Archives—December 2016

A New Mineral Named after Physics Professor

In Mineralogical Magazine’s recent newsletter, the International Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification announced twelve new minerals that were approved by the commission in November.

Among them is a new bismuth and gold sulfide [Bi3S3][AuS2] from Alsó-Rózsa adit, Nagybörzsöny Mountains, Pest Co., Hungary named jaszczakite, in honor of Michigan Tech professor John Jaszczak (Physics).

The new mineral was proposed by Luca Bindi (Università di Firenze, Italy;) and Werner Paar (Salzburg, Austria).


In the News

Yoke Khin Yap

Crain’s Detroit Business published three articles about Michigan Tech-based technologies that are being commercialized for the marketplace.

One is about StabiLux Biosciences, based on Yoke Khin Yap’s (Physics) research. Another describes MicroDevice Engineering, producing a battery-operated portable blood typing device developed by Adrienne Minerick (ChE, Associate Dean for Research and Innovation), and the third is about Neuvokas, a local manufacturer of fiber-reinforced polymer rebar developed by Tech alumni and tested at the University.


New Faculty welcomed, Fall 2016

Katrina BlackToday, we take a look at and welcome faculty who have started with the Fall Semester.

Katrina Black, PhD

Katrina Black joins Michigan Tech’s Department of Physics as a lecturer. Black earned her PhD in Physics at the University of Maine.

She has research experience with the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education at the University of Maine. She also worked as a graduate research assistant in the University of Maine’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and as a course instructor at Michigan Tech. Black is a member of the American Association of Physics Teachers.


Michigan Tech Ranks High in NSF Grants for Mechanical Engineering, Atmospheric Science, Environmental Science, Oceanography

In the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) latest rankings of universities by total research expenditures, Michigan Tech ranked 116th in the nation among public institutions and Tech’s atmospheric science and oceanography research ranked first in Michigan.

Nationally, atmospheric science research at Michigan Tech ranked 39th in research expenditures and oceanography ranked 53rd. Environmental science also ranked 53rd. Tech’s mechanical engineering research ranked 23rd in the nation, the highest ranking of all research fields at the University.

“Michigan Tech has been growing our capabilities in environmental science through our faculty hiring processes like the strategic faculty hiring initiative, our facility development efforts like the Great Lakes Research Center and in our equipment investments such as the cloud chamber in the Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences Institute,” said Dave Reed, vice president for research. “NSF’s report reflects the impact of those investments and the significant research role that Michigan Tech is playing both nationally and within Michigan.”

The NSF report covered fiscal year 2015.

Other research areas at Tech that ranked in the top 100 nationwide include:

  • Biomedical engineering, 96th
  • Chemical engineering, 98th
  • Civil engineering, 92nd
  • Electrical engineering, 55th
  • Mechanical engineering, 23rd
  • Materials science and engineering, 61st
  • Mathematical sciences, 75th
  • Business and management, 73rd
  • Humanities, 98th
  • Visual and performing arts, 85th

The NSF report showed that research expenditures at Michigan Tech totaled $69.6 million for fiscal year 2015.


Cloud in a Box

Cloud Chamber20140324_0003When it comes to climate change, clouds are the wild card. Atmospheric physicists at Michigan Tech use a turbulence-generating cloud chamber to better understand the details and droplets.

There are few absolutes in life, but Will Cantrell says this is one: “Every cloud droplet in Earth’s atmosphere formed on a preexisting aerosol particle.”

And the way those droplets form — with scarce or plentiful aerosol particles — could have serious implications for weather and climate change.

It’s been known for decades that cleaner clouds tend to have bigger cloud droplets. But through research conducted in Michigan Tech’s cloud chamber, which was published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Cantrell, graduate student Kamal Kant Chandrakar, Raymond Shaw and colleagues found that cleaner clouds also have a much wider variability in droplet size. So wide, in fact, that some are large enough to be considered drizzle drops.

Dirtier clouds, Shaw explains, not only have smaller droplets, but also much more uniformity in droplet size, with no observable drizzle drops.

“If clouds have more aerosols in them, the drops would be smaller and more similar in size,” Shaw says. “It would be harder for the cloud to rain, and the cloud would then last longer. If a cloud rains, or has less water in it, it won’t be there to reflect sunlight.”

By Stefanie Sidortsova, read the full story.