Weekly Memo

July 29, 2013

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

    The emerging field of freeform optics – which can shape lenses and mirrors in unprecedented ways– is ushering in a new era of optical innovation, and thanks to the hard work of Prof. Jannick Rolland and her colleagues, we are poised to lead the way. Jannick has secured a federal Industry/University Cooperative Research Center grant that will leverage more than $4 million in combined federal, industry and academic funding for the Center for Freeform Optics. The center will advance research and design, and train optics students in a field where applications range from more efficient automotive and LED lighting, to remote sensing devices. Partners in this venture include the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and nine companies that have pledged $2.4 million of the total funding. Congratulations to Jannick, who will direct the center, and to the seven-member team who will assist her here: associate director John Lambropoulos, chair of Mechanical Engineering; faculty members Miguel Alonso and Jim Fienup of The Institute of Optics, and Stephen Burns and Jonathan Ellis from Mechanical Engineering; Stephen Jacobs from the Laboratory for Laser Energetics; and Kevin Thompson of Synopsys Inc., a visiting scientist at the Institute. Click here to read more.

     Temporary partitions have come down; floor tiles have been torn up; we're well on the way to having a refurbished undergraduate lab ready for MechE students by the start of the fall semester. The Pike Co. is opening up a single space in 124 Hopeman, which will have new lighting, a new floor, and drops for compressed air and electricity that will allow experiments to be wheeled in and out on benches. This will allow up to 11 groups of three students to run experiments simultaneously, says Asst. Prof. Jonathan Ellis. It also means students will have more time to conduct open-ended experiments and tackle more challenging projects. This is our second lab renovation is as many summers; last year, ChemE's undergraduate lab got a much needed overhaul as well.

     Congratulations to Rohit Nayak and Himanshu Shekhar, Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD students in Prof. Marvin Doyley's group. They have both been accepted into the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Med-into-Grad Fellowship in Cardiovascular Science. This program augments traditional PhD training with clinical rotations, a clinical co-mentor, a weekly Cardiovascular Research Institute seminar series, and translational cardiovascular coursework to train the next generation of bench-to-bedside cardiovascular scientists.

    Xi-Cheng Zhang, director of The Institute of Optics, lectured on "Next ray? T-rays!" to 80 top Chinese undergraduate physics students from 15 universities who gathered earlier this month at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. Zhang is hoping to recruit some of these students. I certainly appreciate his tireless efforts on behalf of The Institute.

    Take some time to enjoy the summer. Fall semester is right around the corner! As always, keep me updated and have a great week.

Sincerely,

Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean