Category: Research

Langston Receives NSF Grant on Mining Toxin Migration

Langston1Nancy Langston has received $270,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a three year research project titled “Historical and Spatial Aspects of the Migration of Toxic Iron-Mining Contaminants into the Lake Superior Basin.”

Abstract:

This project investigates the mobilization of toxic mining contaminants in the Lake Superior basin. The investigator will conduct archival research and oral-history interviews, and she will develop a geo-spatial database. She plans to link her historical research with contemporary policy and regulation issues, and to engage with local communities, including Native Americans in the region.

The investigator is a well-known environmental historian whose previous work has drawn on multiple disciplines and generated significant media interest; she has a network of contacts that includes a documentary filmmaker and relevant stakeholder groups. The project will produce a narrative of environmental history with the potential for overlap with important questions of technology, culture, and society. It will be of interest to citizen scientists, a wide-array of scholars, and the general public. The most important broader impact of the project is that it might very well influence contemporary policy and law-making.

Industrial Archaeology Students Dig for Answers Around Fort Wilkins

Image from the Holland Sentinel

From Tech Today:

The Holland Sentinel published a feature article on Michigan Tech’s Industrial Archaeology    students’ analysis of early mining activity in the vicinity of Fort Wilkins State Park.

From the Abstract:

 To better document the fort’s history related to copper mining, a group of Michigan Technological University students — led by doctoral candidate Sean Gohman and Patrick Martin, Michigan Tech professor of industrial archaeology — is exploring land  that is now part of the state park, looking specifically for evidence of mining activity by  the Pittsburgh & Boston Mining Co., which operated in the region in 1844-48.

Click here to read the full article: Archaeology students seek answers to Fort Wilkins’ mining past

 

 

 

 

Winkler Publishes on Solar Water Disinfection Method of Cleaning Water for Consumption

SODISRichelle Winkler (SS) and Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) coauthored “Evaluating the Geographic Viability of the Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) Method by Decreasing Turbidity with NaCl: A Case Study of South Sudan,” published in the journal Applied Clay Science.

Globally, about one billion people don’t have access to clean drinking water.  One cheap and easy method of cleaning water for consumption is to put it into plastic water bottles and set it in the sun (SODIS), but this method doesn’t work when the water is muddy.  Pearce and his graduate students found that by adding simple table salt to water muddied with clay, the clay would settle the water enough to allow the SODIS method to work. Winkler worked with a graduate student at Princeton University on demographic analysis of the number of people who could potentially benefit from this salt+SODIS approach in Africa. The demographic team used a geographic information system (GIS) to identify geographic regions with the appropriate soil type, then overlaid that data with population estimates. They found that over a million people in South Sudan, a country where access to clean water is limited, could potentially benefit from this method.

Read the full article here.

Archaeologists receive a grant for Fort Wilkins

Cannon at Ft. Wilkins

Prof. Patrick Martin and Ph.D. candidate Sean Gohman of Social Sciences have been awarded a two-year grant for archaeological surveys at Fort Wilkins State Park in Copper Harbor.  The grant, for  $19,487 each year (total of just under $39,000), comes from  the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and will be used to support graduate students investigating the remains of the Pittsburg and Boston Copper Harbor Mining Company sit, now located on the Fort Wilkins property.  This summer and fall the crew of archaeologists from Social Sciences will survey the site, and next year do some selected test excavation and recordation. If funding becomes available in 2016 and beyond, the team hopes to continue similar work on the Copper Harbor Range Lighthouse site.

Fort Wilkins was built in 1844 by the fifth U.S. Infantry Regiment to keep order in the Michigan copper mining district, though it was abandoned two years later (but re-garrisoned from 1867-70). In the absence of the military (1847-66 and 1871-1923) civilians frequently occupied fort buildings as residences and later as hunting camps and cottages until the property became a state park in 1923. Today Fort Wilkins State Park interprets three primary themes: early Keweenaw copper mining by the Pittsburgh and Boston Copper Harbor Mining Company, Lake Superior maritime history with the Copper Harbor Lighthouses, and nineteenth-century military history at the fort itself.

