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2007–2008 Highlights

Faculty honors

GRAINGER PROFESSOR of Power Electronics and Electrical Machines Thomas Lipo (left) and Industrial and Systems Engineering Professor Emeritus Stephen Robinson are among 65 engineers elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2008. Director of the Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium, Lipo has made significant contributions to the design and development of variable-speed drives and motor controls, while Robinson has made fundamental contributions to the theory of nonlinear optimization and to military planning.

FOUR COLLEGE of Engineering faculty received prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER awards in 2008. From left: Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Hongrui Jiang is developing a tunable compound “eye”, Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor William Murphy is studying stem cell differentiation in protein gradients, Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Krishnan Suresh is perfecting a method for modeling geometrically complex manufactured components, and Materials Science and Engineering Assistant Professor Izabela Szlufarska is developing biosensors that can identify specific individual molecules.

A NATIONAL FRATERNITY that promotes chemistry and chemical engineering, Alpha Chi Sigma inducted Chemical and Biological Engineering Professors Emeritus R. Byron Bird (left), Edwin Lightfoot (center) and Warren Stewart (right), posthumously, into its Hall of Fame. The honor recognizes their efforts in promoting chemistry and their contributions to the success of generations of chemical engineers. While the organization has more than 60,000 members, fewer than 40 have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since that honor began in 1982.

IDAHO NATIONAL Laboratory selected Engineering Physics Assistant Professor Todd Allen, a nuclear fuels and materials expert, to lead its newly created Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) National Scientific User Facility. A pressurized light-water reactor, the ATR is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and has operated continuously at the laboratory since 1967.

Until recently, the U.S. Navy used the reactor for testing nuclear fuels and materials. In April 2007, the DOE designated it a national scientific user facility to support university, industry and national laboratory research of nuclear fuels and materials.

Allen divides his time between the laboratory and his faculty position at UW-Madison and conducts research at both institutions.

FOR HIS GROUNDBREAKING work on processes for transforming biomass-derived sugar into liquid transportation fuel, Steenbock Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering James Dumesic was named one of the 2007 Scientific American 50.

Dumesic and graduate students Yuriy Román-Leshkov, Christopher J. Barrett and Zhen Y. Liu developed a two-stage process for turning biomass-derived sugar into 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF), a liquid transportation fuel with 40 percent greater energy density than ethanol.

The team received additional recognition when the manuscript editors of Nature selected the team’s paper on DMF as one of their “favourites” from the papers Nature published in 2007.

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