So much potential water energy, so close to home


Dr. Rajiv Mishra with a model of a hydrokinetic system. Photo by B.A. Rupert

Dr. Rajiv Mishra thinks the ancient past and the modern present are converging in some ways. “In the past,” Mishra says, “we have prayed to the sun god, to the wind god and to the water god. Now we are back to that point.”

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Grad student cleans contaminated water in Rolla


Erica Collins, a grad student at Missouri S&T. Photos by B.A. Rupert


Dr. Curt Elmore, associate professor of geological engineering, joins Collins at Busy Bee Cleaners.

For decades, it was routine for dry-cleaning operations to pour chemicals down the drain. Unfortunately, some of those chemicals ended up contaminating groundwater.

And that’s what happened years ago at the Busy Bee laundry facility in Rolla. But, thanks to the efforts of Erica Collins and others, a comprehensive clean-up is under way.

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Like an aquatic canary in a coal mine?


Dr. Yue-Wern Huang, Missouri S&T associate professor of biology, works with students to conduct hellbender research. Photos by B.A. Rupert


An Ozark Hellbender housed at the Saint Louis Zoo.


Yue-Wern Huang, an associate professor of biology at Missouri S&T, is trying to figure out where all of the hellbenders went. The hellbender is one of the largest salamanders in the world. They once thrived in the pristine streams of the Ozarks and Appalachia. Now they’re almost extinct.

It’s increasingly hard to find them and catch them, but Huang has been taking blood samples from hellbenders for nine years to see if their chemistry is changing over time. His research is funded by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Department of Conservation, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Saint Louis Zoo, and the Missouri Water Resources Center.

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The clean(er) coal conundrum


David Summers, Missouri S&T Curators’ Professor emeritus of mining engineering. Photos by B.A. Rupert

Edward I, known for being ruthless, banned the burning of coal in London because his mother didn’t like the smell of it. Despite threats of hangings, the ban didn’t work. People defied the king because coal was cheaper than wood.

Centuries later, coal is still the cheapest source of energy that we have. But the only way to get energy out of the dirty stuff is to burn it and release carbon dioxide in the process. It is now widely believed that increasing levels of carbon dioxide will raise global temperatures — which is why you might have heard a lot of talk about “clean coal” in recent years.

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When proteins ‘behave badly’



Daniel Forciniti, Missouri S&T professor of chemical and biological engineering, works with students to conduct protein research. Photo by B.A. Rupert

Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology are trying to get proteins to create the sticky plaque often associated with neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and even Mad Cow. If successful, the study would better equip researchers to prevent or find a cure for these diseases.

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Big Apple



Gerald Cohen, Missouri S&T professor of foreign languages. Photo by B.A. Rupert

Did you ever wonder how Chicago got the nickname Windy City? Are you curious why Philadelphia is called the City of Brotherly Love? Did you even know that Providence, R.I. is the Beehive of Industry?

City nicknames like these are fascinating to etymologists like Gerald Cohen. He’s spent two decades researching what is perhaps the most famous city nickname – New York’s Big Apple.

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Melanie Mormile: Mars. Salt. Biofuels.

melanie mormile collecting water samples.jpg

Melaine Mormile, Missouri S&T microbiologist. Photo by B.A. Rupert

Her Passion

Bacteria. Specifically those organisms that can live in extreme environments — places that don’t support more complex life forms.

Why she’s cool

She helped prove the theory that life could exist on Mars. Mormile is one of a group of researchers studying organisms found in the salt-water lakes of western Australia. The salts and acidic pH of the water mimics conditions found on Mars. Mormile found that prokaryotes (simple organisms that lack a nucleus) could handle the unusual environment.

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The village green


Missouri S&T’s Dan Oerther, the John and Susan Mathes Chair of Environmental Engineering, is committed to sustainable living, along with his wife Sarah and their son Barney. They live in one of four solar-powered homes designed and built by Missouri S&T students.

Missouri S&T environmental engineering professor Dan Oerther and his family want to show the campus and community how to live intentionally. And they have the perfect place for it.

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The future is electric


Dr. Mehdi Ferdowsi, Missouri S&T assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Andrew Meintz, a Ph.D. student in electrical engineering. Photo by B.A. Rupert

When Mehdi Ferdowsi and Andrew Meintz offered the inaugural class on electric and hybrid vehicles a year ago, they made an instant connection with students from a variety of engineering disciplines.

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Phytoforensics: Green remediation takes root


Dr. Joel Burken, Missouri S&T professor of civil and environmental engineering, tests a tree in Rolla’s Schuman Park with then high school senior Amanda Holmes and S&T graduate student Matt Limmer. Photo by B.A. Rupert

Two years ago, sophomore Amanda Holmes couldn’t wait to get started as an environmental engineering student at Missouri S&T. She got a chance to conduct environmental research alongside a full professor and graduate students while still a senior at Rolla High School.

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New camera can see the ‘invisible’


Dr. Reza Zoughi, Schlumberger Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at Missouri S&T. Photo by B.A. Rupert

View the full demonstration video.
The science similar to the type used in airport body scanners could soon be used to detect everything from defects in aerospace vehicles or concrete bridges to skin cancer, thanks to researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

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