We’re back! After many years since the last issue of the college’s magazine, we present the first issue of Impact, our way of communicating to you the exciting things our students, faculty, staff, and alumni are doing. And the topics covered are just the tip of the iceberg.
As you might expect, EMS is responding comprehensively to society’s need for reliable, safe, affordable, and environmentally responsible energy. Researchers in energy and petroleum and natural gas engineering are working to improve the efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of petroleum and natural gas extraction, goals advanced by our faculty and practiced by our alumni for decades. Accidents do happen, so EMS MatSE faculty member Mike Chung has invented a new polymer that is an amazingly absorptive material for treating oil spills. Our faculty and students are prospecting for critical minerals in coal sequences and related waste materials in support of the need to reduce export reliance for rare earth elements and lithium for high-tech manufacturing in the renewable energy, medical, and defense sectors, while remediating waste and creating opportunities for the idled mining workforce. Utilization and sequestration of carbon dioxide are new directions for the college, and EME associate professor Frey Brownson is helping direct the University’s development of utility-scale solar energy projects.
Geoscientist Sarah Ivory and her students are looking to Earth history for insights on how the climate system responds to elevated greenhouse gas levels, digging through hyrax middens for evidence of the types of plants and animals that inhabited remote regions of the world at times past, and what the climate was like. Looking forward, meteorologists, and atmospheric and climate scientists are developing tools to better predict the future. In this issue we highlight the pioneering work of the late Fuqing Zhang, whose data assimilation techniques have revolutionized the fields of severe storm forecasting and global climate model prediction.
Of course, EMS is impacting many fields outside of energy and climate, and is a leader in educational innovation and outreach as well. Geographer Alex Klippel is transforming education at Penn State and beyond, bringing virtual reality and artificial intelligence to the classroom, allowing students to have fully immersive field experiences without getting wet!
I hope you enjoy reading Impact. To keep up between issues, you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and subscribe to our EMS Headlines by going to www.ems.psu.edu/e-news. And as always, stay in touch!