Campus News in Brief

Professor awarded grant for study of hybrid materials

The National Science Foundation has awarded Carnegie Mellon mechanical engineering professor Jonathan Malen an Early Career Development Award.

The award will give Malen $400,000 over the next five years to study organic-inorganic hybrid materials. These materials combine the properties of superconductors with the scalability of plastics. Malen’s research uses laser-based technologies to study photon transport.

“I’m extremely pleased with this award because it will fuel my experimental studies of how energy in the form of heat is transferred through organic-inorganic hybrid materials,” Malen said in a university press release.

This is not Malen’s first research award. Malen previously received the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award. In 2011, Malen received the Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator Award from the American Chemical Society.

In addition to his work with organic-inorganic hybrid materials, Malen is currently working on a “Phonon-Simulator,” an educational initiative to teach the origins of heat transfer in Pittsburgh public schools.

“The local focus will be under-represented pre-college students from PPS as well as students at Carnegie Mellon,” Malen said in the press release.

Secretary of Transportation names professor to ITSPAC

Ray LaHood, the U.S. secretary of transportation, has named Carnegie Mellon electrical and computer engineering professor Raj Rajkumar to the Intelligent Systems Program Advisory Committee (ITSPAC).

“This is a great honor for me as my research team works to develop and implement technologies for improving the safety and efficiency of transportation,” Rajkumar said in a university press release.

ITSPAC advises the secretary of transportation on the study and development of intelligent U.S. transportation systems.

Members of the committee make recommendations about which proposed areas of intelligent systems research should be funded and by whom.
Rajkumar is an expert in smart systems for vehicles and highways. He is currently doing work in vehicular information technologies, autonomous vehicles that drive themselves, and vehicular networks.

“State-of-the-art computing and communication technologies can significantly advance the safety and efficiency of transportation, since extending the physical infrastructure is both expensive and limited by existing road layouts,” Rajkumar said in the press release.