University of Massachusetts Amherst

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A group of brilliant undergraduate researchers, working on cutting-edge summer projects, will present a poster session on Friday, July 31, from 10:00 a.m. to noon in the Campus Center Auditorium at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. All the students are participating in various programs under the umbrella of the Research Experience for Undergraduates, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The poster session is free and open to the public.

Faculty members and students from the UMass Amherst departments of chemical and mechanical and industrial engineering recently collaborated with University of Minnesota researchers to discover a new behavior of woody biomass that makes it levitate above heated surfaces in a way similar to what is called “the Leidenfrost effect” in liquids. Announced in Nature Scientific Reports, the research captures via high speed photography a particle of cellulosic biomass floating above a surface by aggressive generation of gases.

Joseph I. Goldstein, 76, of Amherst, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department (MIE) and the former dean of the College of Engineering from 1993 to 2004, died June 27.
Read UMass Amherst News Office obituary »

According to the Westford Eagle, the interactive Distractology 101 program for teens and other new drivers visited Westford Academy on June 8 through 12. The Distractology driving simulator, based on research conducted at UMass Amherst, is currently travelling to various communities in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island during the 2014-15 school year, offering 45 minutes of simulated distracted driving to each participant.

While studying abroad last semester, Jennifer Greene of our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department took the opportunity to attend the first ever European Conference of the Society of Women Engineers in Amsterdam, Holland. In a letter to the UMass Amherst chapter of SWE, Greene noted that “I just wanted to tell you how amazing the conference was and say thank you a thousand times for allowing me to go.”

A team of UMass Amherst students received the 2015 Rookie of the Year award at the NASA Student Launch Challenge, held April 11 near NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Thirty-five teams from middle schools to universities demonstrated aerospace and engineering skills at the competition. Read all about it at or Aero-News Network.

The College of Engineering Women’s Faculty Mentoring Group has just launched a new website called the “Engineering Women's Faculty Forum” (e-WFF): The group consists of Erin Baker, Caitlin Butler, Eleni Christofa, Aura Ganz, Lixin Gao, Song Gao, Chaitra Gopalappa, Friederike Jentoft, Maureen Lynch, Jenna Marquard, Ana Muriel, Mi-Hyun Park, Sarah Perry, Shelly Peyton, Sue Roberts, and Jessica Schiffman.

As part of a course taught by Andrew Danylchuk and Curtice Griffin of the Natural Resources Conservation Department, an interdisciplinary group of students from the UMass IGERT Offshore Wind Energy Program has performed a hands-on site assessment and feasibility plan for offshore wind energy production for the Center for Sustainable Development on the island of Eleuthra in the Bahamas. Watch video on YouTube:

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a $250,000 grant, augmented by $62,500 from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, to a team led by researchers at UMass Amherst to develop a blade-mounted, ultrasonic whistle on wind turbines to deter and protect bat species. As air flows over the wind turbine blade, the device will produce a deterrence signal. The project will address the challenge of deterring bats across the entire wind-turbine rotor and test whether a pulsed noise, similar to a bat call, can act as an effective warning. The project, entitled “A Biomimetic Ultrasonic Whistle for Use as a Bat Deterrent on Wind Turbines,” was funded by the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.

On Wednesday afternoon, April 29, 19 student teams from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department and College of Nursing will demonstrate their brilliant, useful, and humanitarian inventions. Their fascinating innovations include a new and improved walker for a patient suffering from debilitating rheumatoid arthritis, a more efficient and economic device for farmers to remove seeds from squash, an ergonomically correct apparatus for pulling beer kegs off storage racks in a warehouse, and a dynamometer to help rehabbing patients assess the proper positioning of their damaged knees.