Science

Science news

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.

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