美国国家科学基金会支持国防和军队的八项研究

2017-07-13  BBSBIAN


来源:知社学术圈(ID:zhishexueshuquan),作者:帕里斯


提起美国国家科学基金会 (NSF),我们想到的多是其对学术和科研的支持。无论研究极地区域,还是探索宇宙太空,从亚原子世界到遥远的星系,许多研究的背后都或多或少有着NSF的支持。不过回顾其历史,在第二次世界大战期间和之后,作为美国政府衍生物的NSF也一直和国防建设密不可分。

很早以前,二战时期的美国工程师范内瓦·布什曾写下过这样一句话:“已经确信无疑的是,科学研究是国防安全的绝对根基。”今天,这句话依然没有任何问题。

NSF持续地资助着一些基础性研究,从新材料到更具保护性的防弹衣,再到应对创伤后压力症候群(PTSD)的新疗法,这一切都主要服务于美军。下面让我们来看看由NSF支持军队的八个研究方向。


1.打造更强悍的防弹衣



Kit Parker是陆军后备队的一位中校,曾多次到阿富汗执行任务。同时,他还是哈佛大学的生物工程师。在NSF的资助下,Parker研究蜘蛛丝纤维的强度和弹性,以在不损失保护能力的前提下,制造更轻型、更具柔韧性的防弹衣。


2.反对暴力极端主义



很多人会把极端主义者视为精神病患者,并将他们遣散回家。然而,通过对战争地区极端主义者的采访,密歇根大学人类学家Scott Atra和来自新学院大学的心理学家Jeremy Ginges发现,真相远不止这么简单。在NSF的支持下,他们跨越了六块大陆,观察、采访并了解身处战区的人们,以及那些和平的居民区,希望理解是什么因素驱使一个人成为暴力的极端主义者。这项研究能够帮助混乱的征兵过程制定策略。国防部和其他机构目前正在使用该工作成果来更好地应对暴力极端主义者。


3.优化GPS的基础物理



关于能否映射到一个会合点,以保证战斗机遵循既定航线,或者让导弹进行精准打击,起主要作用的GPS工具依赖的是基础物理。爱因斯坦相对论提供的相对论校正,能够为军事需求提供足够的精准度。如果没有这种校正,GPS的局部定位将会以每天10公里的速率逐渐累积误差。为此,NSF资助了理论和实验物理研究项目,为制造更精准的系统打下基础。相关研究在今天仍然继续着,提高GPS精度也有了多种方法,比如改进后的原子钟。


4.人机交互改进假肢



如果你能想,那么你就能做——这是休斯顿大学教授Jose Contreras-Vidal常说的话。他的研究团队已经创造出一套非侵入式的传感器罩帽,能够提供人机交互接口,有朝一日将使我们得以控制计算机、机械假肢、电动轮椅,甚至像阿凡达一样的数字化身。这一技术将大大帮助负伤老兵对于假肢的适应。


5.将伤口的失血降到最低



在战场上处理外部创伤是极具挑战的事情。抑制出血是首要目标,但是当医护人员处理躯干损伤时,他们无法使用传统的压缩方法。为了解决这一危及生命的问题,小型商业机构Remedium Technologies在NSF资助下开发出了便携式的罐装生物聚合物泡沫。这种喷雾式泡沫能够在伤口处扩散,附着在人体组织上并帮助封好伤口,从而减少失血,挽救伤员的生命。


6.通过软件帮助老兵面对心理问题



在退伍军人中,大约有77%由于缺乏足够的可用资源,以及对烙印 (stigmatization) 的恐惧而没有得到相应的治疗。在NSF的支持下,前海军飞行员Rich Gengler和前陆军中士Justin Savage等人构建了线上筛查和咨询项目VetsPrevail。通过精心审慎的研究,该项目帮助从伊拉克和阿富汗回来的退伍军人更顺利地回归到平民生活中。


7.通过“分子指纹”探测爆炸物



在NSF支持下,宾夕法尼亚州立大学研究人员开发出一项用途广泛的技术,能够探测化学物质中的少量分子,以及气体、液体或固体样本中的生物物种。他们的传感器平台整合了激光拉曼光谱仪——能够通过寻找“分子指纹”来识别物质。这项技术为进一步探测环境污染、生物制剂以及化学爆炸物打开了大门,在国防安全上应用广泛。


8.预测国际冲突的新模型



如果我们能够更准确地预测未来哪里会发生冲突,那会怎么样?如果我们能够梳理分析那些最能够引发战争的因素,世界能否更加和平?由美国俄亥俄州立大学、马萨诸塞大学安姆斯特分校和北卡罗来纳大学教堂山分校学者组成的研究团队提出了关于国际冲突的新模型。研究人员表示,这一新技术能够预测未来5到10年内可能发生冲突的地点,这比目前任何现存的模型都更准确。

原文链接

https://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=191333



8 ways the National Science Foundation supports our troops

Today, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is usually associated with supporting scientists who go on to win Nobel Prizes, leading exploration of the planet's polar regions and enabling discoveries about the universe, from the subatomic world to distant galaxies. But the foundation also has ties to national defense that go back to its beginnings, as a product of the U.S. government working to enhance security during and after World War II. The National Science Foundation Act of 1950 called for the creation of an agency to 'promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense.'

