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  • New center to explore solutions for nutrient pollution
    With a $2.2 million Science to Achieve Results grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, researchers will launch the Center for Integrated Multi-scale Nutrient Pollution Solutions. The center, housed in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, is one of four new National Centers for Innovative and Sustainable Water Research announced by EPA on Jan. 30 will use a multi-pronged, systems approach to solving water pollution caused by nutrients in the environment.
  • Buried leaves reveal precolonial eastern forests and guide stream restoration
    Sediment behind milldams built from the late 1600s to the late 1800s in Pennsylvania preserved leaves deposited just before European contact that provide a glimpse of the ancient forests, according to a team of geoscientists including Penn State professor of geosciences, Peter Wilf.
  • Brewer honored for exceptional contributions to topographic mapping
    Cynthia Brewer, professor of geography and director of the Gould Center and National Mapping Expertise Exchange, received the 2013 Henry Gannett Award for Exceptional Contributions to Topographic Mapping from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). She is being honored for her involvement in the development of new symbology for the U.S. Topo mapping project.
  • Workshop facilitates cross-college connections in sustainability research
    The Penn State Smeal College of Business held a Sustainability Research Workshop earlier this month, encouraging faculty in all business disciplines to share their current sustainability-related research. “My hope is that this workshop has served as a catalyst for research collaborations among Smeal faculty and also among colleges to advance our understanding of business issues in sustainability,” said workshop facilitator Gerry Susman, who directs the Smeal Sustainability Council.
  • Request for collaboration for Saw Mill Run Watershed Study, Pittsburgh, PA
    Through its local partnerships, The Penn State Center – Engaging Pittsburgh is participating in a project to address major water quality and water quantity issues in an urban watershed named Saw Mill Run. It is a watershed that crosses numerous municipalities in Allegheny County including the City of Pittsburgh as it makes its way to the Monongahela River (see attachment). Responses to the call are due December 2, 2013.
  • P3: People, Prosperity and the Planet Student Design Competition for Sustainability
    EPA's P3 – People, Prosperity, and the Planet—Program is a unique college competition for designing solutions for a sustainable future. P3 offers students quality hands-on experience that brings their classroom learning to life. The application period is open October 31 through December 17. Apply at
  • Penn State team places second in national green energy challenge
    A team from the Penn State student chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) recently won second place in the 2013 ELECTRI International Green Energy Challenge for their proposal to retrofit the Fraser Street Parking Garage in State College, Pa.
  • Pennsylvania's forest cover remains stable at 59 percent
    Despite continuing development, urban sprawl and changing land use, Pennsylvania's forest area has remained stable in recent decades, according to James Finley, a forest scientist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
  • ARPA-E Technology Showcase Application Deadline Extended to November 15, 2013
    The Technology Showcase presents America's next generation of transformational energy technologies. Showcase participants include ARPA-E Awardees and a highly selective group of companies and research organizations presenting their energy technology to the nation's leading individuals and organizations in energy innovation. Attendees include venture capital investors, technology entrepreneurs, corporations with an interest in transformational energy technologies, and policy makers from the U.S. Government. Application details available at:
  • Announcement of training module and Inventor's Guide from OTM
    For the past several months the Office of Technology Management (OTM) has been developing two educational / training tools. The first, a presentation outlining the “ Basics of IP and Tech Transfer ” is a discussion on how an innovative idea stemming from research can be translated into a business venture. The second project completed is an “ An Inventor’s Guide to Technology Transfer at Penn State University ”. Both of these can be found at:
  • Dan Kahan's "Tragedy of the Science Communications Commons" talk now online
    When you talk about science are you communicating just what the numbers say, or are you using the numbers to say what you are already thinking? The latter is what Yale Professor Dan Kahan’s research into Cultural Cognition and the science of science communication has shown. Watch as he discusses this research in the talk sponsored by PSIEE and the Penn State Dickinson School of Law.
