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  • richardmitnick 9:03 am on June 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A Simpler but Dexterous Robot Hand", , , Mechanical Engineering, ,   

    From From Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science: “A Simpler but Dexterous Robot Hand” 

    From Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science

    05/12/2021 [Just now in social media.]

    Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science Daniel L Malone Engineering Center.


    Humans use all surfaces of the hand for contact-rich manipulation. Robot hands, in contrast, typically use only the fingertips, which can limit dexterity. In a new study from the lab of Aaron Dollar, professor of mechanical engineering & materials science & computer science, researchers took a non-traditional approach to creating a new design for robotic hands.

    The research team – graduate students Walter Bircher and Andrew Morgan, and Dollar – designed a two-fingered dexterous hand. Known as “Model W,” it was inspired by the high levels of dexterity seen in humans’ hand movements and robotic caging grasps – a strategy used to loosely trap objects between the fingers of a hand, preventing object ejection while allowing some free motion to occur. With the goal of making the design a useful tool for others in the robotic manipulation community, the researchers made the design a relatively simple one, with inexpensive components. They have also released the design through Yale OpenHand (an open-source robot hand hardware initiative).

    Here, lead author Bircher explains the work and its significance:

    Tell us about the background of the project, and how you got involved in this field.

    “People have been designing dexterous robotic hands for nearly 50 years, but have not achieved the same level of dexterity seen in human hands. This is in part because human hands regularly make and break contacts with an object and utilize all surfaces of the hand, skills that are difficult for robotic hands to emulate. Even decades ago, the advantages of using rolling and sliding contacts between the fingers and the object for increased dexterity were noted, while prominent manipulation models only took fixed contacts into account. In this work, we describe a model that allows for rolling, sliding, and fixed contacts, enabling the design of highly dexterous robotic hands.

    I became interested in robotic hand manipulation during college, after doing an internship in the robotic manipulation group at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I followed this interest to Yale to pursue a PhD in the Dollar group. Our group is generally interested in optimizing the utility of underactuated and mechanically simple robotic hands. Using this mentality, I became interested in studying how design can improve the manipulation capabilities of simple hands, especially while leveraging non-persistent contacts (rolling and sliding) between the hand and the object.”


    What’s the significance of this work?


    “In general, robotic hands have limited ability to roll or slide an object without dropping it, which constrains their utility in a dynamic, human environment. This work provides a new way to extend the dexterity of simple hands, without requiring the complicated math of traditional models, which could enable robotic hands to be used in household environments, the workplace, and other situations where dextrous, human-like manipulation is needed. Our hand, the Model W, presents an example of the kind of freeform manipulation that would be useful in a changing, everyday environment and presents a step towards robotic interaction with tools, objects, and even people.”

    Who might disagree with this?

    “Some researchers model manipulation in a way that keeps track of all contact forces, friction, object locations, etc. while manipulating which enables the stability of the grasp to be calculated, avoiding object ejection. However, this approach can be challenging because object contact locations and force magnitudes and directions are difficult to measure accurately, and friction coefficients can change over time. In our approach, we only consider caging and the overall energy of the system. Some might consider this method “messier” because it provides less precise information about the nature of hand-object contacts. However, by leveraging freeform contacts and ensuring object caging, we achieve high dexterity and low risk of object ejection which makes this an advantageous method.”

    What’s the most exciting part of these findings?

    “In the past, we’ve used energy maps with existing robotic hands to assess their capabilities and control their manipulation of objects, but have never used energy maps to design a totally new hand. So after lots of theoretical modeling and engineering to build the Model W, it was so exciting to see it manipulate objects for the first time and confirm that it could perform as well as the theory predicted. It was especially exciting that the Model W showed a very high success rate when performing a wide range of tasks, indicating that the caging strategy reliably prevented object ejection and produced a depedenably dexterous hand.”

    What are the next steps with this, for you or other researchers?

    “The Model W was designed for planar (2D) manipulation but many tasks require spatial (3D) manipulation. So, one goal of our future work is to extend this model to three dimensions and produce a more general-purpose dexterous hand. We are also working to extend the energy map model to create a closed-loop controller for real-time control, which will require optimizing the computational efficiency of the model. We hope that using energy maps will improve on the basic control strategies shown in this work by more precisely directing the motors in a hand to achieve the desired motions of an object. Also, we hope that other research groups will utilize our theory in their own work and also use the Model W as a platform for testing manipulation strategies.”

    Robotic Hand

    The Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science is the engineering school of Yale University. When the first professor of civil engineering was hired in 1852, a Yale School of Engineering was established within the Yale Scientific School, and in 1932 the engineering faculty organized as a separate, constituent school of the university. The school currently offers undergraduate and graduate classes and degrees in electrical engineering, chemical engineering, computer science, applied physics, environmental engineering, biomedical engineering, and mechanical engineering and materials science.

    Yale University comprises three major academic components: Yale College (the undergraduate program); the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; and the professional schools. In addition, Yale encompasses a wide array of centers and programs, libraries, museums, and administrative support offices. Approximately 11,250 students attend Yale.

    Yale University (US) is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. Collegiate School was renamed Yale College in 1718 to honor the school’s largest benefactor, Elihu Yale.

    Chartered by Connecticut Colony, the Collegiate School was established in 1701 by clergy to educate Congregational ministers. It moved to New Haven in 1716 and shortly after was renamed Yale College in recognition of a gift from East India Company governor Elihu Yale. Originally restricted to theology and sacred languages, the curriculum began to incorporate humanities and sciences by the time of the American Revolution. In the 19th century, the college expanded into graduate and professional instruction, awarding the first PhD in the United States in 1861 and organizing as a university in 1887. Yale’s faculty and student populations grew after 1890 with rapid expansion of the physical campus and scientific research.

    Yale is organized into fourteen constituent schools: the original undergraduate college; the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; and twelve professional schools. While the university is governed by the Yale Corporation, each school’s faculty oversees its curriculum and degree programs. In addition to a central campus in downtown New Haven, the university owns athletic facilities in western New Haven, a campus in West Haven, Connecticut, and forests and nature preserves throughout New England. As of September 2019, the university’s assets include an endowment valued at $30.3 billion, the second largest endowment of any educational institution in North America. The Yale University Library, serving all constituent schools, holds more than 15 million volumes and is the third-largest academic library in the United States. Students compete in intercollegiate sports as the Yale Bulldogs in the NCAA Division I – Ivy League.

    As of October 2020, 65 Nobel laureates, five Fields Medalists and three Turing award winners have been affiliated with Yale University. In addition, Yale has graduated many notable alumni, including five U.S. Presidents; 19 U.S. Supreme Court Justices; 31 living billionaires; and many heads of state. Hundreds of members of Congress and many U.S. diplomats; 78 MacArthur Fellows; 252 Rhodes Scholars; 123 Marshall Scholars; and nine Mitchell Scholars have been affiliated with the university.

    Yale traces its beginnings to “An Act for Liberty to Erect a Collegiate School”, a would-be charter passed during a meeting in New Haven by the General Court of the Colony of Connecticut on October 9, 1701. The Act was an effort to create an institution to train ministers and lay leadership for Connecticut. Soon after, a group of ten Congregational ministers, Samuel Andrew; Thomas Buckingham; Israel Chauncy; Samuel Mather (nephew of Increase Mather); Rev. James Noyes II (son of James Noyes); James Pierpont; Abraham Pierson; Noadiah Russell; Joseph Webb; and Timothy Woodbridge, all alumni of Harvard University(US), met in the study of Reverend Samuel Russell located in Branford, Connecticut to donate their books to form the school’s library. The group, led by James Pierpont, is now known as “The Founders”.

    Originally known as the “Collegiate School”, the institution opened in the home of its first rector, Abraham Pierson, who is today considered the first president of Yale. Pierson lived in Killingworth (now Clinton). The school moved to Saybrook and then Wethersfield. In 1716, it moved to New Haven, Connecticut.

    Meanwhile, there was a rift forming at Harvard between its sixth president, Increase Mather, and the rest of the Harvard clergy, whom Mather viewed as increasingly liberal, ecclesiastically lax, and overly broad in Church polity. The feud caused the Mathers to champion the success of the Collegiate School in the hope that it would maintain the Puritan religious orthodoxy in a way that Harvard had not.

    Naming and development

    Coat of arms of the family of Elihu Yale, after whom the university was named in 1718

    In 1718, at the behest of either Rector Samuel Andrew or the colony’s Governor Gurdon Saltonstall, Cotton Mather contacted the successful Boston born businessman Elihu Yale to ask him for financial help in constructing a new building for the college. Through the persuasion of Jeremiah Dummer, Elihu “Eli” Yale, who had made a fortune in Madras while working for the East India Company overseeing its slave trading activities, donated nine bales of goods, which were sold for more than £560, a substantial sum of money at the time. Cotton Mather suggested that the school change its name to “Yale College.” The name Yale is the Anglicized spelling of the Iâl, which the family estate at Plas yn Iâl, near the village of Llandegla, was called.

    Meanwhile, a Harvard graduate working in England convinced some 180 prominent intellectuals to donate books to Yale. The 1714 shipment of 500 books represented the best of modern English literature; science; philosophy; and theology at the time. It had a profound effect on intellectuals at Yale. Undergraduate Jonathan Edwards discovered John Locke’s works and developed his original theology known as the “new divinity.” In 1722 the Rector and six of his friends, who had a study group to discuss the new ideas, announced that they had given up Calvinism, become Arminians, and joined the Church of England. They were ordained in England and returned to the colonies as missionaries for the Anglican faith. Thomas Clapp became president in 1745 and while he attempted to return the college to Calvinist orthodoxy, he did not close the library. Other students found Deist books in the library.


    Yale College undergraduates follow a liberal arts curriculum with departmental majors and is organized into a social system of residential colleges.

    Yale was swept up by the great intellectual movements of the period—the Great Awakening and the Enlightenment—due to the religious and scientific interests of presidents Thomas Clap and Ezra Stiles. They were both instrumental in developing the scientific curriculum at Yale while dealing with wars, student tumults, graffiti, “irrelevance” of curricula, desperate need for endowment and disagreements with the Connecticut legislature.

    Serious American students of theology and divinity particularly in New England regarded Hebrew as a classical language along with Greek and Latin and essential for the study of the Hebrew Bible in the original words. The Reverend Ezra Stiles, president of the college from 1778 to 1795, brought with him his interest in the Hebrew language as a vehicle for studying ancient Biblical texts in their original language (as was common in other schools) requiring all freshmen to study Hebrew (in contrast to Harvard, where only upperclassmen were required to study the language) and is responsible for the Hebrew phrase אורים ותמים (Urim and Thummim) on the Yale seal. A 1746 graduate of Yale, Stiles came to the college with experience in education, having played an integral role in the founding of Brown University(US), in addition to having been a minister. Stiles’ greatest challenge occurred in July 1779 when British forces occupied New Haven and threatened to raze the college. However, Yale graduate Edmund Fanning, Secretary to the British General in command of the occupation, intervened and the college was saved. In 1803, Fanning was granted an honorary degree LL.D. for his efforts.


    As the only college in Connecticut from 1701 to 1823, Yale educated the sons of the elite. Punishable offenses for students included cardplaying; tavern-going; destruction of college property; and acts of disobedience to college authorities. During this period, Harvard was distinctive for the stability and maturity of its tutor corps, while Yale had youth and zeal on its side.

    The emphasis on classics gave rise to a number of private student societies, open only by invitation, which arose primarily as forums for discussions of modern scholarship literature and politics. The first such organizations were debating societies: Crotonia in 1738, Linonia in 1753 and Brothers in Unity in 1768. While the societies no longer exist, commemorations to them can be found with names given to campus structures, like Brothers in Unity Courtyard in Branford College.

    19th century

    The Yale Report of 1828 was a dogmatic defense of the Latin and Greek curriculum against critics who wanted more courses in modern languages, mathematics, and science. Unlike higher education in Europe, there was no national curriculum for colleges and universities in the United States. In the competition for students and financial support, college leaders strove to keep current with demands for innovation. At the same time, they realized that a significant portion of their students and prospective students demanded a classical background. The Yale report meant the classics would not be abandoned. During this period, all institutions experimented with changes in the curriculum, often resulting in a dual-track curriculum. In the decentralized environment of higher education in the United States, balancing change with tradition was a common challenge because it was difficult for an institution to be completely modern or completely classical. A group of professors at Yale and New Haven Congregationalist ministers articulated a conservative response to the changes brought about by the Victorian culture. They concentrated on developing a person possessed of religious values strong enough to sufficiently resist temptations from within yet flexible enough to adjust to the ‘isms’ (professionalism; materialism; individualism; and consumerism) tempting him from without. William Graham Sumner, professor from 1872 to 1909, taught in the emerging disciplines of economics and sociology to overflowing classrooms of students. Sumner bested President Noah Porter, who disliked the social sciences and wanted Yale to lock into its traditions of classical education. Porter objected to Sumner’s use of a textbook by Herbert Spencer that espoused agnostic materialism because it might harm students.

    Until 1887, the legal name of the university was “The President and Fellows of Yale College, in New Haven.” In 1887, under an act passed by the Connecticut General Assembly, Yale was renamed to the present “Yale University.”

    Sports and debate

    The Revolutionary War soldier Nathan Hale (Yale 1773) was the prototype of the Yale ideal in the early 19th century: a manly yet aristocratic scholar, equally well-versed in knowledge and sports, and a patriot who “regretted” that he “had but one life to lose” for his country. Western painter Frederic Remington (Yale 1900) was an artist whose heroes gloried in combat and tests of strength in the Wild West. The fictional, turn-of-the-20th-century Yale man Frank Merriwell embodied the heroic ideal without racial prejudice, and his fictional successor Frank Stover in the novel Stover at Yale (1911) questioned the business mentality that had become prevalent at the school. Increasingly the students turned to athletic stars as their heroes, especially since winning the big game became the goal of the student body, and the alumni, as well as the team itself.

