FACE Foundation

Supporting French-American Cultural Exchange in Education and the Arts

Thomas Jefferson Fund

Current Projects

Selected Projects 2020

Louisiana State University /
Université Bordeaux-Montaigne

Virtual Theatres in the French Atlantic World: Urbanism and Spectacle (18th-19th centuries) 

This project proposes to bring together three primary fields of study, theater history, architecture and computer-based virtual reality modeling, in order to leverage affordances of new technologies to explore the place of theatrical architecture within eighteenth- and nineteenth-century urban environments in both Bordeaux and New Orleans. In addition to a shared French-transatlantic heritage, these two cities have a rich theatrical history that deeply influenced their civic development. At the confluence of performance culture and public sociability, this project seeks to model not only historic buildings, but also those plans for urban transformation around theatrical edifices that were never realized. By developing new methodologies for using digital resources, the project highlights many kinds of virtuality – theatrical, historical, and technological – that are inherent to our understanding of the past, just as they are central to developing the humanities research of the future.

University of Washington /
Institut National d’Etudes Démographiques (INED)

Early life socioeconomic health inequalities in France and the United States

Inequalities by income and education—often referred to as socioeconomic status—exist in infant and child health, but these inequalities vary by country. Understanding these inequalities is important, because poor health at birth, typically measured as low birthweight, has impacts on health and wellbeing throughout life. Countries with stronger social protections and less economic inequality tend to have smaller health inequalities—even at birth. This study will use newly available data to compare health inequalities at birth and in childhood by family income and maternal education in France, the United States, and also the United Kingdom. Differences in family contexts, health behaviors, working conditions, and policy contexts will be explored as potential explanations for the relationship between socioeconomic status and infant and child health. Country-level differences in the relationship between low birthweight and health and wellbeing later in childhood will also be examined.

Montana State University /
Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)

How are Environmental Concerns Disrupting Traditional Politics in Rural America and Rural France?
A Transatlantic Reassessment of Social Sciences Approaches

In recent years, rural France and rural America have made a surprising entry into global political headlines.  Long considered to be the forgotten and declining parts of both countries—known disparagingly as “flyover country” in America or as “la France profonde” on the other side of the Atlantic—rural regions have become global hot spots in debates over the future of democratic societies as well as the ecological future of our planet. While certain rural activists such as the Yellow Vests in France and climate change deniers in the US have grabbed headlines, the researchers argue that rural reactions to the environmental crisis are more nuanced and complex. Drawing on research methods from political anthropology and the environmental humanities, the project will investigate and compare perceptions of climate change among rural people in Montana and in the west of France. Ultimately, they seek to understand how environmental policy makers can better communicate with rural audiences in the future.

University of Wisconsin Madison /
Collège de France

Scanning Josephson Microwave Spectroscopy: A New Probe of Quantum Phenomena in Superconducting Systems

The goal of this collaboration is to develop a new type of microscope that is capable of visualizing how individual quantum states – such as the spin of an electron, or the vibration of a molecule – interact with their environment.   The researchers will use this microscope to characterize the surfaces of supercondutors, a rare class of materials that display quantum mechanical behavior at macroscopic lengthscales. Electronic circuits made from superconductors are the leading candidate to build quantum computers, however, such circuits have been shown to host mysterious quantum defects, which have thus far thwarted attempts to make useful quantum computer prototypes. The microscope they are developing will be the first diagnostic tool that can identify and characterize such defects with atomic-scale resolution, providing information that is valuable for realizing functional quantum computers.

Emory University /
Ecole des Hautes Etudes de Santé Publique (EHESP)

Pre-dialysis care trajectories of patients with end-stage renal disease: an international comparative analysis between France and the USA

Worldwide, chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major public health issue. In France and the US, 10-15% of adults are estimated to have CKD. In 2017, approximately 740,000 Americans and 90,000 French were being treated for Stage 5 CKD (ESRD). ESRD requires long-term dialysis or kidney transplantation for survival. However, patients are often not prepared to begin dialysis and consequently start dialysis in an emergency setting. Emergency dialysis start (EDS) is associated with higher mortality and poorer quality of life as compared with planned dialysis. Therefore, reducing the proportion of EDS patients is of public health importance. In this study, the researchers will compare pre-dialysis care trajectories between France and the US and determine key risk factors associated with EDS. Findings of this study will directly inform the development of healthcare policies to improve quality of care for patients with CKD and ESRD.