  • Penn State's Advanced Vehicle Team welcomes President Rodney Erickson to preview EcoCAR2 Competition vehicles
    Penn State’s Advanced Vehicle Team were overall winners of Year Two of the North American engineering competition, EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future. Now in Year 3 of the competition, come join PSU President Rodney Erickson in learning more about the alternative fuel vehicles and their importance and cheer on the AVT at their informational session, 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m., Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, beside Transportation Research Building on Hastings Road.
  • Elnashai named new dean of College of Engineering
    Penn State announced today that Amr Salah Elnashai will serve as the new dean in the College of Engineering, pending approval by the University Board of Trustees at the Nov. 22 meeting.
  • Photojournalism students capture diversity on campus
    A hands-on assignment for some photojournalism students in the College of Communications provided a sampling of some of the diversity at Penn State's University Park campus. Senior lecturer John Beale worked with the University Office of Global Programs and provided students in COMM 469 Photography for the Mass Media, including PSIEE Intern Abigail Johnson with a list of international students on the University Park campus who said they would be willing to participate in a class project.
  • Advanced energy storage system launched at Philadelphia Navy Yard
    A battery that helps improve the quality and reliability of the electric grid was officially brought online this week at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. A part of the new GridSTAR Smart Grid Experience Center being developed under the direction of David Riley, Penn State Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering, the battery uses a special control system to inject or draw energy from the grid based on a signal from a utility.
  • Student, faculty research contributes to global climate change database
    An unlikely pairing of Penn State Brandywine information science and technology student Jonathan Spross and associate professor of earth sciences Laura Guertin has resulted in a research project that could change the way scientists look at trees and climate change.
  • Outmoded technology aids new research on Delaware Bay
    Penn State oceanographer Ray Najjar studies estuaries: coastal waters that mingle salt water with fresh, and are home to rich and complex ecosystems. In particular, he's interested in how these vital bodies may be impacted by climate change.
  • Lecture to address, evaluate effective sustainability campaigns
    During a free public lecture titled “Leveraging Research Insights to Create Effective Sustainability Campaigns,“ Lee Ann Head, an expert on communications related to energy efficiency and sustainability, will share insights gathered from eight years of proprietary consumer research, pertinent findings from the field of behavioral psychology and best practices gleaned through years of marketing energy-efficient and sustainable products. The lecture will take place in the HUB Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. on November 5.
  • Dedication held for Baker Hughes Production Engineering Laboratory
    The Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences recently held a ribbon-cutting and naming ceremony to officially dedicate the Baker Hughes Production Engineering Laboratory.
  • Penn State research expenditures top $848 million in 2012-13, set record
    Penn State's research expenditures climbed to a record high of $848.2 million for the 2012-13 fiscal year, up 5 percent over the previous year, according to Interim Vice President for Research Neil Sharkey. "The steady growth over the past decade means Penn State is widely recognized as a good steward of the resources it has received," Sharkey said.
  • Penn State project receives $4.9 million NSF grant to study Pennsylvania water
    The National Science Foundation has awarded a $4.9 million grant to a team of Penn State researchers led by Distinguished Professor of Geosciences Susan L. Brantley to study the Earth’s surface, including efforts to understand the potential impact of natural gas drilling.
  • Penn State University chosen to participate in the 2014 Ultimate Field Trip Competition
    Penn State is one of 12 Universities from the US that will compete for the chance to be the US Champion in the challenge, sponsored by BP, and join winning teams from Canada, the UK, Angola and Trinidad and Tobago on a trip to Alaska and Chicago, Illinois. This years challenges asks teams of three undergraduates to identify an innovative solution that will significantly reduce energy consumption involved in the operations of the energy industry. This could apply anywhere from point of capture to point of sale of energy products, and potentially even create a new product stream. An information session about the challenge will be held October 15th at Walker Building Rm 112 from 6:00pm to 7:30pm.  