    Along with Harvard and Princeton University(US), Yale students rejected British concepts about ‘amateurism’ in sports and constructed athletic programs that were uniquely American, such as football. The Harvard–Yale football rivalry began in 1875. Between 1892, when Harvard and Yale met in one of the first intercollegiate debates and 1909 (the year of the first Triangular Debate of Harvard, Yale and Princeton) the rhetoric, symbolism, and metaphors used in athletics were used to frame these early debates. Debates were covered on front pages of college newspapers and emphasized in yearbooks, and team members even received the equivalent of athletic letters for their jackets. There even were rallies sending off the debating teams to matches, but the debates never attained the broad appeal that athletics enjoyed. One reason may be that debates do not have a clear winner, as is the case in sports, and that scoring is subjective. In addition, with late 19th-century concerns about the impact of modern life on the human body, athletics offered hope that neither the individual nor the society was coming apart.

    In 1909–10, football faced a crisis resulting from the failure of the previous reforms of 1905–06 to solve the problem of serious injuries. There was a mood of alarm and mistrust, and, while the crisis was developing, the presidents of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton developed a project to reform the sport and forestall possible radical changes forced by government upon the sport. President Arthur Hadley of Yale, A. Lawrence Lowell of Harvard, and Woodrow Wilson of Princeton worked to develop moderate changes to reduce injuries. Their attempts, however, were reduced by rebellion against the rules committee and formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The big three had tried to operate independently of the majority, but changes did reduce injuries.


    Yale expanded gradually, establishing the Yale School of Medicine (1810); Yale Divinity School (1822); Yale Law School (1843); Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (1847); the Sheffield Scientific School (1847); and the Yale School of Fine Arts (1869). In 1887, as the college continued to grow under the presidency of Timothy Dwight V, Yale College was renamed Yale University, with the name Yale College subsequently applied to the undergraduate college. The university would later add the Yale School of Music (1894); the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (founded by Gifford Pinchot in 1900); the Yale School of Public Health (1915); the Yale School of Nursing (1923); the Yale School of Drama (1955); the Yale Physician Associate Program (1973); the Yale School of Management (1976); and the Jackson School of Global Affairs which will open in 2022. It would also reorganize its relationship with the Sheffield Scientific School.

    Expansion caused controversy about Yale’s new roles. Noah Porter, moral philosopher, was president from 1871 to 1886. During an age of tremendous expansion in higher education, Porter resisted the rise of the new research university, claiming that an eager embrace of its ideals would corrupt undergraduate education. Many of Porter’s contemporaries criticized his administration, and historians since have disparaged his leadership. Levesque argues Porter was not a simple-minded reactionary, uncritically committed to tradition, but a principled and selective conservative. He did not endorse everything old or reject everything new; rather, he sought to apply long-established ethical and pedagogical principles to a rapidly changing culture. He may have misunderstood some of the challenges of his time, but he correctly anticipated the enduring tensions that have accompanied the emergence and growth of the modern university.

    20th century

    Behavioral sciences

    Between 1925 and 1940, philanthropic foundations, especially ones connected with the Rockefellers, contributed about $7 million to support the Yale Institute of Human Relations and the affiliated Yerkes Laboratories of Primate Biology. The money went toward behavioral science research, which was supported by foundation officers who aimed to “improve mankind” under an informal, loosely defined human engineering effort. The behavioral scientists at Yale, led by President James R. Angell and psychobiologist Robert M. Yerkes, tapped into foundation largesse by crafting research programs aimed to investigate, then suggest, ways to control sexual and social behavior. For example, Yerkes analyzed chimpanzee sexual behavior in hopes of illuminating the evolutionary underpinnings of human development and providing information that could ameliorate dysfunction. Ultimately, the behavioral-science results disappointed foundation officers, who shifted their human-engineering funds toward biological sciences.


    Slack (2003) compares three groups that conducted biological research at Yale during overlapping periods between 1910 and 1970. Yale proved important as a site for this research. The leaders of these groups were Ross Granville Harrison; Grace E. Pickford; and G. Evelyn Hutchinson and their members included both graduate students and more experienced scientists. All produced innovative research, including the opening of new subfields in embryology; endocrinology; and ecology, respectively, over a long period of time. Harrison’s group is shown to have been a classic research school. Pickford’s and Hutchinson’s were not. Pickford’s group was successful in spite of her lack of departmental or institutional position or power. Hutchinson and his graduate and postgraduate students were extremely productive, but in diverse areas of ecology rather than one focused area of research or the use of one set of research tools. Hutchinson’s example shows that new models for research groups are needed, especially for those that include extensive field research.


    Milton Winternitz led the Yale School of Medicine as its dean from 1920 to 1935. Dedicated to the new scientific medicine established in Germany, he was equally fervent about “social medicine” and the study of humans in their culture and environment. He established the “Yale System” of teaching, with few lectures and fewer exams, and strengthened the full-time faculty system. He also created the graduate-level Yale School of Nursing and the Psychiatry Department and built numerous new buildings. Progress toward his plans for an Institute of Human Relations, envisioned as a refuge where social scientists would collaborate with biological scientists in a holistic study of humankind, unfortunately, lasted for only a few years before the opposition of resentful anti-Semitic colleagues drove him to resign.

    Before World War II, most elite university faculties counted among their numbers few, if any, Jews, blacks, women, or other minorities. Yale was no exception. By 1980, this condition had been altered dramatically, as numerous members of those groups held faculty positions. Almost all members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences—and some members of other faculties—teach undergraduate courses, more than 2,000 of which are offered annually.

    History and American studies

    The American studies program reflected the worldwide anti-Communist ideological struggle. Norman Holmes Pearson, who worked for the Office of Strategic Studies in London during World War II, returned to Yale and headed the new American studies program. Popular among undergraduates, the program sought to instill a sense of nationalism and national purpose. Also during the 1940s and 1950s, Wyoming millionaire William Robertson Coe made large contributions to the American studies programs at Yale University and at the University of Wyoming. Coe was concerned to celebrate the ‘values’ of the Western United States in order to meet the “threat of communism”.


    In 1793, Lucinda Foote passed the entrance exams for Yale College, but was rejected by the President on the basis of her gender. Women studied at Yale University as early as 1892, in graduate-level programs at the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

    In 1966, Yale began discussions with its sister school Vassar College(US) about merging to foster coeducation at the undergraduate level. Vassar, then all-female and part of the Seven Sisters—elite higher education schools that historically served as sister institutions to the Ivy League when most Ivy League institutions still only admitted men—tentatively accepted, but then declined the invitation. Both schools introduced coeducation independently in 1969. Amy Solomon was the first woman to register as a Yale undergraduate; she was also the first woman at Yale to join an undergraduate society, St. Anthony Hall. The undergraduate class of 1973 was the first class to have women starting from freshman year; at the time, all undergraduate women were housed in Vanderbilt Hall at the south end of Old Campus.

    A decade into co-education, student assault and harassment by faculty became the impetus for the trailblazing lawsuit Alexander v. Yale. In the late 1970s, a group of students and one faculty member sued Yale for its failure to curtail campus sexual harassment by especially male faculty. The case was party built from a 1977 report authored by plaintiff Ann Olivarius, now a feminist attorney known for fighting sexual harassment, A report to the Yale Corporation from the Yale Undergraduate Women’s Caucus. This case was the first to use Title IX to argue and establish that the sexual harassment of female students can be considered illegal sex discrimination. The plaintiffs in the case were Olivarius, Ronni Alexander (now a professor at Kobe University[神戸大学; Kōbe daigaku](JP)); Margery Reifler (works in the Los Angeles film industry), Pamela Price (civil rights attorney in California), and Lisa E. Stone (works at Anti-Defamation League). They were joined by Yale classics professor John “Jack” J. Winkler, who died in 1990. The lawsuit, brought partly by Catharine MacKinnon, alleged rape, fondling, and offers of higher grades for sex by several Yale faculty, including Keith Brion professor of flute and Director of Bands; Political Science professor Raymond Duvall (now at the University of Minnesota(US)); English professor Michael Cooke and coach of the field hockey team, Richard Kentwell. While unsuccessful in the courts, the legal reasoning behind the case changed the landscape of sex discrimination law and resulted in the establishment of Yale’s Grievance Board and the Yale Women’s Center. In March 2011 a Title IX complaint was filed against Yale by students and recent graduates, including editors of Yale’s feminist magazine Broad Recognition, alleging that the university had a hostile sexual climate. In response, the university formed a Title IX steering committee to address complaints of sexual misconduct. Afterwards, universities and colleges throughout the US also established sexual harassment grievance procedures.


    Yale, like other Ivy League schools, instituted policies in the early 20th century designed to maintain the proportion of white Protestants from notable families in the student body, and was one of the last of the Ivies to eliminate such preferences, beginning with the class of 1970.

    Town–gown relations

    Yale has a complicated relationship with its home city; for example, thousands of students volunteer every year in a myriad of community organizations, but city officials, who decry Yale’s exemption from local property taxes, have long pressed the university to do more to help. Under President Levin, Yale has financially supported many of New Haven’s efforts to reinvigorate the city. Evidence suggests that the town and gown relationships are mutually beneficial. Still, the economic power of the university increased dramatically with its financial success amid a decline in the local economy.

    21st century

    In 2006, Yale and Peking University [北京大学](CN) established a Joint Undergraduate Program in Beijing, an exchange program allowing Yale students to spend a semester living and studying with PKU honor students. In July 2012, the Yale University-PKU Program ended due to weak participation.

    In 2007 outgoing Yale President Rick Levin characterized Yale’s institutional priorities: “First, among the nation’s finest research universities, Yale is distinctively committed to excellence in undergraduate education. Second, in our graduate and professional schools, as well as in Yale College, we are committed to the education of leaders.”

    In 2009, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair picked Yale as one location – the others are Britain’s Durham University(UK) and Universiti Teknologi Mara (MY) – for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s United States Faith and Globalization Initiative. As of 2009, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo is the director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization and teaches an undergraduate seminar, Debating Globalization. As of 2009, former presidential candidate and DNC chair Howard Dean teaches a residential college seminar, Understanding Politics and Politicians. Also in 2009, an alliance was formed among Yale, University College London(UK), and both schools’ affiliated hospital complexes to conduct research focused on the direct improvement of patient care—a growing field known as translational medicine. President Richard Levin noted that Yale has hundreds of other partnerships across the world, but “no existing collaboration matches the scale of the new partnership with UCL”.

    In August 2013, a new partnership with the National University of Singapore(SG) led to the opening of Yale-NUS College in Singapore, a joint effort to create a new liberal arts college in Asia featuring a curriculum including both Western and Asian traditions.

    In 2020, in the wake of protests around the world focused on racial relations and criminal justice reform, the #CancelYale movement demanded that Elihu Yale’s name be removed from Yale University. Yale was president of the East India Company, a trading company that traded slaves as well as goods, and his singularly large donation led to Yale relying on money from the slave-trade for its first scholarships and endowments.

    In August 2020, the US Justice Department claimed that Yale discriminated against Asian and white candidates on the basis of their race. The university, however, denied the report. In early February 2021, under the new Biden administration, the Justice Department withdrew the lawsuit. The group, Students for Fair Admissions, known for a similar lawsuit against Harvard alleging the same issue, plans to refile the lawsuit.

    Yale alumni in Politics

    The Boston Globe wrote that “if there’s one school that can lay claim to educating the nation’s top national leaders over the past three decades, it’s Yale”. Yale alumni were represented on the Democratic or Republican ticket in every U.S. presidential election between 1972 and 2004. Yale-educated Presidents since the end of the Vietnam War include Gerald Ford; George H.W. Bush; Bill Clinton; and George W. Bush. Major-party nominees during this period include Hillary Clinton (2016); John Kerry (2004); Joseph Lieberman (Vice President, 2000); and Sargent Shriver (Vice President, 1972). Other Yale alumni who have made serious bids for the Presidency during this period include Amy Klobuchar (2020); Tom Steyer (2020); Ben Carson (2016); Howard Dean (2004); Gary Hart (1984 and 1988); Paul Tsongas (1992); Pat Robertson (1988); and Jerry Brown (1976, 1980, 1992).

    Several explanations have been offered for Yale’s representation in national elections since the end of the Vietnam War. Various sources note the spirit of campus activism that has existed at Yale since the 1960s, and the intellectual influence of Reverend William Sloane Coffin on many of the future candidates. Yale President Richard Levin attributes the run to Yale’s focus on creating “a laboratory for future leaders,” an institutional priority that began during the tenure of Yale Presidents Alfred Whitney Griswold and Kingman Brewster. Richard H. Brodhead, former dean of Yale College and now president of Duke University(US), stated: “We do give very significant attention to orientation to the community in our admissions, and there is a very strong tradition of volunteerism at Yale.” Yale historian Gaddis Smith notes “an ethos of organized activity” at Yale during the 20th century that led John Kerry to lead the Yale Political Union’s Liberal Party; George Pataki the Conservative Party; and Joseph Lieberman to manage the Yale Daily News. Camille Paglia points to a history of networking and elitism: “It has to do with a web of friendships and affiliations built up in school.” CNN suggests that George W. Bush benefited from preferential admissions policies for the “son and grandson of alumni”, and for a “member of a politically influential family”. New York Times correspondent Elisabeth Bumiller and The Atlantic Monthly correspondent James Fallows credit the culture of community and cooperation that exists between students, faculty, and administration, which downplays self-interest and reinforces commitment to others.

    During the 1988 presidential election, George H. W. Bush (Yale ’48) derided Michael Dukakis for having “foreign-policy views born in Harvard Yard’s boutique”. When challenged on the distinction between Dukakis’ Harvard connection and his own Yale background, he said that, unlike Harvard, Yale’s reputation was “so diffuse, there isn’t a symbol, I don’t think, in the Yale situation, any symbolism in it” and said Yale did not share Harvard’s reputation for “liberalism and elitism”. In 2004 Howard Dean stated, “In some ways, I consider myself separate from the other three (Yale) candidates of 2004. Yale changed so much between the class of ’68 and the class of ’71. My class was the first class to have women in it; it was the first class to have a significant effort to recruit African Americans. It was an extraordinary time, and in that span of time is the change of an entire generation”.


    The President and Fellows of Yale College, also known as the Yale Corporation, or board of trustees, is the governing body of the university and consists of thirteen standing committees with separate responsibilities outlined in the by-laws. The corporation has 19 members: three ex officio members, ten successor trustees, and six elected alumni fellows.

