University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Trading Apples and BlackBerries for Avocados

Seven years ago, Ciriaco "Cid" da Silva, a 1982 mechanical engineering alumnus, and his wife, Corinne da Silva, left the virtual world of the computer industry for the very real and earthy world of avocado farming. The outgrowth of this major career move is Bella Vado (Avocado Oil), the first U.S. manufacturer of avocado oil. Now Bella Vado is a very real Southern California treasure. In 2003, Cid resigned from his job as a software architect, while Corinne gave up her job as managing director of an Internet marketing firm, so they could purchase a 40-acre avocado grove near Valley Center in Southern California.

Robotic Fish Mimics Escape Mechanism at Breakneck Speed

When a pike is attacked, the fish escapes by performing a lightning-fast jackknife, which generates a remarkable 25 Gs of acceleration for a tenth of a second – more than three times the acceleration of an Apollo launch. In order to study this amazing reflex action, Dr. Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has spent the past two years working on two generations of robotic fish, which mimic the escape mechanism of a pike.

VISTAGY Donates 10 Software Licenses

VISTAGY, Inc., a leading global provider of industry-specific engineering software and services, has partnered with the UMass College of Engineering through the donation of 10 software licenses for the company’s FiberSIM® software. The licenses represent very sophisticated and specific software for computer aided design used to model carbon-fiber analysis. VISTAGY also donated one license of its FiberSIM® software to the college last year.

Arbella Ribbon Cutting Draws Flock of Reporters

Among the media that covered the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly named Arbella Insurance Group Human Performance Laboratory on December 10 were the Springfield Republican, TV stations WSHM-TV 3 and WWLP-TV 22, and radio stations WFCR and WAMC. The laboratory’s new name celebrates a recent $150,000 gift from the Arbella Insurance Foundation, the philanthropic branch of the Arbella Insurance Group (CEO John Donohue pictured).

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