September 2014 Newsletter: An Education in Innovation

Friday, Sep 5, 2014
by Maura M. Fennessy

Innovation. Knowledge. Discovery. They didn't take a summer vacation at Princeton University. University investments in on-line education continue to enhance the learning experience. Researchers are making breakthrough discoveries in how cancer spreads, in using lasers to make non-invasive health diagnoses, in alternative energy sources and water consumption. Undergraduate entrepreneurs refined their pitches and business plans at the eLab summer program. Area high school and middle school students filled their summer with research into providing solar power for remote communities around the world, heating and cooling solutions, and human health.

For a taste of historical innovation - and to celebrate NJ's 350th birthday - come to Firestone Library to see historic large-scale maps that charted the state's development from unexplored colonial territory to the first scientifically surveyed state in the United States. The exhibit "Novo Caesarea: A Cartographic Record of the Garden State 1666-1888" runs through January 25, 2015.


Senator Sweeney and Prof KangSenate President Sweeney Visits Princeton Cancer Research Lab

New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney visited a laboratory on the Princeton University campus Monday, July 21, where researchers are trying to understand how cancer spreads in the human body. Sweeney toured the lab of Prof. Yibin Kang, one of 32 Princeton researchers who have received a total of nearly $4.4 million from the New Jersey Commission on Cancer research since 1997. "If you look through this lab, the world is here. Everyone is from a different place in the world, but together the combined brainpower is creating amazing outcomes," Sweeney said. "It's an enormous return on investment, plus it's actually really making a difference."  Read more.



Prof. Jeremy AdelmanExpanding Opportunities for Free On-line Courses Offered by Princeton University

Princeton University will broaden its online teaching and learning efforts this fall, using new approaches and technologies including the NovoEd platform to enable students on campus to collaborate with others taking a class remotely. Jeremy Adelman, the Walter Samuel Carpenter III Professor in Spanish Civilization and Culture and a professor of history, will use NovoEd to teach a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called the "Global History Lab." Anyone wishing to take the classes on Coursera or Adelman's course on NovoEd may do so at no charge. Open online courses offered by Princeton faculty do not result in Princeton credit.  Read more.


Laser for blood sugarLaser Technologies May Lead to Non-Invasive Health Diagnostics

Laser measures blood sugar levels. Princeton University researchers have developed a way to use a laser to measure people's blood sugar, and, with more work to shrink the laser system to a portable size, the technique could allow diabetics to check their condition without pricking themselves to draw blood. 

Laser monitors heart health through the breath (video). Gerard Wysocki, assistant professor of electrical engineering at Princeton University, discusses his laser technology for detecting nitric oxide in the breath as a way for doctors to monitor patient health. Wysocki is testing the technology with Professor Raed Dweik of the Cleveland Clinic.


Liquid LightSolar Panels Light the Way from Carbon Dioxide to Fuel

Andrew Bocarsly, professor of chemistry, collaborated with researchers at start-up company Liquid Light Inc. of Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, to devise an efficient method for harnessing sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into a potential alternative fuel known as formic acid.  Read more.



Music is MedicineStudent Startups: Demo Day Shows Off Entrepreneurial Ventures

A new technology to protect against credit card fraud. Music as medicine for seriously ill children. An e-textbook for American Sign Language. These were just a few of the concepts pitched by student start-up teams at Demo Day, the culmination of the Keller Center's eLab program. The 10-week summer accelerator provides housing and funding, without taking equity, to teams of student entrepreneurs, who are selected after a competitive application process. The students work with mentors, who are veteran entrepreneurs, and attend workshops and training sessions with specialists who coach them in different aspects of launching a startup.  Read more.


High school summer researchHigh School and Middle School Students Spend Summer Steeped in Science

Lab Learning: Thirty-nine high school students were paired with faculty members this summer to conduct research on heating and cooling innovations, new building materials, and human health.

STEM Summer Camp promotes cross-continent collaboration:  Huddled around four tables covered with tools, sensors, gaskets, wires, screws and other parts, four teams of middle school students taking part in the Community House STEM Summer Camp at Princeton University with the Pace Center for Civic Engagement worked together to assemble what looked like big blue high-tech briefcases. But these weren't briefcases. They were four solar suitcases designed by nonprofit We Share Solar to bring solar power and light to communities around the world.


PUPP summer 2014PUPP: A Gateway to College for Area Low-Income High Schoolers

On a recent Wednesday morning in July, 70 local high school students immersed themselves in Nigerian history and culture through film, food and discussion on Princeton University's campus. This event was part of the Princeton University Preparatory Program - a multiyear, tuition-free institute that fosters academic achievement and prepares low-income, high-achieving students from Princeton-area school districts for admission to and success in college.  Read more. 


AOS SplashPrinceton and Imagine H2O Host Water Innovation and Research Summit

Leaders from industry and academia met recently at Princeton University to discuss three big questions surrounding the broad theme of "water": infrastructure, the water/energy nexus, and industrial water. Pablo Debenedetti, Princeton's Dean for Research, said the dialogue that occurred during the water summit was just the beginning of an ongoing conversation. "We are excited about the multiple possibilities for synergies between industry and academia under the broad umbrella of water," he said.  Read more.


John StoreyStorey to Head New Center for Statistics and Machine Learning

Princeton University has established the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning. John Storey, a professor of molecular biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, has been named the center's director. "Given the growing importance and prominence of machine learning and statistics in both industry and academia, it is crucial for Princeton undergraduates to have access to a first-rate education in these areas," Storey said.   Read more.



PPPL Nuclear DisarmamentPPPL Scientists Develop Technique to Aid Nuclear Disarmament

A proven system for verifying that apparent nuclear weapons slated to be dismantled contained true warheads could provide a key step toward the further reduction of nuclear arms. Scientists at Princeton University and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) are developing the prototype for such a system, as reported June 26 in Nature magazine. Their novel approach, called a "zero-knowledge protocol," would verify the presence of warheads without collecting any classified information at all.  Read more.