    Yale’s former president Richard C. Levin was, at the time, one of the highest paid university presidents in the United States. Yale’s succeeding president Peter Salovey ranks 40th.

    The Yale Provost’s Office and similar executive positions have launched several women into prominent university executive positions. In 1977, Provost Hanna Holborn Gray was appointed interim President of Yale and later went on to become President of the University of Chicago(US), being the first woman to hold either position at each respective school. In 1994, Provost Judith Rodin became the first permanent female president of an Ivy League institution at the University of Pennsylvania(US). In 2002, Provost Alison Richard became the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge(UK). In 2003, the Dean of the Divinity School, Rebecca Chopp, was appointed president of Colgate University(US) and later went on to serve as the President of the Swarthmore College(US) in 2009, and then the first female chancellor of the University of Denver(US) in 2014. In 2004, Provost Dr. Susan Hockfield became the President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2004, Dean of the Nursing school, Catherine Gilliss, was appointed the Dean of Duke University’s School of Nursing and Vice Chancellor for Nursing Affairs. In 2007, Deputy Provost H. Kim Bottomly was named President of Wellesley College(US).

    Similar examples for men who’ve served in Yale leadership positions can also be found. In 2004, Dean of Yale College Richard H. Brodhead was appointed as the President of Duke University(US). In 2008, Provost Andrew Hamilton was confirmed to be the Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford(UK).

    The university has three major academic components: Yale College (the undergraduate program); the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; and the professional schools.


    Yale’s central campus in downtown New Haven covers 260 acres (1.1 km2) and comprises its main, historic campus and a medical campus adjacent to the Yale–New Haven Hospital. In western New Haven, the university holds 500 acres (2.0 km2) of athletic facilities, including the Yale Golf Course. In 2008, Yale purchased the 17-building, 136-acre (0.55 km2) former Bayer HealthCare complex in West Haven, Connecticut, the buildings of which are now used as laboratory and research space. Yale also owns seven forests in Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire—the largest of which is the 7,840-acre (31.7 km2) Yale-Myers Forest in Connecticut’s Quiet Corner—and nature preserves including Horse Island.

    Yale is noted for its largely Collegiate Gothic campus as well as several iconic modern buildings commonly discussed in architectural history survey courses: Louis Kahn’s Yale Art Gallery and Center for British Art; Eero Saarinen’s Ingalls Rink and Ezra Stiles and Morse Colleges; and Paul Rudolph’s Art & Architecture Building. Yale also owns and has restored many noteworthy 19th-century mansions along Hillhouse Avenue, which was considered the most beautiful street in America by Charles Dickens when he visited the United States in the 1840s. In 2011, Travel+Leisure listed the Yale campus as one of the most beautiful in the United States.

    Many of Yale’s buildings were constructed in the Collegiate Gothic architecture style from 1917 to 1931, financed largely by Edward S. Harkness, including the Yale Drama School. Stone sculpture built into the walls of the buildings portray contemporary college personalities, such as a writer; an athlete; a tea-drinking socialite; and a student who has fallen asleep while reading. Similarly, the decorative friezes on the buildings depict contemporary scenes, like a policemen chasing a robber and arresting a prostitute (on the wall of the Law School) or a student relaxing with a mug of beer and a cigarette. The architect, James Gamble Rogers, faux-aged these buildings by splashing the walls with acid, deliberately breaking their leaded glass windows and repairing them in the style of the Middle Ages and creating niches for decorative statuary but leaving them empty to simulate loss or theft over the ages. In fact, the buildings merely simulate Middle Ages architecture, for though they appear to be constructed of solid stone blocks in the authentic manner, most actually have steel framing as was commonly used in 1930. One exception is Harkness Tower, 216 feet (66 m) tall, which was originally a free-standing stone structure. It was reinforced in 1964 to allow the installation of the Yale Memorial Carillon.

    Other examples of the Gothic style are on the Old Campus by architects like Henry Austin; Charles C. Haight; and Russell Sturgis. Several are associated with members of the Vanderbilt family, including Vanderbilt Hall; Phelps Hall; St. Anthony Hall (a commission for member Frederick William Vanderbilt); the Mason, Sloane and Osborn laboratories; dormitories for the Sheffield Scientific School (the engineering and sciences school at Yale until 1956) and elements of Silliman College, the largest residential college.

    The oldest building on campus, Connecticut Hall (built in 1750), is in the Georgian style. Georgian-style buildings erected from 1929 to 1933 include Timothy Dwight College, Pierson College, and Davenport College, except the latter’s east, York Street façade, which was constructed in the Gothic style to coordinate with adjacent structures.

    Interior of Beinecke Library

    The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, is one of the largest buildings in the world reserved exclusively for the preservation of rare books and manuscripts. The library includes a six-story above-ground tower of book stacks, filled with 180,000 volumes, that is surrounded by large translucent Vermont marble panels and a steel and granite truss. The panels act as windows and subdue direct sunlight while also diffusing the light in warm hues throughout the interior. Near the library is a sunken courtyard, with sculptures by Isamu Noguchi that are said to represent time (the pyramid), the sun (the circle), and chance (the cube). The library is located near the center of the university in Hewitt Quadrangle, which is now more commonly referred to as “Beinecke Plaza.”

    Alumnus Eero Saarinen, Finnish-American architect of such notable structures as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis; Washington Dulles International Airport main terminal; Bell Labs Holmdel Complex; and the CBS Building in Manhattan, designed Ingalls Rink, dedicated in 1959, as well as the residential colleges Ezra Stiles and Morse. These latter were modeled after the medieval Italian hill town of San Gimignano – a prototype chosen for the town’s pedestrian-friendly milieu and fortress-like stone towers. These tower forms at Yale act in counterpoint to the college’s many Gothic spires and Georgian cupolas.

    Yale’s Office of Sustainability develops and implements sustainability practices at Yale. Yale is committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 10% below 1990 levels by the year 2020. As part of this commitment, the university allocates renewable energy credits to offset some of the energy used by residential colleges. Eleven campus buildings are candidates for LEED design and certification. Yale Sustainable Food Project initiated the introduction of local organic vegetables fruits and beef to all residential college dining halls. Yale was listed as a Campus Sustainability Leader on the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s College Sustainability Report Card 2008, and received a “B+” grade overall.

    Notable nonresidential campus buildings

    Notable nonresidential campus buildings and landmarks include Battell Chapel; Beinecke Rare Book Library; Harkness Tower; Ingalls Rink; Kline Biology Tower; Osborne Memorial Laboratories; Payne Whitney Gymnasium; Peabody Museum of Natural History; Sterling Hall of Medicine; Sterling Law Buildings; Sterling Memorial Library; Woolsey Hall; Yale Center for British Art; Yale University Art Gallery; Yale Art & Architecture Building and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London.

    Yale’s secret society buildings (some of which are called “tombs”) were built both to be private yet unmistakable. A diversity of architectural styles is represented: Berzelius; Donn Barber in an austere cube with classical detailing (erected in 1908 or 1910); Book and Snake; Louis R. Metcalfe in a Greek Ionic style (erected in 1901); Elihu, architect unknown but built in a Colonial style (constructed on an early 17th-century foundation although the building is from the 18th century); Mace and Chain, in a late colonial early Victorian style (built in 1823). (Interior moulding is said to have belonged to Benedict Arnold); Manuscript Society, King Lui-Wu with Dan Kniley responsible for landscaping and Josef Albers for the brickwork intaglio mural. Buildings constructed in a mid-century modern style: Scroll and Key; Richard Morris Hunt in a Moorish- or Islamic-inspired Beaux-Arts style (erected 1869–70); Skull and Bones; possibly Alexander Jackson Davis or Henry Austin in an Egypto-Doric style utilizing Brownstone (in 1856 the first wing was completed, in 1903 the second wing, 1911 the Neo-Gothic towers in rear garden were completed); St. Elmo, (former tomb) Kenneth M. Murchison, 1912, designs inspired by Elizabethan manor. Current location, brick colonial; and Wolf’s Head, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, erected 1923–1924, Collegiate Gothic.

    Relationship with New Haven

    Yale is the largest taxpayer and employer in the City of New Haven, and has often buoyed the city’s economy and communities. Yale, however has consistently opposed paying a tax on its academic property. Yale’s Art Galleries, along with many other university resources, are free and openly accessible. Yale also funds the New Haven Promise program, paying full tuition for eligible students from New Haven public schools.

  • richardmitnick 8:21 am on May 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Experimental Impact Mechanics Lab bars none", , , Bo Song at Sandia, , Evaluating the impact properties of any solid natural or manmade material on the planet., Hopkinson Bar, Kolsky Bar, , Mechanical Engineering, Nearly a third of the lab’s customers come from outside Sandia., One-of-a-kind materials testing facility built from scratch., There’s a tiny hidden gem at Sandia that tests the strength and evaluates the impact properties of any solid natural or manmade material on the planet.   

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories (US) : “Experimental Impact Mechanics Lab bars none” 

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories (US)

    May 21, 2021

    One-of-a-kind materials testing facility built from scratch.

    BRACING FOR IMPACT — Sandia mechanical engineer Bo Song makes adjustments to the Drop-Hopkinson Bar, the only one of its kind in the world.

    There’s a tiny hidden gem at Sandia that tests the strength and evaluates the impact properties of any solid natural or manmade material on the planet.

    From its humble beginnings as a small storage room, mechanical engineer Bo Song has built a singular Experimental Impact Mechanics Lab that packs a world-class punch in 200-plus square feet of weights, rods, cables, bars, heaters, compressors and high-speed cameras.

    Over the past eight years, Bo has overseen the growth of the lab’s instrumentation, capabilities, staff and clientele, based on his work and ideas formed at other labs.

    “We didn’t start from the ground up, but close to it,” Bo said. “I began with a small budget and limited tech support, but thankfully the lab was already conducting systems evaluation and technology development projects for Sandia and the National Nuclear Security Administration. With the assistance of a couple high-level technologists, we have built up the testing apparatus in that storage room.”

    Bo says his groundbreaking work in experimental impact mechanics and evaluating the dynamic response of materials to temperature and pressure is quickly positioning the lab as a premiere facility in materials assessment for national security programs, defense contractors and private industry.

    The lab also serves as a primary test facility for small-scale components and subassemblies, conducting feasibility studies that enable its customers to confidently proceed with full-scale projects. Nearly 70% of the lab’s work is for programs in nuclear deterrence, advanced science and technology and global security.

    Bo takes pride in welcoming all comers. Nearly a third of the lab’s customers come from outside Sandia, ranging from the Department of Defense and NASA to outside organizations and industry.

    “There’s no material we cannot test,” he said. “We evaluate the nature, properties and strength of materials and how they change in different testing configurations or conditions. In the end, our customers receive a breakdown of material properties, and our materials experts provide counsel on how to improve the customer’s material design and selection.”

    AIMING THE GUN — Bo Song, who developed the lab, places material for shock testing in the center of a Kolsky bar. When a gas gun is fired, the bar closes at the speed of a bullet train to assess how the material responds to stress and strain.

    Under myriad combinations of controlled temperatures, pressures and velocities, the lab conducts pure research and development on the mechanics of materials under extreme conditions with remarkable precision.

    In meticulous concert, the lab’s instrumentation crushes, compacts, twists, pulls and stretches materials under various controlled states of hot and cold to assess their pliability, durability and reliability. Materials range from rock and concrete to metal alloys to ceramics, plastics, rubbers and foams.

    The lab’s crown jewel is its 1-inch-diameter Drop-Hopkinson bar with a carriage of up to 300 pounds — the only one of its kind in the world — used to measure the tensile properties of materials under low to intermediate impact velocities. The unique apparatus can simulate accidental drop or low-speed crash environments for evaluating various materials used in national security programs and private industry alike.

    Central to the lab’s testing capabilities are two 1-inch diameter, 30-foot long steel or aluminum Kolsky bars driven pneumatically to speeds of a bullet train in either compression or tension mode. The bars are named after Herbert Kolsky, who in 1949 refined a technique by Bertram Hopkinson for testing the dynamic stress-strain response of materials. Another 3-inch-diameter steel bar is used for mechanical shock tests on large-size material samples or components.

    In all these bars, samples of materials are placed in the center of the apparatus and stress waves are activated through a gas gun. Custom-made sensors were developed in the lab to measure the force being applied and displacement of the material being tested.

    The lab also is fitted with an environmental chamber and induction heater that can take temperatures up to 1,200 degrees C (2,192 degrees F, or roughly the temperature of lava in a volcano) or down to minus 150 degrees C (minus 238 degrees F, or about four times colder than the average temperature at the South Pole) to test materials under extreme conditions. “We designed and built a computer-controlled Kolsky bar that uses a furnace and robotic arm to precisely heat and place the material for testing,” Bo said.

    When the specimen has reached the proper temperature, the robotic arm retracts and positions the sample, a mechanical slider moves the transmission bar so that the sample is in contact with both bars, and then the striker bar is fired to compress the sample. All this takes fewer than 10 milliseconds, or about one-tenth the time of an eye blink.

    To measure the displacement, strain and temperature of material during impact, an optical table is rigged with a high-speed camera that collects optical images at up to 5 million frames per second. An infrared camera measures heat at up to 100,000 frames per second.

    “This is a dynamic lab that we’re continually designing to meet our customers’ needs,” Bo said. “We love the challenges they bring to us.”

    Picking up ideas along the way

    BANG! — Upon impact, custom-made sensors measure the force being applied and displacement of the material being tested.

    The lab’s successes haven’t come easy. Bo has used all his 30-plus years of education and experience in experimental impact materials testing to build and customize the Sandia lab.

    His introduction to the Hopkinson Bar, the predecessor to the Kolsky Bar, came by happenstance as a student at the University of Science and Technology [中国科学技术大学] (CN) at Chinese Academy of Sciences [中国科学院](CN), a national research university and China’s equivalent to the Ivy League. A professor who was starting a new impact mechanics lab asked Bo to be his first full-time student. “I didn’t even know what a Hopkinson Bar was at the time,” he said.

