University of Massachusetts Amherst

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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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