ASU In the News

Into a black hole and whole new worlds

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) on Feb. 11, 2016, announced that a faint gravitational wave was detected from the collision of two massive black holes in a distant quadrant of the Universe. The announcement opens new worlds of understanding to scientists and the possibility of answering humankind’s most basic questions: Where did we come from? How did we get here? It also confirms a key piece of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and his famous equation of E=mc2.

The discovery shows the best of human discovery and has the potential of changing forever the way we see ourselves, says Arizona State University Theoretical Physicist Lawrence Krauss in a New York Times opinion piece. Download Full Image

The apparent discovery of the waves, or ripples in the fabric of space-time, has the science community buzzing and speaks to all of humanity, says Krauss, director of the Origins Project at ASU. It is a great technological and scientific feat that shows the best of our civilization and our capabilities.

“These pinnacles of human creativity change our perspective of our place in the Universe,” Kraus says. “Science, like art, music and literature, has the capacity to amaze and excite, dazzle and bewilder. I would argue that it is that aspect of science, its cultural contribution, its humanity, is perhaps its most important feature.

To see the entire piece, please go to:

Article Source: The New York Times

Associate Director, Media Relations & Strategic Communications


Press Releases

New international university alliance to address global challenges with cross-border research in health, sustainability, social justice and innovation

London - Arizona State University, King’s College London and UNSW Australia have come together to form the PLuS Alliance, a new partnership to help find research-led solutions to global challenges and expand access to world-class learning.

Combining the cutting-edge research capabilities and innovative education approach of three universities in different parts of the world, the PLuS Alliance will undertake cross-border research collaborations to address significant issues related to health, social justice, sustainability and innovation. The research will be supported with a suite of related learning programs to be delivered online.  Logo for the PLuS Alliance. The new global partnership between Arizona State University, King's College London and UNSW Australia will help find research-led solutions to global challenges and expand access to world-class learning. Download Full Image

“This partnership represents both a significant commitment and unique opportunity to create impactful solutions for a sustainable future. The PLuS Alliance will bring together some of the best minds on the planet and tackle many of the big questions facing our societies today, which would simply not be possible for one institution working alone,” said Professor Edward Byrne, President and Principal of King’s College London.

To be officially launched Feb. 9 in London, the PLuS Alliance will announce more than 60 inaugural PLuS Alliance Fellows from across the three universities with plans to have 100 Fellows in total this year.  

"Key to solving the challenges facing humankind will be greater access to education so that talented men and women around the world can acquire the training and knowledge needed to join a workforce that operates across cultures and borders," said Dr. Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University. “The PLuS Alliance will deliver an exceptional international learning experience that builds on our established record of innovative online course delivery.”

The international partnership will collaborate on projects to make world class education and research accessible locally, helping communities globally make a direct and positive impact.  

“The PLuS Alliance brings together three world-leading universities that share an ambition to improve lives by working together on ambitious educational and research initiatives. Our combined scale, international reach and expertise will enable us to deliver innovative solutions to grand challenges, which are beyond the scope of our individual organizations," said Professor Ian Jacobs, President and Vice-Chancellor, UNSW Australia. 


More than 20 programs will be available to start from Fall 2016. Degrees to be offered through PLuS Alliance universities will initially include:

  • BA/BS in: Sustainability, Global Health, Community Health, Whole Person Care, Business, and Global Logistics Management
  • Masters in: Science of Healthcare Delivery, Infectious Diseases Intelligence, and Sustainability Leadership


To mark the establishment of the PLuS Alliance, a high-profile launch event will be held in London on Feb. 9, which will be attended by senior representatives from all three institutions. The event will reveal plans for the first joint research initiatives to be developed on sustainability.


Press Contacts:

For further information or to register your interest in attending the PLuS Alliance launch event on  Feb. 9, contact the Public Relations Department at King’s on or  +44 (0) 207 848 3202

For Arizona State University media queries please contact Logan Clark at  

For UNSW Australia media queries please contact Denise Knight on or +61 9385 3249

About Arizona State University:

Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American Research University, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.

About King’s College London:

King’s College London is one of the top 20 universities in the world (2015/15 QS World University Rankings) and among the oldest in England. King’s has a particularly distinguished reputation in humanities, health and medicine, law, sciences and social science, including international affairs. Its research has helped shaped modern life from the discovery of DNA structure to development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar technology.)

About UNSW Australia:

UNSW Australia is a recognised leader in innovation, focusing on areas critical to the future from climate change, renewable technologies and sustainable cities to business, public health and human rights. Its solar cell engineers hold world records for converting sunlight into electricity; and its quantum physicists are leading the race to build the world’s first quantum computer in silicon. UNSW has unparalleled industry links, and produces more technology entrepreneurs and top CEOs than any other Australian university.


