Rensselaer to host former NASA astronaut Guion Bluford, first African-American to fly in space

Troy, N.Y. – As a mission specialist aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1983, Dr. Guion S.Bluford became the first African-American to travel into space. He was also the first African-American to return to space for a second, third, and fourth time. Bluford will deliver a lecture titled “Freefall: Flying in Space,” on the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute campus on Wednesday, Nov.16.

Global NY Foreign Direct Investment Road Show Visits Rensselaer

On Nov. 3, representatives from 25 foreign countries and territories toured business and academic locations in the Capital Region—including Rensselaer Polytechnic Insitute—as part of an initiative to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to New York state. The two-day “Global NY FDI Road Show” made stops at three locations in the Capital Region, with 36 consuls general and other foreign representatives who traveled from New York City for the opportunity.

Using the X-Box Kinect as a Sensor to Conduct Centrifuge Research

Troy, N.Y. — To gaming enthusiasts, the Kinect is Microsoft’s motion sensor add-on for the Xbox 360 gaming console. The device provides a natural user interface that allows users to interact intuitively and without any intermediary device, such as a controller. Now, a team of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers have used the device to replace expensive sensors on its geotechnical centrifuge to better (and more economically) understand how levees fail when overtopped by large floods.

NSF Supports Completion of The Jefferson Project at Lake George Sensor Network

With support from the National Science Foundation, The Jefferson Project at Lake George is poised to complete the most powerful aquatic monitoring sensor network in existence. Spanning the full 32-mile length of the lake, 41 separate smart sensor platforms will collect roughly 9 terabytes of data per year, creating a real-time digital view of the state of the lake.

Rensselaer Faculty Members Named to WEF Global Future Councils

Two faculty members at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have been invited to join the World Economic Forum’s Network of Global Future Councils. Cynthia Collins, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering, has been selected for the Global Future Council on Biotechnologies, and Heng Ji, the Edward P. Hamilton Development Chair and associate professor of computer science, has been selected for the Global Future Council on the Future of Computing.

Under Pressure – Changing Semiconductor Properties

It’s a small change that makes a big difference. Researchers have developed a method that uses a one-degree change in temperature to alter the color of light that a semiconductor emits. The method, which uses a thin-film semiconductor layered on top of a heat-sensitive substrate material, offers a path to electronically triggering changes in the properties of semiconductor materials. 

Nano-Decoy Lures Human Influenza A Virus to its Doom

To infect its victims, influenza A heads for the lungs, where it latches onto sialic acid on the surface of cells. So researchers created the perfect decoy: A carefully constructed spherical nanoparticle coated in sialic acid lures the influenza A virus to its doom. When misted into the lungs, the nanoparticle traps influenza A, holding it until the virus self-destructs.