Weekly Memo

Oct. 27, 2014

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

     Congratulations to William Green, a junior in Mechanical Engineering, who will receive a $10,000 Astronaut Scholarship Foundation award from NASA Astronaut Sam Gemar at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Welles-Brown Room of Rush Rhees Library. ASF awards are given to college students who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional performance in science and technology, and William is certainly a deserving recipient. He has conducted research with Prof. Stephen Burns on ways to create optical elements with a 3-D printer, and is the usability project team leader on the Baja SAE team. Please drop by and show William your support -- and hear Sam Gemar talk about the ASF and his experiences with NASA.

    Congratulations as well to Andrew Durney, a PhD student in Assistant Professor Hitomi Mukaibo's lab in Chemical Engineering. Andrew took first place  for his poster titled “Pulsed Electrodeposition for Preparing Hollow, Conical Needles with Sub-micron Dimensions” in the  category “Solid State Science and Technology” at the fall meeting of The Electrochemical Society earlier this month in Cancun, Mexico. This was one of two first-place student awards. The Mukaibo lab is exploring the use of microneedles with nanometer-sized tips to introduce genetic material into microalgae and thereby improve their biosynthetic capabilities as a source of solar energy.

    Here's an added incentive to hear David Szeszler, a professor at AIT Budapest, discuss his institute's unique study abroad program at noon Friday in CSB 703:  He'll bring along a Rubik's cube signed by the AIT professor who invented the cube -- and give it to a participant whose name is drawn.

   It's that time of year for a . . . pumpkin launch!  Drop by Rettner Hall from 2:30 to 5:30 on Friday for our first student-run Engineering Social, co-hosted by ESW, OSA, IEEE, BMES, TBP, AIChE, NSBE, Solar Splash, ASME, SWE, EWB, URTV, and Baja SAE. There will be free food. The pumpkin launch will start at 3 p.m. on the Wilson Quad and there will be a pumpkin carving contest as well.

     The Rochester Cloak -- that inexpensive, do-it-yourself optical device that literally hides objects from view, created by Joseph Choi, an Optics PhD student, and his advisor, John Howell, Professor of Physics  -- is now featured on the PBS Kids website. I'm impressed not only by the cloaking device itself, but its ability to interest kids in science and technology. And as David Barnstone of University Communications notes, featuring the cloak at the Design Squad Nation page looks like an excellent platform to do so.

    Thanks to our Visiting Committee members who were on campus last week for our fall meeting. We covered a lot of topics, including presentations on how we're assessing the math skills of incoming students and an update on the Center for Freeform Optics (CeFO). The committee members also toured the VISTA Collaboratory.  Their suggestions were thoughtful and their advice was gratefully received.

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


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean