Hoping that title does not tempt fate. I will discuss nascent strategic initiatives that we are currently nurturing and what we are learning in the process. We are actively seeking ideas for the next big thing(s).

Practical applications of the next-generation stretchable electronics hinge on the integration of low-cost, scalable sustained power supplies with highly sensitive on-skin sensors and wireless transmission modules. This talk presents the challenges, design strategies, and novel fabrication processes behind a potential standalone stretchable device platform that (a) integrates with 3D curvilinear dynamically changing surfaces, and (b) dissolves completely after its effective operation. The resulting device platform creates application opportunities in fundamental biomedical research, disease diagnostic confirmation, healthy aging, human-machine collaboration, and smart Internet of things.

Sarah K. Rich | Art History

The new Center for Virtual/Material Studies (a collaborative, University-wide research center headquartered in the department of Art History) will be initiating a multi-year focus on the materiality of historic textiles in the arts. We have chosen to begin with a deep dive into flax—the plant from which we make linen and one of the most important fibers in ancient weaving. We have questions about forensic approaches to study historic fibers and possibilities for future research in flax cultivation, processing, dyeing, and uses, among other things.  

Scarlett R. Miller | Engineering Design and Industrial Engineering

We live in an age of design. Most disciplines practice some form of it, but in order to create truly effective solutions, we need people skilled in its practice who can master the breadth and depth of technical knowledge and skills in the context of diverse and subtle human and societal issues. The Center for Research in Design an Innovation (CRDI) was developed to bring together diverse faculty across the university and leverage, integrate, and expand interdisciplinary Design research at Penn State and develop international leadership in design as a science and design as a tool for innovation. This talk will highlight faculty research in these areas and the role of interdisciplinarity in design science and innovation research.   

Xing Wang | Nuclear Engineering

Atom probe tomography (APT) provides 3D compositional mapping with atomic resolution for most elements, from light hydrogen to heavy uranium isotopes.  In this talk, I will introduce the working principle of APT and how it has been applied to answer long-standing questions in structural materials.  By combing with advances in other microscopy techniques, such as the cryogenic focused-ion beam, APT brings new opportunities for addressing challenges in hydrogen storage, lithium battery, and even bio-organic materials.

There is increased understanding of how forward thinking material design strategies can enhance the performance of low income housing with respect to commonly referenced sustainability, resilience, and well-being metrics. What is less understood is how to “future proof” these buildings against “black swan” events such as COVID-19 and the impacts of compounding/intersecting disasters. This talk highlights how a global engagement network approach anchored in transdisciplinarity could help address these challenges.