Redefining research: new roles for government, corporate sponsors

CoverImage_small_frontLike many schools in the United States, Missouri S&T came of age as a research university during the U.S.-Soviet “Space Race” of the 1960s. Back then, much of the research conducted on campus was funded by the federal government and usually involved the practical application of knowledge to meet specific needs. Today, most research conducted at S&T is still “applied” in nature, but the clients have changed. The private sector has become a significant source of research funding for Missouri S&T, and many expect that trend to continue – here in Rolla and in university research labs throughout the U.S. How this shift in funding affects the role of U.S. research universities is a subject that is generating interest not just at S&T, but across our nation. [Read more…]

Firing up the ion drive

AerospacePlasmaLab042Ever since the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk, the goals of aviation have seemed simultaneously overly ambitious and within reach. It’s no different at Missouri S&T, where researchers are using a pulsed theta pinch to study the physics of high-density, heavy-gas plasma for ion space propulsion in order to meet (and in some cases exceed) the demands of future NASA missions. Inside S&T’s Space and High-Altitude Environment Testing Facility, researchers analyze multiple ion drive propulsion systems. [Read more…]

Clearing electronic traffic jams

HyPointLab103Over the past few decades, the number of electronic and electrical devices has skyrocketed, as has the amount of radio waves that can interfere with other devices. That’s where researchers in S&T’s Electromagnetic Compatibility Laboratory come in. Inside the EMC’s versatile semi-anechoic chamber, energy can’t get out or in. This controlled environment eliminates outside ambient noise and allows researchers to test emissions and immunity on big screen TVs and other digital devices.

Transforming infrastructure repair

HighBayLab049As roads and bridges across the country continue to age and deteriorate, state and federal agencies are seeking ways to rebuild and revitalize the failing transportation system. Missouri S&T is helping. Inside the High-Bay Structural Engineering Research Laboratory in Butler-Carlton Civil Engineering Hall, researchers use specialized equipment to simulate loading, vibrations and other real-world conditions that are critical to testing and evaluating new infrastructure systems. In this environment, they push materials to extremes to predict when they might fail.

A driving force for the future

SteelManufacturingLab182The demand for the nation’s automotive and manufacturing industries to provide safe, affordable vehicles with better fuel economy has never been greater. S&T is at the center of a consortium with the steel industry and is home to the Kent D. Peaslee Steel Manufacturing Research Center. Working with steel manufacturers, suppliers and other industry partners, S&T researchers seek to reduce a vehicle’s overall weight by developing lighter and stronger materials.

Greek your iPhone

College students and alumni with iPhones may soon be able to show off their fraternity or sorority pride thanks to Connor Wolk, a sophomore in mechanical engineering, and his business partner, Taylor Jay, a student at the University of Kansas. The pair recently launched Dual Cases LLC to make lightweight yet sturdy iPhone cases that can be customized with Greek letters. [Read more…]

Tulsa turf team

Love it or hate it, artificial turf has many benefits — including year-round field use and an even playing surface. In October, students voted to fund 75 percent of the $2.4 million required to install turf on S&T’s football and intramural fields, but more is needed. [Read more…]

Hannah Frye: pathways to the perfect fit

At first glance, it is impossible to tell that Hannah Frye, a junior in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry, is helping Robert Aronstam perform groundbreaking research that could lead to treatments for diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. But stop her in the Havener Center at lunch and ask her about her work with the chair of biological sciences and she can explain anything from cell signaling to how she measures the calcium levels in a cell’s endoplasmic reticulum and cytoplasm. [Read more…]

Letters to the editor

The article on Ron Epps, Phys’67, was of high interest to me as there were four students from Mount Vernon High School in two consecutive years who were physics majors at (then) UMR – Epps, Nick Prater, Phys’67, Charles Steven Nichols, Phys’68, and myself. This would seem to be exceptional as our high school classes were only about 70 students! We all graduated near the top of our classes at UMR — pretty good record for four country kids from a small high school in southwest Missouri. This was due in no small part to the mentoring we received from Henle Holmes, MS Tch Math’61, our physics and math instructor at Mount Vernon, and then the fine university leadership of Dr. H.Q. Fuller and Dr. John T. Park, who later became chancellor.

I taught math and physics for 11 years and then worked 30-plus years in the oil service industry, retiring in April from Schlumberger as project manager in the area of exploration software development.

—Eugene Aufdembrink, Phys’68, MS Phys’70, Needville, Texas

I earned my master’s degree in December 1973 and we moved on to Montréal, Canada, for my doctorate. Now, 40 years after we left Rolla, I am writing from my hometown of Mersin, Turkey. My wife is a professor in Mersin University. I am director of a manufacturing company and our clientele includes Nooter/Eriksen Inc. It is always nice to find out that some of the people at Nooter were students at Rolla at the same time with me.

Looking back, I can say that we have spent some of our most pleasant days in Rolla and we remember them fondly. Thank you, Rolla. It has been a privilege and honor to be among your students and alumni.

(Mehmet) Nihat Taner, MS CE’73, Mersin, Turkey

I just received my Fall/Winter issue of I and it reminded me of Prof. Kent Peaslee, who presented me with the Benjamin F. Fairless Award at AISTech 2013 in Pittsburgh on May 7, 2013. Prof. Peaslee was president of the Association for Iron and Steel Technology (AIST) and he presented the award at the President’s Breakfast with more than 1,200 people in attendance. I have attached a photo of the presentation. Tragically, Prof. Peaslee suddenly passed away the following week. I thought that you may want to include the photo in an upcoming magazine.

— Bruce Bramfitt, MetE’60, MS MetE’62, PhD MetE’66, Steelton, Pa.

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