The title “Regents’ Professor” is the highest faculty honor awarded at Arizona State University. It is conferred on ASU faculty who have made pioneering contributions in their areas of expertise, who have achieved a sustained level of distinction, and who enjoy national and international recognition for these accomplishments. This collection contains primarily open access works by ASU Regents' Professors.

Displaying 1 - 10 of 211
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Physical Universality, State-Dependent Dynamical Laws and Open-Ended Novelty

Description

A major conceptual step forward in understanding the logical architecture of living systems was advanced by von Neumann with his universal constructor, a physical device capable of self-reproduction. A necessary

A major conceptual step forward in understanding the logical architecture of living systems was advanced by von Neumann with his universal constructor, a physical device capable of self-reproduction. A necessary condition for a universal constructor to exist is that the laws of physics permit physical universality, such that any transformation (consistent with the laws of physics and availability of resources) can be caused to occur. While physical universality has been demonstrated in simple cellular automata models, so far these have not displayed a requisite feature of life—namely open-ended evolution—the explanation of which was also a prime motivator in von Neumann’s formulation of a universal constructor. Current examples of physical universality rely on reversible dynamical laws, whereas it is well-known that living processes are dissipative. Here we show that physical universality and open-ended dynamics should both be possible in irreversible dynamical systems if one entertains the possibility of state-dependent laws. We demonstrate with simple toy models how the accessibility of state space can yield open-ended trajectories, defined as trajectories that do not repeat within the expected Poincaré recurrence time and are not reproducible by an isolated system. We discuss implications for physical universality, or an approximation to it, as a foundational framework for developing a physics for life.

Created

Date Created
2017-09-01

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Merging single-shot XFEL diffraction data from inorganic nanoparticles: a new approach to size and orientation determination

Description

X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs) provide new opportunities for structure determination of biomolecules, viruses and nanomaterials. With unprecedented peak brilliance and ultra-short pulse duration, XFELs can tolerate higher X-ray doses by

X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs) provide new opportunities for structure determination of biomolecules, viruses and nanomaterials. With unprecedented peak brilliance and ultra-short pulse duration, XFELs can tolerate higher X-ray doses by exploiting the femtosecond-scale exposure time, and can thus go beyond the resolution limits achieved with conventional X-ray diffraction imaging techniques. Using XFELs, it is possible to collect scattering information from single particles at high resolution, however particle heterogeneity and unknown orientations complicate data merging in three-dimensional space. Using the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), synthetic inorganic nanocrystals with a core–shell architecture were used as a model system for proof-of-principle coherent diffractive single-particle imaging experiments. To deal with the heterogeneity of the core–shell particles, new computational methods have been developed to extract the particle size and orientation from the scattering data to assist data merging. The size distribution agrees with that obtained by electron microscopy and the merged data support a model with a core–shell architecture.

Contributors

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Created

Date Created
2017-08-27

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Incorporating religion and spirituality into the design of community-based physical activity programs for African American women: a qualitative inquiry

Description

Objective
Limited research has examined how aspects of religion and spirituality can be incorporated into community-based physical activity programs delivered outside of religious institutions. The purpose of this study was

Objective
Limited research has examined how aspects of religion and spirituality can be incorporated into community-based physical activity programs delivered outside of religious institutions. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore how spirituality and religion can be leveraged in the design of community-based physical activity programs for African American women delivered outside of faith-based or faith-placed settings.
Results
Three focus groups were conducted were conducted with 23 African American women (M age = 37.8 years, M BMI = 39.6 kg m[superscript 2]). Results showed that incorporating aspects of spirituality (i.e., words encouraging connectedness to a higher power, meditation, mind–body activities) into a physical activity program was universally accepted among participants, regardless of religious affiliation. In contrast, including concepts of religion (i.e., bible verses and/or quotes from religious leaders) was controversial and not recommended among women who did not identify with a religious faith. Findings indicate that when developing community-based physical activity interventions that will not be delivered through faith-based or faith-placed settings, researchers should avoid references to specific religious beliefs. Instead, interventions should focus on spirituality and emphasize the mind–body relationship between physical activity and an African American women’s inner-being and her connectedness with a higher power.

