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Milestones

Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer, has been elected a member of the American Philosophical Society (APS), the oldest learned society in the United States. Jackson, who was elected in the category of mathematical and physical sciences, joins a noteworthy group of members including founders of the American republic and more than 260 recipients of the Nobel Prize.

Daniel Gall, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, has been awarded a Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation. He will use the projected five-year, $400,000 grant to help craft the next generation of custom nanoscale structures, and will develop a fundamental understanding of how material vapors condense on surfaces and assemble into nanostructures. The CAREER Award is given to faculty members at the beginning of their academic careers and places emphasis on high-quality research and novel education initiatives.

Burt Swersey, a lecturer in Rensselaer’s department of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering, has been awarded the 2007 Olympus Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award for his dedication to innovative thinking and his commitment to students and their learning. Swersey has developed a number of important medical inventions, including an extremely accurate scale to weigh patients, together with bed and instrumentation, revolutionizing the treatment of water loss in patients with severe burns. He received the award at the 11th Annual Meeting of the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance.

Wai Kin “Victor” Chan, assistant professor of decision sciences and engineering systems, has been awarded a Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation. Chan will use the projected five-year, $400,000 grant to develop better computer simulation methodologies to improve systems from healthcare to military operation and airport security. The CAREER Award is given to faculty members at the beginning of their academic careers and places emphasis on high-quality research and novel education initiatives.

Michael Shur, the Patricia W. and C. Sheldon Roberts ’48 Chaired Professor in Solid State Electronics, has been promoted to fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). Shur is internationally recognized for his development of new materials and processes that enhance semiconductor and circuit performance. The largest professional engineering society in Europe and the second largest of its kind in the world, IET boasts membership by more than 150,000 engineers from around the globe.

C. James Li, professor of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering, was recently elected a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Fellowship is conferred upon an ASME member who has at least 10 years of active engineering practice and has made significant contributions to the profession. Li is an expert in mechanical diagnostics and sensor-based control of manufacturing processes and equipment.

Mariana Figueiro, an assistant professor at Rensselaer’s Lighting Research Center, has received the James D. Watson Investigator award from the New York State Office of Science, Technology, and Academic Research. With the $200,000 grant, Figueiro will be exploring the effects of light on human physiological rhythms. The award is designed to recognize and support outstanding scientists and engineers who show potential for leadership and scientific discovery in the field of biotechnology.

James Crivello, professor of chemistry and chemical biology, has been elected a 2007 fellow of the American Chemical Society Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering. With more than 23 issued or pending patents since joining the Rensselaer faculty, Crivello is widely recognized for inventing some of the world’s most advanced polymers. Polymers that he has synthesized have implications for energy conservation, coatings, microelectronic circuits, composites, and membrane separations.

Thomas Zimmie, professor and acting head for the department of civil and environmental engineering, is this year’s recipient of the David M. Darrin Counseling Award. The award recognizes a faculty member who has made an unusual contribution in the counseling of undergraduate students. Selection is made by Phalanx, Rensselaer’s student leadership honorary society, based on campus nominations.
Philip Casabella ’54, professor and associate chair of physics, applied physics, and astronomy, died Feb. 6. Casabella taught physics at the Institute for more than 45 years. Beloved by his students and respected by his colleagues, he received the 2001 Trustees’ Outstanding Teacher Award, which recognizes outstanding accomplishments in classroom instruction. During his career Casabella served as acting chair and then chair of the department of physics.

A. Bruce Carlson, professor emeritus of electrical, computer, and systems engineering (ECSE), died March 18. Since 1963 Carlson served in many roles at Rensselaer including assistant to the provost, coordinator of the Center for Career Guidance, director of undergraduate programs for the ECSE department, and curriculum chair for the department. He retired in 2002 as professor emeritus. Carlson was also author or co-author of four textbooks, eight editions, several translations, and numerous articles.

Stephen Wiberley ’48, professor emeritus and trustee of the Rensselaer Newman Foundation, died March 17. Wiberley earned his master’s degree in 1948 and Ph.D. in 1950 from Rensselaer, and spent the next 39 years teaching generations of students in a wide variety of courses. He became dean of the graduate school in 1964; vice provost in 1968; and then chair of the chemistry department in 1983. He retired as professor emeritus in 1989.

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter by the Office of Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590. Opinions expressed in these pages do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the policies of the Institute. ©2007 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.