May 2013

University Faculty Initiated Into Inventors Academy

University of Arkansas Faculty and Staff Honorees

The University of Arkansas recognized 16 current and former faculty and staff members on May 1 at the inaugural Inventors’ Appreciation Banquet hosted by Technology Ventures, the Fayetteville campus’ technology licensing office.

The event, held at the Inn at Carnall Hall, saluted the accomplishments of inventors who have been

issued patents during their tenure at the university. They were initiated into the National Academy of Inventors, a nonprofit organization that accepted the University of Arkansas as a charter member last fall.

“We wanted to recognize the incredible effort and sacrifice it takes to successfully develop world-class technology,” said Jeff Amerine, director of Technology Ventures. “The marketable ideas U of A researchers have developed have the potential to change the world, and can act as the foundation for great ventures that will employ the best and brightest U of A graduates.”

Faculty and staff who were initiated into the academy were Simon S. Ang, professor, electrical engineering; Bob Beitle Jr., professor, chemical engineering; Laurent Bellaiche, professor, physics; W.D. Brown, Distinguished Professor emeritus, electrical engineering; Jia Di, associate professor, computer science and computer engineering; Ingrid Fritsch, professor, chemistry and biochemistry; Huaxiang Fu, associate professor, physics; Ralph Henry, Distinguished Professor, biological sciences; Ajay P. Malshe, Distinguished Professor, mechanical engineering; Hameed Naseem, professor, electrical engineering; Errol Porter, research associate, electrical engineering; Josh Sakon, associate professor, chemistry and biochemistry; Leonard Schaper, professor emeritus, electrical engineering; Scott C. Smith, associate professor, electrical engineering; Ryan Tian, associate professor, chemistry and biochemistry; and Vijay Varadan, Distinguished Professor, electrical engineering.

 

SEC, Vice Provost Award Research Grants

 

The university awarded research grants to eight professors this spring through programs sponsored by the vice provost for research and economic development and the Southeastern Conference.

In April, four faculty were selected for $5,000 grants through the vice provost’s Arts and Humanities Seed Funding Program. The grants are intended to enrich the research and professional growth of the faculty member and the university and result in new opportunities for research or other creative endeavors. The money will be used on items that will further a project, such as materials, supplies and travel.

Those selected for the grants are Michael Hevel, College of Education and Health Professions; Frank Jacobus, Fay Jones School of Architecture; Han-Seok Seo, Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences; and Bethany Springer, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

In January, the U of A presented four $2,500 travel grants to faculty who plan to conduct research at other institutions in the Southeastern Conference. The SEC Visiting Faculty Travel Grant Program is intended to enhance faculty collaboration that stimulates scholarly initiatives among the conference’s 14 member universities.

The U of A faculty selected for travel grants were Dennis Beck, College of Education and Health Professions; Andrew Braham, College of Engineering; Nathan Parks, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences; and the team of Patricia Amason and Lynne Webb, Fulbright College.

 

Engineers Develop Device to Mitigate Blackouts

Alan Mantooth, University of Arkansas

Widespread power blackouts such as those that hit the northeast United States in 2003 could be prevented in the future, thanks to a new piece of equipment developed by engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas. The device regulates or limits the amount of excess current that moves through the power grid when a surge occurs.

“We didn’t invent the fault current limiter,” said Alan Mantooth, Distinguished Professor and executive director of the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission, based at the university. “But we have developed the first one using a silicon-carbide semiconductor device and technology, which we have developed over the past five years. The significance of this material cannot be overestimated. It is much more durable and responds so much faster than materials currently used in systems on the U.S. power grid.”

A fault current limiter can be thought of as a giant surge protector. When excess current travels through a power line, the limiter absorbs it and then sends only what is necessary farther down the line, Mantooth said.

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Geologist Receives NSF Early Career Award

Gregory Dumond, University of Arkansas

Gregory Dumond, an assistant professor of geosciences at the University of Arkansas, has received a $226,543 Faculty Early Career Development Program award from the National Science Foundation to further his research of major intracontinental strike-slip faults in Earth’s lower crust.

Dumond is analyzing the Canadian Shield, an area in northern Saskatchewan, Canada, that was formed by local strains and major intracontinental faults deep inside the planet. He hopes the work will answer questions about the formation of Tibet, a major plateau in Asia.

“We will study a field area in Canada that has crust and faults that were once very deep, as much as 50 kilometers, but are now exposed at the surface,” Dumond said. “This grant gives us an opportunity to study how these important faults work at depth. I am hoping to understand how the crust under Tibet works by using the field area in Canada as an analogy for the deep crust beneath it.”

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IN THIS ISSUE

University Faculty Initiated Into Inventors Academy

SEC, Vice Provost Award Research Grants

Engineers Develop Device to Mitigate Blackouts

Geologist Receives NSF Early Career Award

IN OTHER NEWS

Blair Center-Clinton School Poll Finds Regional, Racial Differences

‘Sequential’ Pricing Can Increase Retail Profits, Study Finds

Electric Car Battery Charger Prototype Aims for More Efficiency and Power

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Grant Award Winners

The following is a sampling of faculty awards in April, with the principal investigator, the award amount and the sponsor. An asterisk (*) indicates the continuation of a previous award.

— Gisela Erf, $338,462, National Institutes of Health
— John Wilson, $129,564, Weyerhaeuser
— Xianghong Qian, $96,647, National Science Foundation
— Andrew Braham, $40,000, Mead Westvaco Corp.
— Denise Airola, $35,000, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation

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