speaker will be Professor Joseph
                                                                                Donoghue, a Coastal Geologist at FSU. He will present historical
                                                                                data regarding Florida and its beaches, and offer recommendations
                                                                                for beach recovery and coastal real estate development.

                                                                               The Brogan Museum announces its annual children’s camp, Camp
                                                                                “All That!” which will be held at the museum on some of the days
                                                                                between December 27, 2007, to January 7, 2008. The camp is for
                                                                                K – 8th Grade children, and the daily program will be as follows:

                                                                                December 28 - Detective Day
                                                                                December 31 - Brogan 2007
                                                                                January 2 - Art Party
                                                                                January 3 - Gadgets and Gizmos
                                                                                January 4 - Science of Illusion
                                                                                Janaury 7 - Brogan Bonanza

                                                                                Camp Fees are $40 per day for Museum Members, and $50 per day
                                                                                for non-members. And some discounts are available. Pre- and
                                                                                post-camp sessions (child care) are available at $5 per session.

                                                                                If you have an eligible child whom you would like to have attend,
                                                                                or if you wish to sponsor someone to attend, please obtain a
                                                                                registration form from the Museum at 350 South Duval Street,
                                                                                Tallahassee, FL 32301, or go on line at www.thebrogan.org.

                                                                              The 2008 Capital Region Science and Engineering Fair will take
                                                                               place at Tully Gym, FSU, on Friday, February 8, 2008.         Our
                                                                               Committee on Mentoring (Student Enrichment) is inviting TSS
                                                                               members to assist with Field Trips on the afternoon of the Fair.
                                                                               We may also call on you to be a judge of the Fair: this would call
                                                                               for a commitment from 7:30 a.m. to about 1:00 p.m.
                                                                           Science News Tidbits
                                                                               Seals Assist in Gathering Data for Global Warming Studies.
                                                                                An international team of scientists from the Sea Mammal Research
Professor Joseph Travis, who was awarded the Tallahassee Scientific             Unit in St. Andrews, Scotland, the National Oceanic Data Center in
Society’s Gold Medal of Honor, at the Society’s Annual General                  USA, and the Coriolis Center in France has been using seals as
Meeting, held at the Werkmeister Reading Room, Florida State                    transporters of instruments in the Antarctica region, to examine the
University, on September 10 last. Dr. Travis, who is the Dean of the            effects of global warming. The instruments are glued to the heads
College of Arts and Sciences at the University, is shown here delivering        of the seals, and measure changes in ocean temperature and salinity.
the Keynote Address at the Annual Meeting.                                      These quantities are related to the actual location of the seals, so
___________________________________________________________                     that the data may be used to plot three-dimensional diagrams to
                                                                                show what is happening in the ocean. When the seals molt, the
Health Matters                                                                  instruments are shed.
Here are this month’s radio presentations, To Your Good Health, on
WTAL-1450 (AM), also available on www.wtal1450.com, Tuesdays                    The data are collected whenever the seals dive and travel under
1:00 to 1:30 p.m.:                                                              water. When they return to the ice on Antarctica, the data are
                                                                                transmitted via satellite to St. Andrews.
November 6 - Lowering Cholesterol Through Lifestyle Changes, with
Steve Willis, Dietician, a Therapy Healthcare Provider                         Teaching Engineering to Viruses.        Really, viruses can be
                                                                                genetically engineered to “return the favor!”   A Professor of
    Material Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Angela
    Belcher, along with graduate students in her department, has
    successfully developed a method of manufacturing nano-fibers
    using viruses as the basic construction material. After treatment
    that will enable them to behave like streptococcal bacteria, the
    viruses are injected into a special solution, which prompts them to
    line up as fibers. In addition, the viruses may be coated with
    materials that will produce desired characteristics in the fibers.
How Would You Like to Receive Your
With the start of a new year of operations, as well as the growth of our
mailing list, your election of the method of receiving our journal is being
sought once again. First, we wish to point out that, whereas we had used
a WORD format for our E-Mail version in the past, we will now use the
.pdf format, which eliminates automatic reformatting by some members’

This issue (Volume 1, No. 3) is being sent to all members via E-Mail;
please “Reply” to the E-Mail to say whether you wish to continue
receiving it by E-Mail, or your preference is a hard copy, by regular post.

                                                                              With Best Wishes for a
                                                                               Happy Thanksgiving

        Tallahassee Scientific Society
c/o FAMU/FSU College of Engineering,
2525 Pottsdamer Street,
Tallahassee, Florida 32310-6046.

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