Sunday, November 17, 2013

Boise State Students Head to Greenland

Boise State University graduate students Mark Robertson (far left) and Gabriel Trisca, along with researcher Hans-Peter Marshall, gather in their Boise State lab for final preparations before Robertson and Trisca depart for Greenland.

Students at Boise State are making a difference in what they do. Boise State technology that is used this year to measure snow accumulation and melt at Bogus Basin is on its way to Greenland to help scientists answer questions about that country's massive ice sheets.

Boise State graduate students Gabriel Trisca, computer science, and Mark Robertson, geophysics, will spend a month at Summit Camp at Greenland's highest point, where they will help test the capabilities of a unique NASA robot and gather radar data to help the scientists better understand the extent of summer 2012's unusual ice melt.

The radar system, developed by Boise State geosciences assistant professor Hans-Peter Marshall, will be utilized by the robot to measure snow accumulation over the past 30-plus years and help determine how much melt occurred during the extremely warm summer last year when melting occurred at the summit for the first time since the late 1800's. The robot can be operated remotely and the low-power radar system is unique in that it uses the same frequency range as NASA satellites, making it unlike that is available commercially.

Dubbed "GROVER", or Greenland Rover, the robot weights over 800 pounds and uses two snowmobile tracks and electric motors to traverse the ice. It employs large solar panels and batteries that it uses for a power source.

“NASA is very interested in a remote ground unit. They have aircraft and space measurements but nothing capable of taking continual ground measurements,” Marshall said. “This trip is to prove the concept of autonomous ground-based radar measurements on ice sheets. It if goes well, robots like GROVER could be deployed in polar regions around the world and operated from anywhere in the world.”

GROVER was first developed from 2010-2011 by teams of students, including Trisca. NASA has since provided funding to fine-tune the robot at Boise State through several grants led by Marshall that focus on radar measurements of snow. It incorporates the same technology that the Cryospheric Sciences group at Boise State has been utilizing for NASA snow remote sensing field campaigns in Alaska, Canada and Austria. The project in Greenland will be the last of six major NASA sensing field campaigns that Marshall and six Boise State graduate students will participate in this winter.

Boise State was the sole university research group representing the U.S. for the two NASA/ESA snow radar campaigns in Europe. The snow radar has been integrated with GROVER this year and was tested in Idaho this winter in preparation for being deployed to Greenland. This final campaign’s goal is to demonstrate the potential for large-scale, ground-based radar measurements, which could be done at a fraction of the cost of large field campaigns.

“This really is an opportunity for Boise State to demonstrate an exciting new science platform for radar and other measurements in polar regions, which would enable continuous measurements in extremely remote areas,” Marshall said. “I love going to these places, but after over a decade of lots of fieldwork in these isolated areas, the potential for controlling a robot to do the radar measurements for us in Greenland or Antarctica, from my office at Boise State, is pretty exciting.”

Marshall just returned last week from a NASA field campaign in Arctic Alaska on the North Slope of the Brooks range. Trisca has been writing software for various versions of GROVER for a couple of years.

“This trip to Greenland is such a rare opportunity,” Trisca said. “Computer science doesn’t often have you doing field work in geosciences. I’m really excited to be able to go out and test what I’ve written. Not to mention that we are doing something that has such potential for impacting research in polar regions.”

Trisca also is writing software for detecting snow avalanches, using low frequency microphones, along Idaho Highway 21 between Lowman and Stanley. The local avalanche project with one of Marshall’s Ph.D. students, Scott Havens, is funded by the Idaho Transportation Department. The avalanche starting zones are too dangerous for Marshall’s group to take radar for snow measurements, but next winter they will test a long-range version of the radar system for measuring snow conditions and avalanche speeds to add to the infrasound avalanche measurements.

The Boise State students will meet with NASA scientist Lora Koenig in Greenland for the research project, and will collaborate remotely with Marshall via email and Skype. NASA will send a reporter to Greenland at the end of May to document GROVER’s progress on the ice sheet.

“Robots like GROVER will give us a new tool for glaciology studies,” Koenig said, adding that research with polar rovers is cheaper than with aircraft or satellites. “If we can control them from our offices, we’ll able to process the data and get scientific results quicker than if we were in the field gathering data, which will speed up our scientific conclusions on what happened that year on the ice sheet.”

Boise State Leads the Nation in Scoring and Three-Point Shooting

54.9%--that's better than many teams shoot the ball from the field, and the Broncos are doing it from behind the arc:

Thomas Bropleh #12 in Three-Point Shooting, Nick Duncan #22

Boise State's Anthony Drmic #13 in the Nation in Scoring

Boise State Breaks Own Modern Record for Wins in a 15-Year Period

When you judge the top college football teams in history, certainly longevity has to rank among your most important factors.

With Boise State's 48-7 win over Wyoming last night, the Broncos have now eclipsed their own modern record for the most wins in a 15-year period. Boise State broke Florida State's record last year, compiling a 163-29 mark from 1998-2012. The great Seminole teams from 1987-2001 held the existing mark of 160-23-1 prior to Boise State topping them.

But with last night's win, Boise State is now 164-27 since 1999 with at least three games to play.

