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Auburn University and NASA today signed a Space Act Agreement to explore and advance the applications of additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing.
The signing took place during the university’s forum on additive manufacturing, a process that uses 3-D printing to make a three-dimensional part or instrument, providing substantial technological advances and cost savings over traditional manufacturing methods. The forum was co-sponsored by Auburn University and the City of Auburn Industrial Development Board.
“Additive manufacturing is a major advancement for the future direction for the nation’s industries,” said John Mason, Auburn University vice president for research and economic development. “The partnership with NASA is an excellent opportunity to engage and leverage each other’s capabilities and expertise.”
The Space Act Agreement, in addition to focusing on additive manufacturing, is designed to advance STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – by engaging students and teachers in NASA’s missions and opportunities; investigate and develop technologies; and share facilities, capabilities and technical expertise.
“As we continue developing the agency’s powerful new rocket, the Space Launch System, for deep-space missions to an asteroid and a journey to Mars, additive manufacturing techniques are making it possible to create and test innovative new designs quickly and affordably,” said Patrick Scheuermann, director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “Marshall is also pioneering the use of 3-D printers in space, and the recycling and sustainability of advanced manufacturing materials needed to enable long-term missions. We’re pleased to partner with industry and academia as we focus on technologies that not only are central to the nation’s space mission but also benefit aerospace and other activities on Earth.”
The Marshall Center has used additive manufacturing to build and test rocket engine components and manufacture the first 3-D printed parts aboard the International Space Station. These parts are currently undergoing testing at Marshall.
Auburn’s forum, “Additive Manufacturing, the Next Industrial Revolution,” brought together leaders from the private sector, academia and government to explore opportunities and challenges of using this advanced technology in manufacturing. Greg Morris, general manager of additive technologies with GE Aviation in Cincinnati, gave the keynote address. GE Aviation is bringing high-volume additive manufacturing to its facility in the city of Auburn to manufacture jet engine fuel nozzles.
“We are establishing partnerships with highly innovative businesses and organizations to spur economic growth throughout the state and region,” Auburn’s Mason said. “These relationships benefit our students with learning experiences, while companies benefit from the practical, applied solutions developed through research conducted by faculty and students.”
Recently, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities named Auburn an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University, a designation that recognizes the university’s strong commitment to economic engagement and its work with public and private sector partners in Alabama and the region.
“Auburn is in the business of helping people achieve their hopes and dreams, and that’s why we’re committed to working alongside entrepreneurs, industry leaders and government officials… as an engine of economic opportunity,” Auburn University President Jay Gogue said.
Three Wetumpka High School students who participated in the Auburn University-sponsored BEST Robotics outreach program were selected to travel to Washington, D.C., for the 2015 White House Presidential Science Fair as honored guests.
The high school’s BEST Robotics team leaders, Zena Banker, Ernald Jules Aloria and Joshuah Noel, represented the team at the White House and stood behind President Barack Obama during a broadcast address in which he elaborated on the importance of science education. The students also interacted with the president, as well as peers from across the nation, engineers, scientists like Bill Nye, high-level senior government officials, private sector representatives and others.
Wetumpka High School is the only BEST Robotics team in the nation to receive an invitation to participate in the 2015 White House Presidential Science Fair.
The students traveled to Washington, D.C., as representatives of Friends of BEST in Alabama, a not-for-profit organization formed in Alabama to provide additional resources supporting education and workforce development.
“When Friends of BEST in Alabama was informed of our invitation to the White House, there was no other team more deserving than Wetumpka,” said Robin Fenton, director of Friends of BEST in Alabama.
The three student representatives were selected by Friends of BEST in Alabama to participate in the science fair based on their performance with BEST Robotics, as well as a written essay.
Banker, who also was invited to participate in an exclusive women’s roundtable discussion at the White House, wrote an essay about her early childhood spent in foster care due to biological parents who were addicted to alcohol and drugs. She described how her life changed for the better at age 6 when she was adopted. Once a shy young lady without strong friendships, she detailed in her essay how her blossoming interest in science has led to both respect from her peers and new friendships.
“I wasn’t exactly the smartest kid when I was in middle school, and other kids made fun of me because of it,” said Banker. “In high school, I caught up.”
Banker, who is a junior, currently has the highest grade point average in her class and is the co-captain of the BEST Robotics team.
“I realized I liked science when I was in eighth grade and I joined the robotics team when I was a freshman. Joining the BEST Robotics team opened my eyes to a whole new world of science,” said Banker. “I now read scientific articles, have had opportunities to network with companies, and I know I want to be a biomedical engineer, specifically a tissue engineer. And going to D.C. – never in a million years did I think I would do that!”
BEST, which stands for “Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology,” is a program sponsored by Auburn University’s College of Sciences and Mathematics and the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. BEST Robotics is recognized and supported by the Alabama Governor’s Office of Workforce Development, as well as hundreds of businesses, industries and other community partnerships across the state of Alabama. Designed for middle and high school students, the national, all-volunteer program was introduced to the state of Alabama by Auburn University in 2001. During the past 14 years, BEST Robotics has expanded within the state to include 11 competition sites with nearly 200 public, private and homeschools participating.
BEST Robotics culminates in one of three regional championships, including South’s BEST. The South’s BEST championship is headquartered at Auburn University and in 2014, it featured the top 56 teams from multiple states, including Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana.
The Wetumpka High School robotics team is a member of the War Eagle BEST hub, and in 2014, they were the highest-ranking team in the state of Alabama and the second-highest at the South’s BEST championship. To applaud their achievements, the Business Council of Alabama recently presented the team with the BEST of the BEST Award for the state of Alabama.
