Imaging science student studies tiny details of vast universe
Graduate
Detector Research
Student Stories

A. Sue Weisler

Creativity—in the forms of both imaging science research or quilting—comes easily for Kim Kolb, a graduate student in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science. Go to kimkolbquilts at www.Etsy.com to see her quilts, decorations and accessories.

Oct. 10, 2013
Susan Gawlowicz

Kim Kolb’s Ph.D. crunch culminated 
in a whirlwind trip to Florence, Italy, 
that had nothing to do with the 
Medici, DaVinci or the Arno River. 
(Well, perhaps DaVinci.)


Kolb, a graduate student in RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, arrived in time for the Scientific Detector Workshop on Oct. 4 to share findings about an imaging system that could bring higher sensitivity and clearer vision to space missions. 


Imaging arrays of Geiger-mode 
avalanche photodiodes, or GM-APDS, count each photon, or unit of light, 
carried in an “avalanche,” or a flurry of electrons. The technology was developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory and advanced in 
partnership with RIT’s Center for Detectors in the College of Science with funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. 


Kolb spent the summer testing and characterizing the devices in the RIT Center for Detectors. In September, 
she and her colleagues irradiated three 
of the detectors at Massachusetts General Hospital Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center to imitate the damaging effects 
of space.


The posters Kolb presented in Florence, and the paper published in the conference proceedings, describe those results, which measure the usability of the radiation-damaged detectors.


Early this fall, she won a fellowship from NASA’s Earth and Space Science program to compare and contrast the 
new Geiger-mode photodiodes with 
two other single-photon detectors—
linear-mode avalanche photodiodes 
and electron-multiplying charge-coupled devices. But most of her original work and contributions will have to do with 
the GM-APDS, Kolb says. Her dissertation will recommend the best single 
photon counting device for specific NASA 
applications, including the detection of exoplanets—or Earth-like planets 
outside our solar system—high-contrast imaging, adaptive optics and array-based LIDAR.


“Kim’s research has the potential to dramatically transform our perception 
of the universe and also our ability to probe the human body,” says Don Figer, director of the Center for Detectors at RIT. “She has been more deeply 
embedded in the center’s research than any other graduate student we have had, and she is now in a unique position in the world to do the most meaningful development of new photon-counting detectors.”


Kolb initially joined the Center for Detectors as a senior undergraduate in the microelectronics program. After 
gaining industry experience, she returned to RIT on a fellowship from the military contractor BAE Systems to pursue a 
master’s degree from the Center for Imaging Science.


“I feel really lucky,” she says. “There’s a lot of opportunity that I’ve been given that I feel I need to live up to.”


Results from Kolb’s research on the Geiger-mode photodiodes will further 
the center’s bid to develop technology suitable for NASA exoplanet missions and to uncover the physics behind 
mysterious dark matter and the universe-accelerating force dark energy.


“At the end of the day, all I’m trying 
to do is to count photons,” Kolb says. 
“It might seem tedious and small to get 
so embroiled in tiny details and incremental improvements, but the more 
photons we can collect, the more we 
can know. It’s about exploring the 
universe. It’s about exploring our home on a bigger scale.”


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Original Source: University News

Dr. Roger Easton to be featured at Rochester Academy of Sciences Event
Faculty/Staff
Events

Nov. 4, 2013
Center for Imaging Science

Free Public Lecture - Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Imaging Technologies and the Impending New Golden Age in Manuscript Studies
Presented by: Dr. Roger Easton of RIT

Hear how erased ancient texts are being revealed through advances in imaging & computer technologies!

Nazareth College. Shults Community Center Forum.
4245 East Avenue. Pittsford.

More Information

Rochester Academy of Science

Rwandan teens learn mapping skills with smart phones and tablet PCs
Faculty/Staff
Remote Sensing

RIT professors provide skills and technology for natural resource mapping

Brian Tomaszewski, assistant professor of information sciences and technology, visits students at San Phillipe Neri in Gisagara, Rwanda, participating in the pilot study.

