January 17 - 22, 2012


January 17, 2012

Faculty News

New Faculty:

Megan Leftwich has joined the faculty as an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering from Los Alamos National Lab, where she served as the Agnew National Security Postdoctoral Fellow. She holds a B.S.E. in mechanical engineering and material science from Duke University and a Ph.D. in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University. As an experimental fluid dynamicist, her research interests include the hydrodynamics of swimming fish, extreme fluid instabilities, the fluid dynamics of mammalian birth, and novel experimental techniques. She is interested in pedagogical techniques for quantitative courses and is teaching undergraduate dynamics this spring.

Murray Snyder joins SEAS this semester as a research professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and as the director of the Clark Engineering Scholars Program. Prof. Snyder is a retired US Navy Captain who served on four nuclear powered submarines, including as Commanding Officer of USS NEVADA (SSBN 733). He obtained his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 2007. From 2006 to 2011 he was a military professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the US Naval Academy. Prof. Snyder was the recipient of a 2009 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program award, the only active duty military officer ever selected for this prestigious award. His main research interests are computational and experimental fluid dynamics, specifically the impact of ship air wakes on rotary wing aircraft. Prof. Snyder will teach undergraduate and graduate courses in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and numerical methods.


Prof. Michael Clarkson (CS) has been awarded an Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Research Award for his research proposal, "Making Cybersecurity Quantifiable." The objective of this three-year, $610,000 grant is to make it possible to quantify, and consequently to compare, the security of computing systems. Instead of merely declaring a system to be secure, or not, Prof. Clarkson seeks to enable measurement of security. His work will focus on constructing mathematical models and metrics for cybersecurity in three important areas: privacy, access control, and availability.

Prof. Michael Keidar (MAE) has been awarded a research grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research for his "Hypersonic Plasma Simulations" project. Professor Keidar will work in collaboration with TechX Corporation, Inc. The total award is $750,000, and the GW portion is $226,000 for two years.

Awards and Honors:

As the GW site director for the NSF Industry/University Center for High-Performance Reconfigurable Computing (NSF CHREC), Prof. Tarek El-Ghazawi (ECE) received the 2012 Alexandar Schwartzkopf Prize for Innovation at the NSF Annual IUCRC Meeting in Arlington, VA, January 11-13, 2012. Every year, one of the 50-plus NSF Industry/University Centers is selected to receive this prestigious award for the originality, applicability, and impact of its research. This year CHREC was fortunate to receive this recognition. The award is administered and presented by the NSF IUCRC Directors Association in honor of Dr. Schwartzkopf, who started the industry/university research center program at NSF more than thirty years ago. CHREC is a national NSF industry/university research center with sites at the University of Florida, GW, Brigham Young University, and Virginia Tech. It has been in operation for five years, and an NSF proposal by the founding sites (GW and UF) is currently pending to renew CHREC for five more years.

Media Mentions:

Prof. Evan Drumwright (CS) and several students in his Autonomous Robotics class were interviewed for "New Robot, Old Tricks," an article in the January 9 issue of GW Today.

Prof. Tarek El-Ghazawi (ECE) was quoted in " China's Homegrown Supercomputers" an article in the January 2012 issue of the IEEE Spectrum.

Prof. Azim Eskandarian (CEE) was quoted in " Crash-Free Commutes," an article in the January 6, 2012 issue of the institute, a publication of the IEEE. Prof. Eskandarian discussed intelligent transportation technologies that could eliminate collisions due to driver error.

GW micro-propulsion work was mentioned in the AIAA Aerospace America annual review on electric propulsion, published in December 2011. Micro thrusters for cube satellites are being developed by GW's MicroPropulsion and Nanotechnology Laboratory, led by Prof. Azim Eskandarian (CEE). Prof. Keidar congratulates his doctoral student, TaiSen Zhuang, on his great progress on thruster development.

Conferences and Presentations:

Prof. Ken Chong (MAE) gave a plenary lecture at the International Conference on Smart Materials and Nanotechnology held in Shenzhen, China, December 5-8, 2011. The paper, titled "Modeling and Experiments in Nano and Multi-Scale Mechanics and Smart Materials," was authored by him, graduate student Jiaoyan Li, and Prof. James Lee, all from MAE. Prof. Chong also served as the honorary chair of the conference, which was attended by 300 participants worldwide. In addition, he chaired a session and presented awards to students of winning posters.

Prof. Tarek El-Ghazawi (ECE) served as the general chair of the ACS/IEEE International Conference on Computer Systems and Applications (AICCSA 2011). AICCSA 2011 was held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, December 27-30, 2011.

Prof. Taeyoung Lee (MAE)and his former students presented two papers at the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control and the European Control Conference (CDC-ECC 2011), held December 12-15, 2011:

T. Fernando, J. Chandrinamani, T. Lee, and H. Gutierrez, "Robust adaptive geometric tracking controls on SO(3) with an application to the attitude dynamics of a quadrotor UAV."

T. Lee, M. Leok, and N. H. McClamroch, "Stable manifolds of saddle points for pendulum dynamics on S^2 and SO(3)."

CDC-ECC is one of the most prestigious conferences on control theory and application. At the conference, Prof. Lee also served as chair of the session "Robust Adaptive Control."

