On the Same Wavelength

by Michael Mullaney on March 23, 2011

My grandmother, an Irishwoman through and through, often smiled and said good things happen in threes. This was my thought as I sat in the audience of the Lemelson Student Prize ceremony, and listened to David Rosowsky, the dean of engineering at Rensselaer. He made a fascinating observation linking the three finalist projects: 

This year’s Lemelson finalists are masters at manipulating waves.

Ben converts Terahertz radiation to acoustic waves so that the spectral information embedded in it can be transmitted over large distances in order to detect hidden explosives and other hazardous materials.

Sevan uses ultrasound waves to remotely and non-invasively infer the mechanical properties of tissues and determine whether they are cancerous.

And Tristan converts electrical signals to mechanical vibrations and transmits data and power across solid metal walls.

These are ground-breaking research projects rooted in fundamental science, with significant real-world applications. The three projects fundamentally are looking at waves and their interaction with matter … with a myriad of potential applications in health and security, two of the Grand Challenges faculty and students in the School of Engineering are focusing on every day.

Indeed, human health and security have evolved as two strategic research thrusts for Rensselaer. And we will see further advances from our students and faculty in these critical areas in the years ahead.

The dean was speaking about Lemelson finalists Ben Clough, Sevan Goenezen, and Tristan Lawry. At the ceremony, Clough was named the winner. It's inspiring to see how these bright young students are using waves to impact out lives for the positive and change the world - particularly in the wake of the sheer, raw violence of another type of wave making tragic tragic headlines, the recent tsunami that hit the east coast of Japan.

Please check out the above and below videos to see snapshots of these three innovative Rensselaer student projects.

For members of the Rensselaer community, information on donation matching, fundrasiers, and other events to benefit those in need in Japan can be found here.