ASU named one of nation's best universities for undergraduate education

August 7, 2013

Arizona State University is one of the nation's best institutions for undergraduate education, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company features the school in the new 2014 edition of its annual college guide, "The Best 378 Colleges.”

Only about 15 percent of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges and only four colleges outside the U.S. are profiled in the book, which is The Princeton Review's flagship college guide. Arizona State University is one of the nation's best institutions for undergradu Download Full Image

“Arizona State University offers outstanding academics, which is the primary criteria for our choice of schools for the book,” said Robert Franek, Princeton Review's senior vice president and publisher and author of "The Best 378 Colleges."

“We base our selections primarily on data we obtain in our annual institutional data surveys. We also take in to account input we get from our staff, our 35-member National College Counselor Advisory Board, our personal visits to schools and the wide range of feedback we get from our surveys of students attending these schools. It is their opinions that college applicants often value the most, particularly on (or in the absence of) campus visits.”

In its profile of ASU, The Princeton Review praises the university for its outstanding academics, the quality of life provided to its students and its vast internship opportunities.

Students say ASU’s “greatest strength is the great depth of its faculty and wealth of opportunities offered to students. ASU is home to engaging professors that are genuinely concerned with the success of their students.”

The strength of ASU’s faculty is appealing to other professors, as well. Over the past two years running, the university has hired more than 100 new faculty members, selected from among the best young scholars around the world.

Many students also say they chose ASU because it “offers a huge range of classes and majors at a reasonable cost” and provides “the best of both worlds: a large research university and an honors program tailored for individual needs.”

Barrett, The Honors College at ASU is a selective, residential college that recruits academically outstanding undergraduates across the nation, and has more National Merit Scholars than MIT, Duke, Brown, Stanford or the University of California-Berkeley.

This latest recognition by The Princeton Review is among several ASU has earned as one of the nation's, and the world's, top universities. The Center for World University Rankings ranks ASU 73rd in the world and 46th in the U.S., and the Academic Ranking of World Universities ranks ASU 79th in the world and 46th in the U.S.

U.S. News & World Report also ranks ASU in the top tier of national universities: 139th among more than 1,500 four-year colleges and universities.

The Princeton Review is a Massachusetts-based education services company known for its test-prep courses, tutoring, books and other student resources. This year marks the 22nd edition of the Best Colleges guide.

Sharon Keeler

Carbon under pressure exhibits some interesting traits

August 7, 2013

High pressures and temperatures cause materials to exhibit unusual properties, some of which can be special. Understanding such new properties is important for developing new materials for desired industrial uses and also for understanding the interior of Earth, where everything is hot and squeezed.

A paper in Nature Geoscience highlights a new technique in which small amounts of a sample can be studied while being hot and squeezed within an electron microscope. Use of such a microscopy method permits determination of details down to the scale of a few atoms, including the detection of unexpected atom types or atoms in unexpected places, as within a mineral. carbon Download Full Image

Jun Wu and Peter Buseck, the paper’s authors, both at Arizona State University, conducted the research on campus at the J.M. Cowley Center for High Resolution Electron Microscopy of the LeRoy Eyring Center for Solid State Science in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The researchers used tiny containers of carbon, less than one-thousandth the width of a human hair and therefore small enough to fit within high-resolution electron microscopes, to enclose materials similar to those deep within Earth. They then used the electron beam to shrink and thereby squeeze these minuscule capsules. When combined with heating of the samples, new features were observed in the enclosed materials.

“Under such high pressures and temperatures, the materials inside the capsules developed faults that concentrated carbon along them,” explains Buseck, Regents' Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

The Nature Geoscience paper describes the use of this new method to address the important problem of how and where carbon is located within Earth’s interior. Carbon is an essential building block for all forms of life and it also has important effects on climate and climate change through greenhouses gases such as carbon dioxide and carbon tetrahydride, also known as natural gas, or methane.

The largest single reservoir for carbon is within Earth’s interior. However, the known hosts for this carbon are believed to be insufficient to explain the amounts present.

Because Earth’s interior (as well as the interiors of other planets) contains vast amounts of materials like those used in the experiments, the scientists conclude that such faults, and the carbon they concentrate, provide a solution to the problem of explaining where large amounts of carbon reside in Earth’s interior.

Wu and Buseck’s experiments also demonstrate a new way of studying materials at high pressure and temperature within an electron microscope, thereby significantly extending the tools available to scientists for examining materials under extreme conditions.

Nikki Cassis

marketing and communications director, School of Earth and Space Exploration