University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Ninety-two participants representing 22 universities, eight commercial companies, and four government laboratories throughout North America gathered at UMass Amherst from August 7 to 9 for the inaugural meeting of the North American Wind Energy Academy (NAWEA). The newly formulated academy connects research institutions, universities, and industry.

Sandy (Alexander) Pollatsek, co-director of the Arbella Insurance Human Performance Lab, was one of two researchers in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department covered within a month by the prestigious and venerable Scientific American. As the article notes, “Pollatsek has been working with colleagues in the university's engineering school to systematically analyze the behavior of older drivers—including their visual scanning of the roads—and his evidence challenges the presumed connection between crashes and these well-known deficits.

Sandra Gross, Administrative Assistant for the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and Pamela Rivest, Administrative Assistant for the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, have been chosen as the 2012 winners of the Dean’s Service Award.

The work of Anthony McCaffrey, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for e-Design (http://edesign.ecs.umass.edu) in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, is highlighted in a Scientific American story about how rethinking labels can boost creativity. He says thinking about common items in terms of their component parts and decoupling their names from their uses opens up new ways of thinking and solving problems.

Ten College of Engineering students from the summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) will be participating in a joint poster session with the Institute for Cellular Engineering and the Collaborative Undergraduate Research in Engineering REU programs on Friday, July 27. The sophisticated research being carried out by our REU students ranges from preventing carcinogens in drinking water, to studying fluid dynamics in space, to creating a sturdy rotating base for CASA’s revolutionary phased array radar.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for e-Design in the College of Engineering announced that it has received an in-kind software grant from Siemens PLM Software, a leading global provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) software and services, with a commercial value of nearly $2.3 million.

The Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department is celebrating doctoral candidate Lakshmi Ramanujam, whose faculty advisor is Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi, as the 500th person to sign up for MIE’s LinkedIn page. Ramanujam earned his Bachelor of Technology degree in Mechanical Engineering from SASTRA University in Thanjavur, India. He is doing his graduate research on wind-induced oscillations of open-grown excurrent evergreen trees. In addition to his heavy workload as a doctoral student, he also follows several blogs on science and research.

UMass Amherst alumni Charles and Karen Peters of Weston, Massachusetts have pledged $100,000 over four years, to be divided evenly between the university’s College of Engineering and the Isenberg School of Management. The gift is officially named the “Charles and Karen Peters ’87 Engineering and Management Student Support Fund.” In the College of Engineering, this gift will support the Career Planning and Student Development Center and the Diversity Programs Office, enabling both programs to provide workshops, networking, and experiential learning for undergraduate engineering students.

On June 7 and 8, the streamlined, three-wheel car built by the UMass Amherst Supermileage Vehicle (SMV) Team, which calls itself Zoom Mass, rolled smoothly through the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Supermileage® competition in Marshall, Michigan with a car shell made of shrink wrap and an emergency engine getting a tightfisted 843 mpg and running mainly on true grit, improvisation, and elbow grease.

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