Wednesday, March 29, 2017

CS Student Places Second at Research Day at the State Capitol

The University of Oklahoma Computer Science Senior Taner Davis won second place for his research on a weather simulation video game, “Storm Lab,” at the 22nd Annual Research Day at the Capitol on March 27-28, 2017. Davis’ research was funded by the OU Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies.

Titled “Large-Scale Weather Simulation as an Education Video Game,” Davis’ presentation competed against 25 other Oklahoma undergraduate students in the annual event hosted by the Oklahoma Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. The Moore native was one of two students selected by OU’s Office of Undergraduate Research to represent the university at the Capitol.

Davis works with Associate Professor Amy McGovern in developing an educational game to teach middle school students how the motion of air masses in the atmosphere result in different weather experienced on the ground. The game’s goal is to help K-12 students learn an important earth science standard through observation and experiment.

Davis’ role in the project focuses on programming and optimization of the simulation. McGovern and OU CIMMS research and OU School of Meteorology PhD student Ryan Lagerquist participated in the research.

The OK EPSCoR competition included a three-minute oral presentation to a panel of EPSCoR-appointed judges on Monday. Later that evening during a poster session, judges visited with students about their research and asked follow-up questions. Awards presentations at the Oklahoma State Capitol and visits with legislators concluded the event the next day.

Biology and mathematics junior Casey Cai, of Bixby, Oklahoma, also represented OU at the event.

Research Day at the Capitol is sponsored by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, OK EPSCoR and the National Science Foundation.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

OU Engineering Professor Receives National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award

Norman, Okla.—A University of Oklahoma Gallogly College of Engineering professor, Steven P. Crossley, is the recipient of a five-year, National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award in the amount of $548,829 for research that can be used to understand catalysts that are important for a broad range of chemical reactions ranging from the production of renewable fuels and chemicals for natural gas processing. The research will be integrated with educational and outreach programs intended for American Indian students, emphasizing the importance of sustainable energy.

“The NSF CAREER award is partly in recognition of the important work that Steve has already done in the field of catalysis. It is one of the highest honors a young faculty member can receive. We look forward to him doing great things in the future,” said Brian P. Grady, director of the OU School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering.

Crossley, an assistant professor in the OU School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering, is also a faculty mentor for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. The project entitled, “SusChEM:CAREER:Using unique synthesis techniques and reaction kinetics to quantify and manipulate catalytically active sites in metal-reducible oxide systems,” will provide a detailed understanding of active sites and atom transfer processes involved in catalytic conversion of bio-oil molecules derived from biomass.

“We are proposing a new method to quantify the role of different catalytically active sites under harsh reaction conditions that are commonly challenging to decouple. Our findings should help to clarify confusion in the literature while providing valuable information necessary for improved catalyst design,” said Crossley.

Biomass conversion processes typically create a broad range of oxygenated intermediates that are treated further by catalytic processes to remove excess oxygen and build longer chain hydrocarbons attractive as fuel components and chemical intermediates. The efficient conversion requires multifunctional catalysts—typically composed of metal and metal oxide active sites—capable of several simultaneous or sequential reaction steps. While it is well understood that different types of active sites are required for different reactions, the exact nature of those sites and their ideal proximity is not known.

This study will examine those factors by decoupling metal sites from reducible metal oxide sites using carbon nanotube bridges as hydrogen shuttles. By eliminating direct contact between the metal and metal oxide components, and by varying the metal-metal oxide spacing along the carbon nanotubes, the study will provide an opportunity to examine independently two important aspects of bifunctional catalysis on reducible metal oxides: metal-support interactions and hydrogen spillover effects vary with different types of molecules common to biomass deconstruction processes. For more information on the study, contact Crossley at