Looking for a study break? Here are two exhibits at Mann Library worth taking in:
Magic Mushrooms: Student work from PLPA 2010 on display through May 13
PLPA 2010, “Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds” is not your typical biology class— it’s more like a narrated double-decker bus tour of the Kingdom of Fungi. We tell the stories of weird and world-sustaining mushrooms, pay homage to the noble works of yeasts, and explore humid thickets of medicinal molds. We meet and eat some of our subjects in demonstration labs.
Because the class aims to be approachable, it attracts a delightfully diverse group of students —330 of them this Spring. For a pinch of extra credit, some seized the opportunity to make fungus-inspired art based on a fungus fact. The public is warmly welcome to drop by an exhibit of their work, on display in Mann Library’s Top Shelf Gallery space (1st floor) through May 13.
Knowledge with a Public Purpose
What’s so special about Cornell University? Our land-grant mission for one.
Fostering knowledge as a public good has been a cornerstone of Cornell University’s history from its earliest beginnings. Since its very founding, many of the teachers, students and staff at this university have focused on helping people solve problems to make their world—their neighborhoods, homes, farms, cities, towns and natural environments—a thriving place to live, work and learn.
Come to an interactive exhibit at Mann Library to learn more about their stories and the way their work has laid the groundwork for a lively culture of public engagement at Cornell today—making a difference to all of us over the last 150 years. On display in the Mann Gallery (2nd floor) through August 31.
Many arrive at class early, stay late, answer questions before they can be asked and jump in to lecture at times when a professor’s research pulls her away from her students. Some tackle field research in Asia, outreach in Africa or biochemistry tutoring at midnight in Roberts Hall.
But all 29 of this year’s Outstanding Teaching Assistants honorees have at least one thing in common – the deep respect and gratitude of the more than two dozen faculty members and college leaders on hand in G10 Biotech on Thursday to offer their thanks.
“TAs definitely make a significant contribution to our teaching mission in the college, and we want to recognize that. You make a huge impact on the students you interact with,” said Donald Viands, associate dean and director of academic programs for CALS. “We’re here to celebrate the positive things that you all have done.”
This spring, students in Creating the Urban Eden: Woody Plant Selection, Design, and Landscape Establishment (HORT/LA 4910/4920) planted the entire perimeter of Warren Hall – from the front door around the building to the Centennial Garden – with a selection plants matched to the variety of growing conditions found in different locations.
“It was by far the largest class planting project we’ve ever taken on,” says Nina Bassuk, professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, who co-teaches the course with Peter Trowbridge, landscape architecture professor. Bassuk is also director of Cornell’s Urban Horticulture Institute.
In all, students planted and mulched more than 1,900 trees, shrubs, ferns, ornamental grasses and other plants. They planted around existing specimen plants, such as the mature Japanese maple in the Deans Garden, that were protected during the Warren Hall renovation.
The cupped blossoms you’ll likely have recognized–tulips! The exotic about-to-bloom bromeliads maybe not. Both are part of the gorgeous color and greenery sprouting in various corners of Mann Library, as the Library’s plant collection has come under the care and supervision of one of the oldest student organizations on the Cornell campus, Hortus Forum.
Hortus Forum has long been known for their amazing weekly plant sales on the Ag Quad–in the Mann Library lobby during the winter, outside under the Ag Quad trees during warmer weather. If you’ve ever shopped at their table, you’ll likely have gotten a dose of excellent advice about proper plant care with your purchase. Earlier this year, Hortus Forum agreed to apply their group’s expertise to the enhancement of the plant collection within the Mann Library building as well.
Hortus Forum, Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club, will have its final plant sale of the school year on Friday, May 8, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Hortus Forum greenhouse at the Kenneth Post Lab greenhouse complex on Tower Rd. (Directions.)
The students will be selling their usual selection of tropicals and succulents, plus pitcher plants, air plants, ferns, ivy topiaries, and lots of spring bulbs (tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils).
And as long as you’re in the area, be sure to check out SoHo’s Horticulture Outreach Day activities …
Our planned Horticulture Outreach Day that was postponed because of rain and cold weather has been rescheduled:
Friday, May 8, 1 to 3 p.m. in the Horton classroom at Kenneth Post Lab.
Come learn about plant propagation, make beautiful artwork with plant materials (cyanotypes, right), create soil painting and compete with the bees for prizes in a game of pollination at the annual Horticultural Outreach Day.
If you missed the last Horticulture Section seminar of the semester (Thursday’s rescheduled seminar has been canceled) Contemporary Rhododendron breeding featuring Stephen Krebs, Director of Research, David G. Leach Research Station, Holden Arboretum, it’s available online.
Abhijeet Bais, left, Margo Wu and Brennan Whitaker Duty, all MBA candidates who will graduate in May, won the 2015 New York Business Plan Competition, which carried a $100,000 grand prize. Jason Koski/University Photography
The Dutch began funding flower bulb research in the U.S. in 1965, sponsoring a program at Michigan State University. “The Dutch were very forward-thinking,” says Miller. “They realized that they would sell more bulbs to U.S. growers if the growers on this side of the Atlantic had technical support — in English.
“This was back before the Internet,” he adds. “If a grower forcing half a million bulbs in his greenhouse had a problem, it’s not like he could send a letter to the Netherlands and get an answer in time to solve it.”
The Dutch strategy paid off. Bulb and forced flower bulb retail sales in the U.S. easily top $125 million, says Miller.
The Dutch-funded research program shifted to North Carolina State University in 1978 before coming to Cornell in 1998. Miller, the son of a lily grower and an authority on flower bulb physiology, has headed the program since.
Among the attendees at the signing of the Anthos-Cornell research contract in 1997 were horticulture professor Bob Langhans (left), CALS Dean Daryl Lund (front left), Bill Miller (second from right) and Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture chair Tom Weiler (right).
The Cornell research program has focused on testing new varieties, helping growers time their blooms to hit holiday markets, and using plant growth regulators to control the height of potted bulbs. Each year, Miller hosts a Dutch intern to assist with the research.
In addition to forcing studies, Miller has also conducted studies to determine which landscape flower bulbs are least likely to be damaged by deer and voles and other topics.
Perhaps Miller’s most celebrated study came in 2005 when a New York Times columnist asked him about the veracity of the folk wisdom that you can use alcohol to keep forced paperwhites from growing too tall, a dilemma faced by thousands of bulb enthusiasts every winter. To find out, Miller initiated a research project carried out by undergraduate Erin Finan.
Finan’s study determined that the most effective way to keep paperwhites from flopping over is to grow them in a 4 to 6 percent alcohol solution, or 1 part 80-proof liquor to 7 parts water.
The study went viral, with the technique receiving coverage in Parade Magazine, der Spiegel, CNN and countless magazine articles, blog posts and newscasts.
“You can still tell when the winter forcing season is coming on because you’ll start seeing ‘pickle your paperwhite’ articles citing the study,” says Miller.