Randy Gibb to lead aviation research at ASU

June 21, 2013

Randy Gibb has joined Arizona State University’s College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) as director of the Aerospace, Aviation & Defense Collaboratory (AADC) to lead aviation research opportunities, promote the college's aviation programs, develop courses for ASU Online and teach graduate-level classes in Human Factors, Aviation Psychology and Aviation Safety. Gibb comes to ASU after working at Apollo Group as the director of educational consulting for Apollo Educational Services for the past year.

The aviation program at CTI allows students to graduate with a Bachelor of Science and major in aviation management, air traffic management or professional flight. With a projected shortage of commercial airline pilots in the next decade, ASU’s professional flight program is uniquely positioned to provide its students with strong career opportunities. In the ASU aviation program, students gain first-hand, real-world knowledge from seasoned aviation professionals like Gibb in a state-of-the-art facility that contains industry-standard air traffic control systems and flight simulators. portrait of ASU director Randy Gibb Download Full Image

The campus is situated across the street from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway airport, allowing CTI students to fly with ATP Flight School, a private company conducting the flying training. This summer nearly 90 students are actively flying with ATP, earning their private pilot, commercial, multi-engine and/or instructor ratings.

“The combination of our unique location next to a rapidly-growing commercial airport, our impressive simulator capabilities and our experienced aviation professionals creates an experience that aviation students can’t get in any other program,” said Gibb. “We are consistently engaged with key partners in the aviation industry so that we can stay on top of the technology, education and training.”

Gibb earned both his master's degree and doctorate in engineering from ASU’s Industrial Engineering Department in Human Factors. He previously served in the U.S. Air Force and retired as a colonel in 2012. While in the Air Force, he flew six different aircraft, commanded two flying units and served as chair of the Behavioral Sciences and Leadership Department at the U.S. Air Force Academy. His research expertise covers aviation safety and spatial disorientation, and he was the lead author of the book, “Aviation Visual Perception: Research, Misperception, & Mishaps,” published in 2010. He earned his undergraduate degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1986 and earned his Air Force pilot wings at Williams Air Force Base in 1987. Gibb also earned a master's degree from the Naval Command & Staff College in Newport, R.I. in 2001.

Top 10 new species list turns into book of top 100

June 21, 2013

Earth is home to an incredible array of living organisms. Mainly out of the public eye, taxonomists document thousands of new species – an average of 18,000 new species are discovered each year. Scientists estimate as many as 10 million living plants and animals are still to be discovered. These species explorers advance our knowledge about the diversity of life forms and their distribution in our biosphere.  

Quentin Wheeler, founding director of the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) at ASU, and Sara Pennak, manager of IISE’s popular State of Observed Species reports, sort through thousands of amazing discoveries to create an annual Top 10 New Species list. Among the entries are incredible species – including night-blooming orchids, kite-shaped venomous jellyfish, hairy blue tarantulas and sneezing monkeys. WHAT ON EARTH? features the Top 100 new species from the past decade Download Full Image

In their new book, titled “What On Earth? 100 of Our Planet’s Most Amazing New Species,” Wheeler and Pennak share some of the most intriguing discoveries from the past decade – complete with color photographs.

“One thing that makes us human is our innate curiosity about ourselves, our origins and our place in the universe,” says Wheeler. “A critically important part of the answer lies in the complex story of evolution. As we piece together the history of Earth’s species, we begin to appreciate our status as a species within evolutionary history.”

Since all life on Earth depends on healthy, resilient ecosystems, sustainable biodiversity may help ensure the survival of as many and as diverse species as possible, adds Wheeler. Diverse ecosystems are more resilient to unexpected change and more likely to adapt to future stressors.

Taking on the role of “taxonomic tour guides,” the authors highlight new species ranging from the deadliest to the most beautiful, and the oldest to the most endangered. From nearly 200,000 species named over the past decade, the authors picked the top 100 they personally found fascinating, disgusting or simply cool.

Among their selections:

Prettiest – Kovach’s orchid: This Peruvian orchid’s discoverers were charged with illegally importing and possessing an endangered species.

Strangest – Dumbo octopus: This octopus’s “Dumbo-like ears” are actually fins, spanning half as wide as the creature’s length.

Tiniest – Child of Cyprus tiny fish: At .35 inch, this fish is the smallest known backboned animal.

Biggest – Sir Raffles’ Showy flower: One of the largest flowers in the world – spanning up to 40 inches and weighing 20 pounds, it emits an odor that smells like rotting flesh.

Best-Named – Groening’s sand crab: Named in honor of “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening for his promotion of crustaceans.

Sandra Leander

Manager, Media Relations and Marketing, School of Life Sciences