MILESTONES
 

Photograph by Mark McCarty

James Tien '66, professor and chair of decision sciences and engineering systems and professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), which is among the highest professional distinctions accorded an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made "important contributions to engineering theory and practice," and those who have demonstrated "unusual accomplishment in the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology," according to NAE President William Wulf. Tien was elected for his contributions to the development and application of systems engineering concepts and methodologies to improve public services and engineering education. "We are extremely pleased at Professor Tien's election to the National Academy of Engineering. This is a well-deserved recognition of the many contributions he has made and continues to make toward engineering and engineering education," said G.P. "Bud" Peterson, Rensselaer provost. Tien also was awarded the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) Educational Activities Board Major Educational Innovation Award. Tien was recognized for his efforts in guiding the interdisciplinary Department of Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems at Rensselaer to national prominence.

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Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer, also was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). She was elected for her contributions to industry research, education, and the formation of the International Nuclear Regulators Association. "Rensselaer is extremely proud to be led by a president whose achievements in research, teaching, industry, and government service have been recognized internationally. This latest honor, election to membership in the National Academy of Engineering, again affirms Dr. Jackson's extensive contributions to scholarship, education, and global cooperation," said Samuel F. Heffner Jr. '56, president of the board of trustees. Jackson also was named Black Engineer of the Year at the 15th Annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards Conference, held in February in Baltimore. Jackson, the first woman to win the prestigious award, topped the list of more than two dozen African-Americans who received recognition at the conference. She also was one of three outstanding Americans honored in February at the 15th Annual Black History Makers Awards. Jackson was presented with the George Washington Carver award on behalf of Associated Black Charities, sponsor of the event. She was honored for pioneering achievements in science, education, and government.

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Xi-Cheng Zhang, professor of physics and professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering, has been elected a fellow of both the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Optical Society of America. The honors recognize Zhang's pioneering work in the use of terahertz (T-ray) radiation, a technology that holds tremendous promise in medicine, agriculture, microelectronics, and other fields. A group led by Zhang has succeeded in producing emitters to send out controlled T-ray radiation and sensors to collect them, making the large terahertz portion of the electromagnetic spectrum useful. Zhang's labs have been visited by scientists from more than 50 government and industry laboratories, universities, clinics, and medical schools.

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Martin Glicksman '57, John Tod Horton Professor of Materials Engineering, was selected as a recipient of a coveted Humboldt Senior Research Prize by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Bonn, Germany. As part of his prize, Glicksman will conduct research in Germany for two six-month periods in 2002 and 2003. Glicksman, recognized for his lifelong research in materials processing, developed Rensselaer's Isothermal Dendritic Growth Experiment (IDGE), featuring a series of microgravity crystal growth experiments successfully flown on space shuttle missions in 1994, 1996, and 1997. Applications of the IDGE results will help to improve productivity in the metals industry.

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John Wen '85, professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering, has been named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He was recognized for his work in robotics and automation, which has applications ranging from manufacturing to space exploration. Wen, whose recent research involves distributed control, surgical robotics, mobile robots, multiple-robot coordination, and parallel robots, has developed Java-based software that allows the use of the Internet for coordination and control of systems. He recently incorporated this software into the classroom, where students can work on experiments. Wen can monitor their progress in class and remotely via the Internet.

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Wilfredo "Freddie" Colon, assistant professor of chemistry, received a Presidential Early Career Award from the National Science Foundation. Colon was one of 20 outstanding young NSF awardees honored at a White House ceremony. Researchers chosen for the award are selected from among those who have already received an NSF Career Award, aimed at young faculty members actively engaged in research and education. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers who are in the earliest stages of establishing their independent research careers.

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Faye Duchin, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and professor of economics, made a keynote presentation, "Social Accounts for the Analysis of Social Systems," at the Workshop on Quantitative Modeling of Europe's Societal Expenditure held in Brussels. Duchin serves as an adviser for the Futures Project, an international project to examine the effects of technological, economic, political and social forces. The project is headed by the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, one of the eight institutes of the European Commission's Joint Research Center.