And so NSF began.

'It was a time when many -- including NSF's founder, Vannevar Bush -- recognized the value of science and the need to foster its growth,' said NSF historian Leo Slater. 'Fundamental scientific research was important then, as it still is today, in fostering innovation and driving new applications that help the entire nation, including the military.'

NSF's federal partners, like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Army Research Lab, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Office of Naval Research and the Naval Research Laboratory, focus on security-related research with an eye toward specific applications. That applied research, however, relies on a steady supply of basic research -- work that expands the scientific community's understanding of fundamental phenomena. Basic research is where NSF serves as an important asset for national security, laying the groundwork for later applications.

Long ago, Vannevar Bush wrote something that remains true today: 'It has become clear beyond all doubt that scientific research is absolutely essential to national security.'

NSF continues to fund fundamental research that benefits U.S. troops -- from new materials for more protective Army flak jackets to novel approaches for addressing post-traumatic stress disorder. The following is a list of eight ways NSF-funded research supports the military:

Building a stronger bulletproof vest

Kit Parker is an Army Reserve lieutenant colonel who has served multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan. He is also a bioengineer at Harvard University. With NSF funding, Parker studies the strength and elasticity of spider silk fibers to build a lighter, more flexible bulletproof vest without compromising protective features.

Countering violent extremism

Many dismiss extremists as psychopaths. But, based on interviews with extremists in war zones, University of Michigan anthropologist Scott Atran and psychologist Jeremy Ginges from The New School in New York City have found the truth is more complicated. With NSF support, Atran and Ginges conducted studies across six continents, observing, interviewing and studying people in war zones, as well as peaceful neighborhoods, to learn what drives a person to violent extremism. The work led to findings that could help with the development of strategies to disrupt recruitment. The Department of Defense and other agencies are now using this research to better counter violent extremism.

Fundamental physics for better GPS

Whether it's mapping to a rendezvous point, keeping a fighter jet on course or developing missiles with precision accuracy, GPS is an essential tool for today's military that relies on fundamental physics. Einstein's theories of relativity provide the relativistic corrections that ensure the kind of accuracy the military has come to rely on in its GPS devices. Without those corrections, GPS localization would accumulate errors at a rate of 10 kilometers a day. NSF-funded theoretical and experimental physics research helped provide the foundation for those more accurate systems. The agency continues its support today, funding work to enhance GPS accuracy through means such as improved atomic clocks.

Improving prosthetics with brain-computer interface

If you can think it, you can do it -- at least, that could be the adage for Jose Contreras-Vidal, a professor formerly with the University of Maryland, College Park and currently with the University of Houston. He and his team have created a non-invasive, sensor-lined cap that forms a brain-computer interface that could one day control computers, robotic prosthetic limbs, motorized wheelchairs and even digital avatars. This advance could significantly improve how vets adapt to prosthetics of the future.

Minimizing blood loss in battle wounds

Treating traumatic wounds on the battlefield poses incredible challenges. Controlling bleeding is one of the first priorities, but when medics are dealing with torso injuries, they can't use traditional compression methods. To address this life-threatening problem, small business Remedium Technologies is using NSF funding to develop a product called Hemogrip, a biopolymer foam in a handheld, lightweight canister. The sprayable foam would expand in a wound, adhering to tissue and sealing it, thereby minimizing blood loss and saving soldiers' lives.

Software helps military veterans with PTSD, depression and other issues

As much as 77 percent of returning military personnel don't get the treatment they need due to a lack of adequate available resources, combined with a fear of stigmatization inherent in seeking face-to-face treatment. With support from NSF, former Navy pilot Rich Gengler, former Army Sgt. Justin Savage and the team at Prevail Health Solutions have built and tested an online screening and counseling program called VetsPrevail. Optimized through careful research, the program helps service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan make a more successful transition back to civilian life.

Detecting explosives using a tip from nature

With funding from NSF, Tak-Sing Wong and his team of Penn State University researchers have developed a versatile technique to detect very small numbers of molecules from chemicals and biological species in gaseous, liquid or solid samples. Their sensor platform combines laser-based Raman spectroscopy -- a technique used for identifying substances by finding their molecular 'fingerprints' -- with a slippery surface based on that of the carnivorous Asian pitcher plant. The slick surface allows users to concentrate samples, making the target molecules easier to find. This technology opens the door to improved detection of environmental contaminants, biological agents and chemical explosives, offering many potential applications in national security.

Predicting conflict

What if we could more accurately predict where conflict will arise next? What if we could tease apart the variables most likely to lead to war? A team of researchers, including political scientists Skyler Cranmer of Ohio State University, Bruce Desmarais of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and statistician Shankar Bhamidi of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, developed a new method of modeling international conflict. The researchers say their technique can predict where conflicts will occur five and even 10 years into the future -- better than any existing model.

-- 

Ivy F. Kupec, (703) 292-8796 ikupec@nsf.gov

    来自: BBSBIAN > 《军事》

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