Oct. 4, 2013
by Susan Gawlowicz

A few hundred teenagers in Rwanda are about to walk out of their science classrooms and map their world using smart phones and tablet computers provided by two scientists from Rochester Institute Technology.

The community-mapping project asks the students to think like scientists. Whether this leads some of them to science careers or to advocate for climate-change measures, the experience will give them problem-solving skills and a new perspective.

RIT professors Brian Tomaszewski and Anthony Vodacek are implementing high school science curriculum centered on geographic information systems (GIS) technology. Their two-year pilot study is funded with £294,712 ($473,000) from the U.K. Department for International Development in support of the Innovation for Education, a national initiative the Rwanda Ministry of Education launched earlier this year. The project is one of 26 programs the ministry will consider adopting as national models.

The curriculum Tomaszewski and Vodacek developed will train 225 high school students in the Huye and Gisagara districts in southwestern Rwanda to map the natural resources in their communities using tablet computers and smart phones.

The students will learn to use the geographic information system technology embedded within the electronic devices to collect and synthesize data from their surroundings. The assignments will teach them the spatial-thinking skills needed to navigate and make their own maps.

Spatial thinking uses the properties of space, such as scale, distance and direction, to structure and solve problems ranging from simple navigation with a map to complex scientific inquiry, Tomaszewski says. It drives his research about the science behind geographic information systems—information tools and interactive maps—and Vodacek’s use of remotely gathered imagery to study land cover change, monitor wildfires and assess water quality.

“My interest in mapping technology coupled with Tony’s interest in environmental science gives our collaboration a really great synergy,” says Tomaszewski, assistant professor of information sciences and technology at RIT.

Their project focuses on three high schools in Rwanda. Two schools will receive the spatial-thinking curriculum, tablet computers and smart phones; the third school will serve as a control to statistically verify the program’s impact, Tomaszewski says.

The students will use computers equipped with the Android operating system to run open-source mapping technology. The availability of free software makes the community-mapping program feasible as a pilot project and, possibly, implemented on a national scale.

A few hundred teenagers in Rwanda are about to walk out of their science classrooms and map their world using smart phones and tablet computers provided by two scientists from Rochester Institute Technology.

The community-mapping project asks the students to think like scientists. Whether this leads some of them to science careers or to advocate for climate-change measures, the experience will give them problem-solving skills and a new perspective.

RIT professors Brian Tomaszewski and Anthony Vodacek are implementing high school science curriculum centered on geographic information systems (GIS) technology. Their two-year pilot study is funded with £294,712 ($473,000) from the U.K. Department for International Development in support of the Innovation for Education, a national initiative the Rwanda Ministry of Education launched earlier this year. The project is one of 26 programs the ministry will consider adopting as national models.

The curriculum Tomaszewski and Vodacek developed will train 225 high school students in the Huye and Gisagara districts in southwestern Rwanda to map the natural resources in their communities using tablet computers and smart phones.

The students will learn to use the geographic information system technology embedded within the electronic devices to collect and synthesize data from their surroundings. The assignments will teach them the spatial-thinking skills needed to navigate and make their own maps.

Spatial thinking uses the properties of space, such as scale, distance and direction, to structure and solve problems ranging from simple navigation with a map to complex scientific inquiry, Tomaszewski says. It drives his research about the science behind geographic information systems—information tools and interactive maps—and Vodacek’s use of remotely gathered imagery to study land cover change, monitor wildfires and assess water quality.

“My interest in mapping technology coupled with Tony’s interest in environmental science gives our collaboration a really great synergy,” says Tomaszewski, assistant professor of information sciences and technology at RIT.

Their project focuses on three high schools in Rwanda. Two schools will receive the spatial-thinking curriculum, tablet computers and smart phones; the third school will serve as a control to statistically verify the program’s impact, Tomaszewski says.

The students will use computers equipped with the Android operating system to run open-source mapping technology. The availability of free software makes the community-mapping program feasible as a pilot project and, possibly, implemented on a national scale.

Read More Read Full Story »
Original Source: University News

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