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Matthew Szolwinski, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, aeronautical engineering, and mechanics, was awarded the Marshall B. Peterson Award by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) at the International Joint Tribology Conference 2000. The award honors significant contributions to the field of tribology by young researchers and was named in honor of the late Marshall B. Peterson, adjunct professor of mechanical engineering at Rensselaer from 1975-95.

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E. Bruce Watson, Institute Professor of Science and professor of earth and environmental sciences, received a four-year, $371,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study accessory minerals in Earth's crust. Accessory minerals, such as zircon, are not abundant but often are found in the presence of such radioactive minerals as uranium and thorium, and thus have economic and technological significance.

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John Tichy, professor and chair of mechanical engineering, aeronautical engineering, and mechanics, and several colleagues from Georgia Tech were awarded the American Society of Mechanical Engineers 2000 Best Paper in Tribology Award for their paper, "Interfacial Fluid Mechanics and Pressure Prediction in Chemical Mechanical Polishing."

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David Hess, chair of science and technology studies, has received the Diana Forsythe Prize of the American Anthropological Association's Committee on the Anthropology of Science and Technology and its Society for the Anthropology of Work. The prize was awarded in recognition of his body of publications in the anthropology of science and technology.

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John Gowdy, professor of economics, has been chosen as president-elect of the United States Society for Ecological Economics, an organization founded in 2000. Carl McDaniel, professor of biology, was elected a member-at-large of the group's board of directors.

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Marianne Nyman, assistant professor of environmental and energy engineering, was awarded a Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation. The award, aimed at young faculty members actively engaged in research and education, is one of the NSF's most competitive and prestigious awards. Nyman, a native of Finland and a Rensselaer faculty member since 1998, received a $375,000 five-year grant to study the fate and transport of man-made organic compounds in lakes. Fate refers to the biodegradation, photodegradation, and sorption/desorption processes. Under her grant, Nyman also will develop two new courses to train undergraduate and graduate students in this interdisciplinary research. Additionally, she will work with senior high school students from the New Visions Mathematics/Engineering/Technology/Sciences program to provide a hands-on learning experience in environmental engineering.

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Alan Nadel, professor of language, literature, and communication, received the Chancellor's Medal from Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge on the occasion of his participation in LSU's Chancellor's Distinguished Lecture Series. Known for his work on American literature, film, and contemporary culture, Nadel's book, Invisible Criticism: Ralph Ellison and the American Canon, remains one of the leading books on Ralph Ellison. The LSU Chancellor's Medal was created in 1997 and is awarded to individuals to commemorate outstanding accomplishments.

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George Xu, assistant professor of nuclear engineering and engineering physics, hosted the ninth annual meeting of the Council on Ionizing Radiation Measurements and Standards as the president at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

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Partha Dutta, assistant professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering, also was awarded a prestigious NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award. Dutta received a five-year, $375,000 grant in part to set up new equipment to make new semiconductor materials that can be used for optoelectronics, high-speed electronics, and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). He expects the substrate engineering reactor to be assembled by the end of 2001. Dutta, who joined the Rensselaer faculty last summer, developed and tested a new fundamental technique for making semiconductor substrates and filed a patent last year. Combined with the right equipment, this new technique will dramatically reduce the time needed to create the multi-component alloys necessary for more advanced semiconductor technology.

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Sydney Ross, emeritus professor of chemistry, will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the Heriot-Watt University of Edinburgh, Scotland, at its next commencement. The citation is for his distinguished career in science and for his outstanding role in developing the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation. Ross taught at Rensselaer for 32 years, during which time he published extensively and supervised 35 Ph.D. dissertations. In 1977, he created the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation in memory of the great Scottish scientist. The foundation has its headquarters in Clerk Maxwell's birthplace in Edinburgh, where a museum dedicated to Clerk Maxwell has been established. Ross also has a lecture series named in his honor by his former students at Rensselaer.

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Thomas Griffin, longtime Institute photographer, was honored recently by the University Photographers Association of America (UPAA). Griffin won three first-place awards and one second-place award for images he submitted to the UPAA's third annual Web image competition. The contest, one of three yearly competitions sponsored by the UPAA, was judged by Phil Lapidus from Kodak. UPAA has more than 200 member universities and colleges. Griffin's winning images can be found at www.upaa.org/web_competition_2000.htm.

 
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