University of Massachusetts Amherst

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The pioneering Minuteman Launch Team is the first group of UMass students to enter the NASA Student Launch competition, and the team members are extremely excited at the prospect of launching a high-powered rocket, scheduled for takeoff in April of 2015 at the Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. You can help launch our College of Engineering team on its way to Alabama by donating used two-liter soda bottles for a college outreach event starting March 23. Please drop off bottles in Marston 126 anytime between now and March 23.

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.