Prof. Tianshu Li (CEE) was invited to visit the Iowa State University and Ames Lab on January 12. While there, he gave a Materials Science and Engineering Departmental seminar titled "Molecular simulations on tetrahedral materials."


Representatives from GE Global Research in Niskayuna, NY visited GW's Virginia Science & Technology Campus on December 12, 2011, to discuss the integration of ongoing joint research on magnetic refrigeration under a $1.47 million ARRAS grant from the Department of Energy. GE will develop the new technology with the aid of researchers at SEAS. The goal is to increase the efficiency of residential refrigerators by 30 percent. The work at GW is directed by the PI,Prof. Larry Bennett (ECE), along with the co-PI, Prof. Ed Della Torre (ECE ), and graduate students Yi Jin and Mohammad reza Ghahremani.

Student News

SEAS congratulates the winners of this year's GW Institute for Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Nigel Isom and Nathan Serafino. Nigel, a sophomore in biomedical engineering, won a fellowship for his project, "Electrospun Nanofiber Scaffolds for Bone Regeneration." His advisor is Prof. Lijie Grace Zhang (MAE). Nathan, a junior in biomedical engineering, won a fellowship for his project, "Addition of Erythrocytes to the Perfusion in Biventricular Working Heart Study." His advisor is Prof. Matthew Kay (ECE).

William Broman (sophomore, biomedical engineering) wrote "STEM Provides Answers for Student Loan Debt," an article published in the January 11 issue of US News & World Report.

Other News

Nominations for the 2012 SEAS Excellence Awards for Teaching and Research are due by Friday, February 17th. The criteria and nomination forms for each of the awards are posted on the SEAS website at:

  • SEAS Distinguished Teacher Award for Full Professors and Associate Professors: (PDF) (Word)
  • SEAS Outstanding Young Teacher Award for Assistant Professors: (PDF) (Word)
  • SEAS Researcher Awards (the Distinguished Researcher and Outstanding Young Researcher awards share the same nomination form): (PDF) (Word)

The awards will be announced by mid-March, and shortly after that, Dean Dolling will host an awards ceremony, at which each recipient will receive a $5,000 cash award and a commemorative plaque.

Mr. Whit Chaiyabhat, MS ' 06 (engineering management with a focus in crisis, emergency, and risk management) was named to the Security Director News "Top 20 under 40," a list of the county's most distinguished security professionals in the business today who are under 40 years of age. Mr. Chaiyabhat is the director of emergency management and operational continuity for Georgetown University and has continued his engagement with and support of GW's Institute for Crisis, Disaster and Risk Management since his graduation. His personal profile on the Security Director News web site includes the following statement concerning his education at GW: "9/11 crystallized his desire to pursue security as a career and he enrolled in a crisis and risk management graduate program at The George Washington University. 'It really set the path for the rest of my career.'"

Want to help improve the SEAS graduate student experience? The university is gathering ideas from graduate students on ways to enhance your time at GW. To offer your suggestions or opinions, please attend a brief focus group Tuesday, January 24 at 8:30 pm or Thursday, January 26 at 8:30 pm. Pizza and refreshments will be provided! To sign up, email Elizabeth Barnett at [email protected].

Guest Vignette

Prof. Kausik Sarkar conducts research in fluid mechanics, acoustics, and computational sciences, and he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at SEAS in thermal-fluid sciences and biomechanics. His current research thrusts are in two broad areas: 1) fundamental mechanics of viscous and viscoelastic multiphase flows of drops, bubbles, capsules, and biological cells, where he performs large scale direct numerical simulation of such flows, and 2) ultrasound imaging and ultrasound mediated therapy, where he performs experimental and modeling research in close collaboration with clinicians and biologists. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Prof. Sarkar is a member of the American Physical Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineering, and the Acoustical Society of America. (Provided courtesy of Prof. Kausik Sarkar of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering)

SEAS Events

SEAS Distinguished Lecture Series:: "Archetype Blending Continuum (ABC) Theory"
Wing Kam Liu, Walter P. Murphy Professor, Northwestern University, and Founding Chair of the ASME
Nanotechnology Council
Tuesday, January 17
3:00 pm
307 Marvin Center
More info . . .

GW Cyber Security Policy and Research Institute (CSPRI) Debate
"Resolved: The Internet's Domain Name System (DNS) Should be Utilized to Try to Control Bad Behavior
Such as Copyright and Trademark Infringement"
Debaters: David Sohn, Senior Policy Counsel of the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), and
Paul Brigner, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for the Motion Picture Association of
America (MPAA)
Wednesday, January 25
12:00 pm (Lunch provided at 1:00 pm)
309 Marvin Center
More info. . .

Teaching & Learning Cooperative and SEAS:: "STEM Education Seminar and Workshop"
Karl A. Smith, Cooperative Learning Professor of Engineering Education, Purdue University; and
Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor and Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering,
University of Minnesota
Friday, January 27
Seminar: "Evidence-Based Practices for Innovative STEM Education" : 10:30 - 11:45 am
Workshop: "Design and Implementation of Active and Cooperative Learning" : 1:30 - 3:30 pm
307 Marvin Center
More info and Registration . . .scroll down to see STEM event)