Professor Jane Davidson (Mechanical Engineering), a long-time Principal Investigator at MSI, has received the Frank Kreith Energy Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. According to the ASME’s website, this award is presented to individuals for “significant contributions to a secure energy future with particular emphasis on innovations in conservation and/or renewable energy.” The award was presented at the 2012 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, held in Houston, Texas in November.


Professor Davidson is the director of the Solar Energy Laboratory at the University. Her research group uses MSI resources to model aspects of chemical reactions, fluid flow, and heat transfer both for analysis of experimental results and the design of prototype reactions.


You can read more about Professor Davidson and Kreith Award at the ASME website.


MSI Principal Investigators in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science were recently awarded a $1.8 million research grant. Michael Tsapatsis is the lead researcher; Prodromos Daoutidis is also on the research team.


The grant is from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) and is for the development of membrane technologies that will enable energy-efficient separations in the chemical, petrochemical, water, fossil fuel, and renewable energy resources. The University’s award is intended specifically for improving the efficiencies of industrial processes.


Professors Tsapatsis and Daoutidis use MSI resources for their work in developing gas-separation technologies and related research. They published a paper in the journal Science in 2011 about their development of zeolite nanosheets. This project was featured in a Research Spotlight on the MSI homepage last summer.


The People section of the UMNews website has a story about this grant. You can also read the news release.




MSI participated in the College of Science and Engineering’s Family Fun Fair on November 17, 2012. This annual event, which is designed to introduce children to science and math in fun and interactive ways, had nearly 2,500 participants this year. At the MSI booth, hundreds of kids created models of sodium chloride and methane out of marshmallows, pretzels, and toothpicks. The attendees also watched a 3D visualization of a molecule on a 60” monitor.


The MSI team consisted of Carlos Sosa of Cray Research and MSI staff members Nancy Rowe (Scientific Computing Consultant), Tom Prather (Sr. Software Developer), and Ying Zhang (RISS Informatics Analyst). Michael Milligan (Scientific Computing Consultant), who was working at another exhibit, also stopped by the MSI booth to help out.


A slideshow can be seen on the event website. Slides 21, 22, and 23 show activity at the MSI booth.





The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has elected several University of Minnesota faculty members to their 2012 list of new Fellows. AAAS Fellowships recognize outstanding efforts to advance science or its applications. Fellows are chosen by their peers. Three of the new AAAS Fellows, Carston Wagner (Medicinal Chemistry), Renata Wentzcovitch (MSI Fellow; Chemical Engineering and Materials Science), and Robin Wright (Associate Dean, College of Biological Sciences; Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development) are MSI Principal Investigators.


Professor Wagner was elected to the AAAS’s Section on Pharmaceutical Sciences. His research involves drug design and delivery, including the design and development of chemically assembled protein nanostructures. MSI supports this work with resources that allow the Wagner group to design and model protein-protein interfaces.


Professor Wentzcovitch was elected to the Section on Physics for her contributions to theory and simulations of materials at high pressures and temperatures. She uses the supercomputers for this research, which has implications for our understanding of planetary composition. The Wentzcovitch group’s MSI research has also advanced software for distributed computing over the internet.


Associate Dean Wright was elected to the Section of Biological Sciences in recognition of her contributions to academic administration and education. She is using MSI resources to help analyze and understand data about student performance in her college.


The University News Service has published a story with a complete list of the University faculty who are on the 2012 list of AAAS Fellows.


Blue Waters is a project to deliver a supercomputer that can provide petascale-level computing power. It is located at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. One year ago, they began a partnership with Cray, Inc. to install this system.


The Blue Waters system has entered the availability testing period. The Blue Waters team has published a report that describes their progress over the past year. You can read the report on the NCSA website or as a PDF attachment