December 1, 2005

Around Campus

Monument to Goddard to Be Dedicated

A monument to the achievements of rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard, WPI’s most famous graduate and a native of Worcester, will be dedicated on Friday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m., at the corner of Goddard Memorial Drive and Apricot Street. The monument was developed by the Goddard Memorial Association (GMA) and designed by local artist Joseph Miglionico. The dedication ceremony is open to the public.

In 1908, Robert Goddard received a BS in physics from WPI, where he was the first undergraduate to be initiated into Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society. He served on the WPI faculty for two years before pursuing advanced degrees at Clark University, where he taught for many years.

He completed some of his early experiments on rocketry at WPI. In particular, his work on the bazooka, sponsored by the U.S. Army Signal Corps and Ordnance Department, was begun in WPI’s Magnetics Laboratory (now Skull Tomb). On March 16, 1926, Goddard launched the world’s first successful liquid-fueled rocket on a farm in nearby Auburn, an event as significant in the history of the Space Age as Wilbur and Orville Wright’s first powered flight at Kitty Hawk was to the history of aviation.

The new monument joins many honors that were bestowed on Goddard (most following his death in 1945), including NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and WPI’s Goddard Hall. The monument features eight panels, made from porcelainized enamel on steel, on which are recorded highlights of Goddard's career. The panels surround a 10-foot-tall stylized stainless steel rocket and tower.

The text was researched and written by Barbara Berka, president of the GMA and wife of Ladislav Berka, research professor in WPI’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. At the entrance to the memorial site are two informational kiosks that were donated by WPI and Clark University. The monument, which forms the centerpiece of the landscaped site, fulfills the GMA's mission to "bring honor and recognition to Worcester native and rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard, and to recognize Worcester as the ‘Birthplace of the Space Age.’"

William Shipman, Plan Author, Dies at 81

C. William "Bill" Shipman, former WPI professor of chemical engineering and chair of the Faculty Planning Committee that drafted the WPI Plan in the late 1960s, died on Thanksgiving Day in Prescott Harbor, Maine, after a brief illness. A native of New Jersey, he earned a BS in chemical engineering from MIT after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. He taught at the University of Delaware and at the MIT Fuel Labs before joining the WPI faculty in 1958.

At WPI, he was known for his award-wining research on combustion and jet propulsion and for his novel approach to teaching chemical engineering by having students solve open-ended problems. His suggestion in the late 1960s that WPI needed to improve its academic program to justify the tuition it charged caught the attention of President Harry Storke, who was hoping to reform what had become a staid and rigid undergraduate curriculum. In the fall of 1968, Storke asked Shipman to chair the Faculty Planning Committee, which worked diligently over the next two years to craft a bold new approach to learning that became known as the WPI Plan.

Though he retired before the Plan was approved by the faculty, Storke was pleased with the result, Shipman recalled in a 1996 article in the WPI Journal. "He wrote us a letter in which he said it was as fine a plan as he could have imagined," Shipman said. "Storke's hope all along had been to make WPI worthy of being in the private sector. That's why we have a private sector-to innovate."

After the Plan’s passage, Shipman became dean of graduate studies at WPI and oversaw another committee effort, this time to reform the graduate program. That effort failed, and he left WPI to become director of research and development at the Carbon Black division of the Cabot Corporation. In 1986 he retired, and he and his wife, Louise, became permanent residents of Prospect Harbor, where they had summered for many years. He is survived by Louise, three children, and two grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Downeast Horizons, 1200 Route 3, Bar Harbor, ME 04609; St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, State Street, Ellsworth, ME, 04605; or the charity of one’s choice. To read more about Shipman and the history of the Plan, visit

When the Weather Outside is Frightful

  1. Snow Announcements: When severe weather hits this winter, announcements about snow-related closings or delayed openings will be posted on the WPI Weather Line, 508-831-5744, and the WPI home page. You may also tune to the following television and radio stations: WBZ (channel 4), WHDH (channel 7), WCVB (channel 5), WTAG (580 AM), WORC (1310 AM), WBZ (1030 AM), WKOX (1200 AM), WSRS (96.1 FM), and WXLO (104.5 FM).
  2. Pay Policies: In the event of inclement weather (if there is no announced closing), the following pay procedures will be followed:
    • If you report to work by 10 a.m. and remain for the rest of your regularly scheduled workday, you will be paid for your normal workday.
    • If you report to work after 10 a.m., you will be paid only for the balance of hours worked for the remainder of your normal workday.
    • If you do not report to work, are unable to work, or leave early (after notifying your supervisor), lost time may be charged to vacation/personal time or listed as time off without pay.

