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Bogdan Epureanu and Wei Lu Receive NSF CAREER Awards

ME Assistant Professors Bogdan Epureanu ( ) and Wei Lu ( ) were among a select group of faculty nationwide to receive National Science Foundation CAREER Awards, NSF's most prestigious awards for new faculty members.

According to the NSF Web site ( ), the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program "recognizes and supports the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century." Awardees are selected on the basis of "creative, career-development plans that effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their institution."

NSF distributed just 417 CAREER Awards nationwide in fiscal year 2003, including 16 in the state of Michigan. All awards have not been made for the current fiscal year, but just under 400 have been distributed so far. Since 1995, 22 ME faculty have received CAREER Awards, and three have received NSF PECASE and Presidential Faculty Fellow Awards.

epureanu,Bogdan EpureanuProfessor Epureanu was selected by the NSF Division of Dynamic System Modeling, Sensing and Control for his proposal, "Next-Generation High-Sensitivity Damage Detection and Sensing Based on Enhancing Nonlinear Dynamics and Phase Space Pattern Recognition." Only four grants were awarded in the DSC program area during the 2003 fiscal year.

This research, which is integrated with an educational program, aims to develop a new and comprehensive methodology for damage detection in high-dimensional nonlinear complex systems, with applications to the fields of structural dynamics, fluid-structure interactions, and sensing. Professor Epureanu's work has immediate potential to impact industry -- for instance, contributing to the creation of the next generation of reusable launch vehicles and transitioning from time-based to condition-based maintenance in the aerospace industry.

Epureanu described himself as "humbled and very happy" to receive the award.

"It is especially rewarding to have such a recognition of my research program. I like to believe my plans and accomplishments are noteworthy, but I know that other researchers also have brilliant programs and have accomplished tremendously. Thus, it is particularly rewarding to know that I have been fortunate to be chosen for the award," he said. "I know that all of the winners in previous years have had exceptional careers both prior to the award and also in the years which followed. Among those are many of our colleagues in the Department. It is a great pleasure to be in such exceptional company."

Epureanu also has been selected to receive this year's ASEE Ferdinand P. Beer and E. Russell Johnston, Jr., Outstanding New Mechanics Educator Award, in recognition of his teaching effectiveness and his tireless dedication to the field of mechanics. The award will be presented at the ASEE Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Tuesday, June 22, 2004.

Professor Epureanu, who joined the department in 2002, also is working with the AirForce and DaimlerChrysler on separate projects focused on condition-based maintenance in robotics and structural health monitoring for space vehicles. He received his Ph.D. from Duke University in 1999. His most recent honors and awards include the 2003 ASME/Pi Tau Sigma Gold Medal Award, the 2001 Young Innovator Award from Petro-Canada, and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers' 2001 Best Paper Finalist Award.

lu,Wei LuProfessor Lu was selected by the NSF Division of Design, Manufacture and Industrial Innovation for his proposal, "Programmable Nanoscale Self-Assembly on Solid Surfaces." Only three grants were awarded in the nanomanufacturing program area during the 2003 fiscal year.

A critical challenge in nanotechnology is to mass produce desired nanoscale structures efficiently and economically, he said. Nanoscale self-assembly is a promising solution. Unfortunately, self-assembled structures often suffer from nonuniformity, no size and position control, which severely limits the application. Advancement of the technology requires the exploration of innovative methods to control a self-assembly process, and the development of advanced simulation and design tools. His CAREER plan proposes to develop a set of simulation and design tools to allow self-assembly to be engineered and systematically applied in diverse material systems. A long term goal is to establish nanoscale self-assembly, nanostructure design and nanofabrication as a unified science-based discipline.

"Fabricating nanoscale structures efficiently and economically is an important issue in nanotechnology," Professor Lu said. "I believe the proposed research will make significant contributions in this field... As an enabling technology, the outcome of the work will benefit a wide range of scientific disciplines and push the frontier in nanoscale science and technology."

Professor Lu joined ME after graduating from Princeton University in 2001. His other research includes self-assembled monolayer patterns on solid surfaces, and simulation and experimentation of electrical field-induced self-assembly. He previously received the Robert J. McGrattan Literature Award from ASME, and the MRS Gold Award for Graduate Research from the Material Research Society.

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