Penn State, In Space and Sea

Contrary to what some in the national media may say, Penn State University is a reputable research institution. As part of its land-grant tradition, the university has dedicated itself to new scientific discoveries.

In the past few weeks, Penn State has been a leader of significant scientific research.

Extraterrestrial Intelligence

In September, the Astronomy Department’s Jason Wright received a grant to lead a team of astronomers to find extraterrestrial power plants. The group will explore millions of galaxies for a hypothetical structure known as the Dyson sphere. No, Timmy. This isn’t some vacuum a German engineer developed. When a planetary population consumes all its energy resources, Freeman Dyson postulated that civilizations would construct massive solar panels in space. Wright and his team will scour the cosmos in the hopes of finding one of these objects, a discovery that would result in the greatest paradigm shift in human history.

Galactic Beginnings

When matter and gravity love each other, they decide to come together and form a galaxy. In its infantile years, a galaxy is known as a quasar and at the galactic core is a supermassive black hole. As the black hole gains mass, it spins and spews out gas clouds out its poles. Surprisingly, astrophysicists have observed that the gas clouds disappear after only a few years. Why?

This week, astrograd Nurten Filiz Ak and her advisor, Niel Brandt, announced that they found how quasar clouds disappeared. Filiz Ak has discovered that the quasars’ polar winds, which travel thousands of miles per second, whisks these clouds away from their galaxies.

Submarine Safety

The Office of Naval Research awarded the Applied Research Laboratory more than one million dollars to develop navigation technology. The US Navy intends to use the new sonar system for its submarines and submersibles. The sonar will creates maps of the ocean floor for safer travels.

Students have already seen the effects of Penn State’s partnership with the Navy. Just south of the IST building, along Atherton Street, is the Thomas Water Tunnel. Since 1949, the water tunnel has been used to test torpedoes.

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About the Author

Doug Dooling, Jr.

I am a staff writer for Onward State. I graduated as a Nittany Lion with Honors in 2013. Now, I am back in Happy Valley to earn a degree at the Penn State Law. Outside of politics and government, my interests include college football, soccer, Irish history, and astronomy.


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