Millennium Cafe

Sep 26 2017
Key Trends in Higher Education – How will Penn State Respond?

Higher education is facing a considerable number of challenges, including demographic changes, growing financial stresses, evolving models of the roles and characteristics of faculty, and significant changes in the content and delivery of an education.  In many ways, Penn State is sensing and responding to these challenges.   The trends predicted for the next decade are worthy of a more strategic analysis as they will likely define the evolution of our University.

Guitar Music of South America

Some of the best music for solo guitar (nylon string) comes from guitarist/composers of South America. I will play selections of music from Brazil and Paraguay that are sure to delight the listener.  A wonderful thing about instrumental music is its symbolic power to captivate the imagination and impact each listener personally. So come prepared to dream with me as I perform this compellingly beautiful repertoire.

Sep 19 2017
The Penn State Microbiome Center is a Community Studying Communities

In 12 months, the Penn State Microbiome Center has moved from concept to community. This intercollege initiative turned center started in fall 2016 with the financial and scholarly support of ten colleges and institutes. The Center was further spurred by cluster hires funded by the Colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Medicine and the Huck Institutes. Today the Microbiome Center is working toward the goal of supporting transformative, interdisciplinary research in microbiomes by fostering long-term working relationships while simultaneously providing infrastructure and resources needed for increasing diversity and breadth of interdisciplinary microbiome research at Penn State.

Modeling, Understanding, and Manipulating Microstructural Patterns in Materials

Pattern formation is common in nature, ranging from biological cell structures, snow-flakes, to cloud patterns. Understanding the structural, chemical, thermal, electrical, and magnetic patterns in materials at different length scales and their responses to the changes in the environmental conditions at different time scales is considered as the holy grail of materials research.  In this presentation, I will show a few representative examples to demonstrate the utilization of the phase-field modeling method to understand experimentally observed microstructural patterns and to provide guidance to the synthesis and manipulation of microstructural patterns for optimum properties and device performances.

Sep 12 2017
What’s so Cool About Cold Spray?

In the cold spray process, powders are heated and accelerated in a supersonic gas stream. These high velocity particles impact a substrate, causing them to bond and build up a coating. This process has been used at the Penn State Applied Research Lab for the past 20 years to create corrosion and wear resistant coatings, and more recently, for restoration of metallic components and additive manufacturing. This presentation will highlight some of these projects as well as the material processing equipment available to researchers at PSU.

The Importance of Safety in Industry

Cultivating a safety minded culture is more than a list of near misses and good saves; it encompasses how a company or university approaches and views safety in the work place.  Developing an effective culture of safety in the work environment includes recognition of preventative actions, constant improvement of workplace practices, and employee engagement in developing and implementing the best and safest practices. This talk will focus on (i) the importance of a safety minded culture, (ii) how it is practiced in one chemical company, (iii) and how the insights from the chemical industry can be applicable to academic lab settings.

Sep 5 2017
At Penn State, We Innovate!

Penn State is home to world class researchers, educators, and more -- all brimming with ideas. Many of us started our careers in research with the intention of making a positive impact on the world through advanced technology, and for many of us that passion continues to be the driving force behind our research endeavors. But once we’ve invented a new technology, how do we bring it to the people around us? Penn State Innovation Network (formerly Penn State Entrepreneurship Network) was formed based on a passion for innovation, such as translating creative inventions into high-impact, usable technologies.  At our talk, we are going to share some of the activities PSIN is organizing, and how we can help each other. PSIN invites individuals from across the university to contribute their expertise and perspective while learning from others. Whether you already have a concrete startup idea, have an unexplored interest in innovation, or are curious about innovation in academia — we want your valuable perspective!

A Vision for Transportation Research at Penn State

The Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute is Penn State’s transportation research center. The Institute brings together top faculty, world-class facilities and enterprising students from across the University in partnership with public and private stakeholders to address critical transportation-related problems.  This presentation will provide a brief overview of the Institute’s research, equipment, and facilities, and share ideas to foster collaboration among the broad university community.

Aug 29 2017
From Words To Pictures: Visualizing The Archaeological Journals of Chaco Canyon

Many archaeological sites have long ago been excavated leaving researchers only journal entries and sketches to try decipher these important cultural heritage sites. Pueblo Bonito, Room 33 in Chaco Canyon is one such site.  Using George Pepper’s archaeology journals and sketches from 1896, a method of plotting artifacts, room structure and human remains was used to create a 3D model that was the basis for a journal article illustration.  However, the team found that the 3D model opens up new methods of studying this heritage site and other sites lost to time and excavation.