“I cannot think of a better group of students to showcase how BEST Robotics changes lives and allows students to imagine themselves as future scientists and engineers,” said Mary Lou Ewald, director of outreach for the College of Sciences and Mathematics at Auburn. “The War Eagle BEST staff at Auburn University is extremely proud to have the Wetumpka High School students represent us at the White House.”
For more information on BEST Robotics in Alabama, go to http://www.southsbest.org. For more information on the 2015 White House Presidential Science Fair, go to https://www.whitehouse.gov/science-fair.
The stories behind the headlines, available in April 2015
“In recent years, technology has made a major impact on the way we think, how we work and the manner in which we share information, both professionally and privately. The immense ability to instantly transfer information, thoughts and ideas across a world stage has led to an unprecedented boon in information availability, research sharing and both social and industrial development.” –Eric O’Neill, founder of The Georgetown Group, LLC, former FBI operative, Auburn graduate and contributor to Auburn Speaks: On Cyber and the Digital Domain.
Cyber touches all our lives. Digitized information teaches us, entertains us, keeps track of our finances, monitors our health and our food supply, facilitates rapid and open communication, allows nearly instantaneous access to information and resides at the heart of our nation’s critical infrastructure. Enhanced with our new augmented reality app, TigerView, the latest edition of Auburn Speaks features stories of the Auburn men and women who are helping to not only navigate and secure the cyber frontier, but to explore the promise it offers.
To learn more about this award-winning series published by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development at Auburn University visit: http://www.auburn.edu/auburnspeaks
David Timm, Brasfield & Gorrie professor in Auburn University’s Department of Civil Engineering, served as a keynote speaker at the 2nd International Conference on Sustainable Urbanization in Hong Kong in December.
Timm’s keynote address, “Pavement Design: Past, Present and a Sustainable Future,” provided a comprehensive view of pavement design in the U.S. and featured perpetual pavement research findings from the National Center for Asphalt Technology Pavement Test Track in Opelika, Ala.
In his presentation, Timm stressed the importance of pavements in healthy infrastructure. The growing demand for higher-performing, longer-lasting pavements has led pavement engineers to embrace mechanistic-empirical approaches. Timm’s presentation evaluated these approaches which more readily accommodate innovation in construction, materials and better prediction of pavement performance over time.
The international conference, hosted by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, included 300 presentations representing 30 countries. The conference aimed to provide an international forum for the scientific and engineering community to examine the challenges arising from the massive urbanization programs underway throughout the world and to find effective solutions to ensure stable urbanization globally.
by Valerie Cashin
As a land-grant university, Auburn University serves the state and its people as a discoverer of new knowledge and ideas, and as a repository of science, literature, history, art, and culture. Every day, Auburn experts add to that store of knowledge–developing new processes, materials, and technologies along the way. They then take this expertise and focus it on real-world challenges and problems. In putting good ideas to work, Auburn researchers improve quality of life, strengthen the economy, and help keep us safe and secure.
Because this aspect of Auburn University is little known and often not well understood, Auburn Speaks seeks to translate and make accessible the sometimes dense and mysterious language of research, and to capture Auburn’s role in addressing the increasingly complex issues facing our state, nation and world. Produced by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, Auburn Speaks is an annual book series focusing on a specific research topic of interest to a public audience.
To date, we have produced three issues in the series. Released in April of 2012, the inaugural issue, Auburn Speaks: The Oil Spill of 2010 is devoted to chronicling Auburn University’s research related to the catastrophic oil spill in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Released in the spring of 2013, the second issue, Auburn Speaks: On Water, seeks to provide readers with insight into the breadth and depth of water-related research and creative scholarship at Auburn. The third issue, Auburn Speaks: On Food Systems was released in the spring of 2014 and focuses on food, food-related topics, and hunger.
We are pleased to announce that we have partnered with EBSCO Media to make each issue of Auburn Speaks available through their print-on-demand service. Each issue is now newly available in the same beautiful form and style as its initial release.
It is a privilege to share our research story with you. Through Auburn Speaks you are able to see firsthand what motivates our talented experts, to hear about the challenges they face, and gain an understanding of how their commitment and perseverance have led to innovation and discovery. With your purchase of Auburn Speaks, you help fuel the engines of innovation and foster opportunities for partnership by sharing the work of Auburn experts throughout the state and region.
The student event, “This is Research: Student Symposium 2015,” will be held April 13-14 in the Student Center and will give Auburn and Auburn Montgomery students an opportunity to share their research university-wide. Undergraduate and graduate students will participate through oral presentations, posters and creative scholarship displays.
“This is a great opportunity for students to display the results of their months of hard work and to interact with fellow researchers,” said Jennifer Kerpelman, chair of the Research Symposiums Committee. “It will also give the community a chance to see some of the great research being done at Auburn.”
The symposium will include a mentor recognition luncheon, judging of students’ presentations and opportunities for prospective students and potential employers to view and discuss students’ research. An awards ceremony will be held April 20 featuring a keynote speaker and reception.
A fall event, “This is Research: Faculty Symposium 2015,” will recognize faculty excellence in research, provide a forum for faculty collaboration across campus and across institutions and increase the visibility of Auburn research to external constituencies, such as advisory board members, representatives from industry and foundations as well as community members.
Scheduled for Sept. 30 at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center, faculty members will participate in Auburn Talks, panels, posters and themed lightning presentations. An invited keynote speaker followed by a reception will conclude the event. A biennial part of the symposium, “Showcasing the Work of Creative Scholarship,” will begin in fall 2016, featuring exhibitions and performances.
The two symposiums replace the former Research Week which concurrently showcased faculty and student research. More details on the 2015 symposiums are available on the website. For more information, contact Kerpelman at email@example.com.
by Charles Martin