Lehigh University
Lehigh University


Lehigh Engineering Update - January/February 2011


  • Greg Capece, Mike Harm, and Nick Rocha, all of the Class of 2011, are featured prominently in Scientific American Magazine's review of the 20th Annual Collegiate Inventors Competition, held in Alexandria, Va, in late December 2010. As students of Lehigh's Integrated Business and Engineering program, the trio devised and designed the so-called "MPlug" to assist elderly persons with arthritis or weak grip strength, reducing the force necessary to plug and unplug an appliance.

  • Evans Kosgei '11 finished 112th out of 246 at the NCAA Championships, hosted by Indiana State, in late November 2010. The Mountain Hawks' first ever men's qualifier in the new selection format, he became Lehigh's first runner to compete at NCAA's in five years. Kosgei, a member of the Integrated Business and Engineering program with a concentration in computer science and engineering, finished the 10,000M race with a time of 31:17.8, within seconds of cracking the top 100.

  • Five seniors in the Integrated Business and Engineering program have spent a year developing a new "smart gun" technology they believe will help safeguard the lives of police officers. The student team of Andrew Dutcher, Peter Wopperer, Sushan Zheng, Ethan Baer and John Thompson devised the Everlokt device to "personalize" a gun to its owner with a voltage tag attached to the owner's body. The safety is unlocked only if the person holding the gun is wearing the voltage tag or touching the person who is wearing it.


  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently named Zhiyuan Yan, assisstant professor of electrical and computer engineering, as a 2010 winner of the agency's prized CAREER Award. The 5-year, $400,000 award will allow Yan to advance his work developing algebraic universal error controls for network coding.

  • Professor Chris Kiely of materials science and engineering helped lead an international research team seeking a more environmentally-friedly method of producing benzyl benzoate, a chemical compound used widely in the food, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. The researchers reported their findings in mid-January in Science magazine in an article titled "Solvent-Free Oxidation of Primary Carbon-Hydrogen Bonds in Toluene Using Au-Pd Alloy Nanoparticles." The article was coauthored by Kiely, Graham Hutchings of the University of Cardiff in Wales, and 10 other researchers, including Ramchandra Tiruvalam, a Lehigh Ph.D. candidate working with Kiely.

  • The December 2010 issue of the magazine The Economist features the work of Shamim Pakzad, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. The article "Superstructures" described a 2006 project involving Pakzad, as part of a review of broader efforts to add sensors and other devices to bridges, tunnels and buildings to turn them into "smart structures" capable of sensing and responding to problems.

  • Sushil Kumar recently reported upon his efforts to develop a "breakthrough for terahertz seminconductor lasers" in the magazine Nature Physics. Working with researchers at MIT and Sandia National Laboratories, Kumar, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, has made a semiconductor laser, also called a quantum-cascade laser (QCL), that emits terahertz radiation at higher operating temperatures than ever before.

  • Associate professor Kristen Jellison and her students are developing low-cost biosand water filtration systems (BSFs) for use especially in developing countries. "Smaller, lighter BSFs," says Jellison, "would be cheaper, easier to transport and available to a broader global market." According to Jellison, who is affiliated with the university's STEPS (Science, Technology, Environment, Policy and Society) initiative as well as the department of civil and environmental engineering, preliminary research has shown the potential for smaller systems to remove most disease-causing organisms.

  • Peter Simpkins, an adjunct professor in the department of mechanical engineering and mechanics, has recently been named a Fellow of the American Physics Society. According to the citation, Simpkins was recognized for "incisive analytical and experimental studies of two-phase flows, natural convection, and various aspects of electro-optical materials processing."


  • The Scranton (PA) Times-Tribune ran a retrospective on the life of local resident and Lehigh Class of 1885 alumnus Lewis B. Stillwell. Stillwell helped launch the hydroelectric power plant at Niagara Falls, and is a member of the Electrical Engineering Hall of Fame. More about Stillwell and his work can be found at the Lehigh Engineering Heritage Initiative.

  • Amin I. Khalifa has been named Chief Financial Officer of IRIS International, Inc., a leading global in vitro diagnostics company focused on products that analyze particles and living cell forms and structures. Khalifa brings to the role some 30 years of senior finance and corporate management experience, having served as CFO of such companies as Apria Healthcare, Beckman Coulter, and Leap Wireless.

  • The Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA), the voice of the global semiconductor industry, recently appointed Matthew Rhodes, chief executive officer of Semitech Semiconductor Pte Ltd, as the new vice chairman to the Alliance's Emerging Company CEO Council. Rhodes, who has held leadership positions at Conextant Systems, Teranetics, and other firms, holds an M.S. in electrical engineering from Lehigh.

  • AB Mauri, a bakery and food production group, has hired Scott Meader '82 as president of North America for its AB Mauri Fleischmann's division. Meader, a Lehigh mechanical enigineer, was previously president and chief executive officer of St. Louis-based Milnot Holding Corp., owner of the BeechNut brand of baby food, for more than a decade.

  • Kevin T. Campbell has been named president and chief operating officer of Barry Isett & Associates, a multi-disciplinary engineering firm based in Allentown, PA. Campbell, who joined BIA in 2005, holds masters degrees in electrical engineering and business administration from Lehigh.

  • In mid-December 2010, the editors of Power Engineering magazine announced that the Lehigh-DOE-Great River Energy project had been named the 2010 Coal-Fired Project of the Year. Research scientist Nenad Sarunac and Ed Levy, professor of mechanical engineering and director of Lehigh's Energy Research Center (ERC), have helped develop technology that improves the efficiency of coal-fired power plants while reducing carbon dioxide and other harmful emissions. The team developed a low-temperature coal-drying system that removes moisture from coal by using waste heat from the power plant itself. This enables more efficient coal handling and combustion while lowering emission levels -- and drastically cuts the amount of water required for plant cooling. The research progressed from early feasibility studies at Lehigh, to a pilot-scale facility at GRE's Coal Creek Power Plant in North Dakota, to a full-scale demonstration at Coal Creek. Given that low-rank coals constitute more than half the world’s coal reserves, the technology could potentially be used on a global scale.

  • On February 18, the 2011 Fazlur R. Khan Distinguished Lecture Series will kick off with David Scott, of Arup, Aermicas, giving a talk on "Extreme Engineering." Scott is an award winning structural engineer, internationally recognized for his leading role in the design of long span lightweight structures and tall buildings. In 2001, David was one of the team leaders working with the contractors in the search, recovery and clean-up of the WTC disaster. The Lecture Series, co-sponsored by the Departments of Civil & Environmental Engineering and of Arts & Architecture, honors Dr. Fazlur Rahman Khan's legacy of excellence in structural engineering and architecture. Visit the FRK Web site for more information.

  • Lehigh received a $600,000 research commercialization grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to support the university's energy and environmental research initiative. Through the grant, Lehigh will expand research and related educational programs in energy-related technologies. The university received a second $600,000 DCED grant to support the Pennsylvania Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at Lehigh and its research, commercialization, and outreach efforts in the field of nanotechnology.

Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2011

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