2007-2008

WPI's Metal Processing Institute Featured in History Channel Documentary on Aluminum

WPI's Metal Processing Institute and its director, Diran Apelian, Howmet Professor of Mechanical Engineering at WPI, appear in a new documentary on the history of aluminum that will premier on the History Channel next Wednesday, July 25, at 10 p.m. EDT. The hour-long program is part of the History Channel's Modern Marvels series.

Diana Lados, visiting assistant professor in the Metal Processing Institute, is interviewed by the Modern Marvels crew while Diran Apelian (center), MPI director, and Libo Wang (with glasses), senior research scientist, look on.

WORCESTER, Mass. – Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Metal Processing Institute and its director, Diran Apelian, Howmet Professor of Mechanical Engineering at WPI, appear in a new documentary on the history of aluminum that will premier on the History Channel next Wednesday, July 25, at 10 p.m. EDT.

The hour-long program is part of the History Channel's Modern Marvels series, which focuses on the history of various technologies and industries. The program on aluminum looks at the discovery of aluminum (which is the most abundant metal in the Earth's crust), the properties of this lightweight, flexible, rustproof metal, as well as its many uses—everything from beverage cans, to aluminum foil, to baseball bats, to advanced telescope mirrors, to structural components and engines in cars and airplanes.

The Modern Marvels crew spent a day on the WPI campus in May shooting scenes in laboratories of the WPI Metal Processing Institute (MPI). The largest university-industry alliance in North America, with six research centers and more than 80 corporate members, MPI works to advance the state of the art in the metal processing industry through fundamental and applied research, the development of new processes, and education programs that prepare future industry leaders.

The filming at WPI focused on the facilities of MPI's Advanced Casting Research Center, which conducts basic and developmental research on aluminum and light metals and provides a forum where the industrial and academic sectors can address technological challenges encountered in the metal casting industry. Scenes of MPI facilities and segments from an interview with Apelian will appear in the broadcast on Wednesday.

This is not the first time that History Channel cameras have focused on WPI people and programs. Previous programs broadcast on the cable network have included interviews with faculty in WPI's Fire Protection Engineering Department, Steven C. Bullock, professor of history and a expert on the history of Freemasonry in the United States, and Jeffrey L. Forgeng, adjunct associate professor in the Humanities and Arts Department at WPI and the Paul S. Morgan Curator at the Higgins Armory Museum, who is a renowned authority on armor and arms of the Middle Ages and Early Modern Era.

The photos below were taken as the History Channel film worked in the MPI labs. Click on individual photos to see larger versions and captions.

July 18, 2007

Contact: Lorraine U. Martinelle, Public Relations Specialist, +1-508-831-6425, lurbans@wpi.edu Eileen Brangan Mell, Director of Public Relations, +1-508-831-6785, ebmell@wpi.edu