Since 1974 the Michigan Historical Museum has been responsible for historical activities within the park. Today, there are nineteen historical buildings: twelve original structures from the 1840s and seven reconstructions based on the historical and archaeological record. Archaeological research has been carried out intermittently at the fort from 1975 to present under state contracts and over that time various projects have investigated a number of the military buildings, the fort’s blacksmith shop, the Copper Harbor lighthouse, various trash and dump sites (often excellent windows into past material culture) as well as parts of the Pittsburgh and Boston Copper Harbor Copper Mining Company activities. This current grant will support phase I and II (surface survey and selected test dings, respectively) archaeological projects in the P&BCMC site along the northern boundary of Fort Wilkins State Park along the southern shore of Copper Harbor.

Proposals in Progress for July 15, 2014

PI Patrick Martin (SS) and Co-PI Sean Gohman (SS), “Archaeological Surveys, Fort Wilkins State Park,” Michigan DNR.

PI Timothy Scarlett (SS), “pXRF Study of Antique Pottery in Two Utah Museums,” Utah Humanities Council.

PI Richelle Winkler (SS), “Angler Demographics–An Age-Period-Cohort Analysis,” Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

PI Adam Wellstead (SS), “Measuring Policy Capacity in the Great Lakes Fisheries Sector,” Great Lakes Commission.

Read more at Tech Today.

Schelly’s article on Early Solar Adopters published

solar panelsChelsea Schelly is just back from Munich where she participated in a workshop on “Greening of Everyday Life” at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Univeristät-München.  There she spoke on “Everyday Household Practice in Alternative Residential Dwellings: The Non- Environmental Motivations for Environmental Behavior.”

She has also recently had an article on her research on people who install solar energy panels published in Energy Research & Social Science.  The article is based on interviews with 48 Wisconsin residents who installed solar and Schelly looked at how the environmental and economic motivations related to the demographic characteristics of the adopters.  As she states in her abstract, the research “offer[s] general insight for understanding investment in renewable energy technologies at the residential scale, suggesting means of improving environmental and energy policy and highlighting avenues for future research.”  Read the abstract and article at “Residential Solar Electricity Adoption: What Motivates, and What Matters? A Case Study of Early Adopters,” Energy Research and Social Science 2 (2014:) 183-191.

Gorman: Before There Was C, There Was N

Gorman, Story of N book cover
The book also made #1 on Carl A. Zimring's Best Books of 2013!

A recent article in the Michigan Tech News highlighted Hugh Gorman’s book, The Story of N and how our current need to fix the nitrogen cycle bears a striking resemblance to problem in the carbon cycle that needs fixing.  Read the full story in the article entitled: “Before There Was C, There Was N: How Humans Derailed the Nitrogen Cycle and Are Trying to Put It Back on Track

It also mentions that his article that came out of his work on the book, “Learning from 100 Years of Ammonia Synthesis: Establishing Human-Defined Limits through Adaptive Systems of Governance,” Gaia 22.4 (2013): 263-270, that won second place in Gaia’s Best Paper competition for 2013.  Congratulations, Hugh!

A Village in Bangladesh

Mizanur RahmanGlobal City Presents “A Village In Bangladesh” Today

“A Village in Bangladesh” will be presented by S. M. Mizanur Rahman, today at 5 p.m., in EERC 103.

Mizanur will present the development disaster caused by shrimp farming in his village and how small producers are left out of the economic development of this product. He will also talk about his work in the community and The Motorcycle Project, an idea he developed to provide capital support and planning skills to the local people, which he plans on implementing this summer. He is now pursuing his PhD in Environmental and Energy Policy at Michigan Tech.

From Tech Today.

A Village In Bangladesh

Global City of Michigan Technological University has posted a video of Mizanur’s presentation on their Facebook page.

Mizanur Presentation