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Mechanical engineering sophomore Greg Margolis, the president of a new student organization called Let’s Go Design, was an engineer both by nature and nurture. His father was an engineer, so the genes are all in the family. And by the time Greg was a three-year-old wunderkind in San Antonio, Texas, he was busy taking apart his bathroom. It’s not too surprising, then, that by the time he reached the College of Engineering, he was itching to do some hands-on engineering.

One environmental engineer refers to the 407-mile-long Connecticut River, interrupted by some 4,000 small and large dams, as “probably the most highly dammed river in America.” That, indeed, is both the strength and weakness of the river. The dams provide flood control, hydroelectric power, and water supplies for much of New England, but they also drastically alter this vast ecosystem with a drainage basin extending over 11,250 square miles.

A new chemically treated wound dressing could address the mushrooming problem of diabetes-related amputations by introducing the first moist gauze bandage with the ability to ventilate ulcerations that often fester in diabetics, partly because these sores don’t get enough oxygen to heal properly. Surita Bhatia and Susan Roberts of the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed the only moist dressing ever conceived that showers wounds with oxygen to promote healing and foster the formation of healthy new tissue.

Paul Dauenhauer of the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has received a highly selective 3M Nontenured Faculty Award for $15,000 a year in unrestricted funds, renewable for up to three years. Dr. Dauenhauer will use the 3M funding to study the “Hybrid Production of Biorenewable Aromatic Chemicals.” “Hybrid production” means a combination of both biological and thermochemical steps in the catalytic process for producing chemicals and fuels from renewable biomass.

The College of Engineering will celebrate Jane Stein’s 30 years as its director of fiscal management with her retirement party on Monday, March 28, from 5:00 until 6:30 p.m. in the Marriott Room on the 11th floor of the Campus Center. Anyone on campus wishing to attend this event should RSVP Lorraine Robidoux at lrobidou@ecs.umass.edu by March 23. Hors d’hoeuvres and a cash bar will be provided. Please contact Sheilagh Hanley at hanley@ecs.umass.edu if you wish to send a donation toward a retirement gift for Stein.

The whole College of Engineering joins in congratulating Assistant Professor Marinos Vouvakis of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department as the college’s 2010-2011 Outstanding Teacher. Dr. Vouvakis will be recognized with other award winners during the college’s Senior Recognition Celebration, to be held on Saturday, May 14, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. in the Recreation Center. “Professor Vouvakis has a desire to be one of the best teachers in our department,” says ECE Department Head Christopher Hollot.

The Civil and Environmental Engineering Department held its biannual Career Fair on Thursday, February 24, and 17 companies, state agencies, and federal recruiters showed up to interview scores of students from the department. In addition to three government entities – the Navy Northeast Recruiting District, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and the Connecticut Department of Transportation – the private companies that sent recruiters included Alstom Power, Baltazar Contractors, Inc., Camp Dresser & McKee, Inc., Daniel O’Connell’s Sons, Inc., Environmental Compliance Services, Inc., Environmental Resources Management, Fuss & O’Neill, Inc., GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., O’Reilly, Talbot & Okun Associates, Inc., STV Inc., Tata & Howard, Inc., The Lane Construction Corperation, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., and Wright-Pierce.

The College of Engineering has produced a 30-second video that captures several of the diverse experiences and projects of our students. During the past few weeks, the video ran repeatedly during PBS station WGBY’s daily programming. As chemical engineering major Timothy Coogan says to climax the recruiting piece, “I chose the College of Engineering because I wanted to graduate with something that I was really proud of.”

When a pike is attacked, the fish escapes by performing a lightning-fast jackknife, which generates a remarkable 25 Gs of acceleration for a tenth of a second – more than three times the acceleration of an Apollo launch and faster than any manmade vehicle. In order to study this amazing reflex action, senior mechanical engineering student Chengcheng “Charlie” Feng used his summer research in the Research Experience for Undergraduates program to build a robotic fish, which can accurately mimic the escape mechanism of a pike.

Dr. Tilman Wolf of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department is the co-author of a new textbook, Architecture of Network Systems published by Morgan Kaufmann, which has been called “the most comprehensive book on network systems” published to date. As Wolf explains, “Basically, you would read our book in order to understand how to design the devices that make the Internet work.”

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