Food For Thought: Smitha Vishveshwara and Kaiyu Guan

Thursday, February 10th, 2022
Smitha Vishveshwara
Kaiyu Guan

Center for Advanced Study
Levis Faculty Center, Room 210
919 W. Illinois, Urbana

Event Description

Food for Thought: A new Center for Advanced Study public events series featuring presentations of research and creative projects by recent CAS Associates and Fellows.

This informal series includes talks that were canceled after campus shut down in Spring 2020. With the possibility of in-person events once again, we are delighted to showcase the work of some of our most productive and creative faculty in a series of intellectually and spiritually invigorating presentations. You are invited to drop in when you can and enjoy a bite to eat while you learn about the exciting projects undertaken by our faculty. A brunch buffet will be provided at all in-person events.

11:00am, Smitha Vishveshwara, Quantum Bubbles and Whirlpools on Earth and Beyond
The quantum revolution, birthed at the beginning of the last century, cast our understanding of our world in a completely new light. It introduced strange, counterintuitive ideas--matter can behave like waves, a magnet can point in multiple directions at once, and Schrodinger's cat can be at once dead and alive (for real?) Following an informal introduction to some of these bizarre notions, we will journey into the coldest spaces of the cosmos where fluids can act as large quantum entities, flow without friction, and create unique whirlpools. Professor Vishveshwara will conclude by describing the beautiful creation of 'quantum bubbles' by her collaborators in near-zero gravity aboard the International Space Station.

Noon, Kaiyu Guan, Achieving Co-Sustainability of Food Production and Environment Quality for the US Midwest Agroecosystems
Humanity faces grand challenges in fulfilling growing needs in water, food, and energy, while maintaining the long-term sustainability of natural resources; these challenges are further intensified by climate change with increasing risks posed to different aspects of societal needs. Professor Guan’s research tackles two key science questions: How do climate and human activities control ecosystem productivity and service? How can we optimally manage our landscape to achieve co-sustainability of ecosystem productivity and environmental resource? To address these questions, Professor Guan’s team is integrating earth system science (that encompasses plant ecology, hydrology, biogeochemistry, and climate science) with advanced engineering tools (airborne/satellite sensing, AI, modeling, supercomputing), aiming to revolutionize how we monitor and model plant-water-nutrient interactions for agricultural and natural ecosystems at scale. In this talk, he will specifically share his vision of how to advance the science and technology enabling us to monitor, model, and manage every piece of land in our planet, primarily using his team’s work done in the past five years for the U.S. Midwest agroecosystem as examples. He will illustrate how the scaling problem of sensing and modeling from individual farmland to the continental scale was framed and resolved; how solar-induced fluorescence and hyperspectral data were investigated to improve photosynthesis and other biochemical characterizations across scales; how novel experiments and sensing were used to understand the underlying processes of crop yield responses to high temperature; and how new methods of data-model fusion were developed to calculate field-level whole carbon cycle through AI-based surrogate models. Professor Guan envisions the knowledge and framework gained in agroecosystem can be transferred to natural ecosystems, to ultimately achieve the goal of providing information to enable optimal management of every piece of land in our planet.

Smitha Vishveshwara

CAS Associate 2018-19

Kaiyu Guan

CAS Fellow 2020-21
Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences