Tag: Industrial Heritage and Archaeology

New Theses and Dissertations Available in the Library

The Graduate School is pleased to announce new theses and dissertations from the following programs:

  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Policy
  • Forest Ecology and Management
  • Forest Science
  • Industrial Archaeology
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

are now available in the J.R. van Pelt and Opie Library.

New theses and dissertations in Library

The Graduate School is pleased to announce the following theses and dissertations are now available in the J.R. van Pelt and Opie Library:

Haiying He
Doctor of Philosophy in Physics
Advisor: Ravindra Pandey
Dissertation title: Electron Transport in Molecular Systems

Fei Lin
Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Advisor: Mohan D Rao
Dissertation title: Vibro-Acoustical Analysis and Design of a Multiple-Layer Constrained Viscoelastic Damping Structure

Christopher Nelson
Master of Science in Industrial Archaeology
Advisor: Larry D Lankton
Thesis title: The C.R. Patterson and Sons Company of Greenfield, Ohio: Survival and Adaptation of a Back-Owned Company in the Vehicle Building Industry, 1865-1939

Brandon Rouse
Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Jeffrey Donald Naber
Thesis title: Part Load Combustion Characterization of Ethanol-Gasoline Fuel Blends in a Single Cylinder Spark Ignition Direct Injection Variable Cam Timing Variable Compression Ratio Engine

Karl Walczak
Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Advisor: Craig R Friedrich
Dissertation title: Immobilizing Bacteriorhodopsin on a Single Electron Transistor

The Past and its Remains Engage Researchers

Midway up the Keweenaw, just south of Phoenix, the cliffs rise precipitously above the tableland. Years ago, a company town, a mining operation, and two cemeteries were tucked in, on, and around the bluff–all of it providing the needs of a lifetime: a place to live, work and die.

This is the location of what’s left of Upper Michigan’s storied Cliff Mine, and Tech faculty and students are taking the measure of this legacy, pinpointing the remains, unearthing the past.

The Cliff opened in 1844. At its peak, it employed 850 workers. Over 25 years, the miners wrested 34 million pounds of copper from its 1,500-foot-deep shafts, drifts and stopes.

Michigan Tech Professor Tim Scarlett and Assistant Professor Sam Sweitz are overseeing a field school at the mine. Students, with pencil, paper, tape measure, and GPS, attempt to locate features of a mining operation that Scarlett describes as “fascinating”–“one of the most important mines in nineteenth-century America, historically, socially, technologically, and economically.” He says it was the first successful mine–that is, the first to pay a return on investment. Production stopped in 1878. Exploratory shafts were dug later, but unsuccessfully, for the lode was exhausted.

Scarlett is in his element with this kind of work. Ghost towns and mining ruins have substance, he says. “What they represent has fallen from the public consciousness. People are almost entirely divorced from the work needed to produce the materials we consume.” Turn the lights on? You need copper wire. “It’s not magic,” he says. “It’s based on an extraction and production process that meets a demand. It teaches us. It reminds us. We look to the past to think about the future.”

Amid their duties, faculty and students have been giving tours of the mining site. The word has spread, and people from as far as Indiana and Illinois have shown up this summer. Upwards of 50 people enjoy tours on Saturdays. “There’s a sense of excitement in the community broadly,” Scarlett says.

As well as in the person of Sean Gohman, who is 34. He is working on his master’s in industrial archeology and is the project manager for this enterprise. A native of Minnesota, he says the past is an irresistible tug. “I like anybody’s local history. I like spending time in the woods. I like historic preservation. So this is the perfect place to be. It’s not what I thought I’d be doing, but I’m glad I’m here. I lucked out.”

The footprints of the past that he searches for are scattered on and around the bluff. Pictures of the historic area show the base of the bluff bare of vegetation. Now the resilience of nature obscures the resourcefulness of man, for evergreens and white birch have reclaimed the landscape. Tucked into their embrace are the remnants of adits (there were seven), shaft houses, chimneys, walls, and buildings. “Stuff–material culture–is our bread and butter,” Gohman says.

