Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Transformative Research

Here is an interesting link:

Transformative Research: Reflections on a NSF Workshop

April 6th, 2012 / in policy, research horizons, workshop reports / by Erwin Gianchandani
Michael E. Gorman, University of VirginiaThe following is a special contribution to this blog by Michael E. Gorman, a Professor in the department of science, technology, and society (STS) at the University of Virginia. Mike recently completed a rotation as a program director at the National Science Foundation, and co-funded a workshop on transformative research that took place in Washington, DC, last month.
During my two-year stint as a rotator at NSF, I looked for places where I could add value. There was a lot of discussion about transformative research and even some special funds that could be used for projects deemed transformative. In September 2007, the National Science Board (NSB) “unanimously approved a motion to enhance support of transformative research at the NSF.” The Board noted:
“The term ‘transformative research’ is being used to describe a range of endeavors which promise extraordinary outcomes, such as: revolutionizing entire disciplines; creating entirely new fields; or disrupting accepted theories and perspectives — in other words, those endeavors which have the potential to change the way we address challenges in science, engineering, and innovation. Supporting more transformative research is of critical importance in the fast-paced, science and technology-intensive world of the 21st Century.”
And it recommended the following addition to the NSF’s merit review criteria: “To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?”
In a January 4, 2007, talk, Transformative Research: The Artistry and Alchemy of the 21st Century, then-Director of NSF Ardent Bement, Jr., emphasized the way in which NSF works on the frontier where transformations are most likely to occur, but also recognized that we will:
“continue to quibble among ourselves about the meaning of ‘transformative research’, which as yet has no universally accepted definition. That is just as it should be. When concepts as complex as ‘transformative research’ are still emerging, we need to practice a kind of ‘constructive ambiguity’. Doing so will give us the flexibility to incorporate new knowledge and fresh perspectives as they arise; in other words, leave room for discovery. In that way, we can make course corrections along the way, adapt to changing circumstances, and remain open to diverse suggestions about the issues.”
I am a social psychologist of science and engineering who worked in NSF’s Science Technology & Society (STS) program and with the Science of Science and Information Policy (SciSIP) program. I knew these programs had expertise that could be brought to bear on this problem, so I catalyzed a workshop organized by Robert Frodeman and Britt Holbrook of the University of North Texas, co-funded by STS and SciSIP. [Many thanks to Julia Lane of NSF’s SciSIP program for her help vetting the proposal and co-funding the workshop (NSF award #SES-1129067). Any opinions, conclusions, and recommendations expressed here are mine, and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF or any of its employees.]
Workshop participants included 25 invited practitioners and scholars from a wide range of disciplines: engineers, historians, philosophers, and science policy. Former and current NSF officials and representatives of other government agencies attended parts of the workshop.
The discussion was wide-ranging and deep; no simple summary will do it justice, nor was there a consensus. Alternative courses of actions included:
  • Convince the NSF drop the transformative criterion. As a basic science agency, the best way for the NSF to ensure transformations is to fund what Kuhn called normal science, and wait for anomalies to appear. Then perhaps the NSF could target research towards anomaly resolution, which might lead to the kind of revolution Kuhn talked about, creating a new paradigm.
  • Liberate the NSF from worrying too much about the definition of transformative. Keep it flexible and a bit vague while making the benefits of transformative research clear. The NSF could provide exemplars of previously funded work that turned out to be transformative.
The context of use should be included in transformation — a discovery can be transformative in terms of science but not use, and a discovery that is not transformative scientifically can be a catalyst for transformative innovations. Perhaps it would be better to substitute innovation for transformation.
Transformation occurs across an ecosystem — or parts of an ecosystem that many have broader or lesser impacts on other parts over time. Transformative research is part of a reframing of the scientific ecosystem, including research practices, research frontiers and potential applications.
Peer review may hinder transformation, because peers tend to reflect the existing paradigm. One indicator of a potentially transformative project may be a bi-modal distribution in peer reviews, where some see the transformative potential in the work and others regard it with horror — not on grounds of expertise, but because the new idea is incommensurable with existing thinking and practice.
One  alternative to peer review is a sandpit process which was used by the NSF and the U.K.’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to catalyze and fund transformative ideas in synthetic biology. Participants from multiple disciplines evolved ideas for transformative research over several days. Program officers picked several ideas from among those that emerged and invited proposals on them, with the understanding that the proposals were likely to be funded.
In the peer process, reviewers that typically come from the same research community are critically reading and evaluating proposals. In the sandpit, researchers from multiple communities share ideas and look for possible collaborators — and are told that transformative ideas are a priority.  The sandpit process looks like a better bet for producing potentially transformative work.
The fact that the sandpit is deliberately interdisciplinary is one factor that increases its transformative potential. Combining two or more disciplinary communities on a new project is likely to produce a result that will appear transformative from the standpoint of any of the disciplines of origin. The further apart the disciplines, the more likely a sandpit discussion will produce work that is potentially transformative. Consider, for example, combining participants from social sciences, ethics, environmental science, computer science and civil engineering to develop new ideas on sustainability.
Interdisciplinary review panels are often formed at the NSF, but a proposal then has to satisfy all of the disciplinary reviewers — work that builds off all of the disciplines in the panel but transcends them — may fare worse. It would be good to do empirical work comparing sandpits and review panels and varying whether each was done within a single research community or across several. Which approach would be most likely to lead to transformative work?
The kinds of centers created by the NSF and other organizations could be catalysts for transformative research, especially if the right administrative infrastructure were put in place, one that encourages and supports radically interdisciplinary collaboration based on a solid foundation of disciplinary expertise. Again, empirical work could be done on the right sorts of structures.
The NSF has an important education mission as well, both in schools and universities and in informal settings like museums and social media. Given the emphasis on evaluation by disciplinary standards, it is harder to promote transformative thinking in formal education than informal. But there are lots of interesting options within formal education, e.g., interdisciplinary capstone projects and curricula.
The kinds of new scientific and engineering instruments placed in such centers and in national labs can also lead to transformative work by making it possible to explore and manipulate new aspects of the universe. Information technology has enabled many of these instruments and allowed them to be connected globally. IT has also enabled collaborations that have a global reach, and even virtual centers. Computer scientists not only do transformative research, but they also enable it in multiple fields of endeavor.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Thursday, June 1, 2017