Help Them Do Their (Snow) Jobs

Plant Services asks the cooperation and assistance of the WPI community to facilitate snow removal and sanding this winter. The grounds crew is responsible for removing snow and sanding nearly six miles of sidewalks, 800 parking spaces, and all campus roadways. Employees and students are asked to refrain from parking in unauthorized areas during a storm or abandoning vehicles in any parking lot. Call Campus Police at ext. 5433 if a vehicle cannot be moved. The grounds crew’s must keep all campus roadways, primary walkways, and parking lots clear and safe during storms. Unsafe conditions should be reported to Plant Services (ext. 5500) during working hours, or to Campus Police after 4:30 p.m. Your cooperation and assistance is greatly appreciated.

Review the Fundamentals of Engineering

The Continuing and Professional Education Office will offer a review course for the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam. Classes will be held on the WPI campus on Mondays from 6 to 9 p.m. for 11 weeks beginning Jan. 16. The fee is $275 for full-time WPI undergraduates and graduate students, and $425 for others (the review course cost does not include exam or service fees). For more information, call ext. 5517.

LEGO Robotics Contest Set for Dec. 17

On Saturday, Dec. 17, 48 teams of middle-school students from as far away as northern Vermont, New York, and Pennsylvania will compete in the fifth annual RoboNautica tournament in Harrington Auditorium. The event, part of the national FIRST LEGO Competition, pits LEGO robots designed by students against one another in a friendly contest. The theme of this year’s competition is "Ocean Odyssey." The event is free and open to the public. Learn more at


McNeill Wins Outstanding Paper Award

TJohn McNeill, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, has received the ISSCC 2005 Lewis Winner Award for Outstanding Paper for "A Split-ADC Architecture for Deterministic Digital Background Calibration of a 16b 1MS/s ADC," a paper he wrote with Michael Coln and Brian Larivee of Analog Devices. The award will be presented at the IEEE’s International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) 2006 in San Francisco on Feb. 6.

ISSCC is the foremost global forum for the presentation of advances in solid-state circuits and systems-on-a-chip. The conference enables engineers working at the cutting edge of IC design and application, to maintain technical currency and network with leading experts in both industry and academia.

WPI Featured in BBC Series on Dickens

British television viewers are getting another chance to learn about WPI’s Fellman Dickens Collection and hear from Dickens experts Joel Brattin, professor of English (at left), and Michael Sokal, professor emeritus of history. The documentary series Dickens in America, which aired originally on BBC Four, is currently airing on Monday nights on BBC Two; which reaches a much wider audience.

Brattin served as a consultant for the series, and he and Sokal were interviewed for the program with series star Miriam Margoyles, perhaps best known to American audiences as the voice of Fly, the female sheepdog in the film Babe, and as Professor Sprout in the film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Brattin was interviewed in the Gordon Library Archives, where the Fellman Collection is housed; Sokal’s interview took place at the American Antiquarian Society.

Mello Elected Region XI Chair of NAFSA

Natalie A. Mello, director of global operations in the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division, was elected to a three-year term as Region XI chair of NAFSA: Association of International Educators at the organization’s regional conference earlier this month in Maine. She will assume the post in 2006. NAFSA promotes international education and provides professional development opportunities to its members. In the United States, the association is organized into 11 geographic regions.

Students Receive SME Awards

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Student Award is given each year to the top three majors in WPI’s Manufacturing Engineering Program. This year’s winners are Justin P. Richard ‘08, Sabrina L. Wong ‘06, and John N. Lake ‘06.