Wednesday sees 15 faculty, students, volunteers, and tourists gather at the Cliff. The day is cool, the sky is grey, the breeze knocks the bugs down, and a half-hearted rain isn’t a bother.

The group ventures up a poor rock pile and into the woods, where the path is marked with orange ribbons. They discover one wall, twenty feet high and fifteen feet long, that is made of mine rock, with not a drop of mortar. It has stood the test of time—about one hundred and fifty years in this case. “Amazing,” says one person. He likens it to Inca ruins rising above the jungle. “An exaggeration,” he says, “but not by much.”

The watchword is safety. The students and faculty have identified some filled shafts. “We don’t walk on them,” Scarlett says. But the group can only guess where adits and underground workings were. The students point out dangerous depressions and questionable areas as visitors move around. Everybody treads carefully.

The students have been working at the site for six weeks. Some of what they’ve found is a riddle.

“The more we do, the more we don’t get answers,” Gohman says.

Tech has a world-renowned program in industrial heritage and archaeology, and Gohman likes to be a part of it. He plans to pursue a PhD here.

He is especially interested in how landscape fashions technology, and he likes to piece together what this mining operation was like. “That big cliff decided what they could or could not do,” he says. Huge pieces of ore, weighing tons, were unique to the Cliff Mine, so the whims to raise them were first were cranked by men, then pulled by horses, then powered by steam.

The leftovers at the site impresses one observer, who says, “It takes your breath away.”

After two hours of negotiating rock and ruin, beneath a lowering sky, the group breaks up–tourists to continue their travels, students to do their work.

The long-range goal at the Cliff is historic preservation: “Before you do that,” Gohman says, “you have to know what’s there.”

Perhaps the prospects of showing it all off some day will assuage the concerns of one person in the group. “It’s sad,” he says at the conclusion of the tour, “that people drive by and don’t see it.”

* * * * *

The mapping project at the Cliff Mine is being funded by the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Council and the LSGI Technology Venture Fund LP.

* * * * *
For more information, visit these websites:


Published in Tech Today.

Tech Researchers to Give Tours of Keweenaw’s Cliff Mine

Industrial archaeologists from the Department of Social Sciences will conduct three tours of the Cliff Mine site on the next three Saturdays, June 12, June 19 and June 26.

The storied mine is just west of Phoenix, on Cliff Drive, a half mile from the intersection of Cliff Drive and US 41.  The Cliff Mine operated between 1845 and 1870 and is often referred to as the nation’s first great copper mine.

Michigan Tech students and faculty have been mapping the site since early May. They have removed some brush to facilitate measuring, mapping, photographing, documenting, and otherwise assessing the condition of the ruins of the mine’s industrial core–including the stamp mill and washing house; engine, hoist, and rock houses; blacksmith shop; and other buildings.

The Tech team is giving the tours while working the three remaining Saturdays in June. Tours will start on the hour, with the first at 10 a.m. and the last at 4 p.m.

Sean Gohman, a graduate student and the project assistant, is putting all the maps and documents of the site into a digital Geographic Information Systems format, which will allow the research team to understand the changes to the Cliff Mine’s landscape through time. Gohman has been blogging about his work at: http://cliffmine.wordpress.com .

The site is unimproved, and visitors should expect a moderately difficult hike to see the mill and principle ruins. The site has no drinking water or toilet facilities. Extended hikes to the Cliff’s No. 3 and No. 4 shafts atop the bluff–or to the cemeteries and town sites–are generally self-guided, although members of the research team may be available, depending on each day’s work schedule.

Visitors who choose to climb to the top of the bluff should expect a short, but strenuous climb up and down a poor trail.  For more information, contact Timothy Scarlett, associate professor of archaeology and director of graduate programs in industrial heritage and archaeology, at 414-418-9681 or at scarlett@mtu.edu .

Published in Tech Today.