ASU In the News

Citizen science empowers communities

Dr. Andrew Maynard of ASU’s Risk Innovation Lab recently published an article in The Conversation, which also appeared in Christian Science Monitor.  In the article, he discusses an emerging trend in which citizens work with experts to accomplish scientific advances that are useful to the everyday person and their community, not just valuable from an academic perspective, or useful to some unknown third party. 

These types of partnerships can have a far-reaching impact, and in some cases can even result in changes to policy.  This is called Extreme Citizen Science, which empowers people to deal with the problems they face in their everyday life.  It enables communities of different cultures, means, and locations to take science into their own hands and drive research that matters to them. Download Full Image

Article Source: Christian Science Monitor
ASU In the News

The Problem with University Research

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently covered a story about the priorities of university research.  The publication cites examples that reflect a growing problem in this area: schools are using their research to make money and neglecting obligations to translate their work to provide the greatest benefit to society.

Two professors from Arizona State University provided insight to this issue.  According to David Guston, a professor of politics and global studies, “There are a whole host of things that are important that may not have markets.”  Just because a particular area of research may not be as easy to monetize, does not mean there is no value in studying it.  Download Full Image

Brendan Allenby a professor of engineering and ethics also commented, saying that although a few institutions like ASU seek to reward outcomes-based accomplishments, these concepts are so engrained in academia as a whole that it can be dangerous to get involved in projects that, “peers aren’t going to recognize as academically valid.” 

Article Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education
ASU In the News

Arizona a hummingbird hot spot with most species in US

If you haven’t already noticed, Arizona is a popular hangout for hummingbirds.

In an interview with KJZZ radio in Phoenix, Arizona State University research professor David Pearson explained that habitats in Arizona attract the most hummingbird species in the U.S. Anna's hummingbird The most common hummingbird in Arizona is Anna's hummingbird, which is named after an Italian duchess.
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As an ornithologist with the School of Life Sciences, Pearson is familiar with more than 300 hummingbird species and where they call home. While most are found in more tropical regions, such as South America, Pearson said several species have moved north and settled in Arizona.

“If you go down to the Huachuca, the Chiricahua, the Santa Rita mountains in say, late July or early August, the canyons have feeders where they use up quarts and quarts of sugar water every day,” Pearson said. “There are hundreds of hummingbirds coming in.”

Pearson also said the most common species found in the Phoenix metropolitan area are Anna’s hummingbird, named after an Italian duchess. He added that putting up a feeder with water and sugar almost guarantees a visit by the tiny birds.

Article Source: KJZZ
Press Releases

ASU Launches New Center to Empower Women of Color in STEM

Tempe, AZ - Arizona State University today launched the Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology. The first-of-its-kind center, led by Dr. Kimberly A. Scott, will explore, identify, and create best practices to empower young women of color in school and college to succeed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Dr. Scott’s pathfinding work in this field includes programs being used in states from coast to coast and has drawn recognition from the White House for her efforts. Download Full Image

The center’s mission is to team up scholars, policy makers and practitioners to research and develop strategies that help break down the systemic barriers that prevent girls and women of color -- African American, Native American, Latina or Asian American, for example -- from studying in STEM fields and pursuing related careers.

“This is a critical goal that requires expertise, experience and brainpower from a variety of fields,” said Dr. Scott. “Our collective work will manifest into a larger and further reaching impact to benefit girls of color.”

The center will then provide these new strategies to universities, schools, corporations, and non-profits across the country and internationally to advance women in STEM. CGEST plans to make evidence based research accessible to policymakers and educators committed to expanding the pipeline of under-represented women in STEM. The center will also offer culturally responsive programs for girls of color and opportunities for scholars to apply research to help under-represented girls pursue a STEM education.

“ASU is committed to ensuring all qualified students have access to a quality education,” said ASU President Dr. Michael Crow. “CGEST’s work will enable more young girls to reach their fullest potential in science and math.”

Dr. Scott’s career began as an elementary and middle school teacher. CGEST emerged from her work to help minority girls study STEM, including her analysis of how social factors impact the academic development of girls, especially in science and math. Her research has helped shape how educators approach STEM education to ensure that children, especially girls, can succeed in those fields.

CGEST seeks to address why women of color are excluded from STEM opportunities. While many young girls often express interest in science and math, few continue their studies in the field. Three fourths of girls in middle school express a strong interest in science and math, yet only ten percent of girls will go on to earn a related bachelor’s degree. This often prevents women of color from pursing STEM jobs and excludes them from the field. As a result, they often are underrepresented in high-paying technology jobs.

The center hopes to highlight how the lack of women and minorities in science and technology is not just an economic problem, but also a social justice one. The research and tools provided by CGEST will assist policymakers in their decision making to support women of color to pursue STEM opportunities.

