NARC Seminar Series - Abstracts AY10
Professor Karen A. Flack
Prediction of Frictional Drag from Surface Roughness
This book-length comparative study examines the writings of two great mystics, the sixteenth-century Spanish saint Teresa of Ávila and the seventeenth-century French mystic Jeanne-Marie Bouvier de la Mothe Guyon, known as Madame Guyon. While parallels between these two women are particularly strong, there is no scholarly study that analyzes them as writers, although they were both were quite prolific; each produced an autobiography, poetry, treatises on mental prayer, and biblical commentaries, notably on the Song of Songs, a key text for European mysticism. Many studies focus on the modernity of women writers of this period, especially as concerns self-identification and determination, yet neglect them as readers and commentators of sacred texts. The topic of women and religion, however, brings forth all the contradictions and problems of the time. Teresa was investigated by the Inquisition and ordered to burn her commentary on the Song of Songs, which she did, although her confessor Jerónimo Gracián had a copy and published it in 1611. Jeanne Guyon was imprisoned for eight years and ordered to renounce her writings, which she refused to do. After a stint in the Bastille, she was released. She never went to trial and no charges were brought against her. At the time of her arrest in 1695, she had several books in her possession, plays by Molière, folktales by Charles Perrault, and a copy of Don Quijote de la Mancha. She was questioned about all these readings as subversive. I have translated her prison memoirs dated 1707, the manuscript for which languished for over 300 years until the French scholar Marie-Louise Gondal published it in 1992. These memoirs are a personal account of her prison experiences, written after her release. Hence the reader can anticipate digressions, lapses in chronology, and allusions to people she was trying to protect or to events she had sworn not to reveal, as was customary for prisoners leaving the Bastille. Such digressions are common in Saint Teresa also, for the saint from Ávila writes in a very personal fashion, as if the reader were sitting right next to her. Both Teresa and Jeanne share this personal approach even in their serious spiritual writings. Teresa often intended her writing for her own religious community, the Discalced Carmelites. Jeanne published her first book on prayer in 1685 and also intended it for her own congregation. My analysis of them looks at their handling of discourse, Teresa's in Spanish and Jeanne's in French. The Latin base these two languages share allows for long sentence structure, digressions embedded in the sentence, and convoluted subordinate clauses. This style is typical of the period, although neither woman had formal university education. This Latinate structure also provides a framework for stylistic comparison that includes images and biblical influence. Further, I have begun a study of both defenders and detractors of these two women mystics as a means of examining the historical context of their writing. Defenders were Francisco de la Cueva y Silva, a lawyer whose defense of Teresa as co-patron of Spain [with St. James] was confiscated by the Inquisition after her death, and two of her Carmelite sisters, María de San Alberto and Cecilia del Nacimiento, whose confessors destroyed many of their writings. For Madame Guyon, her confessor Father François La Combe was jailed in 1687 and accused of Quietism, a so-called Spanish heresy attributed by a follower of Saint Teresa, Miguel de Molinos. Both La Combe and Molinos died in prison, although prisons at the time were usually way stations to execution. Bishop François Fénelon was exiled for his defense of the kind of apophatic or passive mysticism that Guyon practiced. He refused to sign statements condemning her as a witch. Yet so-called Quietist practices, such as the prayer of recollection or mental prayer, the "laissez aller," or "letting go," and annihilation or emptying of oneself to receive divine grace are all aspects of Saint Teresa's mystical interior way. At issue for both women writers is the broader question of female authority in spiritual matters, still a controversy for our own time. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the new and improved name for the Inquisition, is currently conducting an investigation of US women's religious communities. Women as religious leaders remain an on-going controversy. Teresa and her influence on her French secular sister Jeanne is an example of women who have had the courage to participate in not only the intellectual but also the spiritual life of their times.
Assistant Professor Christopher W. Morgan
Quasar Accretion Physics - Probing the Most Luminous Objects in the Universe
Quasars, the most luminous objects in the universe, are likely powered by the accretion of matter onto super-massive black holes. Since quasars are found only at great distances from earth, their impossibly small angular sizes are well below the resolution limit of any existing telescope. I will describe how I use the phenomenon of gravitational lensing to skirt this limitation and probe the properties of the quasar central engine. My research midshipmen and I examine lensed quasar observations from the U.S. Naval Observatory, Flagstaff, AZ, the Chandrasekhar X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope to measure the sizes of quasar continuum emission regions at multiple wavelengths. These measurements represent the most powerful support to date for the black hole accretion paradigm, but they also open puzzling questions about the nature of disk accretion and related radiative processes.
