Tag Archives: Mechanical Engineering

December 18, 2013

awd-charlesvest

Former MIT president Charles M. Vest dies at 72

Former MIT president Charles M. Vest — a tireless advocate for research and science, and a passionate supporter of diversity and openness — died last night of pancreatic cancer at his home in Washington. He was 72. As MIT’s 15th president, serving from 1990 to 2004, Vest led the Institute through a period of striking change and growth. A mechanical engineer by training, Vest was president of the National Academy of Engineering from 2007 until earlier this year.

During Vest’s presidency — the third-longest in the Institute’s 152-year history —MIT renewed its commitment to education and research through major innovations in both areas; developed strong ties with academic, government, and industry partners around the world; broadened the diversity of its people and programs; and transformed its campus with dramatic new buildings. MIT’s endowment nearly quadrupled during Vest’s tenure, growing from $1.4 billion to $5.1 billion.

“Through its own work, and especially through the lives and works of its graduates, a great university can strive to make the world well,” Vest wrote in 2004. “The knowledge we generate, the things we come to understand, and the devices we build can improve health, economies, security and the quality of life. MIT must continue to be optimistic in its vision of why we are here and what we can do.”

Continue reading the article on MIT News.

May 31, 2013

2-00bs08

Tsai and Liggett (MechE) teach undergrads to make toys

Their theme might have been “in the dark,” but the MIT students who participated in this year’s 2.00b (Toy Design), a first-year elective in mechanical engineering, were anything but: Their creations ran the gamut from innovative board games to puzzles to stuffed animals to a comforter that transformed into a pup tent.

The toy prototypes were unveiled and demonstrated on campus Tuesday night before a large audience — including many children — armed with clipboards to score the varied offerings. Adding to the fun, each of the 16 teams of five students presented their invention as part of a five-minute skit — some featuring sound effects, costumes and choreography — followed by questions from the audience. The instructors and mentors who introduced each team did so with skits of their own.

Mechanical engineering graduate students Geoff Tsai and Lindy Liggett taught the class — which aims to teach basic design, building and testing processes — under the supervision of mechanical engineering professor David Wallace. “The goal is for students to get an experience they get jazzed up about,” Wallace says, and learn about “technology and tools they haven’t worked with before.” Read the rest of the article on MIT News.

December 11, 2012

Asegun Henry

Alumnus Henry receives $3.6 M to develop high-efficiency solar reactor

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have been awarded three grants totaling more than $9 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) to develop energy technology solutions.  The three new awards are for projects involving solar fuel generation, power generation from vortices of solar heated air and energy storage.  Asegun Henry, assistant professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering as well as MIT Mechanical Engineering alumnus (MSME and PhD) and MSRP alum, will receive $3.6 million to develop a high-efficiency solar reactor to produce solar fuel.  Using liquid metal, the reactor transports heat away from the sunlight-collection point to a chemical reaction zone, minimizing the loss of solar heat.  This system could enable cost-effective solar fuels that would be used for transportation and continuous electric power generation. 
Read the entire report in the Georgia Tech Newsroom.

November 26, 2012

Director of Digital Learning - Sanjay Sarma

Sanjay Sarma appointed as MIT’s first director of digital learning

Sanjay Sarma, the Fred Fort Flowers and Daniel Fort Flowers Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has been appointed MIT’s first director of digital learning, effective immediately.  In his new capacity, Sarma will work closely with the Institute’s faculty, staff and students to assess how new models of online instruction — such as the edX online-learning platform; MITx, the Institute’s course offerings on that platform; and other online tools that enhance students’ educational experiences — might become integral parts of MIT students’ on-campus education. These tools can also allow global learners access to MIT-quality instructional experiences. Read the rest of the article on MIT newsphoto by Bryce Vickmark

November 19, 2012

Isaac Ehrenberg

Ehrenberg discovers new metamaterial lens

In many respects, metamaterials are supernatural. These manmade materials, with their intricately designed structures, bend electromagnetic waves in ways that are impossible for materials found in nature. Scientists are investigating metamaterials for their potential to engineer invisibility cloaks — materials that refract light to hide an object in plain sight — and “super lenses,” which focus light beyond the range of optical microscopes to image objects at nanoscale detail. Researchers at MIT have now fabricated a three-dimensional, lightweight metamaterial lens that focuses radio waves with extreme precision. The concave lens exhibits a property called negative refraction, bending electromagnetic waves — in this case, radio waves — in exactly the opposite sense from which a normal concave lens would work.

For Isaac Ehrenberg, an MIT graduate student in mechanical engineering, the device evokes an image from the movie “Star Wars”: the Death Star, a space station that shoots laser beams from a concave dish, the lasers converging to a point to destroy nearby planets. While the researchers’ fabricated lens won’t be blasting any planetary bodies in the near future, Ehrenberg says there are other potential applications for the device, such as molecular and deep-space imaging. To continue reading the article, visit MITnews.

May 22, 2012

Team LiquiGlide

Team LiquiGlide Ends Violent Ketchup Bottle Shaking!

We’ve all been there. You get a bottle of Heinz ketchup from your cupboard or in a restaurant ready to dress up those fresh-cut fries. When you open it up, however, the bottle is nearly finished and you have to keep tapping the neck of the container to get the last bits to flow out. That, or you can keep shaking and pray the ketchup won’t end up everywhere. Instead, reseachers from Varanasi Research Group developed LiquiGlide, a non-stick coating for food packaging that will help substances flow out of the containers more seamlessly. Team LiquiGlide was bestowed the honor of the popular vote at the May 14th 100k finale presentation, with audience members texting their favorite pitch to the contest organizers to vote. The team, with Mechanical Engineering graduate students Dave Smith, Brian Solomon, Adam Paxson, and Chris Love, as well as postdoc Rajeev Dhiman and advisor Prof. Varanasi, was a WildCard Round winner and one of the 8 teams to make the final round. Read more and watch a ketchup video on digitaltrends.com.

April 25, 2012

deflorez_2

Presidential Fellow Places Second in De Florez Graduate Design Competition

A joint entry by David Fenning (Presidential Fellow) and Doug Powell, the Impurity to Efficiency Simulator, won second place in this year’s De Florez Competition for the category of Graduate Design. The competition had 38 applicants in four categories, all of which competed against each other for a total of $18,000 in prize money. The categories were Undergraduate Engineering Design, Undergraduate Engineering Science, Graduate Engineering Design and Graduate Engineering Science. Applicants try to “sell” their products and judges look at the entries’ level of creativity, innovation, practical application, scientific basis and design skill. For more information and the full list of this years’ winners, please visit April 2012 MechE News.

October 15, 2011

MechE PhD Alumnus Norman Fortenberry Executive Director of ASEE

FortenberryDr. Norman Fortenberry, Mechanical Engineering PhD Alumnus ’91, and a longtime leader in education scholarship who has held senior positions at the National Science Foundation and National Academy of Engineering, has been appointed Executive Director of the American Society for Engineering Education.