Jennifer Heglund represents Michigan Tech for MAGS Distinguished Thesis Award

Jennifer Heglund
Jennifer Heglund
The Graduate School is pleased to announce that Jennifer Heglund was Michigan Tech’s nominee for the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Distinguished Thesis Award.  Ms. Heglund was nominated by her advisor, Dr. B. Barkdoll of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  Her thesis, “Effects of Climate Change Induced Heavy Precipitation Events on Sediment Transport in Lower Michigan Rivers” modeled the potential effects of climate change, particularly heavy rainfall, on sediment transport in rivers.  Increased sediment transport could have an effect on erosion along rivers, and the models Ms. Heglund developed could be used for planning and land management. Ms. Heglund is currently employed by Northeast Technical Services in Virginia, Minnesota.

Fifty-one theses in the midwest were nominated for the award, and although her work was not recognized as the award recipient, it was well received by the reviewers.  One reviewer commented, “I enjoyed reading this thesis – it’s a pleasure to see such a complete approach to a problem.”

Seth DePasqual was also nominated by his advisor, Dr. T. Scarlett, on behalf of the Social Sciences Department.  His advisor described his thesis as, “…a study of the evolution of an early 20th century mining system in Spitsbergen as applied by Boston-based Arctic Coal Company.”

The committee to evaluate the nominees consisted of graduate faculty representing a broad range of graduate programs:  M. Neuman (Biomedical Engineering), S. Martin (Social Sciences), R. Froese (School of Forestry Resources & Environmental Science), B. Davis (School of Technology) and G. Campbell (School of Business and Economics).  Next year’s competition will consider applicants who have completed their degrees between October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010.  An application consists of a recommendation letter from the advisor and an electronic copy of the thesis.  Please consider nominating your MS students next year.

New Theses and Dissertations in the Library

The Graduate School is pleased to announce the arrival of new theses and dissertations from our recent graduates in the J. R. Van Pelt Library and John and Ruanne Opie Library.  The names of our graduates, their degrees, advisors, and titles of their research are listed below.

Joshua Carlson
Master of Science in Chemical Engineering
Advisor: Surendra K Kawatra
Thesis title: Effects of Particle Shape, Particle Size, Composition and Zeta Potential on Filtration at an Iron Ore Concentrator

James Diaz-Gonzalez
Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Advisor: Gordon G Parker
Dissertation title: Closed Loop Docking with a Nearly Periodic Moving Target

Mark Griep
Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Advisor: Craig R Friedrich
Dissertation title: Quantum Dot / Optical Protein Bio-Nano Hybrid System Biosensing

Cameron Hartnell
Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology
Advisor: Patrick E Martin
Dissertation title: Arctic Network Builders: The Arctic Coal Company’s Operations on Spitsbergen and its Relationship with the Environment

Jill Jensen
Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering
Advisor: David R Shonnard
Dissertation title: Cellulosic Ethanol: Optimization of Dilute Acid and Enzymatic Hydrolysis Processing of Forest Resources and Switchgrass

Parimal Kar
Doctor of Philosophy in Physics
Advisor: Ulrich Hans Ewald Hansmann
Dissertation title: Proteins in Silico-Modeling and Sampling

Robert Lothschutz
Master of Science in Civil Engineering
Advisor: Jacob Eskel Hiller
Thesis title: Back-Calculation of Effective Built-In Temperature Difference in Jointed Plain Concrete Pavement

Lisa Rouse
Master of Science in Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology
Advisor: Andrew J Burton
Thesis title: Early season ozone uptake is important for determining ozone tolerance in two trembling aspen clones

Tara Swanson
Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Craig R Friedrich
Thesis title: Titanium Surface Morphologies and their Effect on Vancomycin Loading and Release Profiles for Orthopedic Applications

Xuexia Wang
Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematical Sciences
Advisor: Shuanglin Zhang
Dissertation title: Genetic Association Studies Considering LD Information and Genome-Wide Application

Wei Wang
Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering
Advisor: Timothy J Schulz
Dissertation title: Estimation of the Degree of Polarization through Computational Sensing

Andrew Willemsen
Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Mohan D Rao
Thesis title: Objective Metric for Assessing the Perceived Annoyance of Impulsive Sounds

Ziyou Zhou
Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering Physics
Advisor: Miguel Levy
Dissertation title: Metal-Oxide Film and Photonic Structures for Integrated Device Applications

Nominations Open for Gustave O. Arlt Award in the Humanities

Nominations for the Gustave O. Arlt Award in the Humanities are due by March 15th to Debra Charlesworth in the Graduate School.  The award recognizes young scholars who have published an outstanding book in their field.  Fields eligible for nomination this year are classical studies or archaeology.

