physics

Have you ever walked by agronomy hall and looked up and noticed some strange equipment on the roof? It isn't for decoration and it isn't top secret.

The roof houses several weather stations and labs. "The actual answer is the roof contains two automated weather stations that take data at one-minute intervals. The variables measured are temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, wind speed, wind direction, mean sea-level pressure, solar radiation, and UV index," Associate Teaching Professor Dave Flory said.

Data from the weather stations is both stored and made available through the Department of Agronomy's Iowa Environmental Mesonet. The following link makes data available to students and anyone interested in what's going on outside: https://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/other/

In addition to the automated weather stations, the roof also houses the meteorology program's instrumentation laboratory.

Outside of Walnut Grove, Minnesota, a contributing author to a Nobel Peace Prize winning project was born in a farm house with no electricity or indoor plumbing. Eugene (Gene) Takle always intended to go back to the farm, but the young man who opted for agriculture classes and never took biology wound up getting his Ph.D. in physics.

Following Sputnik and the space race of the late 50s, the United States focused on science education for youth. It was an English teacher who set Takle on a scientific path. 

“My family did not subscribe to newspapers or news magazines,” said Takle. “My English teacher showed me a copy of Newsweek and gave me one of the cards from inside. I subscribed and actually read the thing every week for years.”

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