EESL, It’s That Easy

EESL’s multi-user research facilities were created under the Institute of Energy and the Environment. Our laboratories offer researchers access to cutting-edge laboratory and field instrumentation in the areas of energy and the environment. Come learn about EESL’s core facilities, laboratory scientists and the various ways we can work with researchers to support your project and research needs.

Aug 22 2017
Computer Vision in Agriculture

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) coupled with computer vision models offer the potential to extend the monitoring capacity of farmers to the assess and manage their land. This is especially important as climate change is leading to more frequent extreme weather events and globalization is leading to an increasing number of novel pathogens and pests.  My preliminary research has shown deep learning models can detect healthy and diseased plants with over 90% accuracy using in-field images of plant leaves collected with digital cameras. I am currently investigating the performance of UAVs in collecting image datasets of agricultural land to support automated plant disease diagnoses with computer vision models.

TB or bTB? A Truly Wicked Problem

Tuberculosis (TB) kills more people on the planet that any other infectious disease, and emerging drug resistant strains are proving untreatable.  Our group is taking an orthogonal approach to addressing the problem. During this presentation, I summarize our ongoing efforts at addressing this issue of bovine tuberculosis (bTB), discuss its impact on livestock productivity and associated human health risks, highlight key knowledge gaps, and define opportunities for mitigation through needed technical and market-based innovation.

Aug 8 2017
Crushing Molecules to Crystals of Carbon Nanothreads

Organic chemists are very good at synthesizing small carbon molecules, millions to date, but the number of completely crystalline and especially single crystal carbon “extended solids” such as diamond, graphite, and carbon nanotubes with bonding in multiple dimensions is very limited. Still, these few examples attract great attention because they often have superlative properties, such as high electron mobility, extremely high strength, and sometimes even superconductivity, so it is interesting to synthesize new ones.  I will show how the small molecule benzene can be crushed under pressure to form crystals of carbon nanothreads, a new low dimensional carbon nanomaterial akin to “flexible diamond” that may uniquely combine extreme strength with flexibility, insensitivity to defects, and resilience.

Plant-Herbivore Interactions and the Chemicals that Mediate Them

With a deep history of plant-animal interactions, it’s no surprise we find relationships that span from mutualisms to all out warfare. A brief overview of the chemical relationships that have been established between herbivores and their hosts will be discussed with a focus on behavior and chemical ecology.

Aug 1 2017
Maintenance Week at the MSC

There will not be a Millennium Cafe on August 1st due to building maintenance week. Also, note that core facilities in the MSC building are also closed during this time.  Please contact core facility technical staff directly for information about when instrumentation will be back online.

We will return on August 8
Jul 25 2017
Cold Sintering: Extremely Low Temperature Processing for Ceramics and Related Composites

Sintering entails converting a particulate compact in the form of ceramics, metals and polymers into a dense and robust solid.  Generally speaking most ceramics are sintered at high temperatures, typically 50%-75% of the melting point. Using the cold sintering process, many ceramics can be densified at much lower temperatures than previously thought possible (25-300 °C). This talk will discuss the history, current understanding, opportunities and challenges of cold sintering process.

A Little Weed is a Good Thing: How a Simple Plant Can Help Provide Food, Energy, and Clean Water for 11 Billion People

There is an urgent need to develop innovative, sustainable strategies to provide food, energy, and water for our burgeoning human population.  The ubiquitous and highly prolific aquatic plant, duckweed (Lemnoideae), hyperaccumulates nutrients from its environment, simultaneously cleaning water and synthesizing either starch- or protein-rich biomass that can be harvested for a range of applications, including: simple biofuels; advanced chemicals; fertilizers; fodder for meat and dairy animals; and human food.  To fully realize the potential of this ecological approach and bring it to market, collaboration across a myriad of technical, economic, and social disciplines is critical – we hope you will join us!

Jul 18 2017
Utilizing Tissue Cutting Mechanics Knowledge for Haptic Robotic Surgical Training

We have developed and implemented a haptic robotic training system into Hershey Medical Center’s surgical resident training program.  This device utilizes a haptic robot and virtual ultrasound image to provide diverse patient scenario training of ultrasound guided central venous catheterization. This project explores both the interaction between soft tissue and instruments and how to most effectively train the complex skills needed by future surgeons.

When the Drugs Stop Working: Antimicrobial Resistance and What to do About it

In ten years, many more Americans will die from drug resistant infections than will die in car crashes -- if nothing is done. Turning that situation around will require interdisciplinary effort, not unlike that responsible for the massive improvements in road safety. But right now, the resistance problem seems a lot harder.

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