    But he accepted the offer, grateful for the opportunity. He was equally grateful for his education, which was not guaranteed in China.

    “My parents didn’t have the benefit of attending a university,” Bo said. “But they knew the value and importance of education in how I could explore ideas and people. My parents understood that the key to my future was to be well-educated, so they sent me to good schools and supported me getting a doctorate.”

    While some doors opened for Bo, he actively sought others. After earning his doctorate, he began to survey his career options outside China. He searched in the U.S., Australia and Europe and ultimately landed at the University of Arizona (US) in Tucson as a postdoctoral researcher in a material dynamic testing lab. Bo spent four years there and when the entire lab moved to Purdue University (US) in Indiana, he moved with it.

    At the universities of Arizona and Purdue, Bo was working on several Department of Defense materials testing projects that included Sandia. The more he worked with colleagues from the labs, the more he became interested in Sandia. He applied for and accepted a position with Sandia/California in 2008. Five years, a wife and two kids later, he found his way to New Mexico.

    Bo credits his University of China mentor for teaching him more than technical know how. “He also was instrumental in showing me how a lab functions as a business and how to cultivate connections,” Bo said. “In my first three months in New Mexico, I never sat in my office. I was either in the lab conducting tests and building our capabilities or I was knocking on Sandia doors looking for collaborators and connections.”

    Today, the lab’s original national security mission has expanded to include geological materials, small business support, automotive technology and more.

    “There are not many labs around the world that can do what we do,” Bo said. “We’re becoming known as one of the leading facilities globally in experimental impact mechanics.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Sandia Campus.

    DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories (US) managed and operated by the National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia (a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International), is one of three National Nuclear Security Administration(US) research and development laboratories in the United States. Their primary mission is to develop, engineer, and test the non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons and high technology. Headquartered in Central New Mexico near the Sandia Mountains, on Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, Sandia also has a campus in Livermore, California, next to DOE’sLawrence Livermore National Laboratory(US), and a test facility in Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii.

    It is Sandia’s mission to maintain the reliability and surety of nuclear weapon systems, conduct research and development in arms control and nonproliferation technologies, and investigate methods for the disposal of the United States’ nuclear weapons program’s hazardous waste.

    Other missions include research and development in energy and environmental programs, as well as the surety of critical national infrastructures. In addition, Sandia is home to a wide variety of research including computational biology; mathematics (through its Computer Science Research Institute); materials science; alternative energy; psychology; MEMS; and cognitive science initiatives.

    Sandia formerly hosted ASCI Red, one of the world’s fastest supercomputers until its recent decommission, and now hosts ASCI Red Storm supercomputer, originally known as Thor’s Hammer.

    Sandia is also home to the Z Machine.

    The Z Machine is the largest X-ray generator in the world and is designed to test materials in conditions of extreme temperature and pressure. It is operated by Sandia National Laboratories to gather data to aid in computer modeling of nuclear guns. In December 2016, it was announced that National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, under the direction of Honeywell International, would take over the management of Sandia National Laboratories starting on May 1, 2017.

  • richardmitnick 11:11 am on May 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Helping drone swarms avoid obstacles without hitting each other", , Each drone can be equipped with different sensors., , Engineers at EPFL have developed a predictive control model that allows swarms of drones to fly in cluttered environments quickly and safely., Mechanical Engineering, , Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH)   

    From Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH): “Helping drone swarms avoid obstacles without hitting each other” 

    From Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH)

    Engineers at EPFL have developed a predictive control model that allows swarms of drones to fly in cluttered environments quickly and safely. It works by enabling individual drones to predict their own behavior and that of their neighbors in the swarm.

    Drone swarms avoid obstacles without collision.

    There is strength in numbers. That’s true not only for humans, but for drones too. By flying in a swarm, they can cover larger areas and collect a wider range of data, since each drone can be equipped with different sensors.

    Preventing drones from bumping into each other

    One reason why drone swarms haven’t been used more widely is the risk of gridlock within the swarm. Studies on the collective movement of animals show that each agent tends to coordinate its movements with the others, adjusting its trajectory so as to keep a safe inter-agent distance or to travel in alignment, for example.

    “In a drone swarm, when one drone changes its trajectory to avoid an obstacle, its neighbors automatically synchronize their movements accordingly,” says Dario Floreano, a professor at EPFL’s School of Engineering and head of the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS). “But that often causes the swarm to slow down, generates gridlock within the swarm or even leads to collisions.”

    Not just reacting, but also predicting

    Enrica Soria, a PhD student at LIS, has come up with a new method for getting around that problem. She has developed a predictive control model that allows drones to not just react to others in a swarm, but also to anticipate their own movements and predict those of their neighbors. “Our model gives drones the ability to determine when a neighbor is about to slow down, meaning the slowdown has less of an effect on their own flight,” says Soria. The model works by programing in locally controlled, simple rules, such as a minimum inter-agent distance to maintain, a set velocity to keep, or a specific direction to follow. Soria’s work has just been published in Nature Machine Intelligence.

    With Soria’s model, drones are much less dependent on commands issued by a central computer. Drones in aerial light shows, for example, get their instructions from a computer that calculates each one’s trajectory to avoid a collision. “But with our model, drones are commanded using local information and can modify their trajectories autonomously,” says Soria.

    A model inspired by nature

    Tests run at LIS show that Soria’s system improves the speed, order and safety of drone swarms in areas with a lot of obstacles. “We don’t yet know if, or to what extent, animals are able to predict the movements of those around them,” says Floreano. “But biologists have recently suggested that the synchronized direction changes observed in some large groups would require a more sophisticated cognitive ability than what has been believed until now.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    EPFL bloc

    EPFL campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne] (CH) is a research institute and university in Lausanne, Switzerland, that specializes in natural sciences and engineering. It is one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, and it has three main missions: education, research and technology transfer.

    The QS World University Rankings ranks EPFL(CH) 14th in the world across all fields in their 2020/2021 ranking, whereas Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranks EPFL(CH) as the world’s 19th best school for Engineering and Technology in 2020.

    EPFL(CH) is located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland; the sister institution in the German-speaking part of Switzerland is the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zürich [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich)](CH) . Associated with several specialized research institutes, the two universities form the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH(CH) Domain) which is directly dependent on the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research. In connection with research and teaching activities, EPFL(CH) operates a nuclear reactor CROCUS; a Tokamak Fusion reactor; a Blue Gene/Q Supercomputer; and P3 bio-hazard facilities.

    The roots of modern-day EPFL(CH) can be traced back to the foundation of a private school under the name École spéciale de Lausanne in 1853 at the initiative of Lois Rivier, a graduate of the École Centrale Paris (FR) and John Gay the then professor and rector of the Académie de Lausanne. At its inception it had only 11 students and the offices was located at Rue du Valentin in Lausanne. In 1869, it became the technical department of the public Académie de Lausanne. When the Académie was reorganised and acquired the status of a university in 1890, the technical faculty changed its name to École d’ingénieurs de l’Université de Lausanne. In 1946, it was renamed the École polytechnique de l’Université de Lausanne (EPUL). In 1969, the EPUL was separated from the rest of the University of Lausanne and became a federal institute under its current name. EPFL(CH), like ETH Zürich(CH), is thus directly controlled by the Swiss federal government. In contrast, all other universities in Switzerland are controlled by their respective cantonal governments. Following the nomination of Patrick Aebischer as president in 2000, EPFL(CH) has started to develop into the field of life sciences. It absorbed the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) in 2008.

    In 1946, there were 360 students. In 1969, EPFL(CH) had 1,400 students and 55 professors. In the past two decades the university has grown rapidly and as of 2012 roughly 14,000 people study or work on campus, about 9,300 of these being Bachelor, Master or PhD students. The environment at modern day EPFL(CH) is highly international with the school attracting students and researchers from all over the world. More than 125 countries are represented on the campus and the university has two official languages, French and English.


    EPFL is organised into eight schools, themselves formed of institutes that group research units (laboratories or chairs) around common themes:

    School of Basic Sciences (SB, Jan S. Hesthaven)

    Institute of Mathematics (MATH, Victor Panaretos)
    Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering (ISIC, Emsley Lyndon)
    Institute of Physics (IPHYS, Harald Brune)
    European Centre of Atomic and Molecular Computations (CECAM, Ignacio Pagonabarraga Mora)
    Bernoulli Center (CIB, Nicolas Monod)
    Biomedical Imaging Research Center (CIBM, Rolf Gruetter)
    Interdisciplinary Center for Electron Microscopy (CIME, Cécile Hébert)
    Max Planck-EPFL Centre for Molecular Nanosciences and Technology (CMNT, Thomas Rizzo)
    Swiss Plasma Center (SPC, Ambrogio Fasoli)
    Laboratory of Astrophysics (LASTRO, Jean-Paul Kneib)

    School of Engineering (STI, Ali Sayed)

    Institute of Electrical Engineering (IEL, Giovanni De Micheli)
    Institute of Mechanical Engineering (IGM, Thomas Gmür)
    Institute of Materials (IMX, Michaud Véronique)
    Institute of Microengineering (IMT, Olivier Martin)
    Institute of Bioengineering (IBI, Matthias Lütolf)

    School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC, Claudia R. Binder)

    Institute of Architecture (IA, Luca Ortelli)
    Civil Engineering Institute (IIC, Eugen Brühwiler)
    Institute of Urban and Regional Sciences (INTER, Philippe Thalmann)
    Environmental Engineering Institute (IIE, David Andrew Barry)

    School of Computer and Communication Sciences (IC, James Larus)

    Algorithms & Theoretical Computer Science
    Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
    Computational Biology
    Computer Architecture & Integrated Systems
    Data Management & Information Retrieval
    Graphics & Vision
    Human-Computer Interaction
    Information & Communication Theory
    Programming Languages & Formal Methods
    Security & Cryptography
    Signal & Image Processing

    School of Life Sciences (SV, Gisou van der Goot)

    Bachelor-Master Teaching Section in Life Sciences and Technologies (SSV)
    Brain Mind Institute (BMI, Carmen Sandi)
    Institute of Bioengineering (IBI, Melody Swartz)
    Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC, Douglas Hanahan)
    Global Health Institute (GHI, Bruno Lemaitre)
    Ten Technology Platforms & Core Facilities (PTECH)
    Center for Phenogenomics (CPG)
    NCCR Synaptic Bases of Mental Diseases (NCCR-SYNAPSY)

    College of Management of Technology (CDM)

    Swiss Finance Institute at EPFL (CDM-SFI, Damir Filipovic)
    Section of Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship (CDM-PMTE, Daniel Kuhn)
    Institute of Technology and Public Policy (CDM-ITPP, Matthias Finger)
    Institute of Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship (CDM-MTEI, Ralf Seifert)
    Section of Financial Engineering (CDM-IF, Julien Hugonnier)

    College of Humanities (CDH, Thomas David)

    Human and social sciences teaching program (CDH-SHS, Thomas David)

    EPFL Middle East (EME, Dr. Franco Vigliotti)[62]

    Section of Energy Management and Sustainability (MES, Prof. Maher Kayal)

    In addition to the eight schools there are seven closely related institutions

    Swiss Cancer Centre
    Center for Biomedical Imaging (CIBM)
    Centre for Advanced Modelling Science (CADMOS)
    École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL)
    Campus Biotech
    Wyss Center for Bio- and Neuro-engineering
    Swiss National Supercomputing Centre

  • richardmitnick 8:36 am on May 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Electromagnetic levitation whips nanomaterials into shape", , Chemical and Environmental Engineering, , Mechanical Engineering, ,   

    From UC Riverside (US) : “Electromagnetic levitation whips nanomaterials into shape” 

    UC Riverside bloc

    From UC Riverside (US)

    May 10, 2021
    Holly Ober
    Senior Public Information Officer
    (951) 827-5893

    Image showing the stringlike particles formed by iron and nickel and the more globular clusters formed by copper. Credit: Abbaschian, Zachariah, et. al. 2021.

    In order for metal nanomaterials to deliver on their promise to energy and electronics, they need to shape up — literally.

    To deliver reliable mechanical and electric properties, nanomaterials must have consistent, predictable shapes and surfaces, as well as scalable production techniques. UC Riverside engineers are solving this problem by vaporizing metals within a magnetic field to direct the reassembly of metal atoms into predictable shapes. The research is published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.

    Nanomaterials, which are made of particles measuring 1-100 nanometers, are typically created within a liquid matrix, which is expensive for bulk production applications, and in many cases cannot make pure metals, such as aluminum or magnesium. More economical production techniques typically involve vapor phase approaches to create a cloud of particles condensing from the vapor. These suffer from a lack of control.

    Reza Abbaschian, a distinguished professor of mechanical engineering; and Michael Zachariah, a distinguished professor of chemical and environmental engineering at UC Riverside’s Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering; joined forces to create nanomaterials from iron, copper, and nickel in a gas phase. They placed solid metal within a powerful electromagnetic levitation coil to heat the metal beyond its melting point, vaporizing it. The metal droplets levitated in the gas within the coil and moved in directions determined by their inherent reactions to magnetic forces. When the droplets bonded, they did so in an orderly fashion that the researchers learned they could predict based on the type of metal and how and where they applied the magnetic fields.

    Iron and nickel nanoparticles formed string-like aggregates while copper nanoparticles formed globular clusters. When deposited on a carbon film, iron and nickel aggregates gave the film a porous surface, while carbon aggregates gave it a more compact, solid surface. The qualities of the materials on the carbon film mirrored at larger scale the properties of each type of nanoparticle.

    Because the field can be thought of as an “add-on,” this approach could be applied to any vapor-phase nanoparticle generation source where the structure is important, such as fillers used in polymer composites for magnetic shielding, or to improve electrical or mechanical properties.

    “This ‘field directed’ approach enables one to manipulate the assembly process and change the architecture of the resulting particles from high fractal dimension objects to lower dimension string-like structures. The field strength can be used to manipulate the extent of this arrangement,” Zachariah said.

