University of Massachusetts Amherst

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The UMass Amherst Supermileage Vehicle Team successfully fielded two vehicles this year at the annual Society of Automotive Engineers Supermileage Vehicle competition, held at the Eaton Corporation Proving Grounds in Marshall, Michigan, on June 4th and 5th. 

The search committee looking for the new head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has chosen MIE Professor Donald Fisher to replace the departing Mario Rotea. “I am delighted to inform you that Professor Donald L. Fisher has accepted the position of Department Head in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, effective July 1, 2009,” announced Dean Mike Malone. “Dr. Fisher has a distinguished record of research, teaching, and service over more than two decades on the faculty at UMass Amherst.”

The UMass Amherst Wind Energy Center's pre-development team has installed anemometry on the WFCR tower on Mount Lincoln in Pelham as part of a state-sponsored project to evaluate the wind resource and see if it’s feasible for UMass to install a wind turbine at that site. Depending on how favorable the resource is, UMass might install a 1.5-2 MW wind turbine that would supplement its new combined heat and power plant, making the campus even greener.

Industrial engineering majors Dana Evernden and Noah Duffey both look like pictures of good health. But their key role on an interdisciplinary team of engineering and nursing researchers is to act like 73-year-old diabetics with high blood pressure and eye problems. Their work is helping to develop a new, high-tech tool that will make it a lot easier for diabetics to manage their disease and maintain their health.

Jonathan Rothstein, a faculty member in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has just been announced as the first recipient of the newly created Arthur B. Metzner Early Career Award, presented by the 1,700-member Society of Rheology, a member society of the American Institute of Physics. This award recognizes a young society member who “has distinguished him/herself in rheological research, rheological practice, or service to rheology.”

Precision Slip, a concept-stage business that plans to manufacture a laboratory-proven, drag-reducing, marine coating capable of slashing fuel consumption by at least 40 percent in a typical merchant ship, has won the fifth annual Executive Summary Competition, staged by the UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (UMass EI). Precision Slip received the first prize of $3,500, plus another $500 for the People’s Choice Award, voted on by the audience.

Millis resident William Vogt, a senior mechanical engineering student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is using a tried and true engineering discipline, called “control theory,” to give medical doctors a better way to regulate a life-enhancing medication for kidney patients. The medication is recombinant erythropoietin (rhEPO), which stimulates the failing production of red blood cells in kidney patients, but is currently very difficult to regulate effectively.

Everyone knows the soothing effect of going home after a hard day and burrowing under your blankets. A mechanical engineering student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst did her senior honors thesis on a new kind of “weighted blanket” designed to soothe patients with high anxiety resulting from autism or mental illness. Lexington resident Marnie Bonner created her “deep pressure touch simulation (DPTS) device” after surveying 25 healthcare professionals about the pros and cons of five weighted blankets already on the market.

The 90,000-member Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has just named David Schmidt of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department as the 2009 recipient of the Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award, which is focused on exceptional younger engineering educators. Schmidt's honor makes it the second year in a row that a professor from the university's Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has won the Teetor Award.The 2008 recipient was Professor Robert Hyers.

Former Milford high school student John Gabour is currently working on a project to help protect hypersonic aircraft, traveling at more than 7,000 mph, from the catastrophic problems caused by heat and related stresses. NASA is funding the mechanical engineering senior so he can identify new kinds of sensors to help monitor temperatures exceeding 5,000 degrees F, which build up on the leading edges of hypersonic jets.

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