Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Spring 2012 - (Page 14)
Grant Funds Research on How Chemicals Impact Stem Cells
Out of This World!
balloon hit a speed of 246 mph—its fastest MEMBERS OF A STUDENT CLUB HAVE CREATspeed of the voyage. At 11 a.m., miles ed a unique 360-degree video chronicling above Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H., the a weather balloon’s 89,777-foot ascent balloon reached its peak altitude of 89,777 into space. feet and popped.The payload fell to the The Rensselaer Students for the Exploground and eventually landed in Steep ration and Development of Space (SEDS) Falls, Maine—170 miles from Troy as the launched their high-atmosphere balloon in crow flies, or a 280-mile car ride. late January. Filled with condensed helium, “I never cease to be amazed by these the balloon carried a payload of three students. They proposed the mission, they high-definition video cameras and GPS designed the system and the payload, they equipment. SEDS members retrieved the payload—which was carefully designed to withstand a significant impact—after the balloon popped at its peak altitude and fell to the Earth’s surface. All three video cameras were intact, and club members “stitched together” footage from the three perspectives into a single 360-degree video. The goal of the project, SEDS members say, was to create a video The weather balloon launched by the SEDS club reached a peak that would reach younger audialtitude of nearly 90,000 feet. The payload fell to the ground and landed in Steep Falls, Maine—170 miles from Troy, N.Y. ences and help rekindle their interest in space, science, and engineering. built it, and then flew it with absolute suc“We see our video as an extraordinary cess,” says club faculty adviser Kurt Anderopportunity to bring viewers face to face son, a professor in the Department of with the wonder of space,” says aeronautiMechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engical engineering major Orian Breaux ’12, neering. “At many institutions students too founder of SEDS at Rensselaer. “That seldom take their ideas beyond concept curiosity has fallen out of public consciousand design on paper. Not so with this ness, and grassroots projects like these will group. They have gone from ideas to exehelp restore that spark among younger cution, achieved through their own hard generations.” work and initiative. In so doing, they have SEDS launched the balloon at 8:29 a.m. taken all of us to the edge of space through EST on Jan. 28 from the ’86 Field in the the extraordinary images the craft heart of the campus. The students used returned.” GPS to track the progress of the balloon, View the video at www.rpi.edu/news/ which immediately sped up and east. At video/spaceballoon/. 9:16 a.m. at an altitude of 29,039 feet, the
14 RENSSELAER/SPRING 2012
Bioengineers at Rensselaer and the University of California, Berkeley, have been awarded a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study how chemicals in drugs and the environment impact stem cells. Leading the research effort for Rensselaer is Jonathan Dordick, director of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies and the Howard P Isermann ’42 Professor . of Chemical and Biological Engineering. The ultimate goal of the research is to develop a highthroughput and inexpensive system that manufacturers can use to quickly screen thousands of chemicals for their effects on stem cells.
Applying Computer Logic To Make Flight Safer
Computer scientist Carlos Varela has received seed funding from the U.S. Air Force to help make flight data as updated, active, and accurate as possible. Varela, part of the Data Science Research Center, will use the more than $100,000 grant to develop sophisticated computer logic programming to help create safer and more efficient flight technology. The new system will build off what is known in computer science as logic programming by extending a logic programming language to associate probabilities to knowledge. Varela hopes to create a new system that more easily deals with data streams and quickly admits new data. Such a system could be expanded to include unmanned flight systems and even fields beyond aviation.
Creating Technologies To Share and Preserve Sustainability Data
Rensselaer is a key partner in a new project to create better technologies for scientists and engineers to store, share, and preserve important scientific data related to sustainability research. Funded by a twoyear, $2 million award from the National Science Foundation, the multi-university Sustainable Environment-Actionable Data effort is expected to receive a total of $8 million over five years. By pairing social networking technologies similar to Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr with leading-edge web science and network science, the project aims to hasten scientific discovery and innovation. It will enable researchers who study sustainability to share their data more easily than with current methods.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Spring 2012
Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Spring 2012
One Giant Step for Computing
One Last Thing
Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Spring 2012