    Abbaschian and Zachariah were joined in the research by Pankaj Ghildiyal, Prithwish Biswas, Steven Herrera, George W. Mulholland, and Yong Yang.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Riverside Campus

    The University of California, Riverside (US) is a public land-grant research university in Riverside, California. It is one of the 10 campuses of the University of California (US) system. The main campus sits on 1,900 acres (769 ha) in a suburban district of Riverside with a branch campus of 20 acres (8 ha) in Palm Desert. In 1907, the predecessor to UC Riverside was founded as the UC Citrus Experiment Station, Riverside which pioneered research in biological pest control and the use of growth regulators responsible for extending the citrus growing season in California from four to nine months. Some of the world’s most important research collections on citrus diversity and entomology, as well as science fiction and photography, are located at Riverside.

    UC Riverside’s undergraduate College of Letters and Science opened in 1954. The Regents of the University of California declared UC Riverside a general campus of the system in 1959, and graduate students were admitted in 1961. To accommodate an enrollment of 21,000 students by 2015, more than $730 million has been invested in new construction projects since 1999. Preliminary accreditation of the UC Riverside School of Medicine was granted in October 2012 and the first class of 50 students was enrolled in August 2013. It is the first new research-based public medical school in 40 years.

    UC Riverside is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity.” The 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings places UC Riverside tied for 35th among top public universities and ranks 85th nationwide. Over 27 of UC Riverside’s academic programs, including the Graduate School of Education and the Bourns College of Engineering, are highly ranked nationally based on peer assessment, student selectivity, financial resources, and other factors. Washington Monthly ranked UC Riverside 2nd in the United States in terms of social mobility, research and community service, while U.S. News ranks UC Riverside as the fifth most ethnically diverse and, by the number of undergraduates receiving Pell Grants (42 percent), the 15th most economically diverse student body in the nation. Over 70% of all UC Riverside students graduate within six years without regard to economic disparity. UC Riverside’s extensive outreach and retention programs have contributed to its reputation as a “university of choice” for minority students. In 2005, UCR became the first public university campus in the nation to offer a gender-neutral housing option.UC Riverside’s sports teams are known as the Highlanders and play in the Big West Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I. Their nickname was inspired by the high altitude of the campus, which lies on the foothills of Box Springs Mountain. The UC Riverside women’s basketball team won back-to-back Big West championships in 2006 and 2007. In 2007, the men’s baseball team won its first conference championship and advanced to the regionals for the second time since the university moved to Division I in 2001.


    At the turn of the 20th century, Southern California was a major producer of citrus, the region’s primary agricultural export. The industry developed from the country’s first navel orange trees, planted in Riverside in 1873. Lobbied by the citrus industry, the UC Regents established the UC Citrus Experiment Station (CES) on February 14, 1907, on 23 acres (9 ha) of land on the east slope of Mount Rubidoux in Riverside. The station conducted experiments in fertilization, irrigation and crop improvement. In 1917, the station was moved to a larger site, 475 acres (192 ha) near Box Springs Mountain.

    The 1944 passage of the GI Bill during World War II set in motion a rise in college enrollments that necessitated an expansion of the state university system in California. A local group of citrus growers and civic leaders, including many UC Berkeley(US) alumni, lobbied aggressively for a UC-administered liberal arts college next to the CES. State Senator Nelson S. Dilworth authored Senate Bill 512 (1949) which former Assemblyman Philip L. Boyd and Assemblyman John Babbage (both of Riverside) were instrumental in shepherding through the State Legislature. Governor Earl Warren signed the bill in 1949, allocating $2 million for initial campus construction.

    Gordon S. Watkins, dean of the College of Letters and Science at University of California at Los Angeles(US), became the first provost of the new college at Riverside. Initially conceived of as a small college devoted to the liberal arts, he ordered the campus built for a maximum of 1,500 students and recruited many young junior faculty to fill teaching positions. He presided at its opening with 65 faculty and 127 students on February 14, 1954, remarking, “Never have so few been taught by so many.”

    UC Riverside’s enrollment exceeded 1,000 students by the time Clark Kerr became president of the University of California(US) system in 1958. Anticipating a “tidal wave” in enrollment growth required by the baby boom generation, Kerr developed the California Master Plan for Higher Education and the Regents designated Riverside a general university campus in 1959. UC Riverside’s first chancellor, Herman Theodore Spieth, oversaw the beginnings of the school’s transition to a full university and its expansion to a capacity of 5,000 students. UC Riverside’s second chancellor, Ivan Hinderaker led the campus through the era of the free speech movement and kept student protests peaceful in Riverside. According to a 1998 interview with Hinderaker, the city of Riverside received negative press coverage for smog after the mayor asked Governor Ronald Reagan to declare the South Coast Air Basin a disaster area in 1971; subsequent student enrollment declined by up to 25% through 1979. Hinderaker’s development of innovative programs in business administration and biomedical sciences created incentive for enough students to enroll at Riverside to keep the campus open.

    In the 1990s, the UC Riverside experienced a new surge of enrollment applications, now known as “Tidal Wave II”. The Regents targeted UC Riverside for an annual growth rate of 6.3%, the fastest in the UC system, and anticipated 19,900 students at UC Riverside by 2010. By 1995, African American, American Indian, and Latino student enrollments accounted for 30% of the UC Riverside student body, the highest proportion of any UC campus at the time. The 1997 implementation of Proposition 209—which banned the use of affirmative action by state agencies—reduced the ethnic diversity at the more selective UC campuses but further increased it at UC Riverside.

    With UC Riverside scheduled for dramatic population growth, efforts have been made to increase its popular and academic recognition. The students voted for a fee increase to move UC Riverside athletics into NCAA Division I standing in 1998. In the 1990s, proposals were made to establish a law school, a medical school, and a school of public policy at UC Riverside, with the UC Riverside School of Medicine and the School of Public Policy becoming reality in 2012. In June 2006, UC Riverside received its largest gift, 15.5 million from two local couples, in trust towards building its medical school. The Regents formally approved UC Riverside’s medical school proposal in 2006. Upon its completion in 2013, it was the first new medical school built in California in 40 years.


    As a campus of the University of California(US) system, UC Riverside is governed by a Board of Regents and administered by a president. The current president is Michael V. Drake, and the current chancellor of the university is Kim A. Wilcox. UC Riverside’s academic policies are set by its Academic Senate, a legislative body composed of all UC Riverside faculty members.

    UC Riverside is organized into three academic colleges, two professional schools, and two graduate schools. UC Riverside’s liberal arts college, the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, was founded in 1954, and began accepting graduate students in 1960. The College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, founded in 1960, incorporated the CES as part of the first research-oriented institution at UC Riverside; it eventually also incorporated the natural science departments formerly associated with the liberal arts college to form its present structure in 1974. UC Riverside’s newest academic unit, the Bourns College of Engineering, was founded in 1989. Comprising the professional schools are the Graduate School of Education, founded in 1968, and the UCR School of Business, founded in 1970. These units collectively provide 81 majors and 52 minors, 48 master’s degree programs, and 42 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs. UC Riverside is the only UC campus to offer undergraduate degrees in creative writing and public policy and one of three UCs (along with Berkeley and Irvine) to offer an undergraduate degree in business administration. Through its Division of Biomedical Sciences, founded in 1974, UC Riverside offers the Thomas Haider medical degree program in collaboration with UCLA.[29] UC Riverside’s doctoral program in the emerging field of dance theory, founded in 1992, was the first program of its kind in the United States, and UC Riverside’s minor in lesbian, gay and bisexual studies, established in 1996, was the first undergraduate program of its kind in the UC system. A new BA program in bagpipes was inaugurated in 2007.

    Research and economic impact

    UC Riverside operated under a $727 million budget in fiscal year 2014–15. The state government provided $214 million, student fees accounted for $224 million and $100 million came from contracts and grants. Private support and other sources accounted for the remaining $189 million. Overall, monies spent at UC Riverside have an economic impact of nearly $1 billion in California. UC Riverside research expenditure in FY 2018 totaled $167.8 million. Total research expenditures at UC Riverside are significantly concentrated in agricultural science, accounting for 53% of total research expenditures spent by the university in 2002. Top research centers by expenditure, as measured in 2002, include the Agricultural Experiment Station; the Center for Environmental Research and Technology; the Center for Bibliographical Studies; the Air Pollution Research Center; and the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics.

    Throughout UC Riverside’s history, researchers have developed more than 40 new citrus varieties and invented new techniques to help the $960 million-a-year California citrus industry fight pests and diseases. In 1927, entomologists at the CES introduced two wasps from Australia as natural enemies of a major citrus pest, the citrophilus mealybug, saving growers in Orange County $1 million in annual losses. This event was pivotal in establishing biological control as a practical means of reducing pest populations. In 1963, plant physiologist Charles Coggins proved that application of gibberellic acid allows fruit to remain on citrus trees for extended periods. The ultimate result of his work, which continued through the 1980s, was the extension of the citrus-growing season in California from four to nine months. In 1980, UC Riverside released the Oroblanco grapefruit, its first patented citrus variety. Since then, the citrus breeding program has released other varieties such as the Melogold grapefruit, the Gold Nugget mandarin (or tangerine), and others that have yet to be given trademark names.

    To assist entrepreneurs in developing new products, UC Riverside is a primary partner in the Riverside Regional Technology Park, which includes the City of Riverside and the County of Riverside. It also administers six reserves of the University of California Natural Reserve System. UC Riverside recently announced a partnership with China Agricultural University[中国农业大学](CN) to launch a new center in Beijing, which will study ways to respond to the country’s growing environmental issues. UC Riverside can also boast the birthplace of two name reactions in organic chemistry, the Castro-Stephens coupling and the Midland Alpine Borane Reduction..

  • richardmitnick 1:08 pm on March 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The history of the Ross Hoists", , At each set two drums ran in tandem., Credits to Siemag Tecberg, Double Drum Electric Ore Hoists, For nearly 70 years the Ross Shaft served as a main conduit for thousands of miners and millions of tons of ore., Homestake installed two sets of Nordberg’s double drum hoists—one set for the transportation of men and equipment and the other for skipping ore from the underground to the surface., Homestake invested in the sinking of the Ross Shaft to chase the newly located ore body through the Earth., In the 1930s when most of the nation was facing a crippling economic depression Homestake was booming., , Leaders in United States particle physics research had taken notice of Homestake eyeing it as a possible future sight for an underground laboratory., Mechanical Engineering, Mine planners had discovered a south-plunging ore body known as 9 Ledge., Nordberg Manufacturers in Milwaukee Wisconsin(US), Robert Crane [the name fits just fine] is a second-generation Ross Hoist Operator (his uncle was a hoist operator at the Ross before him)., Ros and later Yates hoistrooms, Sanford Lab’s cutting-edge research supported by the lasting power of 1930s engineering, , That this cutting-edge research is made possible by the lasting-power of 1930s engineering is not lost on those at Sanford Lab today., The documents herein spanning decades provide a well-preserved paper trail of the history of the Ross Hoists., The efforts to turn the Homestake into a science facility became a reality in 2006., The Ross complex which includes the shaft; headframe; and hoistroom was named for Homestake Superintendent Alec J. M. Ross., The Ross Headframe which overlooks Kirk Canyon became an iconic landmark in the Black Hills., What makes these drums turn? A steel shaft weighing nearly 30 tons runs through the center of each drum., When you hired on with Homestake you had six months to learn every hoist on the property.   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF: “The history of the Ross Hoists” 

    SURF-Sanford Underground Research Facility, Lead, South Dakota, USA.

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF

    Homestake Mining, Lead, South Dakota, USA.

    Homestake Mining Company

    March 15, 2021
    Erin Lorraine Broberg

    Sanford Lab’s cutting-edge research supported by the lasting power of 1930s engineering.

    Circa 1932, this photo shows engineers and workers standing on the fully assembled Ross Hoists at the Nordberg Manufacturing plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. These hoists would be disassembled and shipped by rail to Lead, South Dakota, where they would operate for seven decades with Homestake Gold Mine and later for Sanford Underground Research Facility. Credit: Siemag Tecberg, Inc.

    In September 1933, a letter was delivered to Mr. R. Williams in care of the Highland Hotel in Lead, South Dakota. The letter, sent from Nordberg Manufacturers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, began:

    “Dear Mr. Williams: Your letter and report of September 11 must have crossed our letter in the mail and covers the questions we asked in our letter. Now, in regards to the drum bushings…”

    Photo of a telegram from Nordberg Manufacturers. Credit: Siemag Tecberg, Inc.

    Williams was a representative of Nordberg Manufacturers on an extended trip to Lead, where the Homestake Gold Mine (Homestake) was installing two Nordberg-patented Double Drum Electric Ore Hoists. Homestake was on its way to becoming the deepest, most productive gold mine in the Northern Hemisphere; Nordberg’s hoists would be the engines behind the effort.

    Between 1932 and 1934, correspondence passed from Milwaukee to Lead monthly, sometimes weekly, with inquiries into design details and updates on the installation. In addition to posted letters, several telegrams clicked across the Midwest on telegraph lines, delivering short statements.

    At times, the content of the messages revealed the limitations of communications at the time. As noted in the letter delivered to Williams, sometimes letters crossed paths. And telegram authors, who were charged by the word, sent only brief bursts of information. One telegram, dated March 14, 1936, contains a curious message:

    “Williams at present somewhere between Wallace Idaho and Butte Montana we are trying to locate him STOP feel sure that unless something unforeseen happens Williams will be in Lead Wednesday March Eighteenth”

    Photo of a telegram. Credit: Siemag Tecberg, Inc.

    Rest assured, Williams eventually did arrive in Lead. He sent a telegram on May 12, 1936, announcing his plans to travel to Milwaukee the following day. An earlier telegram, dated January 7, 1934, and sent to Nordberg Manufacturers, contains a description of wintery road conditions that are familiar to this day:

    “Arrived here today was delayed at Rapid City with a bad sleet storm as skidded off the road but am here in ample time as the first cars shipped arrived in Deadwood yesterday”

    Photo of a telegram. Credit: Siemag Tecberg, Inc.

    While correspondence lessened after the Nordberg Hoists were completed in the Ross, and later the Yates, hoistrooms, it never completely stopped. Decades of letters and telegrams, together with black-and-white photographs, full-color flyers and handwritten engineering notes were compiled and stowed in an archive room in the headquarters of Nordberg Manufacturers in downtown Milwaukee.