Eligible candidates can be alumni from Michigan Tech, or current faculty.  Michigan Tech may nominate one candidate.

See the CGS website for complete details on eligibility and the nomination process.

Patrick Martin Leads International Preservation Effort

by John Gagnon, promotional writer

Michigan Tech’s industrial archaeology program, which enjoys worldwide stature, now has even more distinction.

Patrick Martin, chair of Social Sciences, has been named the president of The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage (TICCIH), which has a hand in helping identify sites around the world to be added to the United Nations’ World Heritage List–a compilation of natural and cultural places around the world that have “outstanding, universal human value.”

Specifically, TICCIH calls attention to industrial heritage sites, for its charge is to conserve, investigate, document, research, and interpret industry and its material remains.

Martin has been involved with TICCIH for about six years and was the only board member from the US. Members number about 400; they range from Barcelona to Sydney, Cape Town to Taipei, Helsinki to Houghton.

Martin says that Tech will benefit from this association. “This raises our profile,” he says. “More people”–he means students and scholars–“will know about us as we engage on a world stage.” His appointment is for three years. TICCIH holds a world congress every three years. The last one, when Martin was made president, was in September in Freiberg, Germany.

The World Heritage List, which is maintained by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), includes 890 properties in 148 nations. At present, there are no industrial sites in the US on the list, only natural entities like Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks and cultural sites like Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.

Industrial heritage is the stuff of railroads, textile mills, and mining. Martin calls the industrial revolution of the eighteenth century “one of the most profound social revolutions in human history.”

“Industry has created the modern world,” Martin says. “The shape of our country, including places like the Copper Country, and many of the relationships between global powers have been heavily influenced by industrialization. It makes us who we are. Why are you and I here? Why is Michigan Tech here? It’s not like we fell out of the sky. All this action going on around us today is because of copper mining in the nineteenth century.”

Industrial heritage sites, then, can be an inspiration and a lesson, he says. “If we don’t understand how we got the way we are, it’s very difficult to map a good path into the future.”

TICCIH was formed about 30 years ago. Most of its activity has been in Europe, which, Martin says, leads the US in industrial preservation efforts. Martin hopes to expand TICCIH’s influence and membership to the US, Africa, and Asia. “We need to be global,” he says. “This will require financial efficiency.”

Accordingly, he has already instituted cost-cutting moves by publishing the quarterly newsletter online and conducting some meetings online.

For years, Michigan Tech, with Martin’s lead, has been the headquarters for the Society for Industrial Archeology. He says of his new duties: “It’ll be interesting and challenging, and it’s a great opportunity.”

As well, he says, the work dovetails with the University’s strategic goal of achieving international engagement.

Published in Tech Today

Social Science Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship

Administered by the Social Science Research Council, the Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship program is organized to help early-stage graduate students in the humanities and social sciences formulate effective doctoral dissertation proposals.

Deadline: January 29, 2010

More details available.

Mining History Comes to Life at Michigan Tech Commencement

Excerpt from Michigan Tech News – read the full article online and see a picture of Cameron Hartnell wearing the hood.

In 1932, a distinguished Michigan mining engineer named Scott Turner received an honorary doctorate in engineering from Michigan Technological University, at that time called the Michigan College of Mining and Technology.  At Michigan Tech’s midyear Commencement on Dec. 12, 2009—77 years later— one of the first recipients of the University’s PhD in industrial heritage and archeology will wear Turner’s historic academic hood to accept his degree.