8 October 2009
Professor Gale A. Mattox
Security Paradigm: Transatlantic Alliance and the Cold War
Professor Angela L. Moran
STEM at USNA:
Commander R. Joseph Watkins, USN
Development of a Feedforward Compensation Technique
Platform induced jitter must be mitigated so that the power required to maintain the desired intensity at the receiving end of the Directed Energy or Optical Beam is optimized. In order to minimize the deviation of the centroid of the beam from the target spot, an error signal is required. The portion of the error signal caused by platform motion may be developed using the position of the source platform and the orientation of the mirrors used to direct the beam. However, in order to synthesize this signal, the position and orientation of the source platform must be known in real time. Predictive algorithms using adaptive filters may be used to perform this function, given the correct reference and platform error signals. This paper will dis! cu! ss attempts to predict the error in the beam position from a source platform undergoing a sinusoidal disturbance as well as experimental results in applying this technique at the Directed Energy Controls Laboratory at the United States Naval Academy.
Professor Jennifer K. Waters
Sea Base Connector T-Craft Transformable Amphibious Craft
There is a need for amphibious high speed marine vehicles that allow transportation of troops and cargo from ships at sea to coastal and inland regions. The Office of Naval Research has established a program to develop a prototype novel transformable amphibious craft (T-Craft). This presentation highlights work being conducted in support of a variety of technical needs for the progress and development of potential T-Craft design options, including structural material testing and mission planning. This technology development, modeling and simulation work is being conducted in coordination with the three competitive design teams.
22 October 2009
Assistant Professor Christopher R. Anderson
Near Earth Wireless: Measurements and Modeling
With the increasing use of ground-level systems -- such as Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV's), Urban Unattended Ground Sensors (U-UGS), and Radio-frequency ID tags (RFID)--understanding the behavior of wireless signals in low-to-ground environments has become increasingly critical. Furthermore, wireless propagation in these environments has been observed to be extremely dependent on both static and transient atmospheric conditions. This talk will present initial results and empirical modeling efforts from near-earth measurements recorded in Panama City, FL during August 2009. Large-scale analysis indicates that path loss follows a log-normal distribution; however, transient analysis reveals signals that contain both amplitude and time variations. The observed temporal variations are not predicted by classical theory and are believed to be the result of atmospheric effects. While measurement and modeling efforts are ongoing, these results should aid in the development of futur! e ! ground-level wireless communication systems.
Associate Professor Sonia M. Garcia
Report of my Fulbright Award
I received a Fulbright Scholarship to work in Ireland for the fall of 2008. I was also working under sabbatical in England during the spring of 2009. This presentation highlights my Fulbright activities and work being conducted during my last academic year. Research in progress as a result of this past year will be also presented.
Professor George R. Lucas
Ethics and the Human Terrain
Conversations about ethics in professional practice usually originate in controversies over the emergence of genuine moral dilemmas in professional practice (involving conflicts between competing rights, obligations, or public welfare) or over allegations of egregious professional misconduct. The recent, widely-publicized national and international controversy regarding collaboration of cultural anthropologists with military, intelligence, and security forces (MIS) departs from this pattern in that no concrete examples, either of moral dilemmas, or of specific professional malpractice, have been identified. Apart from mourning the loss of three social scientists killed while serving on "Human Terrain Teams" in Iraq and Afghanistan during the past year, the debate has been largely about principles of professional probity enshrined in the discipline's Code of Ethics, combined with anxieties stemming from questionable and highly- mythologized historical accounts of prior unprofessional practice.
In my recent book, Anthropologists in Arms (AltaMira Press, 2009), I have attempted to bring some greater clarity to this debate by: (1) cross-examining and re-evaluating anthropology's history with MIS (the "litany of shame"; (2) distinguishing between types of military anthropology generally, and of the "Human Terrain System" (HTS) in particular; and (3) using both hypothetical cases and recent accounts from the battlefield to try to identify the genuine moral dilemmas that might arise in specific forms of this collaboration.
29 October 2009
Understanding the interplay between structure, function, and energetics in proteins remains a challenge in biochemistry. Protein electrostatics play key roles in this relationship, illustrated by the formation of charged groups in the protein interior during essential biochemical processes such as catalysis, ligand binding, and proton and electron transfer. Current structure-based pKa calculations are incapable of modeling these groups when they sequestered from bulk solvent, suggesting that the computational representation of the protein interior is incomplete. X-ray crystallographic studies of hyperstable variants of the protein staphylococcal nuclease have provided static glimpses of the modes by which the protein accommodates internal ionizable groups, including water penetration, internal ion-pairing, and domain swapping. Results from these structural studies, correlated with spectroscopic and computational data, are critical in designing improve! d ! algorithms for protein electrostatics calculations.
