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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Research News & Announcements

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Faculty Members, Students Researching Variety of Topics this Summer

Minnesota State University professors are preparing to share their studies with their respective fields, and this summer's offering includes a look into how track athletes pick colleges and whether fruit flies respond to peer pressure.

They're just a few of the 10 research grants awarded by MSU's College of Graduate Studies & Research for $5,000 each.

Jon Lim, with the college's sports management program, examined how Division II track and field athletes choose which college to attend.

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State Approves $1.5 Million in Stimulus Funds for Renewable Energy Test Center

A renewable energy testing laboratory at Minnesota State University, Mankato is a step closer after Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a $1.5 million bill that will provide lab equipment and lease space.

The lab will be used for testing Swedish and other green–energy technology, including furnaces and boilers that burn renewable fuels such as pelletized wood. The $1.5 million appropriation, approved by the Legislature May 5 as part of a partnership with Sweden, will come from the state's federal economic stimulus fund pool.

The International Renewable Energy Technology Institute laboratory will let Minnesota State Mankato faculty and student scientists determine whether Swedish and other biofuels technology will work in the United States. The testing could lead to the manufacture in Minnesota of new products that use renewable combustible fuels.

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Graduate Students Helping DNR Keep Track of Frogs

Minnesota State University graduate students Zack Bateson of Eveleth (left) and Lucas Wandrie of Waseca check out the edge of a wetland while conducting a frog and toad survey for the DNR.Now, there's nothing unusual about a couple of college students going out on a Friday night.

Nor would it be out of the ordinary if they took a keen interest in the sorts of courting rituals that ultimately might attract a mate.

So one might have assumed that Minnesota State University graduate students Lucas Wandrie and Zack Bateson might be headed to popular night spots when the biology majors headed out last Friday evening.

But the kind of night spots they were checking out were of the dark and damp kind.

As volunteers for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Frog and Toad Survey, armed with a Global Positioning System device, a thermometer, headlamps and a clip board, they drove off into the darkness to count the mating calls of male frogs and toads along a predetermined route that would take them to 10 different wetlands in and around Mankato.

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New Force Science Center Study Explores Threat Posed by Prone Suspects

One of the most dangerous positions a suspect can assume on the ground is prone with his hands tucked under his body, either at chest or waist level. What's hidden in those hands? And if it's a gun, how fast can he twist and shoot if you're approaching him?

This month [1/09], the Force Science Research Center, in cooperation with Indiana University and the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, will launch the first study of its kind in an effort to clearly define your risk and, hopefully, identify your best approach tactics in dealing with this common street problem.

The results may also help explain to civilians why officers sometimes react with what may seem like exceptional violence when trying to control a downed offender whose hands are concealed beneath him.

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Graduate Student Providing Data for Study of Wild Turkey Resurgence

At 49 million birds a year, Minnesota's domestic turkey industry is the largest in the nation.

But what about another turkey with even deeper roots in the state? Well, that one's doing pretty well, too.

By any measure, the wild turkey has made a remarkable comeback in Minnesota, scratching its way back from being killed off here a century ago to becoming a common sight across the southern two–thirds of the state. Drive any highway there, and you might see a flock of wild turkeys along a tree line or pecking for food in an open field.

Domestic turkeys, popular table fare across the state Thanksgiving Day, are raised mostly indoors and out of sight.

Minnesota's wild turkey renaissance began in 1973, when the state traded Missouri 85 ruffed grouse for 29 wild turkeys and set them loose. Now, an estimated 70,000 wild turkeys are spread across the state. Almost 11,000 were killed by hunters last spring.

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Professors Celebrate Successful Test of World's Largest Atom–Smasher

Mankato scientists joined colleagues around the world in celebration of the successful first test of a new particle accelerator in Europe — as well as anticipation of epic experiments yet to come.

The world's largest atom–smasher, called the Large Hadron Collider, is aimed at some of the biggest questions in physics: Why do particles have mass and what's dark matter, to name two.

"You can't over–emphasize what they're doing," said Steve Kipp, a professor of astronomy at Minnesota State University.

The trial run shot protons around the 17–mile tunnel deep under the Swiss–French border early Wednesday morning.

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Minnesota Russ Palma, Student Jacob Simones Help Discover New Mineral

Russ PalmaA comet that buzzes Earth every 5.09 years likely left an undiscovered mineral in its wake, and a Minnesota State University professor and student had a hand in its discovery.

Russell Palma, a physics and astronomy professor at MSU, is part of an international team that aimed to fetch space dust fresh off the tail of comet 26P/Grigg–Skjellerup. His student, Jacob Simones, helped analyze some of the data.

Comets can be billions of years old, and many haven't changed much over that span.

"If you can look at really primitive materials, you can get a better picture of what the solar system formed from," Palma said.

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