  • Five graduate student teams reach finals in Sustainability Innovation Challenge
    Five teams of graduate students have been selected as finalists in the Dow Chemical-sponsored Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA) at Penn State. The program recognizes and rewards students for innovation and research of sustainable solutions to the world's most pressing social, economic and environmental problems.
  • Sustainability Writing course prepares students for green careers
    As part of the college’s commitment to sustainability, Penn State Berks has added a course in Sustainability Writing for the fall semester. This course will help students in a variety of majors to prepare for careers in professional and technical writing in the “green” industry. Christian Weisser, associate professor of English and coordinator of the professional writing degree program, developed and is teaching the course, which is the first of its kind in the Penn State system.
  • Speakers announced for Penn State Next Generation Biofuel Conversion Short Course November 10-11 in Philadelphia PA
    The short course brings together leading researchers and biofuels business developers who will provide insights into successful biofuel strategies and future trends. Technology, economics, operations, and policy issues will all be covered, and a business roundtable discussion will focus on practical steps for developing successful industry strategies. Ample networking opportunities and a site tour of nearby biofuels facilities will serve to round out the event.
  • UN Global Energy Initiative announces Global Energy Essay Contest
    Have something to say to the world? The Global Energy Initiative is pleased to invite students to participate in the 2013 Global Energy Essay Contest. The Contest provides a platform for students from all backgrounds with an opportunity to share and expand their unique understanding of the worldwide urgency surrounding these issues, and the opportunity to be recognized for important contributions to shaping a sustainable future for all. The First and second place winners will receive an invitation to the Global Energy Conference at the United Nations. The First place winner will also have a speaking opportunity during the award presentation ceremony.
  • Call for posters deadline extended to Oct. 11 for PERC Fall Conference
    "Leading the Change," the Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium’s 2013 Fall Conference and Annual Meeting, will be held on Penn State’s University Park campus in State College on Tuesday, October 29th.
  • Researchers: Caribou may be indirectly affected by sea-ice loss in the Arctic (10/3)
    Melting sea ice in the Arctic may be leading, indirectly, to fewer caribou calf births and higher calf mortality in Greenland, according to scientists at Penn State. Eric Post, a Penn State professor of biology, and Jeffrey Kerby, a Penn State graduate student, have linked the melting of Arctic sea ice with changes in the timing of plant growth on land, which in turn is associated with lower production of calves by caribou in the area. The results of the study were published Oct. 1 in the journal Nature Communications.
  • Zimmerer receives medal from American Geographical Society (9/30)
    Karl Zimmerer, professor and head of the Department of Geography, has received the first Alexander and Ilse Melamid Medal from the American Geographical Society (AGS). The Melamid Medal is given for outstanding work on the dynamic relationship between human culture and natural resources.
  • Penn State's Reinvention Fund RFP released, preproposals due Oct. 21
    This request for proposals invites broad participation from the Penn State Community in the development and demonstration of solutions to sustainability challenges.  The Reinvention Fund is administered by the Sustainability Institute at Penn State, and is a key instrument for transforming our University’s learning, research, outreach, operations, and administrative functions in a manner that will support our collective pursuit of sustainability goals.
  • Penn State, DEP collaborate on digital Pennsylvania Mine Map Atlas (9/30)
    The Pennsylvania Mine Map Atlas is a new initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Penn State’s Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access Program (PASDA). This Web-based mapping application and downloadable data allow residents and stakeholders to see detailed underground mine maps that were once only available in hard copies. It not only allows homeowners to view previously unavailable mine maps, but also allows them to see their home’s proximity to the nearest underground mine.
  • Faculty sought for Sustainabable Communities town-gown initiative (9/30)
    The Sustainable Communities Collaborative announced a partnership with the State College Borough that will engage students at University Park with the community in a pilot program that links community-based sustainability projects with existing courses across the University. Six projects will be addressed through five Collaboration Teams in this fall’s pilot; connecting a variety of government services with academic disciplines campus wide.