University of California Riverside /
CNRS Université Paris – Saclay

Thermal Energy Harvesting from Ionic Liquids and Nanofluids

On earth, there is an abundance of waste energy in the form of heat at relatively low temperatures, i.e., 30-180C (i.e., vehicle engines, computers, stoves, hot-water pipes, combustion industries). Additionally, sunlight turns into unutilized heat energy when it is absorbed by inorganic materials and not reflected back into the atmosphere (i.e., building and vehicle roofs, street asphalt). The challenge with harvesting low-grade heat and sunlight over such large areas is an issue of economic feasibility. In this project, the researchers propose to study heat and light harvesting with complex, charged liquids like electrolytes, which are relatively inexpensive to manufacture. These liquids are thermoelectric to a significant degree, which means they produce an electrical voltage in a temperature gradient. Meanwhile, the underlying mechanical engineering design and thermodynamic principles are challenging to model and predict. The US PI has experience with thermoelectric multiphase nanoparticles in liquids and is also looking at solar-powered desalination– where saltwater is the thermoelectric electrolyte. On the French side, the PI carries expertise in electrochemical synthesis and characterization and has collaborations with one of the premier laboratories at the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives.

University of Michigan /
Université Grenoble Alpes

Quantifying underwater volcano degassing using novel seismo-acoustic approaches

Volcanic gases are the leading forces of volcanic eruptions. They are now routinely measured in the atmosphere by various instruments on ground, airborne, or space-based platforms. Among volcanic emissions, CO2 exerts key control on atmospheric-oceanic CO2 levels. Detection of volcanic CO2 is however challenging due its large atmospheric concentrations and global estimates thus vary sometimes by an order of magnitude. The presence of a large body of water nearby a volcano provides some advantages compared to “dry” volcanoes as degassing produces a bubbling that can be detected with acoustic sensors. Today, volcanic gas quantification in aqueous environments remains challenging thereby limiting the understanding of volcano degassing as well as its contribution to the atmosphere. Under this project, the researchers will develop new field techniques to provide better estimates of volcanic CO2 budget by taking advantage of aqueous volcano degassing and develop novel imaging and monitoring techniques.

Arizona State University /
Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM)

Waste Heat Transition to Electricity via Thermoelectric Effect Studies

The objective will be the design, development, and optimization of thermoelectric generators (TEG) that could convert waste heat to electricity, thus increasing energy storage, transition, and utilization efficiency. Manufactured into different devices, these materials have the potential to power wearable devices, extend the mileage of electric vehicles, and collect industrial waste heat. This project will be to explore the interaction between carbon nanoparticles and conductive polymers as well as to apply advanced manufacturing to obtain thermoelectric properties that are beyond the limit of every single phase. While TEG technology has been limited in military and aerospace applications for decades, the U.S. and French collaborators will leverage inexpensive materials and advanced manufacturing to achieve sustainable energy transition, especially to generate power using low or high temperatures waste heat, and that could provide a significant opportunity in the near future.

Florida State University /
Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle (MNHN)

Exploring ecophysiological divergence among cryptic macroalgae

Cryptic species are indistinguishable by morphology and are often mistakenly classified together. This has caused a confused understanding of their life history and ecology. However, the ability to identify cryptic species has major implications for understanding their biology and ecology. Major advances in the taxonomy of the red algae have come from identification of cryptic species and species complexes using DNA sequencing. Across systems and organisms, cryptic species can be difficult to study in the field, which has led to divisions between field ecologists and taxonomists over the importance of functional and genetic processes. In this project, the researchers will explore relationships between taxonomy and function of four cryptic species in the European Osmundea complex, a group of similar seaweeds.

University of Arizona /
Université de Montpellier 

Journey to Mars: Pharmaceutics for deep-space explorations

Human space exploration is just at its early beginning. After the Moon exploration and the recent International Space Station project, several countries now decided to go further and start multiples missions to send human into deep space, especially towards Mars. Such long journeys require astronauts to bring their own drugs in case of medical emergency as medicines cannot be resupplied by external provider. However, space environment is tough and most of the drugs that are used and stored on Earth may be degraded by the high exposure to space radiation. Thus, the researchers propose in this project to investigate drug stability in space environmental conditions and to develop robust dry forms formulas to prevent drug degradation during a long space journey. Beside its direct application for human space exploration, the research will also provide new knowledge for many ground-based applications such as chemical industry, military missions and medical countermeasures for extreme working conditions.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute /
CNRS Aix Marseille Université 

