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National Science Foundation grants support hands-on student research experience

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Nancy Steblay, professor of psychology, has been awarded $134,219 from the National Science Foundation for a project investigating eyewitness identification errors (NSF SES-1420135). Augsburg College will receive funding over the next three years as part of a collaboration with Iowa State University. Researchers will conduct laboratory experiments using police investigation data and audio files to test theoretical ideas related to lineup bias, witness confidence statements, and more. This project will provide hands-on research experience for up to 18 Augsburg undergraduate students.*

Mark Engebretson, professor emeritus of physics, was awarded a three-year, $396,635 grant to continue collaborative research regarding the magnetosphere and ionosphere, areas of the Earth’s space environment. The project extends a long-standing relationship with the University of New Hampshire and aims to further the scientific community’s understanding of geospace phenomena and improve the capability to forecast and characterize major space weather events. Such events may cause disruptions in electronic communications, degrade the accuracy of GPS technology, disable satellites, and damage the electrical power grid. The funds from Federal Award ID Number PLR-1341493 will support research training for up to six Augsburg undergraduate students over the project period.*

David Hanson, assistant professor of chemistry, is collaborating with Colorado State University to develop computer models that more accurately represent the growth rates of particulate matter suspended in the Earth’s atmosphere. By synthesizing research data from new laboratory experiments as well as past observations, the research team will establish an understanding of the mechanisms of nanoparticle growth. These results will then be integrated into models to assess the role of new particle formation on the Earth’s climate. This research is made possible by a grant through the Department of Energy (Award Number DE-SC0011780). Over the next three years, Augsburg College will receive $79,705 to support Hanson’s research activities. Additionally, this project will provide hands-on research training for an undergraduate student.**

*Editor’s note: Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

**Editor’s note: This material was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe on privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof.

Russian Academy of Sciences honors Augsburg physics professor

The Institute of Physics of the Earth, part of the Russian Academy of Sciences, honored Professor Emeritus Mark Engebretson with the Otto Schmidt Medal Award. Engebretson was recognized for his fruitful and sustainable collaboration with Russian researchers in space physics and planetary geophysics. For more than 30 years, he has conducted research at Augsburg College and has gathered data using ground-based observatories located at high latitudes in Arctic Canada, in Scandinavia, and in the Antarctic. This research has garnered more than $2.2 million in grant funding since 2008. During his career at Augsburg, Engebretson has been awarded nearly $10 million in grant funding.

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