    Decades of letters and telegrams, together with black-and-white photographs, full-color flyers and handwritten engineering notes were compiled and stowed in an archive room in the headquarters of Nordberg Manufacturers in downtown Milwaukee. Credit: Siemag Tecberg, Inc.

    Toward the end of the twentieth century, the Nordberg company was acquired several times, and the Milwaukee manufacturing plant was shut down, leaving only an engineering office at the location. The archive room, however, with rows of filing cabinets, binders of yellowing, onion skin pages and envelopes of microfiche, remained unperturbed.

    The documents, spanning decades, provide a well-preserved paper trail of the history of the Ross Hoists.

    “When you start digging through these old drawings and original blueprints, you find out a lot about how the systems changed,” said Richard Meyer, a mechanical engineer with Siemag Tecberg, the company that had acquired Nordberg’s hoisting division in 2000. “Everything is recorded in these old documents.”

    A microfiche with designs for the Ross Hoists. Credit: Siemag Tecberg, Inc.

    A table of documents, designs and flyers for the Ross Hoists. Credit: Siemag Tecberg, Inc.

    The Ross Complex

    In the 1930s when most of the nation was facing a crippling economic depression Homestake was booming. The price of gold had increased under the Gold Reserve Act of 1934. And mine planners had discovered a south-plunging ore body known as 9 Ledge, with ore averaging 0.269 ounces of gold per ton.

    Homestake invested in the sinking of the Ross Shaft to chase the newly located ore body through the Earth. The shaft provided access to an additional 6.5 million tons of ore. The undertaking began in 1932, with the first rock hoisted in 1934. The shaft didn’t reach its full depth of 5,000 feet until 1956.

    Early construction of the Ross Headframe.

    The Ross complex which includes the shaft; headframe; and hoistroom was named for Homestake Superintendent Alec J. M. Ross. The Ross Headframe, which overlooks Kirk Canyon, became an iconic landmark in the Black Hills. The real power, however, resides in the Hoistroom, the unassuming brick building just a few hundred feet from the base of the towering headframe.

    Manufacturing the Ross hoists

    The original Ross hoists were manufactured at Nordberg’s Milwaukee manufacturing plant. Before the parts were shipped, Nordberg’s workforce fully constructed the hoists in their plant, ensuring everything could be installed as designed.

    The fully assembled Ross Hoists at the Nordberg Manufacturing plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. These hoists would be disassembled and shipped by rail to Lead, South Dakota, where they would operate for seven decades with Homestake Gold Mine. Credit: Siemag Tecberg, Inc.

    The hoist components were disassembled then shipped across the Midwest by railroad. The last stretch of the journey took place on the Black Hills and Fort Pierre Railroad. Built by Homestake, the rail line conveniently passed right by the Ross complex. Once they arrived, the hoists were assembled in their final home.

    Correspondence between Nordberg Manufacturers and Homestake Gold Mine. Credit: Siemag Tecberg, Inc.

    Homestake installed two sets of Nordberg’s double drum hoists—one set for the transportation of men and equipment, the other for skipping ore from the underground to the surface, where it could be crushed, processed and refined.

    At each set two drums ran in tandem. Together, they created a counterbalancing system. As an operator lowered one conveyance, the weight of it lifted the other. While the drums could be run separately, running them together greatly reduced the energy needed to power the hoists.

    The drums looked a bit like massive spools for thread but have a unique design. The diameter at one end is 25 feet, but tapers to a diameter of 12 feet at the other end, allowing them to sit opposite each other, aligned to shrink the footprint of the drums.

    The Nordberg Manufacturer’s double drum hoist is shown from above. The diameter at one end is 25 feet and tapers to a diameter of 12 feet at the other end, allowing them to sit opposite each other and shrink the footprint of the drums. Credit: Siemag Tecberg, Inc.

    What makes these drums turn? A steel shaft weighing nearly 30 tons runs through the center of each drum, supporting the drums, the rope and the load on the cage. The shaft fits snugly into bearings, where it is doused continuously with circulating oil to keep everything spinning smoothly.

    Energy was delivered to the Ross Hoistroom as alternating current (AC), but direct current (DC) was needed to power the massive machinery. An entire room in the Ross Hoistroom was dedicated to converting AC power to DC power. Two nearly identical motor-generator sets, one for each of the hoist sets, ran constantly inside this room. A 50-ton flywheel was also connected to the rotating shaft and was used to store and deliver mechanical power to the DC generators for times when the hoist needed additional power for hoisting

    Between the counterbalance system, the DC motors and the tapered drum shape, the hoists had sufficient torque to hoist a fully loaded cage from the bottom of the 5,000-foot shaft. This hoist system continued to work through the century, enabling travel throughout the Ross Shaft at Homestake.

    A man stands in front of the production hoist in the Ross Hoistroom. Credit: Siemag Tecberg, Inc.

    Generations of hoisting

    Robert Crane [the name fits just fine] is a second-generation Ross Hoist Operator (his uncle was a hoist operator at the Ross before him), who joined Homestake in 1987. He left in 1998 as operations at Homestake began to slow, then returned in 2011 to work in the same hoistroom for Sanford Lab.

    “When you hired on with Homestake, you had six months to learn every hoist on the property,” said Crane, while sitting on the operator’s platform. “And if you didn’t learn them all, you were down the road. You’d learn all four surface hoists, the Yates and Ross; two at 6 Shaft; two at 4 Winze; plus, back then when I hired on, 7 Shaft was still running. So that’s what? Two, four, six, eight, nine—nine hoists in six months.” Hoists for 6 Shaft, 4 Winze and 7 Shaft were all underground.

    Hoist operators did more than raise and lower conveyances; they were known for their meticulous care of the hoists. And because the hoists were the engines of Homestake’s production, they ran 24/7.

    “Upgrades to the hoists were pretty few and far between,” recalled Mike Johnson, who joined Homestake as an engineer in 1979 and worked for eleven years at Sanford Lab. “Basically, all repair and replace. They might have gotten new brushes, a motor replacement. If something happened and they didn’t have a spare they’d ship it out or get a contractor to work overtime to get it back into production. That was kind of the name of the game back then. Production, production.”

    The hoists performed well throughout the 1900s, and Nordberg used the Homestake hoists as an example of their industry-leading technology.

    A 1938 Nordberg Manufacturers flyer features the Homestake Gold Mine’s Ross Headframe and hoists. Credit: Siemag Tecberg, Inc.

    Hoisting for science

    For nearly 70 years the Ross Shaft served as a main conduit for thousands of miners and millions of tons of ore. But in the late 1900s, the price of gold faltered, forcing the Homestake mine to close by 2002. The hoistrooms were cleaned and put into a static state, while discussions about the facility’s future took place.

    Leaders in United States particle physics research had taken notice of Homestake eyeing it as a possible future sight for an underground laboratory. Although the wheels of politics and financial support turned slowly, the efforts to turn the Homestake into a science facility became a reality in 2006. With a generous donation from the facility’s namesake T. Denny Sanford, a land donation from Barrick Gold Corporation and funding from the State of South Dakota, the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) was formed to manage the Sanford Underground Research Facility

    By 2007, the Ross Hoists were 73 years old. Although they were left in pristine condition when the. mine closed, they had remained unused for years.

    “They had to do a lot of work to get the hoists up and working again,” said Todd Hubbard, a mechanical engineer at Sanford Lab who worked for Homestake in the 1990s. “There were general ailments from not being used for years.

    Engineers and operators completed numerous evaluations on mechanical, electrical and operational components, updating and replacing components as needed and verifying the safety of the hoists. Soon, the Ross Hoists began turning once again; this time, to support underground science.

    Since 2012, a series of infrastructure improvement projects have helped restore the Ross Shaft, the Ross Headframe and the Ross Hoists. The effort prepares the system for its role in the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), which will be the largest international particle physics experiment on U.S. soil. The Ross Hoists will skip more than 800,000 tons of waste rock excavated for the experiment’s caverns then move equipment, supplies and materials to build the massive detector on the 4850 Level

    That this cutting-edge research is made possible by the lasting-power of 1930s engineering is not lost on those at Sanford Lab today.

    “I’ve joked that the Ross Hoistroom is an operating museum,” said Al Stratman, chief engineer at Sanford Lab. “The fact that these systems are operational and reliable—it’s incredible. Every place has their histories, and this place, it’s history on steroids. The shafts and the underground workings and this melding of the research and the cutting-edge technology—just cool reasons for me, as an engineer, to come to work every day.”

    This article was written by Erin Lorraine Broberg, communications specialist, with contributions from Constance Walter, communications director. Major contributions to this article were made by Siemag Tecberg, Inc. Historical sources for this article include Steve Mitchell’s “Nuggets to Neutrinos.” Historical images were provided by Black Hills Mining Museum and Siemag Tecberg, Inc.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    About us: The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF in Lead, South Dakota, advances our understanding of the universe by providing laboratory space deep underground, where sensitive physics experiments can be shielded from cosmic radiation. Researchers at the Sanford Lab explore some of the most challenging questions facing 21st century physics, such as the origin of matter, the nature of dark matter and the properties of neutrinos. The facility also hosts experiments in other disciplines—including geology, biology and engineering.

    The Sanford Lab is located at the former Homestake gold mine, which was a physics landmark long before being converted into a dedicated science facility. Nuclear chemist Ray Davis earned a share of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002 for a solar neutrino experiment he installed 4,850 feet underground in the mine.

    Homestake closed in 2003, but the company donated the property to South Dakota in 2006 for use as an underground laboratory. That same year, philanthropist T. Denny Sanford donated $70 million to the project. The South Dakota Legislature also created the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority to operate the lab. The state Legislature has committed more than $40 million in state funds to the project, and South Dakota also obtained a $10 million Community Development Block Grant to help rehabilitate the facility.

    In 2007, after the National Science Foundation named Homestake as the preferred site for a proposed national Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) began reopening the former gold mine.

    In December 2010, the National Science Board decided not to fund further design of DUSEL. However, in 2011 the Department of Energy, through the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, agreed to support ongoing science operations at Sanford Lab, while investigating how to use the underground research facility for other longer-term experiments. The SDSTA, which owns Sanford Lab, continues to operate the facility under that agreement with Berkeley Lab.

    The first two major physics experiments at the Sanford Lab are 4,850 feet underground in an area called the Davis Campus, named for the late Ray Davis. The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment is housed in the same cavern excavated for Ray Davis’s experiment in the 1960s.

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA, will replace LUX at SURF

    In October 2013, after an initial run of 80 days, LUX was determined to be the most sensitive detector yet to search for dark matter—a mysterious, yet-to-be-detected substance thought to be the most prevalent matter in the universe. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment, also on the 4850 Level, is searching for a rare phenomenon called “neutrinoless double-beta decay” that could reveal whether subatomic particles called neutrinos can be their own antiparticle. Detection of neutrinoless double-beta decay could help determine why matter prevailed over antimatter. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment is adjacent to the original Davis cavern.

    LUX’s mission was to scour the universe for WIMPs, vetoing all other signatures. It would continue to do just that for another three years before it was decommissioned in 2016.

    In the midst of the excitement over first results, the LUX collaboration was already casting its gaze forward. Planning for a next-generation dark matter experiment at Sanford Lab was already under way. Named LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), the next-generation experiment would increase the sensitivity of LUX 100 times.

    SLAC physicist Tom Shutt, a previous co-spokesperson for LUX, said one goal of the experiment was to figure out how to build an even larger detector.
    “LZ will be a thousand times more sensitive than the LUX detector,” Shutt said. “It will just begin to see an irreducible background of neutrinos that may ultimately set the limit to our ability to measure dark matter.”
    We celebrate five years of LUX, and look into the steps being taken toward the much larger and far more sensitive experiment.

    Another major experiment, the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE)—a collaboration with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and Sanford Lab, is in the preliminary design stages. The project got a major boost last year when Congress approved and the president signed an Omnibus Appropriations bill that will fund LBNE operations through FY 2014. Called the “next frontier of particle physics,” LBNE will follow neutrinos as they travel 800 miles through the earth, from FermiLab in Batavia, Ill., to Sanford Lab.

    FNAL LBNE/DUNE from FNAL to SURF, Lead, South Dakota, USA


    SURF DUNE LBNF Caverns at Sanford Lab.

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

    The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR will contain 40 kg of germanium; up to 30 kg will be enriched to 86% in 76Ge. The DEMONSTRATOR will be deployed deep underground in an ultra-low-background shielded environment in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, SD. The goal of the DEMONSTRATOR is to determine whether a future 1-tonne experiment can achieve a background goal of one count per tonne-year in a 4-keV region of interest around the 76Ge 0νββ Q-value at 2039 keV. MAJORANA plans to collaborate with GERDA for a future tonne-scale 76Ge 0νββ search.


    CASPAR experiment target at SURF.

    CASPAR is a low-energy particle accelerator that allows researchers to study processes that take place inside collapsing stars.

    The scientists are using space in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, South Dakota, to work on a project called the Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). CASPAR uses a low-energy particle accelerator that will allow researchers to mimic nuclear fusion reactions in stars. If successful, their findings could help complete our picture of how the elements in our universe are built. “Nuclear astrophysics is about what goes on inside the star, not outside of it,” said Dan Robertson, a Notre Dame assistant research professor of astrophysics working on CASPAR. “It is not observational, but experimental. The idea is to reproduce the stellar environment, to reproduce the reactions within a star.”

  • richardmitnick 10:10 am on March 2, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Photonics discovery portends dramatic efficiencies in silicon chips", , Frequency multiplexing, Mechanical Engineering, , Silicon photonics uses light rather than electrical signals to transmit data., Silicon waveguides provide the principle building block of on-chip photonics., The team demonstrated dual-band optical processing significantly expanding the functionality of silicon as a photonics platform., Vanderbilt University(US)   

    From Vanderbilt University(US): “Photonics discovery portends dramatic efficiencies in silicon chips” 

    Vanderbilt U Bloc

    From Vanderbilt University(US)

    March 1, 2021

    Researchers devised a hybrid, hyperbolic-silicon photonic waveguide platform that transmits mid-IR and near-IR light at the same time, on the same chip, demonstrating dual-band optical processing. Credit: Caldwell Lab.

