All posts by Melissa Beattie Moss

On the buds and the bees

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. 

Blooming apple trees in the Penn State research orchards in Biglerville, PA
Blooming apple trees in the Penn State research orchards in Biglerville, PA Image: M. Beattie-Moss

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 On the buds and the bees

A Tale of Two Cities—and Countless Scoops of Ice Cream!

Of all the committees I’ve served on in my career, the one tasked with helping the Penn State Berkey Creamery commemorate its 150th birthday has proven to be a pretty sweet gig.

Research On the Road’s two #Creamery 150 summer events began with a road-trip to Klavon’s in Pittsburgh, a beloved historic ice-cream parlor lovingly restored and reopened by Penn State alumnus Jacob Hanchar and family.


Continue reading A Tale of Two Cities—and Countless Scoops of Ice Cream!

To Infinity and Beyond: Celebrating Hubble at the Kennedy Space Center


IMG_0057So far, in three years, our Research On the Road speaker series has traveled many places to showcase Penn State research. From the halls of the National Press Club and the recording studios of Nashville, to Caribbean coral reefs and the apiaries of Vermont, we’ve been logging the miles to introduce the public and alumni alike to the stories and people behind our world-class research institution. However, until last month, we had never left the planet, let alone the solar system. Continue reading To Infinity and Beyond: Celebrating Hubble at the Kennedy Space Center

Shining a spotlight on student research

Even after years of running the series, I’m still always energized by the launch of a new Research Unplugged season. But last week I was even more delighted than usual. Last year, my colleagues and I hatched the idea of inviting an undergraduate student to give one of our six talks each semester. With the help of Nichola Gutgold, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in Schreyer Honors College, we developed a list of potential student speakers.

There’s no lack of outstanding undergraduate researchers at Penn State; in fact, just the opposite. The number of exciting undergraduate research and service projects made it hard to imagine choosing. But one young woman stood out as the top choice for our Spring season. Though only a freshman, Neha Gupta has already captured the admiration and affection of not only  Penn Staters, but of the entire world, for the humanitarian work that led to her winning the International Children’s Peace Prize last November.

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Penn State freshman Neha Gupta accepts the International Children’s Peace Prize from Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Continue reading Shining a spotlight on student research

A Taste for Art in the Big Apple

Last week Research On the Road motored down Route 80 to the Big Apple for two events. The concept of both? Simply this: a number of our School of Visual Arts faculty members live and work in NYC, regularly traveling to Penn State to teach.  We thought it would be inspiring to shine a spotlight on a few of these commuting teacher-artists and introduce the public (alumni and non-alums, alike) to a taste of their diverse artistic styles and themes.

Designed in the French Renaissance style in 1892 by architect Henry Hardenbergh, the Art Students League building is a designated New York City Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Continue reading A Taste for Art in the Big Apple