Worcester State University

 

Physical and Earth Sciences Abstracts


WORCESTER STATE COLLEGE: THEN AND NOW

Cassem Chebbani

Faculty Adviser: William Hansen, Ph.D.

College campuses need ways to keep track of their infrastructure and resources. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a very useful way to help with this dilemma. GIS is a set of software tools that helps us store and access spatial data. GPS fieldwork along with GIS mapping made it possible to create a detailed map of the Worcester State College campus. Results showed how much impervious surface the campus had throughout the 1900s all the way up to present day. The data gathered showed us that as time progressed, impervious surface on campus also increased.

 

PERSISTENT REGIONAL PEDOGENIC SIGNALS OBSCURING CULTURAL PERTURBATION IN EAST TEXAS SOILS

Dariusz Chlebica

Faculty Adviser: Douglas S. Frink, Ph.D.

Soil samples obtained from three archeological sites along Flat Creek in Cherokee County, Texas, are dated using the Oxidizable-Carbon Ratio (OCR) procedure. Calculated ages of soil packages related to perturbations in the three soil columns do not correlate with the age of the recovered artifacts (±300 years). Similarly aged definable soil packages are indicated in the OCR data from the Storm Site located in adjacent Houston County, suggesting a regional rather than local cause. Paleoclimatic reconstructions from tree ring data and Greenland ice core data are compared with these OCR data, suggesting possible climate driven soil perturbations at regional scales.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN THE GREATER WORCESTER AREA

Jeffrey Cranson

Faculty Adviser: William Hansen, Ph.D.

Public transportation in the Greater Worcester Area was studied to allow for a better understanding of how to maximize passenger use and limit automobile traffic within the area. A Geographic Information System database was created showing past and present commuter maps, automobile use, and work force in the study area. The data shows that only 1.2% of person trips within the city are taken on public transit. Results show how ineffective public transportation is in the minds of Worcester residents, and can be used as a basis for creating an alternative, innovative transit system in the area.

 

HISTORICA BATHYMETRIC CHANGES IN THE LOWER PASSAIC RIVER

Jeffrey Cranson and William Hansen, Ph.D.

The Passaic River is a heavily polluted waterway that is part of the New York Harbor Estuary; sediments are contaminated with a variety of organic pollutants and metals including high levels of Dioxin. This study converted historical hand-compiled hydrographic survey sheets into digital Geographic Information System digital data and examined the depositional and erosional changes in the Lower Passaic River for the time period from 1949 through 1986. Since the halt of periodic dredging in the mid 1940s significant deposition has occurred in both the Federal Navigation channels and near shore areas.

 

MAGNETS, CURRENTS AND LOUDSPEAKERS

Keith Dusoe

Faculty Adviser: Sudha Swaminathan, Ph.D.

The principles of electricity and magnetism were used to build a loudspeaker using a recycling bin and a plastic yogurt container. This demonstration is part of a set of experiments designed to present physics using common objects and to provide ninth grade teachers with creative and accessible ways to teach physics. The broader goal is to be prepared to participate in the Physics-First initiative in Central Massachusetts.

 

THE ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE (ALB)

Paul Evangelidis

Faculty Adviser: William Hansen, Ph.D.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) detected the first infestation of the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) in the City of Worcester, Massachusetts on August 6, 2008. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software is being used to locate the infestation and the variety of trees infected. Approximately 33 square miles comprising northern sections of Worcester and portions of Holden, Boylston, West Boylston and Shrewsbury are under strict regulation to contain the infestation. This area is being surveyed for infestation and the results mapped out into zones. This analysis examined zone 4. All infested trees must be removed and chipped by USDA as a precaution to prevent further infestation.

 

SCHOOL SPENDINGS IMPACT ON PERFORMANCE

Sean Roberts

Faculty Adviser: William Hansen, Ph.D.

The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) is a means to measure school performance and hold schools accountable for providing a certain level of education to students. Good schools require an adequate budget to pay for expenses, but the question is whether a higher budget necessarily means a better education. Using data from doe.mass.edu it was established whether higher spending per student translated into better MCAS performance. Also it was found whether high-quality school systems increase the value of one’s home. Average home values in school districts were compared to see if performance did indeed have an effect.

WORCESTER STATE COLLEGE CAMPUS - EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE

Stephen Roberts

Faculty Adviser: William Hansen, Ph.D.

Using the college campus as a learning resource is one of the key tenets of campus sustainability. The Worcester State College campus is used by a variety of disciplines for examining ecological habitats and processes as well as distribution of physical and cultural resources. This project uses field data collection, both past and current data, to create and compile an inventory of campus resources in the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database. The data will be used to make a detailed GIS map of the Worcester State College campus including buildings, campus surface types, and parking lot types.


 
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