Carnegie Mellon University

Diane Turnshek

February 12, 2021

THIS WEEK! Osher at CMU Lecture Series presents "A Virtual Tour Of An Astronomer's Unique Tiny Abode" by Diane Turnshek

My 560-sq-foot house was built by ex-cons and assembled in a warehouse on Southside, then driven right past CMU at five mph on a cross-city journey that took nine hours until it reached eight acres of woods off a dead-end road in the City of Pittsburgh. The house incorporates many clever trappings of the tiny house movement: Murphy beds, 3.5-inch-wide cabinets inside the walls, a propane tankless water heater, fold-down kitchen bars, ventless compact appliances, and a net loft sleeping area. Sustainability features include a water reclamation roof and cistern, south-facing, floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors, phase-change wall materials, shade sails, Hügelkultur mounds, and a rain garden. Hope you'll like the 10-foot-high open closet with pull-down bars, the custom hand-painted, ceramic, vessel bathroom sink, Japanese soak tub, and the cement kitchen countertop with hundreds of fiber-optic "stars." Join us for a virtual, live-guided tour through a unique abode.

Diane Turnshek is a lecturer in the CMU Department of Physics. She runs a lecture series at Allegheny Observatory and coordinates astronomy outreach in Western PA through her website She curated three local space art galleries. Her love of both astronomy and science fiction won her finalist award in the Mars City Design international competition and led her to crew the Mars Desert Research Station where she became a dark sky advocate and earned an IDA Dark Sky Defender Award. Her TEDxPittsburgh talk has 24K views. She led the CMU student team that won the HP-Intel “Life in Space” contest to make life better for astronauts and helped NASTAR plan how to train civilians for space travel by subjecting herself to a centrifuge at 6Gs. In 2019 and 2020, she co-edited two recent SF/F/H anthologies, Triangulation: Dark Skies (about light pollution) and Triangulation: Extinction (about the loss of biodiversity)