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Created

Date Created
2017-10-23

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Impacts of Nitrogen and Phosphorus: From Genomes to Natural Ecosystems and Agriculture

Description

Nitrogen (N) and/or phosphorus (P) availability can limit growth of primary producers across most of the world's aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. These constraints are commonly overcome in agriculture by applying

Nitrogen (N) and/or phosphorus (P) availability can limit growth of primary producers across most of the world's aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. These constraints are commonly overcome in agriculture by applying fertilizers to improve yields. However, excessive anthropogenic N and P inputs impact natural environments and have far-reaching ecological and evolutionary consequences, from individual species up to entire ecosystems. The extent to which global N and P cycles have been perturbed over the past century can be seen as a global fertilization experiment with significant redistribution of nutrients across different ecosystems. Here we explore the effects of N and P availability on stoichiometry and genomic traits of organisms, which, in turn, can influence: (i) plant and animal abundances; (ii) trophic interactions and population dynamics; and (iii) ecosystem dynamics and productivity of agricultural crops. We articulate research priorities for a deeper understanding of how bioavailable N and P move through the environment and exert their ultimate impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

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Created

Date Created
2017-07-06

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How Can Humanities Interventions Promote Progress in the Environmental Sciences?

Description

Environmental humanists make compelling arguments about the importance of the environmental humanities (EH) for discovering new ways to conceptualize and address the urgent challenges of the environmental crisis now confronting

Environmental humanists make compelling arguments about the importance of the environmental humanities (EH) for discovering new ways to conceptualize and address the urgent challenges of the environmental crisis now confronting the planet. Many environmental scientists in a variety of fields are also committed to incorporating socio-cultural analyses in their work. Despite such intentions and rhetoric, however, and some humanists’ eagerness to incorporate science into their own work, “radical interdisciplinarity [across the humanities and sciences] is ... rare ... and does not have the impact one would hope for” (Holm et al. 2013, p. 32). This article discusses reasons for the gap between transdisciplinary intentions and the work being done in the environmental sciences. The article also describes a project designed to address that gap. Entitled “From Innovation to Progress: Addressing Hazards of the Sustainability Sciences”, the project encourages humanities interventions in problem definition, before any solution or action is chosen. Progress offers strategies for promoting expanded stakeholder engagement, enhancing understanding of power struggles and inequities that underlie problems and over-determine solutions, and designing multiple future scenarios based on alternative values, cultural practices and beliefs, and perspectives on power distribution and entitlement.

Created

Date Created
2017-10-16

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Fire Data as Proxy for Anthropogenic Landscape Change in the Yucatán

Description

Fire is one of the earliest and most common tools used by humans to modify the earth surface. Landscapes in the Yucatán Peninsula are composed of a mosaic of old

Fire is one of the earliest and most common tools used by humans to modify the earth surface. Landscapes in the Yucatán Peninsula are composed of a mosaic of old growth subtropical forest, secondary vegetation, grasslands, and agricultural land that represent a well-documented example of anthropogenic intervention, much of which involves the use of fire. This research characterizes land use systems and land cover changes in the Yucatán during the 2000–2010 time period. We used an active fire remotely sensed data time series from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), in combination with forest loss, and anthrome map sources to (1) establish the association between fire and land use change in the region; and (2) explore links between the spatial and temporal patterns of fire and specific types of land use practices, including within- and between-anthromes variability. A spatial multinomial logit model was constructed using fire, landscape configuration, and a set of commonly used control variables to estimate forest persistence, non-forest persistence, and change. Cross-tabulations and descriptive statistics were used to explore the relationships between fire occurrence, location, and timing with respect to the geography of land use. We also compared fire frequencies within and between anthrome groups using a negative binomial model and Tukey pairwise comparisons. Results show that fire data broadly reproduce the geography and timing of anthropogenic land change. Findings indicate that fire and landscape configuration is useful in explaining forest change and non-forest persistence, especially in fragmented (mosaicked) landscapes. Absence of fire occurrence is related usefully to the persistence of spatially continuous core areas of older growth forest. Fire has a positive relationship with forest to non-forest change and a negative relationship with forest persistence. Fire is also a good indicator to distinguish between anthrome groups (e.g., croplands and villages). Our study suggests that active fire data series are a reasonable proxy for anthropogenic land persistence/change in the context of the Yucatán and are useful to differentiate quantitatively and qualitatively between and within anthromes.

