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Four projects receive 2023 Battelle Engineering, Technology and Human Affairs grants

BETHA large text in the background of images of the winners

The Battelle Engineering, Technology and Human Affairs (BETHA) Endowment annual grant competition supports projects that examine the complex relationship between science and technology on society and cultural issues. Four projects were selected for the 2023 award cycle.

Projects selected to receive 2023 grants

The Megalonyx Project: Science Education Through Restudy of a Landmark Scientific Discovery

Loren Babcock
College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Earth Sciences

The reconstructed skeleton of the ancient ground sloth Megalonyx at Ohio State was incompletely excavated following its 1890 discovery. The grant will allow the group to: complete geospatial surveying and digital imaging at the original excavation site in Holmes County, Ohio; create digital imaging of skeletal material to understand its fossilization history; and provide radiocarbon dating and isotopic analysis to determine the skeleton's geologic age. The work will add to the Orton Geological Museum's teaching and outreach activities by bringing the work to the public through online media, through classroom experiences, and through an updated, modernized display in the Orton Museum.

What Can You Do with Physics? Transform Healthcare

Ashley Cetnar
College of Medicine
Department of Radiation Oncology

It can be challenging for students to envision themselves in a meaningful career within STEM fields. To help promote awareness of opportunities for the application of science and technology in healthcare, the group will partner medical physicists with educators in grades 6-12 to explore how physics is applied in the advancement of human health. This project will recruit teams of teachers, medical physicists and education researchers for professional development opportunities at the James Cancer Hospital, develop lesson plans which can be made publicly available, and host a Science of Physics in Medicine Day for students and STEM educators in central Ohio.

Uncovering the Underground Railroad: Scanning History through Architecture

Karen Lewis
College of Engineering
Knowlton School of Architecture

This is a multidisciplinary visualization project to explore the architecture of the Neil House, an undocumented––but often cited––station on the Underground Railroad. For more than 60 years, newspapers and others claim underground tunnels, hidden passageways and secret rooms were used to conceal Black men and women escaping slavery. However, it is not clear if these passages were used to hide people, or the result of decades of architectural renovations. Using image scanning technologies, three-dimensional digital and physical models, and other architectural representations, this project seeks to forensically investigate and visualize the architecture and infrastructure of the Underground Railroad across Ohio State’s campus.

3D Digital Reconstruction of Lost Urban Streetscapes: Historic Mt. Vernon Ave in Columbus

Harvey Miller
College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Geography/Center for Urban and Regional Analysis

Understanding the history of 20th century urban highway construction on vulnerable neighborhoods can guide policy and design prescriptions and also help avoid similar mistakes with 21st century mobility technologies. The project will integrate existing machine learning methods for 3D modeling of historic buildings and landscapes to create a 3D streetscape of historic Mt. Vernon Ave, the commercial heart of Black Columbus, before it was severed from downtown by I-71. The team will work with the Columbus Landmarks Foundation to co-design visualizations and related media with neighborhood stakeholders to support historic district designation and serve as a pilot for additional funding.