The awards were presented on Nov. 17 at the annual awards night sponsored by the MFE Program and Worcester Chapter No. 25 of the SME. The guest speaker was K. (Subbu) Subramanian, director of surface preparation technologies and director of the state-of-the-art Higgins Grinding Technology Center at Saint-Gobain Company in Worcester.

Exhibit Features Health Center Physician

An exhibition of works by Dr. J. Barry Hanshaw, physician for WPI’s Health Services, will be the featured show at the Westboro Gallery, 8 West Street (Rt. 30), in Westborough, Mass., through Feb. 12. For more information, visit

Recent Grants

Academic Affairs

Cyr, M., and J. Goulet*, for "Learning Communities for Middle School Math," from the Massachusetts Department of Education, $212,504.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Cyganski, D., for "Enhancing Extremely Low Data Rate Internet Links," from Raytheon (ONR), $50,000.

Mechanical Engineering

Pryputniewicz, R., for "OELIM Support for the Development of Navigation Grade Integrated Micro Gyroscopes (NGIMG)," from Boeing Co. (Air Force), $20,000.

Physical Education and Athletics

Snoddy, G., for "Alcohol Education and Prevention at WPI," from the Governor’s Highway Safety Bureau, $4,874.

*Co-principal Investigator

Total October grants and contracts: $288,349.


Publications and Presentations

Biomedical Engineering

Mendelson, Y, V. Floroff*, and G. Comtois*, "Wireless Reflectance Pulse Oximetery for Remote Triage Applications," poster presented at the MEDi2005 Conference and Exposition, Hartford, Conn., Oct. 25-26, 2005. Poster won First Prize ($500).

* WPI Students

Chemical Engineering

Guazzone, F., E. E. Engwall, and Y. H. Ma, "Effects of Surface Activity, Defects, and Mass Transfer on Hydrogen Permeance and N-Value in Composite Pd-PSS Membranes," presented at 7th International Conference on Catalysis in Membrane Reactors, Cetraro, CS, Italy, Sept. 11-14, 2005.

Jalani, N. H., and R. Datta, "Application of Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (Eis) in PEM Fuel Cells," presented at AIChE Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 1-4, 2005.

Jalani, N. H., and R. Datta, "Teom: A Novel Technique to Study Sorption in Nafion Membranes," at AIChE Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 1-4, 2005.

Jalani, N. H., and R. Datta, "Nafion-Mon2 (M=Zr, Si, Ti) Nanocomposite Membranes for Higher Temperature Operation of PEM Fuel Cells," at AIChE Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 1-4, 2005.

Kotdawala, R., N. Kazantzis, and R. W. Thompson, "An Application of Mean-Field Perturbation Theory for the Adsorption of Water Molecules in Nanoslit-Pores," at AIChE Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 1-4, 2005.

Ma, Y. H., "Hydrogen Production and Economy: A," chair, at U.S./Japan/China Chemical Engineering Conference, Beijing, China, Oct. 11-13, 2005.

Ma, Y. H., "Composite Palladium Porous Stainless Steel Membrane Reactor for Simultaneous H2 Production and CO2 Sequestration, Hydrogen Production and Economy: B," keynote speaker, at U.S./Japan/China Chemical Engineering Conference, Beijing, China, Oct. 11-13, 2005.

Taskin, M. E., A. G. Dixon, and H. Stitt, "CFD Simulations of Flow in Fixed Beds of Cylindrical Particles," at AIChE Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 1-4, 2005.

Taskin, M. E., A. G. Dixon, H. Stitt, and M. Nijemeisland, "Comparison of Low Effectiveness Catalyst Particles in Fixed Beds Using CFD with Heat Sinks", at AIChE Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 1-4, 2005.

Urban, D. R., I. Fishtik, and J. Wilcox, "Accurate Ab Initio Thermochemistry Via Various Reaction Schemes," at AIChE Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 1-4, 2005.

Urban, D. R., and J. Wilcox, "A Theoretical Kinetic Investigation of Arsenic and Selenium in Combustion Flue Gases," at AIChE Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 1-4, 2005.

Wilcox, J., P. Blowers, and J. O. L. Wendt, " An Ab Initio Investigation of Mercury Oxidation in Combustion Flue Gases", at AIChE Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 1-4, 2005.