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Created

Date Created
2017-09-12

Estimate of the reproduction number of the 2015 Zika virus outbreak in Barranquilla, Colombia, and estimation of the relative role of sexual transmission

Description

Background
In 2015, the Zika arbovirus (ZIKV) began circulating in the Americas, rapidly expanding its global geographic range in explosive outbreaks. Unusual among mosquito-borne diseases, ZIKV has been shown to

Background
In 2015, the Zika arbovirus (ZIKV) began circulating in the Americas, rapidly expanding its global geographic range in explosive outbreaks. Unusual among mosquito-borne diseases, ZIKV has been shown to also be sexually transmitted, although sustained autochthonous transmission due to sexual transmission alone has not been observed, indicating the reproduction number (R0) for sexual transmission alone is less than 1. Critical to the assessment of outbreak risk, estimation of the potential attack rates, and assessment of control measures, are estimates of the basic reproduction number, R0.
Methods
We estimated the R0 of the 2015 ZIKV outbreak in Barranquilla, Colombia, through an analysis of the exponential rise in clinically identified ZIKV cases (n = 359 to the end of November, 2015).
Findings
The rate of exponential rise in cases was ρ = 0.076 days[superscript −1], with 95% CI [0.066,0.087] days[superscript −1]. We used a vector-borne disease model with additional direct transmission to estimate the R0; assuming the R0 of sexual transmission alone is less than 1, we estimated the total R0 = 3.8 [2.4,5.6], and that the fraction of cases due to sexual transmission was 0.23 [0.01,0.47] with 95% confidence.
Interpretation
This is among the first estimates of R0 for a ZIKV outbreak in the Americas, and also among the first quantifications of the relative impact of sexual transmission.

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Created

Date Created
2016-10-17

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The effects of CO2 and H2 on CO metabolism by pure and mixed microbial cultures

Description

Background
Syngas fermentation, the bioconversion of CO, CO[subscript 2], and H[subscript 2] to biofuels and chemicals, has undergone considerable optimization for industrial applications. Even more, full-scale plants for ethanol production

Background
Syngas fermentation, the bioconversion of CO, CO[subscript 2], and H[subscript 2] to biofuels and chemicals, has undergone considerable optimization for industrial applications. Even more, full-scale plants for ethanol production from syngas fermentation by pure cultures are being built worldwide. The composition of syngas depends on the feedstock gasified and the gasification conditions. However, it remains unclear how different syngas mixtures affect the metabolism of carboxidotrophs, including the ethanol/acetate ratios. In addition, the potential application of mixed cultures in syngas fermentation and their advantages over pure cultures have not been deeply explored. In this work, the effects of CO[subscript 2] and H[subscript 2] on the CO metabolism by pure and mixed cultures were studied and compared. For this, a CO-enriched mixed culture and two isolated carboxidotrophs were grown with different combinations of syngas components (CO, CO:H[subscript 2], CO:CO[subscript 2], or CO:CO[subscript 2]:H[subscript 2]).
Results
The CO metabolism of the mixed culture was somehow affected by the addition of CO[subscript 2] and/or H[subscript 2], but the pure cultures were more sensitive to changes in gas composition than the mixed culture. CO[subscript 2] inhibited CO oxidation by the Pleomorphomonas-like isolate and decreased the ethanol/acetate ratio by the Acetobacterium-like isolate. H[subscript 2] did not inhibit ethanol or H[subscript 2] production by the Acetobacterium and Pleomorphomonas isolates, respectively, but decreased their CO consumption rates. As part of the mixed culture, these isolates, together with other microorganisms, consumed H[subscript 2] and CO[subscript 2] (along with CO) for all conditions tested and at similar CO consumption rates (2.6 ± 0.6 mmol CO L[superscript −1] day[superscript −1]), while maintaining overall function (acetate production). Providing a continuous supply of CO by membrane diffusion caused the mixed culture to switch from acetate to ethanol production, presumably due to the increased supply of electron donor. In parallel with this change in metabolic function, the structure of the microbial community became dominated by Geosporobacter phylotypes, instead of Acetobacterium and Pleomorphomonas phylotypes.
Conclusions
These results provide evidence for the potential of mixed-culture syngas fermentation, since the CO-enriched mixed culture showed high functional redundancy, was resilient to changes in syngas composition, and was capable of producing acetate or ethanol as main products of CO metabolism.

