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Lehigh Engineering Update - September 2010

Programs
  • Lehigh University has again been recognized by US News and World Report as one of the nation's outstanding research universities. In the just released 2011 "Guide to America's Best Colleges," Lehigh University was ranked 37th overall, and 29th in the nation for "great schools, great prices." Among the best undergraduate engineering programs whose highest degree is a Ph.D., Lehigh's P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science ranked 36th in the country, up four spots over the 2010 results.

  • The National Science Foundation has approved and funded a $1.7 million grant to significantly enhance the data infrastructure for researchers in Iacocca Hall. The project will see the installation of 750 high-speed gigabit network connections, including cabling, switches, and required backbone interconnections to establish a high-speed network infrastructure in the building's C-Wing. This project, once completed, will provide faculty, staff, and students with enhanced connectivity to advanced research instrumentation such as high-performance computing clusters, electron microscopes, and mass data storage devices, as well as visualization and geographic information systems located elsewhere on campus. In addition, this enhanced network access will provide these researchers with improved use of Lehigh's Internet2 connection to other research institutions nationally and internationally.

  • On September 13 and 14, Lehigh Engineering is hosting a workshop on nanotechnology research that supports progress in the field of energy and the environment. This workshop brings together pre-eminent experts and researchers from Lehigh as well as other academic institutions, government agencies, and industrial concerns in the field. See www.lehigh.edu/nanoenergy for more information or to register.

  • The return on investment of a Lehigh University degree ranks among the top dozen in the country, according to a study conducted for Bloomberg Businessweek. Lehigh ranked 12th on a list of 554 colleges and universities, with an 11.9 percent annual return on investment, totaling $1.3 milllion over 30 years. The study was based on self-reported compensation data from 1.4 million college graduates collected by Payscale, an online salary and compensation information company. For the full rankings, see "What's Your College Degree Worth?" on the Bloomberg Businessweek Web site.
Alumni
  • A gift of $10 million will establish the Smith Funds for Research and Innovation in Science and Engineering at Lehigh University. Daniel E. Smith, Jr. '71, president and CEO of Sycamore Networks, Inc., and chairman of Lehigh University's Board of Trustees, and his wife, Elizabeth Riley, have established the endowment that will expand Lehigh's research capabilities and position the university to compete on a new level. These funds are centered on the university's goals to expand Lehigh's intellectual footprint by supporting cross-disciplinary research. The gift will provide ignition funds to support novel, early-stage research that would require further development before competing for external funding. In addition to rewarding faculty who lead team efforts and multi-investigator research programs, the gift will help attract students and researchers in a highly competitive environment.

  • Dexter F. Baker is empowering future Lehigh students in all disciplines to spark their creativity through the establishment of the new Dexter F. Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity, and Innovation. The new institute will serve as a hub for entrepreneurial activity at Lehigh, supporting the University's nationally-recognized interdisciplinary programs such as Integrated Product Development, Computer Science and Business, and Integrated Business and Engineering. It will also support related activities in academic departments and programs across campus. "We want Lehigh students to feel empowered to go out and challenge the statos quo," says Mr. Baker, who earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering in 1950 and his MBA in 1957. In 1981, Lehigh awarded him an Honorary Doctor of engineering degree. Baker, a Trustee Emeritus and ardent supporter of Lehigh, joined Air Products in 1952 and retired from the Allentown-based company in 1992 as chairman of the board and chief executive.

  • Timothy Wilmott '80, '81G was named this year as a director of the American Gaming Association. He currently serves as President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Penn National Gaming, Inc., responsible for oversight and management of the firm's North American operations. After earning Lehigh Bachelor's and Master's degrees in ISE, Tim began his career at IBM as an industrial engineer. He left IBM in 1985 to pursue his MBA at Wharton Business School, which he earned in1987. His career in gaming began shortly thereafter at Harrah's, Inc. He advanced through increasing levels of responsibility, and by 2003 was the firm's COO. In 2008, he joined Penn national as Chief Operating Officer.

  • Irwin Young '50 is Chairman of the Board of Du Art Film Laboratories and Du Art Video Incorporated in New York City. He's been with DuArt since graduating from Lehigh with a degree in industrial engineering. "As an engineer making films," he says in the Summer 2010 Lehigh Alumni Bulletin," the person I could relate best to was the artist." He's won numerous honors in the field, including an Oscar in 2001 and being named a 2008 honoree of the Directors Guild of America.

  • EJ Walsh '04 was the lead engineer for a house in Berks County, PA, that was featured on ABC's hit program Extreme Home Makeover. EJ is part of McCarthy Engineering of Reading, PA, and was responsible for the building's foundation. For more information, see this news report from WFMZ-TV.
Faculty
  • In 40 years at Lehigh, Donald Rockwell, the Paul B. Reinhold Professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics, has earned international renown for illuminating the complex physics of fluid flows -- from the breaking of ocean waves to the vortices generated by beating insect wings to the flow of blood past a catheter. This summer, Experiments in Fluids, the premiere journal in the field of experimental fluid mechanics, dedicated an entire issue -- 28 invited articles and more than 350 pages -- to Rockwell for his contributions to the journal and the field. These articles represent research groups in nine countries and include contributions written by Rockwell's colleagues and former students. Rockwell served the magazine for 15 years as editor, including eight as editor in-chief.

