Jennifer Babb was introduced to science and technology at UMR in 2005 when she attended Summer Solutions Camp for girls who are freshmen and sophomores in high school. Babb then attended the Jackling Introduction to Engineering camp the following year. During one of those visits to campus, she heard about a new UMR camp that sounded intriguing. “A bunch of my friends were really jealous when they found out I was going to Explosives Camp this year,” says Babb, now 17, of St. Louis.
Finding shelter from the acid rain is the first order of business after crashing on Planet Zak. This is accomplished by taping plastic garbage bags to the edges of tables and hiding underneath. “The lights flash on and off and the teacher comes around with a spray bottle,” says Sophie Vojta, 10, of Rolla.
Gathered around the small stone furnace in Room 142 of McNutt Hall, a group of middle school girls watched in awe as Nathan Wyckoff, a graduate student in materials science and engineering at UMR, poured hot, yellow liquid glass into a ceramic mold to cool. While pouring the liquid, he explained to them that glass is formed at 1,050 degrees Celsius (1,922 degrees Fahrenheit), noting that brownies bake at only 350 degrees as a reference point.
Explosives Camp director Paul Worsey instructed one of the high school students to get ready to activate the firing unit, which was connected to the shot cable, which was connected to the detonator, which was connected to the detonating cord – which, finally, was connected to several cans filled with ether. After Worsey’s last warning of “Fire in the hole!” was sounded, a frighteningly loud boom erupted, accompanied by a huge ball of red fire and black smoke.
Ask any member of UMR’s Engineers Without Borders chapter why they devote so much time to the organization (time they could otherwise spend prepping for exams or relaxing with friends) and
you’ll likely hear about their desire to help others. Diverse in majors and life experiences, the students are unified by their desire to bring safe drinking water and improved sanitation to the world’s poorest countries. This year, more than 60 students traveled thousands of miles to establish sustainable solutions for residents in Bolivia, Guatemala and Honduras.
This year, 39 UMR alumni and former faculty were inducted into UMR’s seven academies. Mechanical and aerospace engineering held its academy’s induction ceremony in October. Engineering management held ceremonies in October and April. The remaining five academies held their induction ceremonies in April.
The soldiers of the future could be equipped with stronger, lighter body armor and ride in safer armored vehicles with tougher run-flat tires, thanks to cross-linked aerogels, a material invented by UMR chemist Nicholas Leventis. This lightweight combination of highly porous glass and plastic is four to five times tougher per pound than materials currently used in military armor.