Co-evolution of amino acids and minerals under submarine hydrothermal conditions: from the early Earth to icy moons

The icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn are of significant interest to astrobiology. They are the target of two upcoming space missions by NASA (Europa clipper) and ESA (JUICE). Like early Earth, they are thought to shelter submarine hydrothermal systems where long-term interactions between water, rocks and organic matter might be conducive to life’s origin. Unlike early Earth, these oceans worlds are deprived of sunlight, lack a thick atmosphere and have a significantly larger volume of salty water. New experimental studies are necessary to understand how organic matter might have evolved on these icy bodies and how major differences between ocean worlds and the early Earth might impact the habitability of these satellites. The researchers will study simple and abundant biomolecules such as amino acids under hydrothermal conditions representing both the early Earth and icy moons to understand the co-evolution of organic matter and geochemistry and its implication for the emergence of life.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte /
CNRS Rennes 

Generating Electromagnetic Waves with Time-Varying Media

This research project proposes a new paradigm for generating electromagnetic radiation based on time-varying media. Two novel concepts will be explored in this proposed program. First, an investigation on how a static electric field distribution can be made to radiate when a portion of medium undergoes a change in permittivity. Second, exploration of the possibility of transforming static electric energy to an electromagnetic wave using only a conventional transmission line loaded with a time-varying capacitor charged up with a DC voltage. The researchers will also study this transmission line loaded with a time-varying capacitor as antenna feed, where the antenna is fed by the electromagnetic wave generated by the charged time-varying capacitor. The proposed approach can provide a new route for the energy-efficient design of radiation sources with a great potential in short-range communication, ultra-wide-band wireless and sensing devices.

University of California Davis /
CNRS Bordeaux 

Operando determination of spin-state populations in switchable spin-crossover single-molecule devices

With modern electronic devices reaching size scales on the order of a few nanometers, and switching speeds that are saturating, there is a clear and evident need to explore new approaches for creating active, switchable electronic devices, and study new paradigms for controlling switching at the nanoscale. Single-molecule spintronic devices represent a unique and largely unexplored avenue for advancing electronics into a new era. The goal of this project is to design, synthesize, characterize, and explore operational paradigms of novel switchable single-molecule spintronic devices based on a well known class of switchable magnetic molecules called Spin Crossover. It finds its strength in the complementarity between the unique expertise of the Hihath group in UC Davis in measuring current flowing through a single-molecule while characterizing their chemical nature, and the long experience of the Bordeaux team in designing and synthesizing that type of magnetic molecular switches.

Auburn University /
Université de Technologie Belfort-Montbéliard

Machine Learning, Invariants of Tensors and Quantum Information

When quantum computers become a reality, they will vastly outperform classical computers. This quantum supremacy comes from entanglement, which has no classical equivalence, and allows one to store information using non-classical correlations. Algebraically, invariants of tensors and higher discriminants can quantify and classify quantum entanglement. The American and French partners are algebraic geometers studying applications to quantum physics, computer vision, and phylogenetics. They propose using Machine Learning and Algebraic Invariant Theory to teach a classical computer to recognize entanglement types. The project novelty is to use techniques from computer science that are not standard in algebraic geometry. This new insight should lead to a better understanding of the nature of entanglement in quantum algorithms. Considering cutting edge areas such as Machine Learning and Quantum information in the same project provides a good opportunity to train students in both subjects.

Augusta University /
CNRS Université Paris Nord

Static Analyses of Program Flows: Types and Certificate for Complexity (StATyC)

The StATyC project aims at improving the safety and reliability of computer programs by using the recent advances in formal logic. Through the static analysis of the flow of information in programs, this project will design fine-grained type systems accounting for resource-consumption (e.g., time, space, energy), and implement the capability of issuing complexity certificates in compilers. This work will rest on mathematical representations of the information flow in programs that were used successfully in logic and type systems (e.g. Interaction Graphs models) and computational complexity (e.g. MWP analysis of programs). The StATyC project will improve upon state-of-the-art results in both directions, leading to the design of more evolved complexity-sensitive type systems as well as the implementation of complexity analyses within the LLVM compiler (low level virtual machine). A resource-sensible LLVM would impact all the languages using it, providing an immediate and significant benefit to software at large.


French Embassy in the U.S.
Higher Education Department