Professor Brian Pogue, internationally known for his research on biomedical optics and imaging of cancer, has been named the new dean of graduate studies at Dartmouth. In the lab, Pogue and his research team develop and refine new medical technologies that use near-infrared light and spectroscopy to characterize cancer pathophysiology and guide cancer therapy. He also serves as deputy editor of the journal Optics Letters, is on the editorial boards of Medical Physics and the Journal of Biomedical Optics, and holds adjunct appointments in the surgery department at Dartmouth Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.
In the August-September 2008 issue of PE: The Magazine for Professional Engineers, Thayer Dean Joseph J. Helble makes the case for the ability of colleges to prepare engineering students who are technically proficient and creative leaders who understand broader societal issues. “This call to a holistic approach is, in fact, a call to regain the true mission of the engineering profession,” Helble and three co-authors write in “Dispelling the Myths of Holistic Engineering.” “Engineers are eloquent in distinguishing themselves from other scientists as the science-based professionals who apply their creative and technical knowledge in service to humanity, specifically by designing and building to improve the quality of life for society in both the built and natural environments.”
The International Metallographic Society has awarded professor Ian Baker and three of his students honors in its International Metallographic Contest (PDF) and Exhibit, held in conjunction with the society’s annual convention in August. The contest, which offers microstructural analysts the opportunity to display their work and communicate significant scientific information, covers all fields of optical and electron microscopy. Baker and Yifeng Liao Th’09 earned an honorable mention in the “Electron Microscopy — Transmission and Analytical” division for their work on “Microstructural Refinement of a Eutectoid Fe-Ni-Mn-Al Alloy.” Baker and Si Chen Th’10 received third-place honors in the “Electron Microscopy Scanning” division for their work on “Mechanisms of Sintering Ice Spheres.” And the professor and Rachel Lomonaco Th’09 received an honorable mention for the Dubose-Crouse Award for Unique, Unusual, and New Techniques in Microscopy for their research on “Classification of Firn Using Micro CT and SEM.” Baker is Thayer’s Sherman Fairchild Professor of Engineering Sciences and senior associate dean of academic affairs.
Dartmouth has been awarded nearly $3 million to develop an interdisciplinary doctoral program in the polar sciences and engineering, with a focus on rapid environmental change. The five-year grant from the National Science Foundation “will allow us to train a desperately needed cohort of climate change scientists,” says environmental studies professor Ross Virginia, director of the Institute of Arctic Studies at Dartmouth. His co-investigators in the project include Thayer professors Ian Baker and Mary Albert Th’84.
Professor Ursula Gibson ’76 spent the fall term at the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland in Espoo, Finland, under a Fulbright Scholarship. A nanomaterials specialist, she is investigating the use of zinc oxide nanostructures as a way of imparting UV protection capabilities. “My collaborators in Finland are interested in improved protection for wood products,” said Gibson, who hopes to connect this research to the timber industry in Vermont and New Hampshire. “Zinc oxide is a particularly attractive material to use as a UV blocker because it absorbs a wide range of UV light, and doesn’t degrade as it does its job.” Gibson returned in January to become the new director of Thayer’s M.S./Ph.D. programs.
Adjunct professor Mary Albert Th’84 has been named director of the new Ice Drilling Program Office, part of National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs. The IDPO is responsible for drilling and obtaining ice core samples, which contain data about past climate conditions, levels of pollution, and even levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases over the last 800,000 years. Albert is a research engineer with the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, part of the Army Corps of Engineers, and will head-up research at IDPO, which will be headquartered at Thayer School.
A group of Dartmouth researchers, including Thayer research associate and scientist Robert Savell Adv’05, has developed a mathematical tool that can be used to unscramble the underlying structure of time-dependent, interrelated, complex data — such as the career-long votes of legislators, second-by-second activity of the stock market, or levels of oxygenated blood flow in the brain. Their study was published in a December online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. “We think this tool can be useful when applied in the financial realm, to portfolio and risk management,” says study co-author and mathematics professor Dan Rockmore. “We expect similar results as it is applied to different complex systems like the brain, or even the collections of brains that are societies.”