The air up there

Before the era of jet planes, scientists didn’t realize that thunderstorm cells could stretch as high as 90,000 feet into the atmosphere.

PlanePanel“No one had flown high enough to see they could reach that altitude,” says Lee M. Etnyre, Phys’60.

In those days, to study the wind shear in Earth’s upper atmosphere, the U.S. Navy would launch a rocket from an airplane that released an instrument data recording package at high altitude, and then watch it descend. A large radar antenna on top of the plane would track the descending package to help measure wind shear and speed at high altitude. “It was an early way to measure the jet stream,” Etnyre says.

While working for the U.S. Naval Air Development Center in the early 1960s, Etnyre patented this system, which takes that analog aircraft navigation data and converts it to a digital representation of the plane’s position compared to a fixed location on the ground.

“I learned how to use existing devices and technology, originally designed with other applications in mind, and integrate them into a unique combination to solve a new technical problem,” Etnyre says.

Etnyre also holds a patent for a satellite navigation system that improves an aircraft’s ability to land safely when adverse weather conditions limit visibility, and another to suppress duplication of aircraft surveillance images on a cockpit display of nearby air traffic currently used in all of Garmin’s cockpit displays of air traffic.

Around the Puck

Q&A: Miners got game

What was the most memorable sports team during your time on campus? As part of his research for the S&T 150th history book, Larry Gragg, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus of history and political science, asked you to share your memories. Here are a few of your answers.

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Honoring new academy members

In October, 12 alumni and friends were inducted into Missouri S&T academies. Academy membership recognizes careers of distinction and invites members to share their wisdom, influence and resources with faculty and students. Some academies hold induction ceremonies in the fall, others in the spring.

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Boosting cyber-physical security

A wide array of complex systems that rely on computers — from public water supply systems and electric grids to chemical plants and self-driving vehicles — increasingly come under not just digital but physical attacks. Bruce McMillin, professor and interim chair of computer science at Missouri S&T, is looking to change that by developing stronger safeguards […]

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MXene discovery could improve energy storage

In spite of their diminutive size, 2-D titanium carbide materials known as MXenes are “quite reactive” to water, a discovery S&T researchers say could have implications for energy storage and harvesting applications such as batteries, supercapacitors and beyond. Their findings were published in 2018 in the American Chemical Society journal Inorganic Chemistry.

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A faster charge for electric vehicles

One drawback of electric vehicles (EVs) is the time it takes to charge them. But what if you could plug in your EV and fully charge it as quickly as it takes to fill up a conventional car with gasoline? Missouri S&T researchers, in collaboration with three private companies, are working to make speedy charging […]

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