Seventh Heaven

Boise State consistently shows up in the all-time Top 10 in several football categories, but Boise State's run of success has lasted scarcely over a decade.  This list showing consecutive seasons with seven or more victories requires more consistency.  The teams that make this list are generally the landmark teams, the giants of college football.  Boise State has been a great 15-year phenomenon, and has been doing this for a very short time compared to the Michigan's, the Ohio State's, the Alabama's.  But to land in the Top 25 is still impressive.

For the Broncos to truly get respect, however, they will need to stay consistent for at least another decade.  Given that they land near the top in about every other category, if the Broncos can reach the Top 10 in this list, most will feel at that time that they belong.  There will of course be a scattering of skeptics.  But you can't please everyone...

Nebraska put together the most amazing run in the history of football by winning seven or more games every year from 1969 to 2003, an incredible streak of 35 straight seasons. That all came to a crashing halt when the Cornhuskers finished 2004 by winning just five of 11 games.

Florida State has compiled a streak of 32 straight seasons that is still current. The Seminoles have won seven or more games every year since 1982. Michigan had a great recent streak of 23 years that ended in 2008 when the Wolverines were 3-9. Florida’s streak of 25 consecutive seasons that began in 1988 is still current but in jeopardy. Oklahoma put together a streak of 22 straight seasons; the Sooners were highly consistent from 1970 to 1991.  Coach Frank Beamer has guided Virginia Tech to seven or more wins every season since 1993, giving the Hokies 21 consecutive seasons.

BYU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and Miami of Florida each achieved the feat 17 straight seasons, with the Cougars winning seven or more from 1976-1992, the Wolverines winning seven or more from 1968 to 1983, the Fighting Irish recording the feat in the years 1964-1980, the Nittany Lions putting together seasons of seven or more wins from 1967 to 1983 and the Hurricanes doing it from 1980 to 1996. Tennessee’s streak of 16 straight seasons (1989-2004) ended when the Volunteers went 5-6 in 2005. 

Ohio State’s best streak came between the years of 1972 and 1986, when the Buckeyes ran through 15 consecutive seasons of seven or more wins. Oklahoma's current run from 2002-2013 has matched Boise State for 15 straight seasons.  The Sooners also put together a run of 14 straight years from 1946 to 1959, the 20th best streak of all-time. LSU started their current run a year after Boise State and Oklahoma and the Tigers now stand at 14 straight years.  Virginia racked up seven or more wins from 1987-1999, 13 consecutive seasons. Alabama put together streaks of 13 (1971-1983), 12 (1985-1996) and 10 (1959-1968). 

Mississippi won seven or more from 1952 to 1963, a streak of 12 seasons, matched by Notre Dame’s run from 1938 to 1949 and more recently by Boston College's streak from 1999-2010.  Another streak of 12 consecutive seven-win seasons ended in 2010 for Texas when the Longhorns were 5-7.  USC has now set a school record with 12 consecutive seasons of seven or more wins (2002-13) and Wisconsin matches USC with their run from 2002-2013.  Washington’s most successful years came from 1977-1987 when they too won seven or more games in eleven straight seasons. Texas A & M matched the Huskies’ streak from 1985 to 1995. Arizona State enjoyed ten consecutive seasons of seven or more wins from 1955-1964. Alabama (1959-1968), USC (1924-1993), Colorado (1987-1996),Colorado State (1994-2003), Ohio State (1989-1998), Pittsburgh (1974-1983) and Duke (1932-1941) also had ten seasons of seven or more wins. 

Yale dominated football in the 19th century and the first part of the 20th century, winning seven or more games for 28 straight seasons (1882-1909). Princeton strung 27 such years together (1881-1907) and Pennsylvania (1888-1912) and Harvard (1886-1910) both had 25 consecutive seasons in roughly the same time period. Carlisle, which featured running back Jim Thorpe, won seven or more games from 1902-1913, a streak of twelve seasons.

The top streaks in the history of college football are featured below. 

Consecutive Seasons of Seven or More Wins:
1.  Nebraska…35 (1969-2003)
2.  Florida State…32 (1982-2013)
3.  Yale…28 (1882-1909)
4.  Princeton…27 (1881-1907)
5.  Harvard…25 (1886-1910)
5.  Florida…25 (1988-2012)
7.  Pennsylvania…25 (1888-1912)
8.  Michigan…23 (1985-2007)
9.  Oklahoma…22 (1970-1991)
10.  Virginia Tech…21 (1993-2013)
11.  BYU...17 (1976-1992)
11.  Miami of Florida…17 (1980-1996)
11.  Notre Dame…17 (1964-1980)
11.  Penn State…17 (1967-1983)
15.  Michigan…16 (1968-1983)
15.  Tennessee…16 (1989-2004)
17.  Ohio State…15 (1972-1986)
17.  Boise State…15 (1999-2013)
17.  Oklahoma…..15 1999-2013 
20.  Oklahoma…14 (1946-1959)
20.  LSU...14 (2000-2013)
22.  Alabama…13 (1971-1983)
22.  Georgia…13 (1997-2009)
22.  Georgia Tech…13 (1997-2009)
22.  Virginia…13 (1987-1999)
26.  Alabama…12 (1985-1996)
26.  Boston College…12 (1999-2010) 
26.  Carlisle…12 (1902-1913)
26.  Mississippi…12 (1952-1963)
26.  Notre Dame…12 (1938-1949)
26.  Texas…12 (1998-2009)
26.  USC...12 (2002-2013)
26.  Wisconsin...12 (2002-2013)

Blue Through and Through Goes Over 75,000 Page Views

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