Dept. of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics Celebrates 100th Anniversary

DAFRE graduate alumni, along with Distinguished Professor Carl Pray. Front row, left to right:  Karen Rose-Tank, Margaret Brennan-Tonetta, Liping Wang, Julia Menzo, Ann Courtmanche. Back row, left to right: Brian Schilling, Carl Pray, Katrin Glode-Sethna, John Italia.

DAFRE graduate alumni, along with Distinguished Professor Carl Pray. Front row, left to right: Karen Rose-Tank, Margaret Brennan-Tonetta, Liping Wang, Julia Menzo, and Ann Courtmanche. Back row, left to right: Brian Schilling, Carl Pray, Katrin Glode-Sethna, and John Italia.

One day after an on-campus event celebrating the 150th anniversary of Rutgers’ designation as New Jersey’s land grant institution, an important component of that institution – the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics – marked its founding exactly fifty years later, in 1914.

The department’s centennial event, held on November 6th in the Cook Campus Center, featured a panel discussion on “Agricultural and Resource Economics in the 21st Century.” This was followed by a reception and dinner for alumni, current and former faculty, staff and guests.

Over dinner, department chairman Paul Gottlieb reminded attendees that in the first decades of its existence, the department’s quantitative research was especially important to New Jersey agriculture. “We were founded a year after the personal income tax was instituted in the U.S.,” he noted. “Without good records on their costs of production, farmers couldn’t calculate their income, and they might wind up paying too much. The first Rutgers economists helped farmers with this new bookkeeping problem.” [Read more…]

Magical Mud, Microbes and Methane

Re-enactment of the George Washington – Thomas Paine discovery that the “Will-O’-the Wisp” was a flammable gas on the 225th anniversary, November 5, 2008. Photo courtesy of Robert H. Barth

Re-enactment of the George Washington – Thomas Paine discovery that the “Will-O’-the Wisp” was a flammable gas on the 225th anniversary, November 5, 2008. Photo courtesy of Robert H. Barth

The Revolutionary War had ended and attention now turned to other issues. Debate ensued over the origin of the mysterious marsh blue flame, Will-o’-the-Wisp, which lured unsuspecting travelers to a boggy death near Rocky Hill. George Washington and Thomas Paine argued the origin was a flammable gas. In an experiment on November 5th, 1783, from a scow in the Millstone River, flaming torches were held above the river surface while soldiers probed the mud . . . 231 years later, Professors Douglas Eveleigh, Theodore Chase Jr., Craig Phelps and Lily Young submit a note of acknowledgement to their forebears on how that flash of inspiration from magical mud heralded American science and the study of microbiology. Read more at New Jersey 350.

Could volcanoes help slow global warming?

Volcanic eruptions from Iceland to Alaska may not only be messing with air travel. They could be helping slow global warming. A new study concluded that small volcanic eruptions from 2000 to 2013 may have ejected more of the atmosphere-cooling sulfur dioxide gas into Earth’s upper atmosphere than previously thought, and that they may have made a significant contribution to the slowing of global warming over the past decade and a half…Until now, volcanic eruptions weren’t included in climate projections, since these events are nearly impossible to predict, according to Alan Robock, a climatologist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., who was not involved in the study.

Read the entire article at CBSNews.com »

The Green Bay Packers’ New Workout Plan

NFL teams are asking the same question as weekend-warrior runners and cyclists: How much should you push yourself just before the big day? The surging Green Bay Packers have a counterintuitive answer. It’s called "Feel-Good Friday," a recent Packers creation in which Friday practice is canceled but deep-tissue massages or other treatments are mandatory…Experts say that nearly all training within a day of a game should be focused on replenishment of glycogen, a carbohydrate storage material. Practicing the day before a game could in fact put a team at a disadvantage, said Shawn Arent, an associate professor in the department of exercise science and sport studies at Rutgers University.

Read the entire article at Online.WSJ.com »

Small volcanic eruptions could be slowing global warming

Small volcanic eruptions might eject more of an atmosphere-cooling gas into Earth’s upper atmosphere than previously thought, potentially contributing to the recent slowdown in global warming, according to a new study…Climate projections typically don’t include the effect of volcanic eruptions, as these events are nearly impossible to predict, according to Alan Robock, a climatologist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., who was not involved in the study.

Read the entire article at sciencecodex.com »