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College Proposes Seminar Series in Materials Science

The College of Engineering is responding to the insatiable demand for new materials in virtually all industries by proposing a Materials Science Seminar Series, which would help to integrate several different materials engineering disciplines and introduce our students to leading materials engineers throughout the country. “Materials engineering is all around us,” says Ashwin Ramasubramaniam of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, who is organizing the effort to establish the seminar series. “From buildings to transportation to the electronic devices we use every day, the materials involved have been designed or chosen carefully for the task.” Anyone interested in supporting this exciting new initiative can contact Paula Sakey, the director of development at the college, at 413-545-6396 or psakey@ecs.umass.edu.

Materials have an important role in every field of engineering, prompting the Departments of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and Chemical Engineering to offer a Certificate in Materials Engineering at the undergraduate level. Additionally, a proposal for an M.S. program in Materials Engineering is currently under system consideration.

“With the addition of these programs in materials engineering, UMass Amherst is poised to integrate expertise currently dispersed among different departments and enhance the educational experience of our undergraduate and graduate engineering students,” explains Dr. Ramasubramaniam. “To build on current improvements, we propose a Materials Science Seminar Series led by researchers from around the country.”

Such a series would expose our faculty and students to a wide range of cutting-edge research, provide opportunities for undergraduates and graduates to interact one-on-one with leading scientists in the field, and enrich the overall academic experience of the college.

Ideally, Ramasubramaniam says, the college would schedule six seminars per year. Each seminar would bring a speaker to campus to deliver a topically relevant lecture, meet with individual faculty and their research groups for related discussions, and participate in a lunch meeting with materials engineering graduate and undergraduate students to facilitate rare informal discussions between students and leading researchers.

“Private sponsorship of these events will enable the College of Engineering to supplement our strong program with the increasingly critical focus of materials engineering,” concludes Ramasubramaniam, who estimates that the annual budget for the series would approach $5,000. (April 2012)