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EAB stump
Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA

Good news for tree huggers in Indiana—experts say while tree deaths caused by the invasive Emerald Ash Borer are at their peak, it’s likely the number of infestations will decline in the next few years.

For the past decade, the little beetle has been a big problem for the country’s trees. The ash borer burrows into a tree’s trunk, destroying the tissues and pathways that carry nutrients.

Erica Gibson / WBAA News

A new Purdue research facility aims to improve manufacturing of lighter-weight and more energy-efficient cars, airplanes, and wind turbines.

Officials broke ground on the Indiana Manufacturing Institute Tuesday in the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette.

Engineering professor Byron Pipes points to the Boeing 787 commercial airplane as an example of what the technology is used for.

Purdue ITAP

Purdue Air Link wireless internet is now available off-campus. The network has been expanded to areas of Lafayette and West Lafayette that already carry city wifi. People who have Purdue accounts can log on to PAL in places like Tapawingo Park, the West Lafayette Farmer’s Market, Lafayette’s Main Street, and the county courthouse square. 

Purdue Chief Information Officer Gerry McCartney says he hopes the expansion, which piggybacks on Lafayette and West Lafayette infrastructure, will get more students to explore the community.

courtesy Purdue University

A Purdue chemistry professor is one of the latest inductees into the National Academy of Sciences, and the fifth member of the Purdue faculty currently in the group.

WBAA’s Stan Jastrzebski sat down with professor R. Graham Cooks and talked about his study of the field of mass spectrometry and what one more person can add to a group that counts more than 2,200 members already.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

As soon as the door of the freight elevator in Purdue’s math building opens, those exiting are assaulted by a blast of cold air and a pervasive hum.

It’s the sound of hundreds of cooling fans attached to bank upon bank of computers, all of which are churning away solving problems for the academics who buy space on the machines. Even in an era defined by miniaturization, these supercomputers are room-sized – the latter-day relatives of the first computers, like ENIAC.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

There are a couple different types of pull that are critical to a Mars travel project a group of Purdue aeronautics students is crafting. One is gravitational – tugging spacecraft in a continuous elliptical orbit around the sun so they don’t have to be wastefully launched from earth every time. It’s a model that uses a craft called a “cycler” – and that’s where the other pull comes in.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Think about the last delicate package you received. When you opened the box, there’s a good chance it was also full of packing peanuts – huge numbers of which go to landfills each year.

But Purdue researcher Vilas Pol sees another use for the ubiquitous packing material. He envisions a time where instead of decomposing, the packing peanuts are helping to power electrical devices.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

A Purdue University researcher and her students are using store-bought spinach leaves and lasers to try to better understand photosynthesis -- that’s the process by which many plants make their food.

But Yulia Pushkar and her students have a bigger goal in mind – understanding how the plants turn sunlight into energy so much more efficiently than solar panels.

Her study of a compound known as Photosystem II could help scientists learn how to better harness the sun’s power.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Rex Reklaitis thinks of his drug printing rig almost like a time machine.

The Purdue researcher is working to develop a commercially viable machine that can print small amounts of a drug which are tailored to an individual patient.

That would be a shift away from the current model used by large drug companies which can make hundreds of thousands of aspirin tablets in an hour.

courtesy Purdue Veterinary Medicine

Video games have long been known to improve hand-eye coordination. Now, a Purdue study shows that may be of particular use to veterinary surgeons.

The research suggests video games may be better tools than the so-called “box trainers” vets currently use to learn laparoscopic surgery.

A box trainer is usually made from PVC pipe that's covered by a cloth to hide what's inside (usually rings which students are told to put on posts). The catch is that has to be done using two arms with mechanical fingers on the end.

Wally Gobetz / https://www.flickr.com/photos/wallyg/3664385777

Purdue President Mitch Daniels testified Wednesday before a Congressional committee that wanted to grill him about a report arguing for manned spaceflight to Mars.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology questioned Daniels and Cornell University professor Jonathan Lunine about a report from a committee the two men co-chaired looking at the future of American space exploration.

NASA / http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/images/?ImageID=6177

The United States needs to spend more – a lot more – on space flight if astronauts are ever going to land on Mars.

That’s the finding of a report issued by a committee co-chaired by Purdue President Mitch Daniels. Daniels says while the reasons to go to space have changed in the past 60 years, the need to go remains.

Mike Loizzo / WBAA News

The new head of the Purdue University Extension’s agriculture and natural resources programs says he’ll focus on food security. But that may mean butting heads with activists opposed to genetically-modified crops.

If recent marches against agriculture company Monsanto are any indication, there are plenty of people concerned that too many crops are produced by lab techs first and farmers second.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Termites have long been seen as unique in the animal kingdom – Think about it: how many other species can you name that digest wood? But until a few years ago, it wasn’t affordable to sequence a termite’s entire genome.

Now that the price has come down, Purdue entomology professor Mike Scharf and about 60 colleagues worldwide have developed a gene map and are looking for weak spots in the bugs’ genetic code.

“We can target those particular things in a more efficient way to eventually get better termiticides,” Scharf says.

IU Professor Thinks He's Found Columbus' 'Santa Maria'

May 15, 2014
Adam Jones / https://www.flickr.com/photos/adam_jones/4653446909

On Christmas Day in 1492, the flagship of Christopher Columbus’ fleet hit a reef and sank.

More than 500 years later, Indiana University underwater science and diving professor  Charlie Beeker says there’s compelling evidence that a shipwreck near Cap-Haitien is the Santa Maria.

“It’s the right location, it’s the right type of dynamics I would expect of a shipwreck of the time period," Beeker says.  "It’s going to take an investigation to prove it, but as with other shipwrecks, that is what my mission will be.”

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