    A team led by Vanderbilt engineers has achieved the ability to transmit two different types of optical signals across a single chip at the same time.

    The breakthrough heralds a potentially dramatic increase in the volume of data a silicon chip can transmit over any period of time. With this project, the research team moved beyond theoretical models and demonstrated dual-band optical processing significantly expanding the functionality of silicon as a photonics platform.

    Joshua Caldwell, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor Sharon Weiss, professor of electrical engineering, led the team, which also included faculty members from Columbia University(US), the University of Iowa, and Kansas State University.

    Their research was published online in Advanced Materials on Feb. 1. It is featured on the inside cover of the March 16 print edition of the journal.

    The work is an important advance in silicon photonics, which uses light rather than electrical signals to transmit data. The need for faster and expanded processing has all but outstripped the limits of adding more wire to smaller and smaller chips, which requires more power, creates more heat, and risks data integrity. Using patterned silicon to transmit optical signals uses less power without heating up or degrading the signal.

    Still, doing more with the same chip has been challenging. Silicon waveguides provide the principle building block of on-chip photonics, confining light and routing it to functional optical components for signal processing. Different forms of light need different waveguides, but linear scaling to accommodate more waveguides would quickly surpass the available space of a silicon chip in the standard form factor.

    “It has been difficult to combine near-infrared and mid-infrared transmission in the same device,” said Mingze He, a Vanderbilt mechanical engineering Ph.D. student and first author of the paper.

    Two innovations—a novel approach and device geometry—allowed disparate frequencies of light to be guided within the same structure. Such frequency multiplexing is not new but the ability to expand the bandwidth within the same available space is.

    Leveraging the infrared properties of hexagonal boron nitride, researchers devised a hybrid, hyperbolic-silicon photonic waveguide platform. In the mid-infrared, the structure of the hBN crystal can support a novel type of optical mode called a hyperbolic phonon polariton. These hyperbolic polaritons were demonstrated to guide long, mid-infrared wavelengths of light within nanoscale thickness slabs, with the optical modes following the path of the underlying silicon waveguide.

    The approach does not require any additional fabrication of the hBN and can support signal processing and chemical sensing modalities simultaneously, without the need for expanding the device form factor.

    “The inclusion of the mid-IR offers promising opportunities for combining signal processing with chemical sensing, or modulation schemes not possible with near-IR signals alone,” Caldwell said.

    Mid-IR is widely used in the chemical and agricultural industries; applications of near-IR include telecommunications and medical diagnostics.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt was in his 79th year when he decided to make the gift that founded Vanderbilt University(US) in the spring of 1873. The $1 million that he gave to endow and build the university was the commodore’s only major philanthropy. Methodist Bishop Holland N. McTyeire of Nashville, husband of Amelia Townsend who was a cousin of the commodore’s young second wife Frank Crawford, went to New York for medical treatment early in 1873 and spent time recovering in the Vanderbilt mansion. He won the commodore’s admiration and support for the project of building a university in the South that would “contribute to strengthening the ties which should exist between all sections of our common country.”

    McTyeire chose the site for the campus, supervised the construction of buildings and personally planted many of the trees that today make Vanderbilt a national arboretum. At the outset, the university consisted of one Main Building (now Kirkland Hall), an astronomical observatory and houses for professors. Landon C. Garland was Vanderbilt’s first chancellor, serving from 1875 to 1893. He advised McTyeire in selecting the faculty, arranged the curriculum and set the policies of the university.

    For the first 40 years of its existence, Vanderbilt was under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The Vanderbilt Board of Trust severed its ties with the church in June 1914 as a result of a dispute with the bishops over who would appoint university trustees.

    From the outset, Vanderbilt met two definitions of a university: It offered work in the liberal arts and sciences beyond the baccalaureate degree and it embraced several professional schools in addition to its college. James H. Kirkland, the longest serving chancellor in university history (1893-1937), followed Chancellor Garland. He guided Vanderbilt to rebuild after a fire in 1905 that consumed the main building, which was renamed in Kirkland’s honor, and all its contents. He also navigated the university through the separation from the Methodist Church. Notable advances in graduate studies were made under the third chancellor, Oliver Cromwell Carmichael (1937-46). He also created the Joint University Library, brought about by a coalition of Vanderbilt, Peabody College and Scarritt College.

    Remarkable continuity has characterized the government of Vanderbilt. The original charter, issued in 1872, was amended in 1873 to make the legal name of the corporation “The Vanderbilt University.” The charter has not been altered since.

    The university is self-governing under a Board of Trust that, since the beginning, has elected its own members and officers. The university’s general government is vested in the Board of Trust. The immediate government of the university is committed to the chancellor, who is elected by the Board of Trust.

    The original Vanderbilt campus consisted of 75 acres. By 1960, the campus had spread to about 260 acres of land. When George Peabody College for Teachers merged with Vanderbilt in 1979, about 53 acres were added.

    Vanderbilt’s student enrollment tended to double itself each 25 years during the first century of the university’s history: 307 in the fall of 1875; 754 in 1900; 1,377 in 1925; 3,529 in 1950; 7,034 in 1975. In the fall of 1999 the enrollment was 10,127.

    In the planning of Vanderbilt, the assumption seemed to be that it would be an all-male institution. Yet the board never enacted rules prohibiting women. At least one woman attended Vanderbilt classes every year from 1875 on. Most came to classes by courtesy of professors or as special or irregular (non-degree) students. From 1892 to 1901 women at Vanderbilt gained full legal equality except in one respect — access to dorms. In 1894 the faculty and board allowed women to compete for academic prizes. By 1897, four or five women entered with each freshman class. By 1913 the student body contained 78 women, or just more than 20 percent of the academic enrollment.

    National recognition of the university’s status came in 1949 with election of Vanderbilt to membership in the select Association of American Universities. In the 1950s Vanderbilt began to outgrow its provincial roots and to measure its achievements by national standards under the leadership of Chancellor Harvie Branscomb. By its 90th anniversary in 1963, Vanderbilt for the first time ranked in the top 20 private universities in the United States.

    Vanderbilt continued to excel in research, and the number of university buildings more than doubled under the leadership of Chancellors Alexander Heard (1963-1982) and Joe B. Wyatt (1982-2000), only the fifth and sixth chancellors in Vanderbilt’s long and distinguished history. Heard added three schools (Blair, the Owen Graduate School of Management and Peabody College) to the seven already existing and constructed three dozen buildings. During Wyatt’s tenure, Vanderbilt acquired or built one-third of the campus buildings and made great strides in diversity, volunteerism and technology.

    The university grew and changed significantly under its seventh chancellor, Gordon Gee, who served from 2000 to 2007. Vanderbilt led the country in the rate of growth for academic research funding, which increased to more than $450 million and became one of the most selective undergraduate institutions in the country.

    On March 1, 2008, Nicholas S. Zeppos was named Vanderbilt’s eighth chancellor after serving as interim chancellor beginning Aug. 1, 2007. Prior to that, he spent 2002-2008 as Vanderbilt’s provost, overseeing undergraduate, graduate and professional education programs as well as development, alumni relations and research efforts in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education, business, law and divinity. He first came to Vanderbilt in 1987 as an assistant professor in the law school. In his first five years, Zeppos led the university through the most challenging economic times since the Great Depression, while continuing to attract the best students and faculty from across the country and around the world. Vanderbilt got through the economic crisis notably less scathed than many of its peers and began and remained committed to its much-praised enhanced financial aid policy for all undergraduates during the same timespan. The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons for first-year students opened in 2008 and College Halls, the next phase in the residential education system at Vanderbilt, is on track to open in the fall of 2014. During Zeppos’ first five years, Vanderbilt has drawn robust support from federal funding agencies, and the Medical Center entered into agreements with regional hospitals and health care systems in middle and east Tennessee that will bring Vanderbilt care to patients across the state.

    Today, Vanderbilt University is a private research university of about 6,500 undergraduates and 5,300 graduate and professional students. The university comprises 10 schools, a public policy center and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center. Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education and human development as well as a full range of graduate and professional degrees. The university is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top 20 universities by publications such as U.S. News & World Report, with several programs and disciplines ranking in the top 10.

    Cutting-edge research and liberal arts, combined with strong ties to a distinguished medical center, creates an invigorating atmosphere where students tailor their education to meet their goals and researchers collaborate to solve complex questions affecting our health, culture and society.

    Vanderbilt, an independent, privately supported university, and the separate, non-profit Vanderbilt University Medical Center share a respected name and enjoy close collaboration through education and research. Together, the number of people employed by these two organizations exceeds that of the largest private employer in the Middle Tennessee region.

  • richardmitnick 10:56 pm on February 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Tiny particles produce huge photon avalanches", , Avalanching nanoparticles might be used to create an optical imaging system with a resolution of just 70 nm., “Perfect photostability”, , , Concentration quenching, , Mechanical Engineering, , Photon avalanching, , Upconversion   

    From physicsworld.com: “Tiny particles produce huge photon avalanches” 

    From physicsworld.com

    21 Jan 2021 [Just now in social media.]
    Isabelle Dumé

    The chain-reaction process that underlies photon avalanching. Credit: Mikołaj Łukaszewicz/Polish Academy of Sciences.

    Researchers in the US, Poland and Korea have observed photon avalanching – a chain-reaction-like process in which the absorption of a single photon triggers the emission of many – in tiny crystals just 25–30 nm in diameter. This highly nonlinear phenomenon had previously only been seen in bulk materials, and team leader James Schuck says that replicating it in nanoparticles could lead to “revolutionary new applications” in imaging, sensing and light detection.

    Photon avalanching involves a process known as upconversion, whereby the energy of the emitted photons is higher than the energy of the photons that triggered the avalanche. Materials based on lanthanides (chemical elements with atomic numbers between 57 and 71) can support this process in part because their internal atomic structure enables them to store energy for long periods of time. Even so, achieving photon avalanching in lanthanide (Ln) systems is difficult because high concentrations of Ln ions are needed to keep the avalanche going, and the relatively large volume of material required has previously restricted applications.

    Add more lanthanide

    In the latest work, Schuck and colleagues at Columbia University, together with collaborators at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Polish Academy of Sciences and Sungkyunkwan University, observed photon avalanching in Ln nanocrystals after exciting them with a laser at near-infrared wavelengths of either 1064 or 1450 nm. The crystals are based on sodium yttrium fluoride (NaYF4) in which 8% of the yttrium ions have been replaced with thulium. This doping fraction is much higher than the 0.2–1% typically found in previous work on photon avalanching.

    Schuck and colleagues found that in their best-performing devices, the intensity of the upconverted emission from their doped nanocrystals scales with the 26th power of the intensity of the exciting lasers – meaning that a 10% change in incident light produces more than a 1000% change in emitted light. This extreme nonlinearity far exceeds previously reported responses for Ln crystals and is not possible in other nonlinear optical materials.

    And that’s not all. Co-team leader Arthur Bednarkiewicz tells Physics World that an effect that occurs due to a phenomenon called concentration quenching, and that is usually detrimental in upconverting lanthanide-based luminescent materials, appears in this material as a positive chain reaction, similar to optical gain. It thus enables photon avalanching.

    Unprecedented nonlinear response

    According to the researchers, the unprecedented nonlinear response they observed means that avalanching nanoparticles might be used to create an optical imaging system with a resolution of just 70 nm. This would be well below the diffraction limit, which dictates that features smaller than about half the wavelength of the illuminating light cannot be resolved.

    “In such an application, the particles would effectively be employed as luminescent probes and the technique could work using a simple scanning confocal microscope,” says Changhwan Lee, the study’s lead author and a member of Schuck’s group.

    Bednarkiewicz adds that the “perfect photostability” of the photon avalanching nanoparticles gives them an advantage over alternative probe particles such as organic dyes or fluorescent proteins. Whereas the fluorescence from these other materials tends to fade away under prolonged illumination, Bednarkiewicz says that emissions from the nanoparticles “can last almost infinitely and may enable long-term sub-diffraction observations.”

    The nanoparticles do have some drawbacks. At 25 nm in diameter, they are larger than the 3 mm organic fluorophores routinely employed in biological sensing applications. Their surface also needs to be functionalized (that is, it needs to have certain chemical groups incorporated to promote desired reactions) before they can sense specific biological molecules. A further drawback is that the nanoparticles emit just a single colour of light, and the avalanching process has a relatively long onset time (from tens to hundreds of milliseconds). However, Schuck and colleagues say that – as with any new technology – further optimization is possible, and some of these drawbacks may be overcome in later work.

    For now, the researchers are focusing on ways to use the nonlinear behaviour they have observed for biological and environmental sensing – for example, to detect pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and fungi in biological fluids, blood or tissue. Other possible uses might include sensing changes in temperature, pressure and humidity.

    Bednarkiewicz adds that the photon avalanching nanoparticles may also find applications more broadly, in areas ranging from mid infrared photon detection and nanolasers to optical neuromorphic computing and optogenetics. “Our present and past studies will certainly be of interest to the scientific luminescence community since they redefine the fundamental concepts and requirements for achieving photon avalanching at the nanoscale,” he says.

    The research is detailed in Nature.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    PhysicsWorld is a publication of the Institute of Physics. The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society. We are a charitable organisation with a worldwide membership of more than 50,000, working together to advance physics education, research and application.

    We engage with policymakers and the general public to develop awareness and understanding of the value of physics and, through IOP Publishing, we are world leaders in professional scientific communications.
    IOP Institute of Physics

  • richardmitnick 2:15 pm on January 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Studies Provide Answers About Promising 2D Materials", , , , Doping - adding impurities such as boron or phosphorus to silicon for example - is essential to developing semiconductors., , In the first study Cha used molybdenum disulfide (MoS2)., Instead because 2D materials are pretty much all surface researchers can sprinkle small molecules known as organic electron donors (OED) onto the surfaces and activate the 2D materials., , Mechanical Engineering, , , Two-dimensional layered materials hold great promise for a number of applications.,   

    From Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science: “Studies Provide Answers About Promising 2D Materials” 

    Yale University

    From Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science


    Two-dimensional, layered materials hold great promise for a number of applications, such as alternative platforms for the next-generation of logic and memory devices and flexible energy storage devices. There’s still much, however, that remains unknown about them.