This unidentified attack is an attack to be remembered.

Subject: This unidentified attack is an attack to be remembered.
6/1/2017 9:07:40 A.M. Mountain Daylight Time

In addition to tyranny, the following from our National Science Foundation is infuriating:
Review #3

Proposal Number:

NSF Program:

Principal Investigator:

Leyse, Robert H
Proposal Title:

Proprietary Transformative Separations


What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?

The most compelling portion of this proposal is that the PI has identified an anomalous boiling heat transfer regime from microscale wire surfaces. Unfortunately, the PI has not presented a convincing research plan that will lead to a fundamental understanding of the heat transfer process he has identified. Countless anomalous regimes have been identified in boiling heat transfer. While the PI believes that his discoveries are transformative, this Reviewer fails to see it. Truly transformative research will seek to explain the physical mechanisms driving the anomalous observations, and provide technologists with the understanding that may lead to technological advances. However, the PI fails to mention any of the various physical boiling phenomena at different length and time scale which may influence the process. For example, the PI claims his measurements are steady state. This completely ignores the time scales associated with ebullition. The PI claims the dispersive mechanism is turbulence without any evidence. It can just as easily be hypothesized that the dispersive mechanism is microbubble growth and collapse that has been observed in highly subcooled systems. It is unfortunate that the PI has expended so much effort to convince NSF to fund his proposed research. If the PI is convinced that his discoveries are transformative and can lead to revolutionary new technology, he should focus his efforts on developing that technology. For whatever it is worth, this Reviewer believes that the heat transfer behavior observed is confined to microscale wires, and attempts at scale-up would not be fruitful.

What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?

It is difficult to identify broader impact associated with the proposal.

Summary Statement

Past Reviewers have been too gentle in pointing out the weaknesses of the proposed study. The PI should not be encouraged to resubmit a proposal covering the core topic.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Roots of Fukushima

Of course, there are countless roots, and it may be argued that some do not apply.  The number of applicable roots grows substantially if the ways of doing business are included.  Following is stuff from decades ago that documents NRC-EPRI relationships that are not otherwise disclosed.

This entry jumps ahead of a lot of documentation that I have and that I guess I'll have to place in book if I ever get around to writing that.  On November 7, 1984, EPRI (Rossin and Breen) told me my position was being eliminated, but that I'd have a few months to look for work elsewhere.  So, I looked elsewhere with no immediate success.  I talked to Jim Keppler of the NRC and showed him my memorandum, UHI Ultra High Risk, October 3, 1984, as part of several illustrations of my experience and capabilities.  Keppler asked if he could send this elsewhere in NRC and I agreed, however, I blanked out the source of the document as well as my name.

So, the following two pages are an interesting document that reveals very secret relationships between EPRI and the NRC that I was never aware of.  It also reveals turmoil.  I do not recall how I gained access to the following document; it most certainly was not sent to me.  I am inclined to doubt that Rossin was aware of it, but I do not know that.  I suspect that Layman and Lang were not aware that my position had been eliminated.  

Click on a page to enlarge and the back arrow to return.

I'm certainly pleased that EPRI (Layman and Lang) documented the above. This is a clear report of a basically secret set of arrangements between EPRI and the NRC and I suspect that those have continued in various forms over the years and are really intense in today's post-Fukushima world. 

The second page is "interesting" as it describes the "running around" in generating a response to Keppler.  The very last paragraph is also revealing as EPRI apologizes to the NRC for my contact with Keppler.  

