March 15, 2019 at 1:31 pm

Wyatt Gives Columbus Science Pub Talk on ‘Plants on Orbit’

Sarah Wyatt at Columbus Science Pub, standing at microphone

Dr. Sarah Wyatt at Columbus Science Pub

Dr. Sarah Wyatt, Professor of Environmental & Plant Biology at Ohio University, gave a Columbus Science Pub talk, “Plants in Orbit,” on March 7.

The Columbus Science Pub is a free event that aims to present scientific issues in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.

 Wyatt studies how plants grow by putting them where they don’t belong: In space!

Plants have evolved on Earth to use gravity as a defining force. It directs plant growth in a seedlings and positions flowers and fruits. The mechanisms underlying plant responses to gravity are difficult to study. Experiments require controls, but there is no way to “turn off” gravity, at least not on Earth. The only real control for gravity experiments is the lack of gravity. But gravity is persistent. The best way to lose it? Hitch a ride on a rocket. In 2015, plants from Wyatt’s lab hitched a ride on a Falcon 9 rocket and spent a month in space.

Wyatt discussed what she and her team learned from their plants adventure at the Science Pub. She talked about plants, gravity and her lab’s recent spaceflight experiments. Wyatt has a Ph.D. from Purdue University.

Sarah Wyatt talks about plants in orbit, shown here walking across the stage.

Dr. Sarah Wyatt talks about plants in orbit.

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