Developed from an academic extension center established in 1936, the institution became an autonomous institution in 1969 and is today one of three institutions in the University of Alabama System. UAB offers 140 programs of study in 12 academic divisions leading to bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees in the social and behavioral sciences, the liberal arts, business, education, engineering, and health-related fields such as medicine, dentistry, optometry, nursing, and public health.
The UAB Health System, one of the largest academic medical centers in the United States, is affiliated with the university. UAB Hospital sponsors residency programs in medical specialties, including internal medicine, neurology, surgery, radiology, and anesthesiology. UAB Hospital is the only ACS verified Level I trauma center in Alabama, as rated by the American College of Surgeons Trauma Program.
UAB is the state’s largest employer, with more than 18,000 faculty and staff and over 53,000 jobs at the university and in the health system. An estimated 10 percent of the jobs in the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area and 1 in 33 jobs in the state of Alabama are directly or indirectly related to UAB. The university’s overall annual economic impact was estimated to be $4.6 billion in 2010.
In the fall of 2013, the University of Alabama at Birmingham enrolled 18,568 students from more than 110 countries, including 1,773 freshmen.
University of Alabama Birmingham research articles from Innovation Toronto
June 30 is Asteroid Day, a global awareness effort to promote asteroids and discussion around what can be done to protect our planet from impacts, but there may be a more likely natural threat.
While an asteroid impact with Earth may make for great drama in the movies, no human in the past 1,000 years is known to have been killed by a meteorite or by the effects of one impacting our planet, according to NASA. That is just one reason Robert Mohr, Ph.D., instructor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Physics, says energies might be better spent on the super volcano under Yellowstone.
“If the Yellowstone super volcano erupts, it will take out anywhere from 20-30 percent of the continent,” Mohr said. “And the effects will be felt basically everywhere in the United States and in places beyond, potentially for years.”
Aside from giant asteroid strikes, super volcanoes are considered to be the most devastating of all natural disasters. Super volcanoes have been known to cause mass extinctions and long-term climate changes.
he last known super volcano eruption, believed to have occurred around 70,000 years ago on the site of today’s Lake Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia, caused a “volcanic winter” that blocked out the sun for six to eight years.
The super volcano that erupted in Wyoming 600,000 years ago, in what is now Yellowstone National Park, ejected more than 1,000 cubic meters of lava and ash into the atmosphere — enough to bury a large city several kilometers deep. By comparison, the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, which caused a 0.4 degree drop in average global temperature for the following year, was 100 times less forceful than the Yellowstone eruption.
“A Yellowstone eruption would alter life as we know it for a long time,” Mohr said. “Sunlight would be blocked for long periods of time, which would affect crop growth and food supply. Preparing for something like that, which is a lot closer to a likelihood than an asteroid’s hitting Earth, would seem to me to be more prudent.”
Her laptop brims with satellite images pitted with thousands of black dots, evidence of excavations across Egypt where looters have tunneled in search of mummies, jewelry and other valuables prized by collectors, advertised in auction catalogs and trafficked on eBay, a criminal global black market estimated in the billions of dollars.
“For the first time technology has gotten to the point where we can map looting,” said Sarah H. Parcak, a pioneering “satellite archaeologist,” founding director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Laboratory for Global Observation and an associate professor there.
Satellite eyes in the sky, which have transformed the worldwide search for buried archaeological treasures, are now being used to spy on the archenemies of cultural preservation: armies of looters who are increasingly pockmarking ancient sites with illicit digs and making off with priceless patrimony.
Nowhere is the tracking effort more advanced than Egypt, where a program led by Dr. Parcak and funded by the National Science Foundation and National Geographic has targeted thievery that, experts say, worsened after the chaos of the 2011 revolution.
Imagine you are in charge of the switch on a trolley track.
The express is due any minute; but as you glance down the line you see a school bus, filled with children, stalled at the level crossing. No problem; that’s why you have this switch. But on the alternate track there’s more trouble: Your child, who has come to work with you, has fallen down on the rails and can’t get up. That switch can save your child or a bus-full of others, but not both. What do you do?
This ethical puzzler is commonly known as the Trolley Problem. It’s a standard topic in philosophy and ethics classes, because your answer says a lot about how you view the world. But in a very 21st century take, several writers (here and here, for example) have adapted the scenario to a modern obsession: autonomous vehicles. Google’s self-driving cars have already driven 1.7 million miles on American roads, and have never been the cause of an accident during that time, the company says. Volvo says it will have a self-driving model on Swedish highways by 2017. Elon Musk says the technology is so close that he can have current-model Teslas ready to take the wheel on “major roads” by this summer.
Who watches the watchers?
The technology may have arrived, but are we ready?
Smartphones can already do pretty much everything, right? Actually, UAB computer scientists have a few more ideas.
They’re tapping into the accelerometers, proximity sensors and other environment-aware chips packed into modern phones to help users stay safe — and keep ahead of the bad guys.
Here are seven innovations that could be coming soon to your favorite device.
1. Watching your back
Most of us are very protective of our phones. Ragib Hasan, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences Department of Computer and Information Sciences and director of SECRETLab, wants them to return the favor. He is developing software to turn a phone into a digital wingman, using information from its camera, microphone, accelerometer and other sensors to gauge a user’s attentiveness and respond appropriately. When it detects that a person is driving, for example, it could silence all but the most important alerts. If it decides from the way that you’re walking and talking that you are drunk, it could prevent you from making bank transactions. Hasan’s code will also save important security warnings for times when you are alert, rather than groggy from sleep.
The project builds on a study by Munirul Haque, Ph.D., who recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Hasan’s lab, and collaborators at Marquette University. The researchers found that a phone can do a remarkably good job at sensing mood. They parsed camera images to read facial expressions and accelerometer data to judge energy expenditure (anxious people tend to pace; inactivity is often a signal of depression). Their system was able to recognize six different “affective states”: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise.
Passwords are a common security measure to protect personal information, but they don’t always prevent hackers from finding a way into devices.
Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham are working to perfect an easy-to-use, secure login protection that eliminates the need to use a password — known as zero-interaction authentication.