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Elaine DiMasi has officially hung up her lab coat — forgoing her position as a physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory to jump into the 2018 race for the congressional seat in New York’s 1st District. The 1st District, comprised by much of Suffolk County, has been held by incumbent Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY). Cook Political Report puts Zeldin in a safe spot, with the 1st District likely remaining Republican in next year’s midterm. The 48-year-old Ronkonkoma resident joins a small enclave of Democratic candidates looking to take on Zeldin in a seat that looks hard to beat. But after almost a year of planning, DiMasi is done wading and is ready to take the plunge. “Are they going to say wow that’s great, a different kind of candidate that can get out the vote or are they going to say I want that seat?” DiMasi said. If successful, DiMasi would…

Zoya Vallari walked down the winding hall on the fourth floor of the Physics building and poked her head into a large classroom where two graduate students were chalking calculus problems on the board. “May I use this room for a few minutes?” she said. As we walked into the room, she said with a laugh, “They have no choice but to listen to me.” Vallari is a fifth year PhD student who is working on High Energy Physics Experiments at the Stony Brook Department of Physics. Her project is called T2K, which is located in Japan and deals with an intensive study on neutrino oscillation, a topic that is critical enough to befuddle the average reader. “When I went for my Masters at IIT Mumbai, one of the premier colleges in India, there were five women out of 40 students in the entire class,” Vallari said. “Most people were…

After falling out of a third story window, area man Timothy Brewer has reportedly seen his life changed forever. “Before the accident, I was a jack of all trades. I had no special talents. Then I fell out of a third story window, and my life changed forever,” Brewer said. Brewer couldn’t have guessed it then, but his fall was the beginning of an incredible metamorphosis. “I have lost thousands of brain cells, my IQ has plummeted, and now, I struggle with completing rudimentary human tasks on an everyday basis,” the former postman said. Having suffered a debilitating blow to the hippocampus, Brewer is amazed to discover that he is no longer capable of simple addition, wiggling his big toe, or recalling the date of his own birth. “Whereas before I was simply average at math, I am now abjectly terrible at it.” It hasn’t taken long for Brewer’s story…

Last month on February 11th, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) announced that they had discovered gravitational waves (GWs). Using two arms, the pathways containing the vacuum chambers, at a distance of 2.5 miles each, the group had used laser interferometry to detect a distortion in local spacetime caused by these waves. They were able to observe that lasers had shifted their end position by about one one-thousandth the diameter of a proton due to the change in lengths the lasers travelled. While they had made the observation back in September, it had taken until this point to ensure the validity of the data. For those unfamiliar, GWs are a significant result of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Einstein’s theory predicts, unlike the Newtonian model, which couldn’t explain what caused gravity, that large bodies curve spacetime around us. It is this curvature that causes the constant attachment to bodies that…

Students and professors settled in their seats at the Tabler Black Box Theater as the sound of an upbeat jazz song by Duke Ellington filled the room. In celebration of Women’s History Month, women in STEM fields spoke about forgotten women scientists and discussed issues they faced at “Forgotten Women in Science: Remembering the Past, Looking Toward the Future,” co-sponsored by RHA and Toscanini Hall Council. The speakers represented different STEM fields including astronomy, biomedical engineering, software engineering, computer science, chemistry and physics. The event began with a few speakers talking about forgotten women in the history of science. Scientists like Mary Everest, presented by Dr. Moira Chas, Associate Professor in the Mathematics Department of Stony Brook University, to Henrietta Swan Leavitt, presented by Dr. Glenda DeNicolo, Assistant Professor of Physical Sciences at Suffolk County Community College, were discussed. It wasn’t until later that the speakers began to discuss issues…

In addition to his teaching position, Stony Brook Professor Joel Hurowitz currently serves as a deputy principal investigator for the Planetary Instrument for X-Ray Lithochemistry in Pasadena, which will be launched as a part of the Mars 2020 rover mission. PIXL will study the topographical environment of our closest planetary neighbor and analyze its chemical compositions in an effort to further understand if and how life on Mars occurred. Hurowitz explained his contributions to the study of the surface and climate of Mars during the Geology department’s Open Night series on Feb. 19 in the talk, A Rover’s Eye View of the Ancient Surface and Climate of Mars. “Many of us who are working in the field of Mars exploration are trying to answer this question: whether or not life ever arose on the surface of Mars,” Hurowitz said. The lecture could not have come at a better time, as…

A tenth grade student from Nassau County became one of 41 finalists in the international Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge on Feb. 18. Scott Soifer, 15, of North Shore Hebrew Academy High School, placed in the Health and Nutrition category for his invention, the Vehicular Heatstroke Prevention System. Designed to combat heatstroke deaths in cars, the VHPS detects life using a nondispersive infrared sensor for carbon dioxide and a micro-electro-mechanical system thermal sensor for temperature, Soifer said. When the device senses high cabin temperatures, through carbon dioxide from human respiration and changes in body temperature, it alerts caregivers and emergency personnel. Most importantly, it does something similar inventions were never designed to do: activate the vehicle’s air conditioner. Nancy Conrad, the founder of the competition, said the panel looks for submissions that use existing technology as a blueprint and “this is exactly what Soifer’s invention does.” After all, Soifer isn’t…

It was July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the surface of the Moon, blowing the minds of the 125 million Americans who watched the moonwalk on television. Nearly 50 years later, people are wondering what’s next for mankind. Ever since the U.S. flag was planted onto the lunar surface, colonizing outer space has been a dream of space nerds everywhere. Despite there being no manned missions to Mars, it remains the focus of our next destination. Many dream of a permanent settlement on Mars, but there are naturally several boundaries preventing human settlement, and science has not yet found the answers to any of these problems. This begs the question: is colonizing Mars a foreseeable possibility, and if not, is any planet? Mars One, a non-profit organization with the goal of a permanent settlement on Mars, plans to depart people on a one-way trip…