University of Massachusetts Amherst

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has chosen UMass Amherst as one of 12 colleges and universities to compete in the 2016 Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition. The interdisciplinary UMass team hails from the departments of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE), Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning, as well as the Isenberg School of Management. A UMass Amherst team finished third in the inaugural DOE wind competition in 2014

The 13-year-long delay in the proposed Cape Wind project in Massachusetts reveals the critical need for an integrated approach to offshore wind energy development that works mutually toward an efficient, sustainable energy source and public education, input, and acceptance.

According to an article on the UMass Research Next website, Dragoljub Beka Kosanovic, the director of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (CEERE) in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, is one of the co-principal investigators for the new state-wide Energy Extension Initiative, funded by a $6-million grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. The initiative is designed to mobilize information on the latest clean energy technologies as well as the necessary resources to put them into practice.

Robert W. Hyers of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department is the co-investigator of the EML Thermolab, an experiment aboard the International Space Station that suspends liquid metals in a weightless environment while they cool. The Thermolab experiment seeks to improve models to help industrial casting and solidification techniques.

There has been extensive news coverage in the science press about a research team headed by Jae-Hwang Lee, mechanical and industrial engineering, which reports in Science magazine that it has carried out miniature ballistic tests by firing tiny silica spheres at sheets of graphene, a material that could be used to make new and improved bulletproof vests. The researchers reported that atom-thick layers of this material can be stronger than steel when it comes to absorbing impacts.

During the fall semester, alumnus Daniel J. Riccio (’86, ME), the senior vice president of Hardware Engineering at Apple Inc. since August of 2012, spoke to approximately 120 invited students from various departments throughout the campus. The subject of Riccio’s talk was “From Amherst to Cupertino: My Leadership Journey With Apple Inc.” The event was moderated by College of Engineering Dean Tim Anderson and occurred in the packed Cape Cod Lounge of the Student Center on campus. After the talk, Riccio engaged his audience in a lively question and answer session.

On December 4, the MIE 415 Senior Capstone Design course, taught by Professor Frank Sup of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, held its fall-semester poster contest, and the three winning teams produced a trio of brilliant and practical inventions aimed at solving major engineering problems.

A team of researchers in Sundar Krishnamurty’s mechanical and industrial engineering laboratory is putting a couple of new, high-end 3D printers through their paces now in their temporary location in Elab II while they await the building of new facilities at the Life Science Laboratories (LSL), expected to be finished in 2016. See News office Story.

To realize that the United States is in the throes of a nutritional crisis, all you have to do is pay attention. We are a country festering with obesity, eating disorders, and nutritionally caused conditions such as diabetes. As the founder and CEO of a new company targeting this crisis, alumna Alaina Hanlon Adams has her finger on the pulse of a country in big nutritional trouble. Her company, NuPlanit (, empowers people to sustain healthy, balanced eating habits using mobile technology and a network of nutrition experts.

The Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department and MIE Professor Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi, together with Professor Christian Santangelo from the Physics Department and Professor Ryan Hayward from the Polymer Science and Engineering Department, hosted NEW.Mech 2014, a one-day workshop in ELab II. The purpose of the event was to bring together academics and professionals in the New England mechanics community with an interest in exploring new directions for the mechanics of materials and structures and share the latest advancements in the field.