Carl Sagan once wrote, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”
By all rights, that invented universe would include the 20,000 or more acres of apple orchards now in bloom in Adams County, the heart of Pennsylvania’s Fruit Belt. Biglerville is the epicenter of the county’s apple growing activity and home to Penn State’s Fruit Research and Extension Center.
If you wish to invent a universe that will give rise to apple pies, you might also need some researchers to teach you a thing or two, and luckily the Center has some good ones. On a recent visit, I spent time in the orchards with Dave Biddinger, fruit tree research entomologist, and Ed Rajotte, professor of entomology and integrated pest management, and I learned some new things about the buds and the bees. Continue reading Arbor Day Reflections on the Buds and the Bees→
Additive manufacturing, sometimes known as 3D printing, is exactly what it sounds like. Working from a computer-generated 3D model, a “printer” puts down layer after layer of plastic or metal or ceramic, adding layers until the design is realized in a finished part.
“You’re reimagining components from the ground up,” says Rich Martukanitz, director of Penn State’s Center for Innovative Materials Processing through Direct Digital Deposition, known as CIMP-3D. “You can manufacture components having features and characteristics that are near impossible to do with conventional processes. And you drastically cut manufacturing time, materials — and cost.”
Presidential power, especially their unilateral authority, has been a fierce point of contention in the Obama era. Recently, 43 senators, all Republican, filed a friend-of-the-court brief challenging President Barack Obama’s, as they put it, “extra-constitutional assertion of a unilateral executive power” over immigration policy. The public, and many in the press, assume that the controversy centers on an executive order. This is incorrect.
A recent story posted on EOS (Earth & Space Science News) shows us the lengths — or rather, the depths — some scientists go to in their research. The story, illustrated by spectacular photos and an audio slideshow, follows Penn State graduate student Kiya Riverman as she probes the twisting chambers far inside a massive Norwegian glacier. Picture a slot canyon in Utah’s redrock desert, but in shades of black and white and espresso brown. That’s what her glacier cave looks like.
Studying a glacier “from the inside out,” as Riverman puts it, enables her to see firsthand how the ice is changing as surface temperatures rise. She’s been doing research on glaciers and ice sheets for many years from atop the ice, and although she had enjoyed recreational spelunking for a long time, the hobby didn’t intersect with her research until 2010, when a colleague invited her to help him map a glacier cave in Svalbard, Norway. Since then she’s visited the cave many times to monitor its development, as meltwater from the surface spills through it, deepening the chambers, cutting new passages, and reshaping its walls.
Within the past few years, author and media mogul Arianna Huffington has made sleep health her pet project. In her 2010 TED talk, Huffington encouraged her audience to make sleep a priority: “The way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is to get enough sleep,” she said. “We are going to sleep our way to the top — literally!”