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Sen. Shaheen Visits Dartmouth for Research Briefing

Oct 14, 2022   |   Dartmouth News

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, visited the new Class of 1982 Engineering and Computer Science Center Friday with National Science Foundation Director Sethuraman Panchanathan to get a first-hand look as some of the cutting-edge work in polar engineering and glaciology, robotics, and cognitive neuroscience at Dartmouth.

From left, National Science Foundation Director Sethuraman Panchanathan, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and engineering professor Mary Albert, executive director of the US Ice Drilling Program, look at a model of the Arctic ice core showing different layers of time sketched and represented in the ice. (Photo by Katie Lenhart)

Shaheen, chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the NSF, says that she wanted Panchanathan and regional NSF administrators to hear directly from the Dartmouth scientists and researchers whose work is supported by foundation funding.

"It's wonderful to be able to show off the amazing research that's going on at Dartmouth, but also to think about how we can be more responsive to potential grants in the future and ensure that resources are coming here for the research that’s needed," Shaheen said.

"One of the things that's going to happen as a result of the CHIPS and Science Act we just passed is there's a significant increase in funding for the NSF and for science and research, which is essential not only for the challenges people have every day, but to ensure that we stay competitive as a country."

Mary Albert, professor of engineering and executive director of the US Ice Drilling Program, had a classroom model of an ice core that she used to describe the climatic, atmospheric, and historic data that ice cores can reveal. Albert's NSF-funded work includes collaboration with the Center for Oldest Ice Exploration (COLDEX), the Joint Science Education Project (JSEP) in Greenland, and a project to help the Greenland town of Qaanaaq transition from fossil fuels to greener energy.

It was clear from Panchanathan’s interactions with the researchers and his enthusiasm for the work that he was well briefed on each one.

"I was reading up on the projects and I was just amazed by what's going on here," he said.

Both Shaheen and Panchanathan thanked Alexis Abramson, dean of Thayer School of Engineering, for hosting Friday's visit. Panchanathan noted Abramson's work in energy innovation and as chief scientist in emerging technologies in the US Department of Energy during the Obama administration

"I always say this, leaders are role models, and therefore when you have a leader who has this kind of experience it inspires students. That's the most important thing that you do," Panchanathan said.

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