  • Penn State-led team receives $3 million to research hybrid car batteries (9/27)
    A Penn State-led team headed by Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Donghai Wang, has won a $3 million grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) for applied battery research in an effort that looks to develop high-energy, high-power lithium-ion batteries for use in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).
  • Mann receives Conservation Achievement Award (9/23)
    Michael E. Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology and director of Penn State's Earth System Science Center, will receive the National Wildlife Federation's National Conservation Achievement Award for Science on Sept. 25. The award honors individuals or organizations whose achievements in wildlife and natural resource conservation deserve national recognition.
  • SRBC to hold 2013 Susquehanna Water Science Forum, Oct. 7-8
    This first-ever Forum will address the need to encourage, publicize and disseminate research to ensure that the best available scientific information is used to establish priorities and support sustainable water resource management in the Susquehanna River Basin. The Forum will be held October 7 and 8, 2013, at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg in Camp Hill, Pa.
  • USDA-NRCS Ecological Sciences Staff Seeks Biologist
    The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services seeks a qualified biologist so serve on their Ecological Sciences Staff located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This position will be responsible for biological, forestry, plant materials and environmental phases of the conservation operations, watershed protection and farm bill programs in the state of Pennsylvania.
  • Research examines changing role of patents in natural gas industry
    New research from Penn State and the University of Alberta suggests that patents related to hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — can be used in the industry to limit the availability of information about the fluids expended as part of the natural gas extraction process.
  • Talk to address 'Risks and Rewards of Science Communication'
    Nancy Baron, a science communications trainer and coach, will give a talk, “The Risks and Rewards of Science Communication,” at 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, in room 114 of the Earth-Engineering Science (EES) Building on the Penn State's University Park campus.
  • Yale professor Kahan to lecture on science, political polarization
    Americans are politically polarized over risks despite compelling scientific evidence about the nature and extent of these risks. Why? And what can be done to dispel such conflict? These are questions that will be addressed by Yale University professor Dan Kahan in a talk titled titled "Tragedy of the Science Communications Commons." will take place Thursday, October 17 at 11 a.m. in the Heritage Hall of the HUB-Robeson Center.
  • Seminar to look at Penn State's decision to switch from coal to natural gas
    Join the EMS Energy Institute and Penn State's Office of Physical Plant to learn about Penn State's decision to switch from coal to natural gas. The seminar is from 10 to 11 a.m. Sept. 18 in C213 Coal Utilization Lab.
  • Underlying ocean melts ice shelf, speeds up glacier movement
    Warm ocean water, not warm air, is melting the Pine Island Glacier's floating ice shelf in Antarctica and may be the culprit for increased melting of other ice shelves, according to an international team of researchers. including said Sridhar Anandakrishnan, professor of geosciences.
  • Data Commons connects researchers through data sharing
    In order to promote open access to research data, many funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), require that research data generated by publicly-funded projects be made publicly available. Researchers can now more easily comply with these policies by utilizing the services of Penn State’s Data Commons.
  • ‘Conversations from Penn State’ to examine economic diversity
    The 2013-14 season of WPSU-TV’s "Conversations from Penn State" kicks off with "Home(town) Security," an interview with urban revitalization strategist, Majora Carter, to examine how to bring economic diversity back into America’s communities and why it matters.
  • Free Arboretum event to celebrate Pennsylvania's forests
    Pennsylvania Forest Fest, a free public event celebrating the state's vast forestlands, will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, in and around the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens, part of The Arboretum at Penn State, on the corner of Bigler Road and Park Avenue.
  • EMS Energy Institute Energy Exchange Seminar series kicks off fall 2013 schedule
    The Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) Energy Institute Energy Exchange Seminar Series begins on Sept. 4. Tom Richard, director, Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment, will give a talk titled "Diet, Land Use and the Biofuel Nexus." The seminar will discuss the role of diet on land requirements for food production. Results from this study suggest a potentially large reduction in food-land requirements for the U.S. that could translate into a large biofuel supply.
