Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering Timothy J. Anderson is stepping down as dean of the College of Engineering, effective January 6. Anderson, who has served as dean since 2013, will continue as a member of the faculty. Meanwhile, Christopher Hollot, a professor and the head of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department, has been named interim dean at the College of Engineering.
This semester Professor Shelly Peyton of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department instituted a new, sophomore-level course that gives ChE majors the kind of hands-on experience in lab experimentation that is distinctive for this department or any other in the country. And Peyton believes this hands-on lab will have a long-lasting impact on the future careers of the students who take it.
The UMass Amherst Office of News and Media Relations has produced a new video about the research of Assistant Professor Emily Kumpel from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Kumpel works on strategies to make drinking water safe for the billion people worldwide who have only an intermittent water supply.
Forbes magazine, which had previously profiled Ph.D. student Julie Bliss Mullen from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department in a feature story last June, has now named her in the magazine’s all-star listing of “30 Under 30 for Science” in 2018. Bliss is the co-founder and CEO of Aclarity, a company she has started as a CEE doctoral student. Aclarity produces a device which uses low levels of electricity to purify and disinfect water, and even to remove metals, without filters or chemicals. The technology is based on her research at UMass Amherst. See Forbes for entire list.
A feature story in Science News looks at the water testing laboratory at UMass Amherst run by David A. Reckhow, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, and his staff. The Reckhow facility offers room for researchers and communities to test out new methods of water treatment. The story also notes that Reckhow and his team have a new Mobile Water Innovation Laboratory that can be used to visit communities and do testing on site.
In an era marked by divisive political rhetoric about prejudice of many kinds, thank goodness for the UMass Amherst chapter of Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM). Founded by award-winning chemical engineering major Phoebe Bisnoff ’19, the oSTEM mission is to provide a targeted, inclusive space for the LGBTQ+ community engaged in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to connect and network.
The Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) image of an ant, as demonstrated for a high-school outreach program, has inspired Assistant Professor Jun Yao of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to develop bioinspired, ultrasensitive pressure and strain sensors using microparticles resembling the bristles or tactile hairs ubiquitous in insects. “My hope was that the extremely enlarged image of an ant, perhaps a bit scary and monster-like, would excite the students’ interest in the ordinarily invisible nanoscale domain,” says Yao. Much more than that, the demo inspired Yao’s own subsequent research and his resultant paper in the prestigious journal Nature Communications on the 4th of December 2018.
Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Michael F. Malone, the Ronnie and Eugene Isenberg Distinguished Professor of Engineering, has notified Chemical Engineering major Jun-Goo Kwak ’19 that he is one of eight students who have been selected this semester to receive the 2018-2019 UMass Amherst Rising Researcher student achievement award. This award recognizes exceptional UMass Amherst undergraduate students who excel in research, scholarship, or creative activity.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society, has awarded the distinction of Fellow to Chemical Engineering (ChE) Professor Dimitrios Maroudas as one of 416 such designations by the AAAS this year. The AAAS says it has elevated individuals to this rank “because of their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.” As the AAAS explains, it is rewarding Maroudas “for innovative work on multiscale modeling of complex systems with emphasis on establishing processing-structure-properties-function relations in bulk, thin-film, and nanostructured materials.”
Electrical and computer engineering (ECE) graduate students Ali Kiaghadi and Morgan Baima were part of a team of UMass Amherst scientists who developed Tribexor, a fabric-based, triboelectric, joint-sensing system that can be integrated with loose-fitting clothing to sense a variety of joint movements such as flexion, extension, and velocity of joint movement. The UMass researchers introduced Tribexor in a paper presented at SenSys 2018, the 16th ACM Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems, held from November 4 to 7 in Shenzhen, China. The information about Tribexor was reported in an Inside UMass article: New Fabric-Based Sensor Overcomes Loose Clothing Obstacle.