Weekly Memo

Jan. 13, 2014

Dear members of the Hajim School community:
      Matt Roe, B.S. ('07), M.S. ('08), one of our Mechanical Engineering alumni, is featured in the latest edition of Rochester Review, explaining how he helped Seattle Seahawk football fans set a Guinness World Record for crowd noise. Roe, an acoustical consultant,  used a real-time spectrum analyzer to help document a record-setting roar of 136.6 decibels after the Seahawks made a big play against the San Francisco 49ers in September. Kansas City Chiefs fans topped that a few weeks later, but Roe was back at Seahawk stadium in December to document yet another record: 137.6 decibels. Ever louder!

     The annual Optics Family Night, started five years ago by Prof. Thomas Brown as a community outreach event, is developing into a great tradition. Last month, more than 150 visitors and volunteers gathered at The Institute of Optics on a Saturday evening for hands-on demonstrations, take-home projects, and glimpses of technologies ranging from terahertz spectroscopy to fluorescence microscopy. I'm pleased to see the role played by our student SPIEE and OSA chapters in helping to run demonstrations. And I'm especially pleased that more than 25 of our Optics freshmen got involved as well. This is not only a great way to reach the community, but helps our students feel they're a part of the Hajim family. Thanks to Tom and everyone else who helped bring this off!
     Congratulations to Jonathan Zuegel, Senior Scientist at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, who has been elected a Fellow of the Optical Society (OSA) for "sustained and significant technical contributions and leadership in inertial confinement fusion and ultra-high-intensity laser technology and for professional service to OSA." This honor is limited to no more than ten percent of OSA's membership and is reserved for members who have served with distinction in the advancement of optics.

     Just because federal research funding is tight and increasingly competitive, that doesn't mean we should stop applying for it. And let's not forget other potential sources of funding as well. Here's a great tool that can help: The University subscribes to Pivot, a funding opportunities and profile software product. The Pivot database identifies funding opportunities worth an estimated $33 billion. It also provides a unique database of three million pre-populated scholar profiles (including UR researchers) to help you identify possible collaborators. Through your own profile, Pivot pinpoints funding opportunities with daily searches that are keyed to your areas of interest, sends you alerts whenever new matching opportunities are posted, and allows you to search just one database for funding in any discipline or country, rather than having to access multiple sources or search scattershot across the internet. Pivot is available to the entire University community, including faculty and students/trainees at all levels, as well as all staff. Registration is easy and requires only a University Net ID. The program is intuitive, easy to use and provides training documents and short videos for users.  Click here to access the site.

       Here's an excellent scholarship opportunity for engineering students, targeted specifically to our University and the University of Maine, offered by the Iberdrola USA Foundation. The multinational energy group is offering grants for the 2014/15 school year that will cover full tuition, plus a $25,200 stipend for students taking master's level instruction in such areas as renewable and sustainable energy, clean combustion and emissions, energy efficiency and storage, electric vehicles, or smart distribution networks. Three Hajim School students received these scholarships this school year. Deadline to apply is Feb. 27; learn more here. Also, if you haven't applied yet for a graduate program, be sure to do so by Wednesday.

       The next time you are in our Hajim School conference room in 306A Lattimore, be sure to take a look at the four framed photos that now have a permanent place on the wall. They are there not only because Al Clark, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, is an outstanding photographer -- with a special interest in historic covered bridges and aqueducts -- but also because he's been a staunch supporter of our Hajim School tent at the Memorial Art Gallery's Clothesline Festival. Thanks, Al, for letting us display your photos at the festival each September. They wonderfully illustrate the intersection of art and engineering.
     Welcome back for the spring semester! As always, keep me updated and have a great week.


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean