The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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A crucial step for establishing a national climate change policy, one of the biggest policy decisions facing this country and the world, is deciding which developing energy technologies will best maintain that policy once it’s in place. The next step is calculating exactly how much money to invest in R&D for each of those chosen technologies. These critical steps, in fact, describe the ongoing research of Dr. Erin Baker of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department.

Marcel Vanpée, 94, died February 3rd, 2011, surrounded by his wife and daughters. Marcel Vanpée was Emeritus Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His scientific research and teaching led him from his native Belgium to Lovanium University in the former Belgian Congo and then to the United States, first in 1948 as a research fellow at the University of Minnesota and then in 1957 to pursue research in combustion science at the Bureau of Mines in Pittsburgh.

As reported by the Westford (Massachusetts) Eagle on February 2, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department alumna and New England Patriots cheerleader Patricia Fox returned late last month from a two-week tour overseas to visit deployed U.S. troops. “With the Patriots cheerleaders, I was given the opportunity to go oversees to visit the troops, which is an experience I will never forget,” said Fox. Six Patriots cheerleaders and their coach, Tracy Sormanti, began their tour on December 20 in Kyrgyzstan and then arrived in Northern Afghanistan on Christmas Day.

Paul J. Dauenhauer of the Chemical Engineering Department has been awarded a one-year, $80,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct basic research on the chemical process pyrolysis - breaking down woody biomass by heating it. Dr. Dauenhauer seeks to unlock the complex chemistry that takes place when wood is heated. He says heating woody biomass to high temperatures actually creates a brief liquid state before it turns to gas and this liquid state is of particular interest to scientists trying to produce the basic chemicals needed for biofuels.

Dr. Tilman Wolf of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department is the co-author of a new book, Architecture of Network Systems, which is part of the Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Architecture and Design. Dr. Wolf’s co-author is Dimitrios Serpanos, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Patras in Greece and the director of the Industrial Systems Institute/R.C. Athena.

In the brave new world of unsettled climate, one key danger for professionals who operate the infrastructure of major water resources such as the Connecticut River is that traditional water-management rules are becoming more obsolete than the old rules for regulating greenhouse emissions. That uncertainty makes water sources, including the Connecticut, much more at risk from floods and droughts. One answer to this dramatic problem is the research of environmental engineer Casey Brown...

Dr. Casey Brown of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department has been notified that he will receive a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award with an intended total amount of $419,097. His NSF project is entitled "Robust Management of Climate Uncertainty for Ecohydrological Sustainability.” As Dr. Brown’s NSF proposal notes, his research plan will produce “a robust management strategy for climate change by developing water management methods that incorporate predictive climate information and dynamic operations.”

The College of Engineering welcomes Dr. Shelly Peyton as a new faculty member to the Chemical Engineering Department. She comes to UMass Amherst after serving as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, beginning in 2007. Her research emphasis at MIT was “Mesenchymal Stem Cell Migration in 3-D Synthetic ECM Analogs.”

Dr. Don DeGroot of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department traveled to Oslo, Norway, in January to conduct research on characterization of offshore seabed sediments. This research was conducted at the International Centre for Geohazards of the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute as part of the UMass Amherst U.S. National Science Foundation Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) project, a research and education collaboration among experts in offshore sediment geology, geotechnical engineering, and disaster mitigation. 

UMass Amherst alums Scot Chisholm ’04 and Pat Walsh ’03 were just “a couple of average guys” when they met as undergraduates in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, but ever since they staged a “StayClassy Pubcrawl” in 2005 to raise money for cancer research, they’ve found themselves as revolutionaries in fundraising for nonprofit organizations. The original San Diego-based event, which attracted 200 pub crawlers and derived its name from the popular Will Ferrell movie, Anchorman, mushroomed into a free online platform and social fundraising service for nonprofits.