College of Engineering University of Wisconsin-Madison
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EPISODE: The Engineering Physics Department Newsletter


Fall / Winter 2003-2004
Featured articles

Following particle paths
in magnetic fusion experiments

Chain reaction: DOE grant aids infrastructure, educational upgrades
for reactor

Coating could take
burnables out of
nuclear fuel

Opposites attract:
Stable and unstable materials couple for
high performance

EP Department

Regular Features

Message from the chair

Faculty/staff news

New faculty: Todd Allen

Faculty retirement:
James D. Callen

Student news


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Picture of Professor Vicki Bier

V. Bier
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Picture of Professor Vicki Bier

R. Carpick
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Picture of Wisconsin Distinguished Professor of Engineering Physics Roderic Lakes

R. Lakes
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Picture of Professor Gregory Moses

G. Moses
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Picture of Senior Scientist Kumar Sridharan

K. Sridharan
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Picture of Assistant Professor Dennis Whyte

D. Whyte
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Professor Vicki Bier co-chaired the National Academy of Engineering meeting, “Accident Precursors: Linking Risk Assessment with Risk Management,” in Washington, D.C. in July. The two-day gathering featured discussions about precursor detection and risk assessment, risk management and risk mitigation, and linking risk assessment with risk management.

Assistant Professor Rob Carpick and Physics Assistant Professor Mark Eriksson have received a three-year, $284,000 grant from the Army Research Office to use polymer templates and piezoelectric-substrate actuation to guide transportation and separation of large assays of nanoparticles. Currently, ways to manipulate nanoparticles are limited. This research could have an effect in the development of nanomanufacturing, or mechanisms to assemble structures built out of nanoparticles.

Carpick also received a $40,000 subcontract through Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) on a proposal funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Defense Sciences Office. He will use the one-year grant to study the fundamental material, mechanical and nanotribological properties of ultra-nanocrystalline diamond, a new material developed at ANL.

The knowledge will be used for developing robust micromachine devices made out of this new form of diamond that is expected to have much better properties than silicon, which is the material currently used for such devices.

The grant is a collaboration between UW-Madison, ANL, Sandia National Laboratories, and the Aerospace Corporation.

Wisconsin Distinguished Professor of Engineering Physics Roderic Lakes was an invited participant at the Wisconsin Economic Summit IV, held in Milwaukee Oct. 27-28. Lakes was part of a panel on partnerships to link cutting-edge research with economic development. The panelists included three Wisconsin Distinguished Professors and three counterparts from industry. Topics discussed included research of interest to industry and benefits to industry, the state economy, and the University of Wisconsin System.

Collaborating with researchers from the Trace R&D Center and the university’s Division of Information Technology, Professor Gregory Moses and Researcher Michael Litzkow have implemented advanced accessibility features in the eTEACH multimedia presentation software, developed with sponsorship by the National Science Foundation and UW-Madison. The features enable blind students to “view” eTEACH presentations using popular webpage readers such as Jaws. Webpage-reader compatibility, with previous implementation of closed captioning, breaks new ground in accessibility of multimedia web content for people with disabilities. Instructors in the college, the Department of Computer Sciences, the School of Nursing, and UW-Whitewater’s MBA Program are using eTEACH to present on-line lectures.

Senior Scientist Kumar Sridharan has been appointed to the editorial committee of the Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance for a three-year term and has been re-appointed to the editorial committee of the journal International Materials Reviews for an additional three-year term. Both of Sridharan's terms began in September. Each committee reviews submitted manuscripts, identifies reviewers, monitors content as it relates to the missions of the journals, and attends an editorial meeting held during the American Society for Materials annual meeting.

Assistant Professor Dennis Whyte has received a Department of Energy Plasma Physics Junior Faculty Development Program Award. The program supports the research of exceptionally talented scientists and engineers early in their careers. The awards are designed to help maintain the vitality of university plasma physics research and ensure excellence in teaching plasma physics and related disciplines.


Swandby honored at ENGINEERS' DAY 2003

Picture of Mark Swandby

Mark Swandby
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Decorative initial cap As a registered professional engineer with an MBA and experience in the nuclear power industry, Mark Swandby is uniquely qualified to serve as department administrator. Recognizing his dedication and years of service to the faculty, staff and students of the Department of Engineering Physics, the college awarded Swandby its 2003 Bollinger Academic Staff Distinguished Achievement Award.

His duties are far-reaching, affecting everyone and nearly everything that comes in contact with the department. In his own words, he describes the general philosophy of being a department administrator as supporting the faculty “…so that they can do what they should be doing—teaching and research—to serve as a bulwark against the tide of university paperwork. Try to never say no, to figure out a way to accomplish what the faculty need, legally, ethically, within whatever rules and regulations apply to a given situation.”

One of his first responsibilities was that of student advisor. Having earned his BS in nuclear engineering from the department in 1972 and worked in the Dresden nuclear power plant of Commonwealth Edison, he had the perfect background and versatility to serve as an advisor to both undergraduate and graduate students regarding curriculum matters, employment in the industry and the field in general. Swandby’s knowledge earned him the informal title of “Big Brother” of nuclear engineering undergraduates.

Now he is responsible for preparing and monitoring the department budget, including resolving funding strategies for faculty salaries based on factors such as teaching load and research contracts. He also plays a major role in hiring and supervising departmental classified staff.

Swandby and his wife have two children. In his free time, he enjoys curling and serves on numerous committees including the United States Curling Association and the West Side Swim Club. He is active in the Midvale Community Lutheran Church.



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Date last modified: Monday, 15-November-2003 15:43:00 CDT
Date created: 15-November-2003