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January 11, 2001

UMBC, VIPs to Celebrate Liftoff of New NASA Environmental Research Center

Baltimore, MD - Federal and state government representatives will join the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and its public and private sector partners in celebrating the opening of the Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology (GEST) Center. The $75 million, 5-year research collaboration with NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center is the largest in UMBC's history.

Keynote speaker Senator Barbara Mikulski; Senator Paul Sarbanes; Governor Parris Glendening; Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend; University System of Maryland Chancellor Donald Langenberg; UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski; and NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center Director Al Diaz are among the dignitaries scheduled to attend and speak at the launch celebration. The event will be held in the UMBC Physics Building atrium from 2:00 to 4:00 on Jan. 19.

The UMBC-led GEST consortium also includes: Howard University in Washington, D.C.; Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia; Baltimore-based aerospace company Northrop-Grumman; and Caelum Research Corporation of Silver Spring, Maryland.

GEST's central mission is the study of Earth's land surface, atmosphere and oceans, emphasizing scientific excellence as well as community outreach, education, and information technology. GEST researchers will use global satellite data and powerful computer modeling techniques to help scientists and educators better understand the planet and the processes that shape its future.

GEST will also illustrate the impact of Earth science research on people's daily lives by studying coastline erosion, air pollution, the impact of development on the quality of water supply, and the depletion of the Earth's ozone layer.The 100 GEST Center researchers and administration will be based at both the UMBC campus and at Goddard.

The GEST Center will become a magnet for notable visiting scientists and graduate students, international workshops, seminars, and summer classes. A new invited fellows program at UMBC will help attract Nobel Laureate-quality scientists to Goddard for research collaboration. The GEST Center will also promote Earth science education in grades K-12 and provide media outreach and access to foster public interest in NASA Earth science research.

UMBC President Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski III, said "The new GEST Center is an example of UMBC's leadership role in regional economic development. We are proud to help link universities and companies in Virginia and Maryland while giving scientists and schools around the world access to crucial data about the future of our planet."

UMBC currently has a similar cooperative agreement with Goddard: the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET). Formed in 1995, JCET faculty members, who are jointly appointed between Goddard and UMBC, use satellite and computer-modeling technologies to research and monitor changes in the earth's geography, climate and atmosphere. They teach UMBC classes and labs in physics, geography, mathematics/statistics, computer science and electrical engineering in addition to collaborating in research and publishing in academic journals.

Posted by dwinds1 at January 11, 2001 12:00 AM