Created

Date Created
2017-09-16

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Dynamics of Current, Charge and Mass

Description

Electricity plays a special role in our lives and life. The dynamics of electrons allow light to flow through a vacuum. The equations of electron dynamics are nearly exact and

Electricity plays a special role in our lives and life. The dynamics of electrons allow light to flow through a vacuum. The equations of electron dynamics are nearly exact and apply from nuclear particles to stars. These Maxwell equations include a special term, the displacement current (of a vacuum). The displacement current allows electrical signals to propagate through space. Displacement current guarantees that current is exactly conserved from inside atoms to between stars, as long as current is defined as the entire source of the curl of the magnetic field, as Maxwell did.We show that the Bohm formulation of quantum mechanics allows the easy definition of the total current, and its conservation, without the dificulties implicit in the orthodox quantum theory. The orthodox theory neglects the reality of magnitudes, like the currents, during times that they are not being explicitly measured.We show how conservation of current can be derived without mention of the polarization or dielectric properties of matter. We point out that displacement current is handled correctly in electrical engineering by ‘stray capacitances’, although it is rarely discussed explicitly. Matter does not behave as physicists of the 1800’s thought it did. They could only measure on a time scale of seconds and tried to explain dielectric properties and polarization with a single dielectric constant, a real positive number independent of everything. Matter and thus charge moves in enormously complicated ways that cannot be described by a single dielectric constant,when studied on time scales important today for electronic technology and molecular biology. When classical theories could not explain complex charge movements, constants in equations were allowed to vary in solutions of those equations, in a way not justified by mathematics, with predictable consequences. Life occurs in ionic solutions where charge is moved by forces not mentioned or described in the Maxwell equations, like convection and diffusion. These movements and forces produce crucial currents that cannot be described as classical conduction or classical polarization. Derivations of conservation of current involve oversimplified treatments of dielectrics and polarization in nearly every textbook. Because real dielectrics do not behave in that simple way-not even approximately-classical derivations of conservation of current are often distrusted or even ignored. We show that current is conserved inside atoms. We show that current is conserved exactly in any material no matter how complex are the properties of dielectric, polarization, or conduction currents. Electricity has a special role because conservation of current is a universal law.Most models of chemical reactions do not conserve current and need to be changed to do so. On the macroscopic scale of life, conservation of current necessarily links far spread boundaries to each other, correlating inputs and outputs, and thereby creating devices.We suspect that correlations created by displacement current link all scales and allow atoms to control the machines and organisms of life. Conservation of current has a special role in our lives and life, as well as in physics. We believe models, simulations, and computations should conserve current on all scales, as accurately as possible, because physics conserves current that way. We believe models will be much more successful if they conserve current at every level of resolution, the way physics does.We surely need successful models as we try to control macroscopic functions by atomic interventions, in technology, life, and medicine. Maxwell’s displacement current lets us see stars. We hope it will help us see how atoms control life.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2017-10-28

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Does the Growth Rate Hypothesis Apply across Temperatures? Variation in the Growth Rate and Body Phosphorus of Neotropical Benthic Grazers

Description

The growth rate hypothesis predicts that organisms with higher maximum growth rates will also have higher body percent phosphorus (P) due to the increased demand for ribosomal RNA production needed

The growth rate hypothesis predicts that organisms with higher maximum growth rates will also have higher body percent phosphorus (P) due to the increased demand for ribosomal RNA production needed to sustain rapid growth. However, this hypothesis was formulated for invertebrates growing at the same temperature. Within a biologically relevant temperature range, increased temperatures can lead to more rapid growth, suggesting that organisms in warmer environments might also contain more P per gram of dry mass. However, since higher growth rates at higher temperature can be supported by more rapid protein synthesis per ribosome rather than increased ribosome investment, increasing temperature might not lead to a positive relationship between growth and percent P. We tested the growth rate hypothesis by examining two genera of Neotropical stream grazers, the leptophlebiid mayfly Thraulodes and the bufonid toad tadpole Rhinella. We measured the body percent P of field-collected Thraulodes as well as the stoichiometry of periphyton resources in six Panamanian streams over an elevational gradient spanning approximately 1,100 m and 7°C in mean annual temperature. We also measured Thraulodes growth rates using in situ growth chambers in two of these streams. Finally, we conducted temperature manipulation experiments with both Thraulodes and Rhinella at the highest and lowest elevation sites and measured differences in percent P and growth rates. Thraulodes body percent P increased with temperature across the six streams, and average specific growth rate was higher in the warmer lowland stream. In the temperature manipulation experiments, both taxa exhibited higher growth rate and body percent P in the lowland experiments regardless of experimental temperature, but growth rate and body percent P of individuals were not correlated. Although we found that Thraulodes from warmer streams grew more rapidly and had higher body percent P, our experimental results suggest that the growth rate hypothesis does not apply across temperatures. Instead, our results indicate that factors other than temperature drive variation in organismal percent P among sites.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2017-04-18