  • Richard Vinci, associate professor of materials science and engineering, along with Slava V. Rotkin of Lehigh's physics department, landed a highly-competitive Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will bring to Lehigh a scanning probe microscope (SPM). Unlike an electron microscope which requires a vacuum, SPM can characterize materials in liquid or air and is thus well-suited for research to support fields such as biomedicine and energy. Mark Snyder, assistant professor of chemical engineering, was part of another Lehigh team to obtain an MRI, along with Daniel Ou-Yang, Ivan Biaggio, and Volkmar Dierolf of physics, seeking to develop spectroscopic imaging techniques to analyze nanoparticles in confinement. Yet another successful Lehigh MRI team, consisting of chemistry professors Greg Ferguson and Dmitri Vezenov, will acquire a spectroscopic ellipsometer to surface and thin-film analysis.

  • A research article written in 2004 by Mayuresh Kothare, R.L. McCann Professor of chemical engineering, and his former student Ashish Pattekar, was recognized by Thomson Reuters Science Watch, a company that analyzes the influence of research papers. According to Thompson, the paper, "A microreactor for hydrogen production in micro fuel cell applications," has been cited by other researchers in the field more than any other -- a significant measure of the article's influence. Pattekar received his Ph.D. from Lehigh in 2004, and is currently a researcher at the Palo Alto Research Center.

  • Zhiyuan Yan and Meghanad Wagh, professors of electrical and computer engineering, recently received a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to devise scalable bilinear algorithms to help create faster, smaller and more mobile communications devices. "This project represents a different way of thinking about algorithms," says Wagh. "Normally in signal processing, you write algorithms meant for standard computer architectures. But to achieve the required speed, we have developed an entirely new class of algorithms that can be directly cast into hardware. Our new algorithms are extremely fast and take advantage of the new trend in technology."
Students
  • Through a collaboration with Lehigh students, the world's largest food companies, Nestle and Kraft, have recently named their local facilities as national pilot projects for manufacturing sustainability. Over the past two years, these Lehigh students have supported the Kraft facilty through the study of wind and solar energy, the creation of related decision-support tools, and other projects: Ayse Bayat '11, industrial engineering; Sean Dunn '11G, mechanical engineering; John Ellis '11, mechanical engineering/electrical engineering; Engin Eryilmaz '11G, management science; Diego Giammattei '11G management science; Joshua Goldman '11G, integrated business and engineering/electrical engineering; David Gritz '11, industrial engineering; Mike Gross '11G, chemical engineering; Prasanti Lanipalli '11G, industrial engineering; Tanuj Makati '11G, mechanical engineering; Rockey Myall, industrial engineering (Ph.D. candidate); Sean Parrott '11G, energy systems engineering; Erika Ross '11, industrial engineering; Inthira Saengprachathanarak '11G, energy systems engineering; Chris Spagna '10G, electrical engineering; Scott Thomas '10G, energy systems engineering; Sara Truesdale, electrical engineering (Ph.D. candidate), and; Tony Yuan '10G, mechanical engineering. For Nestle, these Lehigh students worked to develop an energy process map that analyzed the entire system at Nestle's Breinigsville, PA, facilty, and identified a computer glitch that was costing the firm singificantly in excess cooling costs: Brian Berner '11G, electrical engineering; Menglan Dai '11, ecology; Eric Kuijpers'10G, electrical engineering; Elkin Mejia '09G, mechanical engineering.

  • Iron nanoparticles 1,000 times thinner than a human hair have demonstrated an unprecedented ability to clean contaminated groundwater since they were invented 10 years ago at Lehigh. The palladium-coated particles have remediated more than 50 toxic waste sites in the U.S. and other countries in one-tenth the time, and at a much greater economy of scale, than traditional "pump and treat" methods. Writing in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, the Lehigh researchers reported that the nanoparticles' ability to remove toxins decreases as the particles "age" and undergo structural change with exposure to water. The Lehigh team is comprised of Weile Yan, a Ph.D. candidate in civil and environmental engineering, Andrew Herzing '07 Ph.D., a materials research engineer with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Xiao-Qin Li '08 Ph.D, Chris Kiely, professor of materials science and engineering; and Wei-xian Zhang, professor of civil and environmental engineering.

  • Chase Philpotts '09, '10, John Rodgers '08, Kevin Jacobs '10 and Jacob Schwartz '10 -- perhaps better known on campus as the a capella singing group On Tap -- are currently performing on the Celebrity Infinity, a nine-year-old, 2,000-passenger cruise ship. On July 2, the singers sailed from Seattle on a voyage that will take them up and down the west coast of Canada and the Alaska Panhandle; to Mexico, the Panama Canal, the Caribbean Sea and Florida; and then to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay along the coasts of South America. Jacobs studies music and electrical engineering, Schwartz studies architecture and electrical engineering, and Rodgers, who earned a B.S. in bioengineering in 2008, is a graduate student in mechanical engineering. Philpotts holds a B.A. in product design and a B.S. in marketing.

Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2010

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