“Empowering women of color to enter STEM fields will help us address issues of both gender and racial equity,” said Dr. Scott. “Creating an environment where young girls succeed in science and math will help open many doors for their success.”

The new center will house many of ASU’s programs that help girls of color in STEM. This includes CompuGirls and the National STEM Collaborative. CompuGirls is a nationally recognized program currently in Arizona, California, Colorado, and New Jersey that introduces young girls of color in to science and technology. The National STEM Collaborative is a group of 27 universities and non-profit partners, lead by ASU, committed to scaling research-based best skills and knowledge, resources and practices on access, completion, and workforce development for women of color in STEM.

In the coming year, CGEST plans to co-host the First Annual Women of Color and STEM Entrepreneurship Conference and a Tribal College and Native American Women in STEM Convening.

About Arizona State University
ASU is a New American University, promoting excellence in its research and among its students, faculty and staff, increasing access to its educational resources and working with communities to positively impact social and economic development.

ASU In the News

Engineering societies in the digital age

Humans for centuries have been trying to “engineer” better societies, but with widespread use of digital technology and social media we may actually be on the cusp of doing just that, suggests Manfred Laubichler, an Arizona State University President’s Professor and Jessica Flack of the Santa Fe Institute. They recently published “Engineered Societies” in the Christian Science Monitor that discusses the role of digital technology in engineered societies.

In the piece, the two say that with its vast ability to monitor social interactions of people, all the way down to the individual’s level, and to correlate that data up to larger patterns of behavior, digital technologies could be a boon to engineering better societies. And the process has begun. Download Full Image

“Google and Facebook are storehouses of detailed data on the minutia of human behavior, and they certainly are experimenting with new kinds of social engineering, for better or for worse,” the two write. “In a controversial 2014 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists, in collaboration with Facebook, manipulated user feeds to study how negative and positive emotion spreads over social networks. In 2012, in a study published in the journal Nature, Facebook studied the effect of its political mobilization messages on real-world voting.”

What is now needed is the ability to infer results from these huge amounts of data. With modern techniques of machine learning approaching this level, what will be needed is an understanding of what the “regularities” in the data are saying.

“With an understanding of these regularities in hand, we will be in a position to infer the rules and strategies that humans use to guide their decision-making, and with this information build testable, predictive simulations of social outcomes at the societal level,” they state.

Article Source: Christian Science Monitor

Associate Director, Media Relations & Strategic Communications


ASU In the News

SkySong a big part of Scottsdale being named among top places to launch a start-up

Arizona State University’s SkySong helped Scottsdale be recognized as one of the top places to launch a start-up outside of Silicon Valley and New York, according to an article published in the Phoenix Business Journal.

The article mentions how Datafox, a San Francisco-based deal-sourcing and research platform, conducted a study and ranked Scottsdale eighth on its list of more than 12,000 U.S. cities. exterior of SkySong ASU's SkySong in Scottsdale is home to a global business community.
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Datafox notes how Scottsdale made important partnerships, specifically mentioning the teaming up with ASU location SkySong. 

“Scottsdale fosters deep connections between entrepreneurs, students and community members: For example, SkySong, the live-work center for resources and capital for entrepreneurs, is the result of a collaboration between the city and university,” DataFox said in its ranking explanation. “And according to Hoovers Inc., the city boasts over 13,000 companies founded since 2010 that had at least $5 million in annual revenue.”

According to the Phoenix Business Journal, Scottsdale made the list because it fit three of DataFox’s four metrics, including combining a low cost of living with a high start-up density and strong company growth.


Article Source: Phoenix Business Journal
ASU News

ASU, edX reimagine first year of college

December 28, 2015

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. To read more top stories from 2015, click here.

Global Freshman Academy offers alternative entry into higher education ASU and edX Partnership The Global Freshman Academy will give learners anywhere in the world the opportunity to earn freshman-level university credit after successfully completing a series of digital immersion courses. Download Full Image

Arizona State University and edX, two leaders in interactive online education, will announce Thursday the Global Freshman Academy, a first-of-its-kind program that offers a unique entry point to an undergraduate degree.

The Global Freshman Academy will give learners anywhere in the world the opportunity to earn freshman-level university credit after successfully completing a series of digital immersion courses hosted on edX, designed and taught by leading scholars from ASU.

By allowing students to learn, explore and complete courses before applying or paying for credit, the Global Freshman Academy reimagines the freshman year and reduces academic and monetary stress while opening a new path to a college degree for many students.

“At ASU, we’re committed to academic inclusion and student success, regardless of a student’s family circumstances. We will not be successful unless we reach talent from all backgrounds around the world, and the worldwide reach of the revolutionary edX platform allows us to open this program to anyone with the drive to obtain their degree,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “The Global Freshman Academy will empower students to prepare for college and achieve what they may not have thought they could.