Yazaydin, A. O., and R. W. Thompson, "Computa-tional Study of Low-Density Water Formation in Hydrophobic Nanopores of Silicalite by Means of Estimating Adsorption Isotherms with Different Water Models," at AIChE Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov 1-4, 2005.

Civil Engineering

Plummer, J. D., S. C. Long, and M. E. Aull, "Statistical Evaluation of Watershed Monitoring Data. Water Quality," presented at the AWWA Water Quality Technology Conference, Quebec City, Quebec, Nov. 6-10, 2005.

Plummer, J. D., S. C. Long, and M. E. Aull, "Statistical Evaluation of Watershed Monitoring Data. Water Quality," presented at the AWWA Water Quality Technology Conference, Quebec City, Quebec, Nov. 6-10, 2005.

Humanities and Arts

Dollenmayer, David, and Susanne Even, "Construc-ting Meaning at the Border Between Languages: Bilingual Novels for Intermediate Learners," presented at the 39th Annual Meeting of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, Baltimore, Md., Nov. 18, 2005.

Information Technology Division

O'Connor, Kerrie (Computing and Communications Center), "Providing Technology Orientation for New Faculty and Staff," presented at SIGUCCS Fall Conference, Monterey, Calif., Nov. 6-9, 2005.

Mathematical Sciences

Nandram, B., "A Bayesian Subset Analysis of Sensory Evaluation Data," Journal of Modern Applied Statistical Methods, 2005.

Nandram, B., "An Introductory Tutorial to Bayesian Statistics," The Philippine Statistician (in press), 2005.

Nandram, B. "A Bayesian Approach to Nonignorable Nonresponse Binary Data," in Handbook of Sampling Procedures, eds.: Poduri, S. R. S. Rao, and Myron Katzoff; Chapman and Hall, New York, 2005.

Nandram, B., "Bayesian Predictive Inference Under Informative Sampling Via Surrogate Samples," in Bayesian Statistics and its Applications, eds.: Upadhyay, S.K., U. Singh, and Dipak K. Dey; Anamaya, New Delhi, 2005.

Nandram, B., and J. W. Choi, "A Bayesian Analysis of a Two-way Categorical Table Incorporating Intra-class Correlation," Journal of Statistical Computation and Simulation, 2005.

Nandram, B. and J. W. Choi, "Hierarchical Bayesian Nonignorable Nonresponse Regression Models for Small Areas: An Application to the NHANES Data," Survey Methodology, 31, 73-84, 2005.

Nandram, B., L. H. Cox, and J. W. Choi, "Bayesian Analysis of Nonignorable Missing Categorical Data: An Application to Bone Mineral Density and Family Income," Survey Methodology, 2005.

Nandram, B., J. Liu, and J. W. Choi, "A Comparison of the Posterior Choropleth Maps for Disease Mapping," Journal of Data Science, 3, 47-68, 2005.

Nandram, B. and E. Erhardt, "Fitting Bayesian Two-Stage Generalized Linear Models Using Random Samples via the SIR Algorithm," Sankhya, 66, 733-755, 2005.

Nandram, B., N. Liu, J. W. Choi, and L. H. Cox, "Bayesian Nonresponse Models for Categorical Data from Small Areas: An Application to BMD and Age," Statistics in Medicine, 24, 1047-1074, 2005.

Directory Update Planned

Human Resources is developing an insert for the 2005-06 Campus Directory to correct erroneous information. Please e-mail corrections or additions to human-resources@wpi by Friday, Dec. 9.

Computer Tip

Delete the Last Word

There are times when you need a quick way to erase the last thing you tpyed - oops, make that typed. In Microsoft Word, instead of backspacing over the incorrect word, try deleting the last word you typed using Ctrl+Backspace (for Windows users) or Command+Delete (on a Mac).

This trick is also helpful when you can’t decide which word fits best. Should it be, "The computer died," or "crashed," or maybe "stopped working when I tripped on the power cord." In Windows, you can also use Ctrl+Delete to remove one word to the right of the cursor. If you delete too many words in either direction, make them reappear one at a time using Ctrl+Z (the keyboard shortcut for undo).

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Last modified: February 08, 2008 17:04:15