Weekly Memo

Nov. 11, 2013

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

      "Cutting-edge research" is a term that's probably overused, but it's certainly applicable to the work being done with superthin silicone membranes by Jim McGrath, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and his lab. Jim and his colleagues have a paper out demonstrating how the membranes could drastically shrink the power source needed for miniaturized pumps used in "lab-on-a-chip" technology. The potential applications of this could revolutionize biotechnology, paving the way for highly portable, credit-card sized diagnostic devices. They might even be used to cool laptops and other portable electronic devices, which is a major challenge as more and more computing power is crammed into smaller and smaller devices.
     Here's another project that could make a big difference: Five current and former Optics students have won a $10,000 prize from Excell Partners, a Rochester venture capital firm, for their portable eye examining device. They were chosen from among 13 teams at a Pre-Seed Workshop hosted recently by High Tech Rochester. The Ovitz team members are senior Felix Kim, sophomore Pedro Vallejo-Ramirez, PhD students Aizhong Zhang and Len Zheleznyak, and Samuel Steven ('13). Both Steven and Zhang are in the Technical Entrepreneurship and Management (TEAM) master’s program. This is the same plan that took first place in the Forbes entrepreneurial competition, and third place in the Mark Ain Business Model Competition this past spring. The students are now looking for NGOs who can put their device to use to benefit people in underdeveloped countries. This is a great example of Meliora --  "making the world ever better"!

     The TEAM program, by the way, played a big part in an award the Center for Entrepreneurship received from the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers last month. A large part of the center's submission for the 2013 Exceptional Activities in Entrepreneurship Across Disciplines Award included information on the collaboration between the Hajim School and the Simon School to launch the TEAM program, which gives science and engineering grads the business and entrepreneurship skills to help them launch their own businesses or thrive in established and start-up technology companies.

     Speaking of start-ups, Edward Ruppel, who received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering here in 1988, will give a talk on "My Medical Device Journey: Failures, Startup Challenges, and Lessons Learned" as part of the Center for Entrepreneurship Lecture Series, at 4:45 p.m. next Wednesday, Nov. 20, in 318/418 Gleason Hall. This is a free talk; RSVP at 276-3500, cfe@rochester.edu or online.

     Congratulations to two faculty members of The Institute of Optics. Nick Vamivakas, Assistant Professor of Quantum Optics & Quantum Physics, has won  the 2013 International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) C17 prize in Quantum Electronics for young scientists. It will be presented next month at the International Optics & Photonics Taiwan Conference.  Carlos Stroud, Professor of Optics and of Physics, has been invited to become Divisional Associate Editor and member of the Board of Editors for Physical Review Letters (PRL), a peer-reviewed, scientific journal published by the American Physical Society. It is considered one of the most prestigious journals in the field of physics.

     Robert McCrory, Director of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, and Riccardo Betti, Director of the Fusion Science Center of Extreme States of Matter and Fast Ignition, have written an interesting article for phyicstoday about a recent historic event at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. For the first time in the history of controlled fusion research, a fusion fuel consisting of deuterium and tritium (DT) produced more energy than was supplied to it, when it was imploded inside a small gold can by laser light. As McCrory and Betti note, this represents a "very important and notable step forward in fusion research," in which LLE plays such a critical role.

      LLE was in the news, too, after its Omega Laser Facility recently conducted its 25,000th experiment to create and study extreme states of matter.

       Hajim School students looking for summer internships will want to check out these programs:  DAAD (the German Academic Exchange Service) offers summer internships in Germany to undergraduates in biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences and engineering. RISE scholars work directly with doctoral students in research groups at top German universities and institutions. Learn more from past UR participants at a DAAD-RISE workshop at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Havens Lounge. Alcoa also has an extensive list of summer internship postings.

        Hajim School alumni might want to check out the Nano Job Fair from 12-4 p.m. Thursday  at the CNSE Photovoltaic Manufacturing and Technology Development Facility in Rochester.

    As always, keep me updated and have a great week.


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean