Faculty

Colorado School of Mines is a uniquely focused public research university dedicated to preparing exceptional students to solve today's most pressing energy and environmental challenges.

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Mounir Zok, senior sports technologist for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), was researching how boxers moved during a match through video taken by an overhead camera suspended in a boxing ring, when he got an idea that evolved into a Colorado School of Mines field session project.

“We are constantly thinking about how can we help coaches and athletes make the best informed decision through current technology,” Zok said. “Because gymnasts are performing coded actions, their movements are ideal to be measured and analyzed.”

In December, Zok met Electrical Engineering and Computer Science professors Bill Hoff and Hao Zhang and computer science graduate student Brian Reily to observe male gymnasts and collect performance data with computer vision technology—a Microsoft Kinect v2 camera. The color camera uses a depth sensor and microphone array to sense the location and movements of people.

Within a few months, Reily was able to take their results to develop a method to track gymnasts and produce data on their performances.

“It was a great opportunity to collect a unique type of data. I'm working on human detection and pose estimation, and pretty much all existing data out there is collected in a lab,” said Reily. “Collecting this data and publishing it as a dataset would actually be pretty important just on it's own.”

Reily requested the help of four Mines students and USOC coaches to add features—such as tracking gymnasts to create useful data visualizations for both gymnasts and coaches. Computer science students Austin Kauffman, Zac McClain, Evan Balogh and Travis Johnson took Reily’s data to build an app that could record and analyze a routine, playback video, and provide performance statistics.

“I’ve always been interested in computer science and bioinformatics,” said McClain. “I would like to use this project to get into a more active area of computer science.”

The Computer Science field session team, advised by Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Teaching Associate Professor Christopher Painter-Wakefield, sees their app advancing in the future if more features could be added, such as color video playback, consistent frame rates and angle tracking.

“We’ve had students involved in our projects for the last year and a half. The engineering talent coming from Colorado School of Mines is helping us gain insights into some of our sports programs,” Zok said. “These students are scientifically prepared to face the challenge.” The USOC has also been working with Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Joel Bach and a senior design team to develop other technologies to help further athlete development and training.

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Digital Media & Communications Manager / 303-273-3088 / KMorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / KGilbert@mines.edu

The Humanitarian Engineering program at Colorado School of Mines has begun leading workshops on the issue of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the education of engineers.

Liberal Arts and International Studies professors Juan Lucena and Jon Leydens, as well as other Mines faculty, will present during the American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference in Seattle June 14-17, 2015.

Leydens will lead a session titled: “Integrating Social Justice in Engineering Science Courses.” Lucena, who is also the director of the Humanitarian Engineering program, will speak in a workshop on “Building Intentional Community Partnerships,” as well as present during the Integrating Social Justice session.

Associate Professor Jessica Smith and her colleague, Nicole Smith, presented another workshop, “Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development: Exploring Opportunities in Engineering Education,” at the Engineering Education for Sustainable Development conference held June 9-12 in Vancouver.

Both of these presentations expand on the “Corporate Social Responsibility in Extractive Industries” workshop Mines hosted May 14-15. The workshop was funded by the Shultz Family in Humanitarian Engineering and brought together leaders from various fields to brainstorm how to integrate corporate social responsibility into the education of tomorrow’s engineers.

“The workshop was exciting because we brought together people from academia, NGOs, corporations and industry to actually brainstorm CSR and how it is practiced in different places in different ways, and how we can bring those insights into our educating of engineers,” explained Lucena.

Roger Fragua, a member of the Pueblo of Jemez and president of Cota Holdings, presented, as did Will Rifkin from the University of Queensland’s Center for Social Responsibility in Mining. Professors from Stanford University and Missouri University of Science and Technology attended, as well as others from South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Australia. Corporate participants included Shell Co., Enbridge, and Newmont Mining Corporation.

One of the key insights from the workshop called for expanding the concept of corporate social responsibility beyond the moniker of corporate to include the social responsibility of individual engineers.

“A second takeaway was the issue of word choice, with some industry leaders expressing discomfort with the term “social justice” and suggesting alternatives such as “social performance” and “co-governance,” said Lucena. “Others brought up the need to expand CSR beyond just the extractive industries, to include civil engineers who aren’t necessarily working in oil, gas or mining, for example, but whose work still impacts communities. And a fourth insight centered around the issue of risk, how we educate engineers and our society in general, because pretending there are no risks involved means choosing to be naïve over being proactive.”