Comprehensive sensitivity analysis is central to raising the relevance of computational mechanics in practical applications. The predictive power of a mechanics model in representing an incompletely known system and its environment cannot be assessed without first quantifying the model's sensitivity throughout its parameter space; this is known as global sensitivity analysis. If the system is spatially distributed, knowledge of these sensitivities throughout the spatial domain also is essential for effectively investing data-gathering resources to support forecasts. A sampling-based sensitivity analysis framework will be presented for estimating these global, full-field sensitivities. A central component of this method is Bayesian regression with cluster-weighted models, which estimate the joint probability density function of the system's parameters and response from an ensemble of realizations. Examples will be shown for estimating the derivatives of a common test function and for estimating the range of sensitivities to the governing parameters in 2-D, near-ground sound propagation through a refracting atmosphere.
Associate Professor Kevin L. McIlhany
In the Mix
Mixing and fluid dynamics are an active area of research where super-computing is used to numerically solve the Navier-Stokes equation to track particles. This talk focuses on "micro-fluids", fluids at the micrometer scale. In this regime, fluids have very low Reynolds numbers (less than 1) and cannot mix together through turbulence. Mixing in this microscopic regime is done by varying velocity fields in such a way to bring particles together. This study asks how to predict the mixing capabilities from two or more velocity fields.
5 November 2009
Associate Professor Joel M. Esposito
Multi-robot Cooperation for Manipulation Tasks
Insects display extraordinarily complex and robust group organization and behaviors. Studies show that, in many cases, they are able to do so with remarkably little direct communication. A dream of roboticists is to engineering systems that display the same level of seamless cooperation. As an example, we study group manipulation tasks for teams of mobile robots, and explore the necessity and role of communication in achieving such group objectives. We show both simulation and experimental results; and postulate some of the problem features that facilitate communication free cooperation.
This presentation will explore a developmental reading of Islamic revivalism, a movement which seeks to reestablish Islam in the socio-political life of Muslim societies. I suggest that Islamic revivalism is a developmental program, encompassing political, economic, and social arenas. Islamic revival is often described as irrational and anti-modern movement. In contrast, I posit that Islamic revivalism . of which Islamic movements are the best representative . is a modern movement, aimed at engaging modernity in ways congruent with Islamic tradition. As a result, the vocabulary of contemporary Islamic revivalists is predominantly modern. Their discourse contains the polemics about modern concepts, i.e. the state, politics, economy, social justice, and social change.
This presentation addresses two focus-on-form techniques prevailing in the literature on classroom-based second language acquisition, textual enhancement and structured input. Previous research on textual enhancement (TE) has revealed mixed results. Some researchers have found positive effects for enhancement. However, others show no effect. In contrast, several studies comparing instruction containing structured input (SI) with other treatments have consistently shown equal or more beneficial effects for SI. The present study examines whether or not the beneficial effects of structured input are heightened by TE. This research examines the comparative effects of SI and TESI on L2 production of the Spanish Preterit. A sentence-level production task was implemented to assess performance before, immediately following, and ten days after treatment. Potential implications for language teaching are also addressed.
12 November 2009
Assistant Professor Douglas S. Altner
Diverting Communication through a Clandestine Leader in a Social Network
Social Networks are used to model terrorist networks. In a social network, two individuals are said to be able to communicate if there is a path between them in the network. The visibility of an individual in a social network (e.g., to counter-terrorism officials) is often correlated with the amount of communication that must necessarily flow through that individual. In this context, a leader will want to minimize the amount of communication that flows through him to evade surveillance. However, counter-terrorism officials could force communication to be redirected through the leader by eliminating more visible individuals from the network and thus make the leader more visible.
This scenario motivates the following optimization problem: given a social network with a key vertex and a finite budget for deleting vertices, which vertices should be deleted to maximize the amount of communication that must be sent through the key vertex? In this talk, we present a mathematical model for this problem as well as a genetic algorithm for solving it. This is ongoing research in collaboration with Dr. Susan Martonosi at Harvey Mudd College.
Professor Carl Wick
Midshipman Research Programs at the U.S. Naval Academy
Since the introduction of the Trident Scholar program in 1963, the Naval Academy has established and maintained a rich set of undergraduate research opportunities for Midshipmen. Now each year more than a hundred Midshipmen will graduate with some research experience. The success seen in these programs is due in large measure to the enthusiastic support of the faculty who act each year as volunteer advisers. This talk will outline the types and scope of research offerings that Midshipmen can currently undertake. The overall objective will be to help faculty who have not yet advised a research course understand the opportunities and responsibilities that are associated with each.