MSI Principal Investigator Jon Foley (Director, Institute on the Environment) has a feature article in Scientific American. "Can We Feed the World and Sustain the Planet?” discusses how we can double the amount of food produced by the world’s farmers while also decreasing farming’s adverse effects on the environment. Professor Foley’s MSI research investigates how changes in the Amazon basin affect rainfall patterns.

MSI Associate Fellow Kathryn VandenBosch (Head, Plant Biology) has been selected to be Dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at UW Madison. Professor VandenBosch has been a Principal Investigator at MSI since 2003 and was named an Associate Fellow in 2010.

On November 4, 2011, the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics held a symposium in honor of Regents Professor Emeritus Daniel D. Joseph, MSI Fellow, who passed away on May 24. More information about the symposium can be found on the AEM website.


The LMVL hit a milestone in October by logging its 1,000th visitor for the year 2011. Over 100 of these visitors were from businesses and government agencies that are interested in the research being performed at the University and at MSI. We have also been visited by government officials, notably U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) in February and U.S. Representative Erik Paulsen (R-MN) in September. Many of the visitors saw 3D virtual-reality visualizations prepared by researchers at the Medical Devices Center, who are working on new ways of testing such devices as artificial heart valves. Even the University's new president, Eric Kaler, visited the LMVL to see the MDC's work during his tour of the College of Science and Engineering prior to his inauguration.

In addition to business and government visitors, over 400 students have also toured the lab this year. These have included: elementary-, middle-, and high-school students participating in various camps and programs; prospective University students; and undergraduate and graduate students from the University and other local colleges and universities. Other groups touring the lab and seeing visualization demos included various organizations at the University and visitors from other colleges, universities, and professional organizations.

Faculty in such fields as astronomy, mechanical engineering, earth sciences, biomedical engineering, computer science, writing studies, and anthropology have used the LMVL to create visualizations that support and extend their research, and several MSI PIs use the lab to present visualizations to visitors to their departments. Finally, four classes taught by MSI PIs during 2011 have used the LMVL for class sessions.

The new Wind Energy Research Station at the University's UMore Park hosted a commissioning event on October 25 at the U’s UMore Park. MSI is one of the U units participating in the Eolos Wind Energy Consortium with a number of other educational and industry partners.