The Humanitarian Engineering program at Colorado School of Mines was the first in the country. A generous gift from Mines alumni, Chuck Shultz and his family, has revitalized the program, so that it now sponsors a speaker series, five Shultz scholars, and research on sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

 

Contact:
Deirdre Keating, Information Specialist, College of Engineering & Computational Sciences | 303-384-2358 | dkeating@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 | kgilbert@mines.edu

 

GOLDEN, Colo., June 10, 2015 – The Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced awards totaling more than $60 million for U.S. universities including Colorado School of Mines, national laboratories, and industry, for nuclear energy research and infrastructure enhancement with the potential to create scientific breakthroughs that both help strengthen the nation’s energy security and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Three Mines physicists now hold prestigious editorships at respected physics journals. Professor Reuben Collins is editor-in-chief of Applied Physics Letters, Professor Craig Taylor is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy and Emeritus Senior Vice President John Poate is editor-in-chief of Applied Physics Reviews. All three of these journals are published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) Publishing.

“Having three editors is extraordinary and speaks highly of the quality of the faculty and students at Mines and the positive trajectory of the campus in terms of its reputation in significant, scientific research,” said Jeff Squier, head of the Mines Physics Department.

To become an editor you must have a reputation of excellence at the international level, Squier said, as well as an excellent track record in service to the scientific community and a knowledge base of the scientific field that is broader than your specialty.

“Craig Taylor, Reuben Collins and John Poate exemplify these qualities and more,” Squier said. 

Collins was appointed editor of Applied Physics Letters in fall of 2014. The Journal offers "prompt publication of new experimental and theoretical papers bearing on applications of physics phenomena to all branches of science, engineering, and modern technology."

Collins earned his PhD in applied physics at the California Institute of Technology in 1985. For the next 10 years he rose through the ranks at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center before joining the Mines faculty in 1994. In addition to his role as professor of physics, he serves as associate director of the Renewable Energy Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (REMRSEC). He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, holds four patents and has published more than 130 scientific articles.

Taylor has been editing The Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy since 2008. He shares the duties with co-editor John Turner, from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. It is an interdisciplinary journal covering all areas of renewable or sustainable energy that are applicable to the physical sciences and engineering communities. The journal, which is six years old, covers the widest range of topics of any AIP journal. Topics covered include bioenergy, geothermal energy, marine and hydroelectric energy, solar energy, wind energy and more.

Taylor received his bachelor’s degree from Carleton College and his PhD from Brown University. He has written more than 400 scientific papers including book chapters and review articles. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Materials Research Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers. In addition to his role as professor of physics, he serves as REMRSEC director.

Poate has been editor-in-chief at Applied Physics Reviews since 1984. He co-edits with Bill Appleton, of the University of Florida. The publication features reviews of important and current topics of experimental or theoretical research in applied physics and applications of physics to other branches of science and engineering. These articles vary from comprehensive reviews covering established areas to concise reviews covering new and emerging areas of science.

Poate, who retired from Mines in 2014 after serving as vice president of research and technology transfer since 2006, earned his PhD in nuclear physics from the Australian National University. He later headed the Silicon Processing Research Department at Bell Laboratories and is former dean of the College of Science and Liberal Arts at New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Materials Research Society and served as president of the Materials Research Society and chair of the NATO Physical Sciences and Engineering Panel. Poate chairs the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory review committees and is on the board of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

 

Contact:
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 | kgilbert@mines.edu
Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3088 | kmorton@mines.edu

 

GOLDEN, Colo., May 22, 2015 – Members of the Colorado School of Mines academic faculty have received honors for their exceptional work at the university.

Several distinguished faculty members who announced their retirement during the past academic year have been awarded University Emeritus status for demonstrated exemplary service through distinguished teaching and achievement of national and international recognition through outstanding scholarship by the Mines Board of Trustees:

A team of four sophomore students placed first (out of 41 Mines teams) in a Colorado School of Mines Intro to Mechanical Engineering (MEGN200) Wind Station Competition May 5. The team, Stormtroopers, had 2.5 weeks to design, build and program a weather station that was capable of measuring wind speed, temperature and two variables of their choice. Mechanical Engineering students Geordie Campbell, Aaron Fanganello, David Harper and Alicia Helmer created their system with a Star Wars theme, using Legos and an innovative homemade sensor.

“The Stormtroopers used every sensor that was provided to them and purchased additional Arduinos and sensors to use as well,” said Teaching Associate Professor Jenifer Blacklock. “They were very energetic and knowledgeable about their system, and it was clear that they had worked hard and spent numerous hours designing, building and programming their final wind station.”

To measure wind speed, the team 3D printed an anemometer (or windmeter) that they fixed on a rotor shaft of a remote controlled helicopter.

“At the base of the helicopter, we had two brush connections—one that made constant contact and one that made an interrupted contact. This allowed us to count the number of times the circuit was completed and convert that into wind speed,” Campbell said. “We measured temperature in conjunction with a new digital barometric pressure sensor, a BMP 180 chip.”

The top three to four teams from each section of the course were invited to compete in the Wind Station Competition, and were judged by faculty, ME undergraduate and graduate students on four main qualifications: a technically advanced system, appropriate user feedback, creativity and overall aesthetics. Students on the winning team received a $50 gift card to SparkFun, an electronics store.

 

Contact:
Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator / 303-273-3088 / KMorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / KGilbert@mines.edu

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