January 2017

Here’s what happens when one artist ponders dark matter and the unknowable with an astrophysicist
Minnesota institute for astrophysics professor Liliya Williams discussed how art and physics intersect with a local artist, and inspired some of the work in the artist new show “Smashing the Invisible.” Jan. 19: Citypages

UMN study sheds light on plastic sustainability
Chemistry professor Thomas Hoye showed some plastics can be reverted back to monomers — single molecules — which are their purest components. This makes it possible to reuse the materials. Jan. 18: Minnesota Daily

Commercially Promising Stem Cell Research Projects Land State Funding
Biomedical engineering professor Robert Tranquillo was awarded a Regenerative Medicine Minnesota grant for his ongoing work in cardiovascular tissue engineering, focusing on generating transcatheter heart valves and vein valves with the use of stem cells. Jan. 17: Twin Cities Business

Videos made by Chinese scientists reveal hidden beauty of chemistry
Chemistry alumna Liang Yan created videos that reveal stunning details that are sometimes invisible to human eyes. Under the microscope, people see metals, such as magnesium, lithium, and iron powders burn like trees and flowers. Jan. 16: People’s Daily Online – English (China); Ecns.cn (China); Jan. 17: Bastille Post (Hong Kong)

Meet Steve, a sky phenomenon coming into its own
Institute for Astrophysics professor Robert Lysak came up with an invented acronym for Steve, an atmospheric phenomenon that was identified only last spring by a Canadian Facebook group dedicated to aurora photography. Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement. Jan. 12: Star Tribune

Buying bitcoin led patent mega-millionaire to an even bigger investing idea
Computer science and engineering professor George Karypis is working with Erich Spangenberg, founder of IPew, to identify what is left in the world of intellectual property worth patenting. Jan. 12: CNBC

Explosions, flames, flying pop bottles, screaming gummy bears at the U of M
The College of Science and Engineering outreach program aimed to interest elementary students in science and teach them about the many science and technology challenges regarding our energy needs. Jan. 10: Star Tribune

Dream takes flight for Gophers gymnast who is also a drone pilot
Aerospace engineering student Jack Kramer is featured in a story about his love of flying. Jan. 8: Star Tribune

Stochastic Computing in a Single Device
Electrical engineering professor Jianping Wang and his PhD student Yang Lv have made a big leap in stochastic computing. Their device can perform the stochastic computing versions of both addition and multiplication on four logical inputs. Jan 5: IEEE Spectrum; Jan 9: NewsWise; NanoWerk; EurekAlert!; Phys.org; Tech Site; ScienceDaily; Science Codex; Jan. 10: Iran Daily (Iran); Eurasia Review (Spain); R&D Magazine; Science Newsline; Storage Newsletter (France)

Researchers manipulate the flow of electrical current using spinning light
Electrical and computer engineering associate professor Mo Li used a first-of-its-kind device to demonstrate a way to control the direction of the photocurrent in light without deploying an electric voltage. This new device holds significant potential for use in the next generation of microelectronics using electron spin as the fundamental unit of information. It could also be used for energy efficient optical communication in data centers. Jan. 4: Electronic Products

Letters home create an online WWII journal
Letters and pictures sent by mechanical engineering alumnus Dorance Alquist during WWII will be featured on a new website and podcast created by Dorance’s grandson. Jan. 4: Sun This Week

Artificial organ models 3D-printed with lifelike characteristics
A team of researchers led by Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Michael McAlpine has 3D printed lifelike artificial organ models that mimic the exact anatomical structure, mechanical properties, and look and feel of real organs. These patient-specific organ models, which include integrated soft sensors, can be used for practice surgeries to improve surgical outcomes in thousands of patients worldwide. Jan. 4: Design News; News Dog (India); Jan. 5: The New Nation (Bangladesh)

How to melt an ice cube
Mechanical engineering professor John Bischoff used iron oxide nanoparticles to uniformly heat tissues that have been preserved in a glassy solid state. Jan. 4: What A Year!

U of M students use 3D printers to create ears, noses and blood vessels
Bio-medical engineering students are learning to make everything from ears, noses and blood vessels using a 3-D printer and biological material. This semester is the first time bio-printing has been offered at the U of M and it’s the only class of its kind in the country right now. Jan. 3: KSTP

These lab-grown blood vessel replacements could benefit dialysis patients
Biomedical engineering professor Robert Tranquillo lead a study that created lab-grown blood vessel replacements that could be used as an “off the shelf” graft for kidney dialysis patients. Jan. 3: Medical Design & Outsourcing

The story of an unrealized domed city for Minnesota
Former Dean of the U of M’s Institute of Technology (now known as CSE) Athelstan Spilhaus wanted to build an entire city designed for scientific advancement. Jan. 1: Hyperallergic

A closer look at luxe
Chemistry postdoc Addison Desnoyer vented his frustrations about Tiffany & Co.’s improper assembly of a synthetic chemistry lab in their flagship store window display. Jan. 1: Chemical & Engineering News