sealPurdue Education and Careers Briefs

September 1999

Unique turf research center opens at Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The nation's first turfgrass research facility on the grounds of a golf complex opened at Purdue University on Monday, July 26.

Download Photo Here
Photo caption below
The $1 million facility contains research laboratories, classrooms and more than 20 acres of turfgrass research plots. It is at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex, which is made up of two 18-hole courses.

The William H. Daniel Turfgrass Research and Diagnostic Center is co-directed by Clark Throssell, professor of agronomy, and Zac Reicher, assistant professor of agronomy.

"Having a facility adjacent to the research plots and the golf course means that we can discuss topics in the classrooms and then go outside and get our hands dirty working with the problem we just talked about," Reicher said.

The outdoor plots allow the scientists to study turf problems, to investigate the environmental effects of turf chemicals, and to look for new environmentally friendly turf techniques, such as integrated pest management or biological pest controls for lawns and golf courses.

"Most of the research we're doing at the center is looking for ways to minimize the amount of pesticides and fertilizers used to maintain quality turf," Reicher said. "That's our main thrust."

Turf management is a major degree program in the School of Agriculture, and most of the graduates go on to become golf course superintendents. Throssell says the new center offers several advantages for teaching students.

"We create problems on the turf plots so that we can show the students what misapplication of chemicals or various plant diseases look like," he says. "One of the holes on the golf course, number seven, has two fairways and a double green. We can shut down half of the hole during certain times and take students out there to examine problems.

"When we do, the students aren't looking at laboratory examples -- this is turf that people are walking on and taking divots from. That's nearly impossible to recreate in an artificial setting."

The center is named for William Daniel, who became one of Purdue's first turfgrass research scientists in 1950. "Daniel was one of the real pioneers of turf science," Throssell said.

In the 1960s, Daniel developed Prescription Athletic Turf, a system for maintaining turf for athletic fields. It has been installed in Soldiers Field in Chicago, Mile High Stadium in Denver, the Orange Bowl in Miami, and on playing fields at Purdue, the University of Michigan, the University of Iowa and Ohio State University. Daniel retired from Purdue in 1985 and died in 1995.

CONTACTS: Throssell, (765) 494-4785;

Reicher, (765) 494-9737;

Purdue students tap into power of Web investing

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue University students are cashing in on a course that teaches them the ins and outs of investing, particularly online investing, at an early age.

Last spring, all 200 seats were taken in Professor Sugato Chakravarty's undergraduate personal finance course, and two more classes will be added when students return in the fall.

Although many of the students don't have the money to invest now, Chakravarty says he sees his job as preparing them for the future.

"Giving a student a degree, a nice paycheck and the opportunity to invest without the knowledge of how to invest is like giving them a loaded gun without showing them how to use it," he says.

Chakravarty, who's been teaching the course for three years, says the fact that students are both computer and market savvy is driving the trend in young would-be investors.

Although the course also addresses credit, insurance and retirement issues, over half of the time is devoted to demystifying the stock market and learning how to use the World Wide Web to research and invest in various stocks.

"Above all, I emphasize that you need to be an educated consumer," Chakravarty says. "And that's easier than ever if you know how to find reputable information on the Internet."

Chakravarty is quick to warn his students and others not to try to compete with the online professional day traders who can still get in and out of a market faster than the average online investor.

"While the Internet has empowered the average investor, it's also created a greater volatility in the market on a daily basis," he says. "The potential pitfalls of online trading can come from false information or rumors in chat rooms or a temporary groundswell of excitement over a particular stock."

He encourages his students to remember the fundamentals of sound investment strategy and not to trade on sentiment.

CONTACT: Chakravarty, (765) 494-6427;

Compiled by Sharon Bowker, (765) 494-2077,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;


Steve Reynolds majored in turfgrass management at Purdue and now is a golf course superintendent in Valparaiso, Ind., Here, he examines turfgrass samples in a Purdue greenhouse during his undergraduate studies. (Purdue News Service Photo by Vince Walter)

Color photo, electronic transmission, and Web and ftp download available. Photo ID: Reicher.dedication

Download Photo Here

* To the Purdue News and Photos Page