All posts by Cherie Winner

Lively layers, our winning photo; and a new contest

8-9 At Large copy

The winner of our spring At Large photo contest is Flavio Griggio, whose image reveals the complexity and beauty of multiple layers in a manufactured film. The photo (above) is prominently featured in the April 2016 issue of Research|Penn State, which arrived on campus last week.

Flavio was a doctoral student in the lab of Susan Trolier-McKinstry, director of the W. M. Keck Smart Materials Integration Laboratory.

Continue reading Lively layers, our winning photo; and a new contest

Adventures in research-land

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.

ice-cave-otherworldly-feel
The cave inside the Svalbard glacier resembles Southwestern slot canyons. Photo by Ethan Welty, EOS.

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.

Continue reading Adventures in research-land

Dig that clam! And enter our new contest.

giant clam

The winner of the latest At Large photo contest is Todd LaJeunesse, an associate professor of biology at Penn State. His image is a stunning abstract of the mantle of a giant clam in the waters off Palau. The photo (above) is prominently featured in the October 2015 issue of Research|Penn State. In addition to publication of his photo, Todd will receive a high-quality print of the At Large spread, suitable for framing.  Continue reading Dig that clam! And enter our new contest.

Keeping the end user in mind

[Note added July 8: If you’re having trouble getting the video to run on this page, try it at the full story on the Third Eye project, here. We’re sorry for the inconvenience–]

Lesson number one for those who design high-tech devices: Make sure they actually fit the needs of the people who will be using them.

Penn State video producer Curtis Parker recently visited Jack Carroll, Distinguished Professor of Information Sciences and Technology, and Penn State IT consultant Michelle McManus, who is visually impaired, to talk about designing for end users with a disability.

Carroll is part of a research team that is designing a “smart glove” that can help visually impaired people do their grocery shopping. It recognizes items on the store shelves and guides the shopper to pick up items he or she wants to buy. The glove is part of a massive, multi-institutional project called “Visual Cortex on Silicon.”

Read the full story about this work in the April issue of Research/Penn State (available around campus) or online here.

 

Readers weigh in

Crop residue—the leftover stalks of a previous crop—acts as a mulch to conserve water and protect the soil from eroding away. Photo by Gene Alexander/USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Crop residue—the leftover stalks of a previous crop—acts as a mulch to conserve water and protect the soil from eroding away. Photo by Gene Alexander/USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Every now and then, we get notes or calls from readers of Research/Penn State about something that ran in the magazine. Sometimes the message is a thank you or a compliment; other times it’s more critical. Either way, it’s good to know that a reader cared enough about one of our stories or images to get in touch with us about it. Continue reading Readers weigh in