Friday, February 10, 2017

Isotope Separation, Boron

This summary paragraph, Proximity Separation and Deposition in the Microscale, outlines Leyse’s transformative approach to isotope separation.  Leyse’s discoveries are now applied in the new field named Microscale Process Intensification.  With one set of apparatus, and with one platinum microscale heat transfer element, Leyse’s research covered the pressure range from 2 to 45 MPa, the heat flux range from very low to 4000 W/cm2 and the temperature range of the heat transfer element from 25 oC to 870 oC while bulk water temperature was maintained in the range of 20 oC. At the very high heat flux there is intense turbulence in the vicinity of the microscale heat transfer element. The local fluid temperatures range from the saturation temperature to intermediate temperatures.  The complex thermal hydraulics defies analysis with current tools.  A dilute solution of boric acid will decompose within the high temperature field to yield particles of insoluble boric oxide. A fraction of the particles of boron oxide thus produced will deposit on the hot element. If there is difference in the deposition rates, the mix of 10B and 11B on the element will be different than nature’s blend..  

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Nukiyama in microscale; text, but no slides, too bad.

This transformative presentation takes 10 minutes -- or less.  It was ahead of its time over 20 years ago and it still is.

This paper is Nukiyama in microscale over the pressure range from 200 to 6000 PSI.  Nukiyama used a platinum wire simultaneously as a heat transfer element and a resistance thermometer. 

Here is my Nukiyama element: diameter 7.5 microns, length 1.15 millimeters.

It is installed in the lower end of an upright tube that is filled with pressurized water, pure and degasified at about 20 Centigrade.  The steel tube is used for these pool boiling runs at higher pressures.

The benchtop apparatus has the pool boiling tube, the pressurizing pump, the junction box and programmed power supply, a PC with Excel for data logging, and in the back, a Rosemount recording pressure transducer.

A run takes about 11 seconds and data is recorded every tenth of a second.  Heat flux is smoothly increased and then decreased.  In this run at 1000 PSI with the water at about 20 Centigrade, the peak was over 4000 Watts per square centimeter.  The average power is about one half watt, so the energy is about 6 watt-seconds, or less than two calories for the 11 second run.  So, the temperature of a local gram of water increases by less than two Centigrade.
Following is the reduced data for the 1000 PSI run.  It doesn’t get any better than this although it gets more exciting.  The transition to phase change, I call it the Nukiyama point, is at about 2100 watts per square centimeter.  This transition is extremely sharp, there is no sluggishness.  That is also the case at the turnaround at 4100.  I want to increase the recording rate to every millisecond in further runs.  Note that the return is on the same path as the rise.  Clearly, the local temperature stays very close to 20 Centigrade, otherwise the return would not overlay. 

Here are several runs, three subcritical, one transcritical, and four supercritical. You have seen the dissection of the 1000 psi run; the 200 and 2500 of this plot are similar.  The dotted line is the transcritical run at 3000.  The four supercritical runs range from 3600 to 6000.

Here are the 3600 and 6000 runs.  The 6000 has a narrower spread between the power up and the power down.

The 3,000 transcritical run is superimposed on the runs you have just seen.  I want to expand this territory with runs having millisecond data collection.

The supercritical runs are all well-behaved in this plot.  Even the transcritical falls in its proper place.

The point of the following plot of the subcritical runs is that at 200 psi the Nukiyama point is 65 Centigrade beyond saturation while at 2500 and above, that delta T is very narrow.

With the permission of Professor Victor Yagov of Moscow, following is his recent analysis. At 200 psi he reports substantial Delta T’s, at 3000, the Delta T’s are vanishing.  Multiply Yagov’s values by 100 to get to my units.

This is the transcritical run.  Again, I want millisecond data recording next time in the search for the aspects of the jump.  Note that saturation temperature is very close to critical.

Here is limited data.  With a somewhat larger microscale element the heat fluxes at the Nukiyama points are reduced, however the temperature of the points is unchanged.  The transcritical characteristic is the same even though the pressure is 100 psi less; the saturation temperature is still very near critical.

I think this is sensational.  The procedure is to pressurize the apparatus to about 6000 psi, apply a substantial heat flux in one step, and maintain that heat flux as pressure is smoothly reduced over about 20 seconds, turn off power at about 200 psi.  Note the gradual increase in temperature as pressure is reduced, then the upward jump of over 200 Centigrade at around 3700 psi, followed by a smooth increase of another 100 Centigrade to the critical pressure, then a smooth decrease of nearly 200 Centigrade, then a downward jump of about 150 centigrade to the critical temperature. At that point the subcritical boiling begins and continues until the power is turned off. At the lowest heat flux there is a smooth continuous plot over the entire pressure range with no intervening steps. The four plots at increasing heat fluxes are neatly nested.

Here are the data points.  I captured one point during the upward jump in two runs. Of course, runs are needed with millisecond recording, etc.
Here are the plots of subcritical phase change only.  The plots are very close; however the heat fluxes are distinct.  As was measured in the constant pressure runs at subcritical pressures and also calculated by Professor Yagov, the delta T from phase change to saturation increases as the pressure is reduced.

 This shows the impact of nitrogen saturation at 1000 psi.  I never reduced these plots to heat flux and temperature; I did not need to in order to get the patent. Nitrogen reduces the heat transfer coefficient during natural circulation; however phase change heat transfer begins at a somewhat lower temperature and heat flux.  I filed this patent during 1995 and it issued during 1997, the year that Berkeley started its microscale journal.