  • Chemical engineers' research may lead to inexpensive, flexible solar cells
    Work by a research team at Penn State and Rice University could lead to the development of flexible solar cells. The engineers' technique centers on control of the nanostructure and morphology to create organic solar cells made of block polymers.
  • Thomas Mallouk selected as Fellow of the American Chemical Society
    Thomas Mallouk, Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry, Physics, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State, has been selected as a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS Fellows are nominated by their peers and selected for their outstanding achievements in and contributions to the sciences and the profession, and for providing excellent volunteer service to the ACS community.
  • Researchers study how to accurately measure a city's greenhouse gas emissions
    A team of researchers from Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and several other universities has been testing a method to quantify greenhouse gas emissions levels.
  • Penn State debuts online renewable energy and sustainability systems degree
    Penn State, which is ranked first among universities engaged in alternative energy research by Elsevier Publishing, is bringing together faculty from multiple academic units to help train renewable energy leaders and will launch an online master’s degree in renewable energy and sustainability systems starting this fall.
  • Ground-Breaking Roots
    The U.N. estimates that one in every seven people around the world is hungry. Jonathan Lynch and the Roots Lab use information technology to get to the root of this problem.
  • World Campus now offering geodesign course
    Penn State’s World Campus will offer GEODZ 511 (Geodesign History, Theory and Principles), an eight-week course open to anyone, beginning Aug. 19 through the University’s new Graduate Certificate in Geodesign for individuals interested in further study for additional credentials. 
  • 'Sensing Change' in the climate brings together science and art
    Ken Davis is one of eight scientists featured in “Sensing Change,” a project by the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s Center for Contemporary History and Policy that brings art and science together in exhibits and oral histories focused on seeing changes in surrounding environments.
  • Postdoctoral Research Exhibition set for Sept. 12
    Research conducted by postdoctoral scholars from across Penn State will be showcased at the annual Postdoctoral Research Exhibition from 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, in the Ballroom at the Nittany Lion Inn.
  • Synthetic polymers enable cheap, efficient, durable alkaline fuel cells
    A new cost-effective polymer membrane can decrease the cost of alkaline batteries and fuel cells by allowing the replacement of expensive platinum catalysts without sacrificing important aspects of performance, according to Penn State researchers.
  • Hajek honored with Slingerland Early Career Professorship
    Elizabeth Hajek, assistant professor of geosciences in Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, was recently honored with the Slingerland Early Career Professorship. This professorship was created through a gift from Roland P. and Debra C. Sauermann and named in honor of Rudy L. Slingerland, professor of geology in Penn State’s Department of Geosciences.
  • Geosciences professors elected Fellows of the American Geophysical Union
    Three faculty members in the Department of Geosciences in Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences have been elected as Fellows of the American Geophysical Union for their exceptional contributions to their fields of study. Geosciences professors Katherine H. Freeman, Andrew Nyblade and Rudy L. Slingerland are among a group of international scientists to be named fellows, which is considered one of the highest honors in the Earth and space sciences.
  • Architectural engineering's Bahnfleth becomes president of international society
    William P. "Bill" Bahnfleth, professor of architectural engineering, was recently installed as president of ASHRAE. ASHRAE, formerly the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, is an international building science and technology society with more than 54,000 members around the world.
  • Water Task Force Draft Report Available: Input requested
    A Water Task Force held many Town Meetings throughout the spring semester.  The input from those meetings and the committee’s own research and analysis resulted in a draft report "Water at Penn State: A Strategic Plan for Enhancing Science, Education, and Outreach."
  • Arctic sea-ice loss has widespread effects on wildlife
    With sea ice at its lowest point in 1,500 years, how might ecological communities in the Arctic be affected by its continued accelerating melting over the next decades? Penn State Professor of Biology Eric Post and an international team of scientists tackle this question by examining relationships among algae, plankton, whales and terrestrial animals such as caribou, arctic foxes and walrus; as well as the effects of human exploration of previously inaccessible parts of the region.
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