GREETINGS FROM WEST LAFAYETTE,
With a new strategic plan in place, 2017 is off to a productive start. This plan
serves as a blueprint for strategic investment and continued excellence for the
Purdue College of Science. With input from constituents of the college, a dedicated group of faculty and staff members from the college — and beyond — worked
diligently to produce this plan, the first new plan in more than a decade. The
plan is covered in this issue of Insights (see “On a mission” on page 21), and it
can be viewed in full on www.Science.Purdue.edu.
The most significant growth in the college has been in the Department of
Computer Science. The CS expansion plan is thriving as undergraduate and
graduate student enrollment continues to increase. In this publication, we take a
look at the artificial intelligence and machine learning areas. Our researchers
are making our digital lives easier with breakthroughs for the web and the
phones in our pockets.
Fundamental discoveries are the hallmark of our research agenda, which is
exemplified by the many accomplishments of Michael Rossmann in structural
biology. Professor Rossmann, the Hanley Distinguished Professor of Biological
Sciences, has had an unbelievable career that spans several decades and many
discoveries, and he continues to make headlines at age 86.
Members of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
are conducting climate change research in the far reaches of the planet. This
spring, Professor Nat Lifton and graduate student Jenny Newall joined an inter-
national team in Antarctica, while alumnus Robin Blomdin’s field work in
Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan became the focus of an international short-form docu-
mentary titled “Through the Valleys.”
This academic year saw Purdue Science programs show well in academic
online polls. The Department of Chemistry was lauded for having the second-
most female professors in the nation and the second-highest percentage of
female faculty. Purdue Actuarial Science was deemed the top in the nation.
Within these pages you can read more about why these programs are so
During the time that I have had the privilege of serving as the interim dean,
it has been very rewarding to see up close the tremendous work accomplished
by our faculty, staff and students. We look forward to welcoming the new
Frederick L. Hovde Dean this fall and encourage you to keep connected through
our social media outlets. We are grateful for your continued interest in and support of the College of Science and hope we have an opportunity to welcome many
of you at one of the numerous events this fall. Hail Purdue!