    This visualisation shows layers of graphene used for membranes. Credit: University of Manchester.

    Two studies from the lab of Judy Cha, the Carol and Douglas Melamed Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science and a member of Yale West Campus Energy Sciences Institute, answer some crucial questions about these materials. Both studies were funded with grants from the Army Research Office (ARO), an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory, and have been published in Advanced Electronic Materials.

    In one paper [Advanced Electronic Materials], Cha and her team of researchers, in collaboration with Yale chemistry professors Nilay Hazari and Hailiang Wang, experimentally measured the precise doping effects of small molecules on 2D materials – a first step toward tailoring molecules for modulating the electrical properties of 2D materials. In the process of doing so, they also achieved a very high doping concentration.

    Doping – adding impurities such as boron or phosphorus to silicon, for example – is essential to developing semiconductors. It allows for the tuning of the carrier densities – the number of electrons and other charge-carriers – to produce a functional device. Conventional doping methods, however, tend to be too energy-intensive and potentially damaging to work well for 2D materials.

    Instead, because 2D materials are pretty much all surface, researchers can sprinkle small molecules known as organic electron donors (OED) onto the surfaces, and activate the 2D materials – that is, create surface functionalization. Thanks to organic chemistry, the method is remarkably effective. It also greatly widens the choice for the material being used. For this study, Cha used molybdenum disulfide (MoS2).

    However, to further optimize these materials, researchers need a greater level of precision. They need to know how many electrons each molecule of the OED donates to the 2D material, and how many molecules are needed altogether.

    “By doing so, we can go forward and design properly, knowing how to tweak the molecules and then increase the carrier densities,” Cha said.

    To make this calibration, Cha and her team used atomic force microscopy at the Imaging Core at Yale’s West Campus. For their material, they achieved a doping efficiency of about one electron per molecule, which allowed them to demonstrate the highest doping level ever achieved in MoS2. This was possible only by the precise measurements that were conducted.

    “Now that we know the doping power, we are no longer in the dark space of not knowing where we are,” she said. “Before, we could dope but couldn’t know how effective that doping is. Now we have some target electron densities that we want to achieve and we feel like we know how to get there.”

    In a second paper [Advanced Electronic Materials], Cha’s team looked at the effects of mechanical strain on the ordering of lithium in lithium-ion batteries.

    Current commercial lithium ion batteries use graphite as the anode. When lithium is inserted into the gaps between graphene layers that make up graphite, the gaps need to expand to make room for the lithium atoms.

    “So we asked ‘What if you stopped this expansion?’” Cha said. “We found that local straining affects the ordering of the lithium ion. The lithium ions effectively get slowed down.”

    When there’s a strain energy, lithium is not able to move as freely as before, and more energy is required to force the lithium into its preferred configuration.

    By calculating the exact effects of the strain energy, Cha’s research team was able to precisely demonstrate how much the lithium atoms slow down.

    The study has broader implications, particularly if the field moves away from lithium batteries in favor of those made from other more readily available materials, such as sodium or magnesium, which can also be used for rechargeable batteries.

    “Sodium and magnesium are much larger, so the gap needs to expand much more compared to lithium, so the effects of strain will be much more dramatic,” she said. The experiments in the study provide a similar understanding of the effects that mechanical strain could have on these other materials.

    ARO researchers said Cha’s studies will be very helpful in advancing their own work.

    “The results obtained in these two studies related to novel two dimensional materials are of great importance to develop future advanced Army applications in sensing and energy storage,” said Dr. Pani Varanasi, branch chief, ARO.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science Daniel L Malone Engineering Center.

    The Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science is the engineering school of Yale University. When the first professor of civil engineering was hired in 1852, a Yale School of Engineering was established within the Yale Scientific School, and in 1932 the engineering faculty organized as a separate, constituent school of the university. The school currently offers undergraduate and graduate classes and degrees in electrical engineering, chemical engineering, computer science, applied physics, environmental engineering, biomedical engineering, and mechanical engineering and materials science.

    Yale University comprises three major academic components: Yale College (the undergraduate program), the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the professional schools. In addition, Yale encompasses a wide array of centers and programs, libraries, museums, and administrative support offices. Approximately 11,250 students attend Yale.

  • richardmitnick 10:01 am on January 26, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Capturing and converting carbon dioxide from power plant emissions., Carbon dioxide sequestration, , Electrochemical reactions, , In a series of lab experiments the rate of the carbon conversion reaction nearly doubled., Mechanical Engineering, , The new system produced two new potentially useful carbon compounds: acetone and acetate   

    From MIT: “Boosting the efficiency of carbon capture and conversion systems” 

    MIT News

    From MIT News

    January 25, 2021
    David L. Chandler

    Dyes are used to reveal the concentration levels of carbon dioxide in the water. On the left side is a gas-attracting material, and the dye shows the carbon dioxide stays concentrated next to the catalyst. Credit: Varanasi Research Group.

    Systems for capturing and converting carbon dioxide from power plant emissions could be important tools for curbing climate change, but most are relatively inefficient and expensive. Now, researchers at MIT have developed a method that could significantly boost the performance of systems that use catalytic surfaces to enhance the rates of carbon-sequestering electrochemical reactions.

    Such catalytic systems are an attractive option for carbon capture because they can produce useful, valuable products, such as transportation fuels or chemical feedstocks. This output can help to subsidize the process, offsetting the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    In these systems, typically a stream of gas containing carbon dioxide passes through water to deliver carbon dioxide for the electrochemical reaction. The movement through water is sluggish, which slows the rate of conversion of the carbon dioxide. The new design ensures that the carbon dioxide stream stays concentrated in the water right next to the catalyst surface. This concentration, the researchers have shown, can nearly double the performance of the system.

    The results are described today in the journal Cell Reports Physical Science in a paper by MIT postdoc Sami Khan PhD ’19, who is now an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University, along with MIT professors of mechanical engineering Kripa Varanasi and Yang Shao-Horn, and recent graduate Jonathan Hwang PhD ’19.

    “Carbon dioxide sequestration is the challenge of our times,” Varanasi says. There are a number of approaches, including geological sequestration, ocean storage, mineralization, and chemical conversion. When it comes to making useful, saleable products out of this greenhouse gas, electrochemical conversion is particularly promising, but it still needs improvements to become economically viable. “The goal of our work was to understand what’s the big bottleneck in this process, and to improve or mitigate that bottleneck,” he says.

    The bottleneck turned out to involve the delivery of the carbon dioxide to the catalytic surface that promotes the desired chemical transformations, the researchers found. In these electrochemical systems, the stream of carbon dioxide-containing gases is mixed with water, either under pressure or by bubbling it through a container outfitted with electrodes of a catalyst material such as copper. A voltage is then applied to promote chemical reactions producing carbon compounds that can be transformed into fuels or other products.

    There are two challenges in such systems: The reaction can proceed so fast that it uses up the supply of carbon dioxide reaching the catalyst more quickly than it can be replenished; and if that happens, a competing reaction — the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen — can take over and sap much of the energy being put into the reaction.

    Previous efforts to optimize these reactions by texturing the catalyst surfaces to increase the surface area for reactions had failed to deliver on their expectations, because the carbon dioxide supply to the surface couldn’t keep up with the increased reaction rate, thereby switching to hydrogen production over time.

    The researchers addressed these problems through the use of a gas-attracting surface placed in close proximity to the catalyst material. This material is a specially textured “gasphilic,” superhydrophobic material that repels water but allows a smooth layer of gas called a plastron to stay close along its surface. It keeps the incoming flow of carbon dioxide right up against the catalyst so that the desired carbon dioxide conversion reactions can be maximized.

    On the left, a bubble strikes a specially textured gas-attracting surface, and spreads out across the surface, while on the right a bubble strikes an untreated surface and just bounces away. The treated surface is used in the new work to keep the carbon dioxide close to a catalyst. Credit: Varanasi Research Group.

    By using dye-based pH indicators, the researchers were able to visualize carbon dioxide concentration gradients in the test cell and show that the enhanced concentration of carbon dioxide emanates from the plastron.

    Here, dyes are used to reveal the concentration levels of carbon dioxide in the water. Green shows areas where the carbon dioxide is more concentrated, and blue shows areas where it is depleted. The green region at left shows the carbon dioxide staying concentrated next to the catalyst, thanks to the gas-attracting material. Credit: Varanasi Research Group.

    In a series of lab experiments using this setup, the rate of the carbon conversion reaction nearly doubled. It was also sustained over time, whereas in previous experiments the reaction quickly faded out. The system produced high rates of ethylene, propanol, and ethanol — a potential automotive fuel. Meanwhile, the competing hydrogen evolution was sharply curtailed. Although the new work makes it possible to fine-tune the system to produce the desired mix of product, in some applications, optimizing for hydrogen production as a fuel might be the desired result, which can also be done.

    “The important metric is selectivity,” Khan says, referring to the ability to generate valuable compounds that will be produced by a given mix of materials, textures, and voltages, and to adjust the configuration according to the desired output.

    By concentrating the carbon dioxide next to the catalyst surface, the new system also produced two new potentially useful carbon compounds, acetone, and acetate, that had not previously been detected in any such electrochemical systems at appreciable rates.

    In this initial laboratory work, a single strip of the hydrophobic, gas-attracting material was placed next to a single copper electrode, but in future work a practical device might be made using a dense set of interleaved pairs of plates, Varanasi suggests.

    Compared to previous work on electrochemical carbon reduction with nanostructure catalysts, Varanasi says, “we significantly outperform them all, because even though it’s the same catalyst, it’s how we are delivering the carbon dioxide that changes the game.”

    “This is a completely innovative way of feeding carbon dioxide into an electrolyzer,” says Ifan Stephens, a professor of materials engineering at Imperial College London, who was not connected to this research. “The authors translate fluid mechanics concepts used in the oil and gas industry to electrolytic fuel production. I think this kind of cross-fertilization from different fields is very exciting.”

    Stephens adds, “Carbon dioxide reduction has a great potential as a way of making platform chemicals, such as ethylene, from waste electricity, water, and carbon dioxide. Ethylene is currently formed by cracking long chain hydrocarbons from fossil fuels; its production emits copious amounts of carbon dioxide​ to the atmosphere. This method could potentially lead to more efficient carbon dioxide​ reduction, which could eventually move our society away from our current reliance on fossil fuels.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

  • richardmitnick 11:13 pm on January 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "m-bits", "Silicon memory?", , , , , , Mechanical Engineering, Metamaterial can be reprogrammed with different properties., Metamaterials=“beyond matter”- engineered materials with properties not found in nature., You can activate and deactivate individual cells by applying a magnetic field.   

    From École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (CH) via COSMOS (AU): “Silicon memory?” 

    From École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (CH)


    Cosmos Magazine bloc


    21 January 2021
    Deborah Devis

    Metamaterial can be reprogrammed with different properties.

    Credit: Matejmo / Getty Images.

    If you need a material that can literally be changed to suit you over time, look no further.

    Metamaterials – meaning “beyond matter” – are engineered materials with properties not found in nature. This gives them unique scope to work outside of the realms of “normal” acquired materials.

    One such example has recently been reported in Nature by Tian Chen, of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, who designed a metamaterial that can be reprogrammed to have different mechanical properties after it is already made.

    “I wondered if there was a way to change the internal geometry of a material’s structure after it’s been created,” says Chen. “The idea was to develop a single material that can display a range of physical properties, like stiffness and strength, so that materials don’t have to be replaced each time.

    “For example, when you twist your ankle, you initially have to wear a stiff splint to hold the ankle in place. Then as it heals, you can switch to a more flexible one. Today you have to replace the entire splint, but the hope is that one day, a single material can serve both functions.”

    The material is made of small mechanical bits, called m-bits, that are reminiscent of computer bits.

    In a hard drive, tiny pieces of digital information can be stored as bits. Magnetic bits can be programmed to switch between the values of 0 and 1, or on/off, by magnetising them in different directions to confer binary information. That binary code can be controlled by an external electromagnetic circuit, which changes the direction of those bits to recode the hard driver with a new memory.

    So, if you’re storing your favourite song on a hard drive, the direction of those bits change based on the code that is imparted, and the digital properties of the hard-drive are altered to include the memory of how to play your song.

    This principal is somewhat like Chen’s material, except that he used mechanical units instead. His m-bits are made of silicon and magnetic powder and have a unique shape that allows each individual cell to move between a compressed and decompressed state. These two states act as the programmable binary code, like computer bits.

    Slow-motion captures of programming by switching the equilibrium of the bistable shell. Credit: Tian Chen.

    This essentially means that the material can contain a memory about what it is supposed to be.

    “You can activate and deactivate individual cells by applying a magnetic field. That modifies the internal state of the metamaterial, and consequently its mechanical properties,” says Chen.

    The property that can be altered in this way is the stiffness of the material. When the cells are switched on by the magnetic field, the material is stiff; when they’re switched off, the material is more flexible.

    If that isn’t incredible enough, its possible to program various combinations of the on/off cells to provide a range of flexibility, basically whenever it’s needed.

    This is the first report that shows both programmed memory and physical change imparted by bits in a single material.

    This extraordinary combination of computer science and mechanical engineering strives to find the sweet spot between static material and machine. This unlocks potential materials that might be used in a plethora of useful items, from prosthetics to aeronautics to shock absorption in orthopaedic shoes.

    A few things need to be sorted out before it reaches the usable stage, though.

    “We could design a method for creating 3D structures, since what we’ve done so far is only in 2D,” says Pedro Reis, the leader of Chen’s lab at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne . “Or we could shrink the scale to make even smaller metamaterials.”

    Regardless, the ability to program the memory of materials so they’ll change properties is a very exciting development indeed.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    EPFL bloc

    EPFL campus

    EPFL (CH) is Europe’s most cosmopolitan technical university. It receives students, professors and staff from over 120 nationalities. With both a Swiss and international calling, it is therefore guided by a constant wish to open up; its missions of teaching, research and partnership impact various circles: universities and engineering schools, developing and emerging countries, secondary schools and gymnasiums, industry and economy, political circles and the general public.

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