"There are many pathways to success, both academically and in life," Crow said. "This is now one of them.”

Since it was founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012, edX has offered Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from leading global institutions, for learners around the world. This is the first time that the power of the edX platform will be harnessed to help students earn credit on a global scale.

“We’re proud to welcome ASU as an edX Charter member,” said Anant Agarwal, edX CEO. “ASU has established itself as a new model for the American research university with a focus on inclusion and global thinking. This partnership delivers on the founding mission of edX: the promise to transform education while increasing access to high-quality learning. As with other innovative technologies in the digital space, so too will Global Freshman Academy change the educational opportunities that will help people transform their lives.”

The program differs from other digital immersion undergraduate programs in the following ways:

• Course credit for open online courses: By completing the full series of eight Global Freshman Academy courses, students earn full college credit for freshman year; students will also be able to opt for taking individual courses for credit if they prefer.

• Cost effective: Freshman-year credit earned through Global Freshman Academy is a fraction of the cost students typically pay.

• Learning before payment: Students may decide to take a course for credit at the beginning or after coursework has been completed – reducing financial risk while opening a pathway for exploration and preparation for qualified students who may not otherwise seek a degree.

• Unlimited reach: Because of the open course format, learning takes place while scaling completely – there are no limits to how many learners can take the courses online.

• Innovative admissions option: Global Freshman Academy’s approach is different from the traditional admissions process of other credit-bearing courses, eliminating such barriers to entry as standardized tests and transcripts that are part of the traditional application process.

• Track record of success: This partnership brings together a globally recognized online educational platform founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a university whose innovative online degree programs boast an 89 percent retention rate.

Crow and Agarwal will officially announce the program’s launch on April 23, at the New America annual conference in Washington, D.C. This year’s New America conference theme is “Exploring a New America: What Drives Innovation Around the Country?”, and one focus is on innovation in education and the classroom.

“Innovations in education are critical on moral, economic and national security grounds,” said Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO of New America.

The Global Freshman Academy will offer a collection of first-year courses designed to fulfill a specific set of general education requirements. Upon completion of each Global Freshman Academy course, students who pass the final exam will have an option to pay a small fee of no more than $200 per credit hour to get college credit for the course.

Completion of eight courses in the series, including several required courses and some elective, equals the requirements for a full freshman year at ASU – at about half the cost of the national average for a year of in-state tuition at public universities.

The general studies focus areas will include mathematical studies, humanities, arts and design, social-behavioral sciences and natural sciences. The first course, Introduction to Astronomy, is now open for enrollment, and starts in August 2015. It will be taught by Frank Timmes, an astrophysicist who focuses on nuclear astrophysics, supernovae and cosmic chemical evolution.

Two additional courses will be offered starting fall 2015, with the remaining courses scheduled to be released within the next 24 months. Human Origins will be taught by Donald Johanson, who most notably discovered the hominid skeleton known as “Lucy.” Western Civilizations: Ancient and Medieval Europe will also be offered.

Because the series is hosted and administered completely online, learning can occur anywhere, at any time of day, any day of the week. The program is perfect for ambitious students who need a more flexible, economically viable model for their education that enables them to hold jobs, work remotely and save money. The Global Freshman Academy will also allow students to get a jump-start on their college education while still in high school.

“These classes and assessments are being designed, built and administered by leading scholars and faculty at ASU,” said Adrian Sannier, chief academic officer for EdPlus at ASU. “These courses are developed to their rigorous standards, and course faculty are committed to ensuring their students understand college-level material so that they can be prepared to successfully complete college.”

ASU In the News

ASU space camera captures breathtaking photos of Earth

Today the Republic featured photos taken from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a NASA spacecraft equipped with three Arizona State University cameras.  The images feature Earth seen from the moon. 

Obtaining such a stunning image was difficult, said ASU’s Mark Robinson, lead scientist for the orbiter’s cameras.  The spacecraft was passing by at 3,580 miles per hour and had to roll on its side in order to capture the image.  "I was very happy it worked and very impressed by how beautiful it turned out to be," he said. View of Earth from the moon. Cameras operated by Arizona State University captured this image on Oct. 12, 2015 of the moon and Earth. The cameras are mounted on a spacecraft orbiting the moon. (Photo: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)
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The spacecraft has been in orbit since 2009.  It carries two high-resolution cameras and a third wide-angle lens which provides lower-resolution images. 

"The image is simply stunning," said Noah Petro, Deputy Project Scientist for LRO at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, in a statement. "The image of the Earth evokes the famous 'Blue Marble' image taken by Astronaut Harrison Schmitt during Apollo 17, 43 years ago, which also showed Africa prominently in the picture."

These amazing images can be viewed here.

Article Source: The Republic