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News

Welcome to the NatSci news page! Check back often to learn about the latest innovations, discoveries and accomplishments of our faculty, staff, students and alumni.

The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift–Tuttle. The meteors are called the Perseids because they appear from the general direction of the constellation Perseus and in more modern times have a radiant bordering on Cassiopeia and Camelopardalis.
August 10, 2023
Shannon Schmoll, director of the Abrams Planetarium and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Natural Science at Michigan State University, explains why the upcoming Perseid meteor shower is a great opportunity to see an object from space closer than usual — at a safe distance and with your naked eye.
The Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and, during that time, it has seen some things. Life has been a part of most of that history, but what life has looked like has changed dramatically over the eons.
July 13, 2023
MSU researcher Dalton Hardisty uses ocean sediment to dive deep into ancient Earth’s coupled evolution of life and ocean chemistry. He’s currently part of an international research collaboration that recently published work in the prestigious journal Nature, sharing a new approach for studying important chemical and biochemical processes in the Earth’s prehistoric past.
A temporary Global Positioning System site in the Shumagin Islands, Alaska, to help measure and record plate positions.
June 22, 2023
Earthquakes are caused by the movement of the tectonic plates that make up Earth’s crust. Between 2020 and 2021, the Pacific plate and the North American plate off the coast of Alaska slipped along the Alaska-Aleutian fault, producing a series of earthquakes, including the Chignik, Alaska, earthquake on July 29, 2021, which registered an 8.2 in magnitude. MSU’s Jeffrey Freymueller is researching this earthquake to learn more about exactly where that slip occurred (and how much) to better understand how faults work and the risk of future earthquakes and tsunamis.
Over the next decade, the market for growing crops indoors or in controlled environments — known as Controlled Environment Agriculture, or CEA — is predicted to increase five times over today’s market. And researchers at Michigan State University are at the forefront of this growing method of agriculture.
June 2, 2023
Yongsig Kim, a senior research associate in the Michigan State Universit-Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory, is leading MSU’s $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable Agricultural Systems program in the National Institute of Food and Agriculture explore what controlled enviornment agriculture will look like in a low-carbon world and new vegetation that leaves a low-carbon footprint. 
Understanding why the piezoelectric effect occurs in ionic liquids (room temperature molten salts) will provide insight into the unusual properties of ionic liquids and point the way toward purpose-driven design of piezoelectric liquids.  which is one of the potential applications possible based on this discovery. Other applications include energy harvesting like solar or wind power that can be stored for later use and tactile sensing of pressure such as someone’s grip strength.
April 6, 2023
The piezoelectric effect was first discovered in 1880 and is used in applications ranging from spark sources for stoves and gas furnaces to accelerometers in mobile phones for orientation and in automobiles to deploy airbags. While this effect has been known for a long time in solid materials, Gary Blanchard, a professor in the Department of Chemistry in MSU’s College of Natural Science and his graduate student, Md. Iqbal Hossain, were able to see the piezoelectric effect in a liquid for the first time — a finding that opens possibilities for new applications.
A portion of the newly discovered Earth-sized planet TOI-700 e orbits within the habitable zone of its star in this illustration.
January 11, 2023
Working with data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, Michigan State University has helped discover an Earth-sized exoplanet — a planet outside of our solar system. This planet, named TOI-700 e, falls within its star’s habitable zone, meaning the newfound planet could be capable of supporting life as we know it. The research team announced the finding Jan. 10 at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle. 

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