March 2013 eNotes

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CS Student Creates Instrument Controlled by Hand Gestures

Instrument debuts at BLOrk concert

CS Student Creates Instrument Controlled by Hand Gestures

Computer science doctoral student Charles Dietrich has created a new musical instrument incorporating a laptop and a 3D camera, which he controls through hand gestures. The instrument debuted March 2 in a concert by the Boulder Laptop Orchestra, or BLOrk, at the ATLAS Black Box theater. (Performance photo by Ira Liss/ATLAS Institute)

"One exciting aspect of the instrument is that it lets the audience see what the musician is doing," says Dietrich, who works in Nikolaus Correll's lab in computer science.

>Read a Q&A with Charles Dietrich on the CS website

New Materials Science Graduate Program Approved

A new graduate program offering an MS and PhD in materials science and engineering has been approved by the CU Board of Regents and the Colorado Department of Higher Education. A kickoff celebration is being planned for May 2.

The interdisciplinary academic program will prepare graduates to advance new technologies such as biomaterials to replace damaged tissues or deliver drugs to treat cancer, and lighter materials for aircraft and space shuttles.  Professor Chris Bowman of chemical and biological engineering is the program's director. For more information, visit

CU Engineering Ranks Among Best Graduate Schools

CU Engineering is ranked 34th overall and 20th among the nation’s best graduate engineering programs at public institutions, according to the latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report. The college is tied with Yale in the rankings for 2014, released March 12.

Specialty rankings include (overall ranking followed by ranking among public institutions): aerospace engineering 14/9, chemical engineering 18/10, civil engineering 19/13, environmental engineering 22/13, mechanical engineering 30/19, computer engineering 31/18, and electrical engineering 36/21. Computer science was not newly ranked this year.

> Learn More

NASA Selects CU-Boulder CubeSat for Launch

NASA has selected a CU-Boulder CubeSat, called the High Latitude Ionospheric Thermospheric Experiment, or HiLITE, as one of 24 satellites to be funded in the fourth round of its CubeSat Launch Initiative. The CubeSats, will fly as auxiliary payloads aboard rocket missions scheduled for 2014, 2015, and 2016.

HiLITE will be a collaboration between the aerospace department and two small Boulder-based companies, Blue Canyon Technologies and ASTRA, which are supported by the Air Force to help develop CubeSat hardware. 

Associate Professor Scott Palo says the HiLITE bus will build upon the CubeSat for Atmospheric Studies in Orbit and Re-entry (CASTOR), which was developed as a senior project by students Shane Ahrens, Jacob Cook, Maxwell Knarr, Denver Powell, Mark Coffman, Melissa Honaker, Jack Mills, and Jonathon Stark. A new student team will be selected later this semester to continue the project.

HiLITE’s mission will be to measure atmospheric density, which impacts satellite positioning, and other space weather conditions.

Honors & Awards: March 2013

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:


Karl Linden of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering won the prestigious Disinfection and Public Health Pioneer Award from the Water Environment Federation at the 2013 Disinfection and Public Health Conference.

Robert McLeod of electrical, computer, and energy engineering received the 2013 Intel Outstanding Researcher Award in Optoelectronics.

Zoya Popovic of electrical, computer, and energy engineering received the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society 2013 Distinguished Educator Award.

The following faculty were selected to receive Dean’s Faculty Fellowships for next year:

  • Ginger Ferguson of mechanical engineering
  • Joel Kaar of chemical and biological engineering
  • Jason Marden of electrical, computer, and energy engineering
  • Jana Milford of mechanical engineering/ environmental engineering
  • Franck Vernerey of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering

Ted Randolph of chemical and biological engineering received a $4.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund a Biotechnology Research Partnership to study aggregation of therapeutic protein molecules. He leads a team that includes Dan Schwartz of chemical and biological engineering, John Carpenter of pharmaceutical science at the University of Colorado Denver, and additional collaborators.

New Faculty & Staff: March 2013

Welcome to the new faculty and staff who are joining the college:

Christopher Anderson, Undergraduate Advisor, Mechanical Engineering

Sabria Kushad, Program Coordinator, Materials Science and Engineering

Liz Eckstein, Office Administrator, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Important Announcements

CUEngineering:  A publication for alumni and friends. Read the 2016 edition of CUEngineering magazine here.

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