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October 17, 2008


Wobbe Installed as Metzger Professor

Kristin Wobbe, head of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was installed on Oct. 15 as the first Metzger Professor of Chemistry during a ceremony held on campus. The endowed professorship was established in 2007 through a $1.5 million gift from John C. Metzger Jr. '46, and his wife, Jean.

John Metzger, who spent his entire career at E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., died in December 2006.

The Metzger Professorship is awarded to the head of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, which is internationally recognized for its cutting-edge research on a broad range of topics with real-world applications, including nanofabrication (handheld medical analyzers); ion transport across cell membranes (improved plant nutrition); molecular biology (pathogen-resistant plants); and solid-state chemistry (improved medications). Wobbe was appointed interim department head in January 2007 and began a regular-term appointment in July 2008.

"Kristin Wobbe has distinguished herself through her important research in the life sciences, her efforts to advance educational innovation, and her academic leadership," said Provost John Orr. "I am delighted that we are able to recognize her accomplishments and her many contributions to the WPI community in such a meaningful and appropriate manner."

Wobbe, who joined the WPI faculty in 1995, holds a BA in chemistry from St. Olaf College and a PhD in biochemistry from Harvard University.

She completed a postdoctoral position at Harvard Medical School and then spent three years as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the Waksman Institute at Rutgers University and at Massachusetts General Hospital. During that time she began her research on the molecular interactions that determine the outcomes of plant/pathogen interactions using a model system consisting of Arabidopsis thaliana, a relative of cruciferous crop plants, and turnip crinkle virus.

Wobbe was named the Leonard P. Kinnicutt Assistant Professor of Chemistry in 1999. In 2001, she received the Romeo L. Moruzzi Young Faculty Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Education and was also promoted to associate professor of chemistry.

In 2007, she co-developed and co-taught Feed the World, one of the inaugural Great Problems Seminars.

At WPI, District Attorney Early and Staff Address Internet Safety

At top, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr., left, with his office's community outreach director, Ellen Miller, and WPI Vice President for Information Technology/CIO Tom Lynch, and Neil Spellman, WPI's network security analyst, after an Oct. 7 presentation on Internet safety. At bottom, Donald Xenos, head of the Worcester Juvenile Court, with Spellman. To learn more about the Oct. 21 presentation on ID theft, see the Calendar section.

SME to Honor Freeman

The local chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and WPI's Student Chapter will honor Howard Freeman ‘40 for his contributions to the manufacturing industry, at an Oct. 27 dinner at Higgins House. The event starts at 5:30 p.m.

Freeman, former chairman of WPI's Board of Trustees, came to Worcester in 1936 to attend WPI. During World War II, as head of Rockwood Sprinkler's research and development department, he invented two fog nozzles to fight fires on U.S. warships that saved thousands of lives. He patented 22 inventions in his 14 years at Rockwood Sprinkler. In February 1954, he wrote a letter of resignation. He had no job, no income, and a dream. He was intrigued with ball valves and decided to see if he could find a way to make them work extremely well. He spoke with a friend, Saul Reck, and his brother Julian, and they formed Jamesbury Company. They couldn't start a business until he could find a solution to the problems that had plagued previous ball valves. It took six months. The following year, Julian and Reck left their businesses to join him; they went to the Worcester community for investors. For 30 years, Howard Freeman served as Jamesbury's chief operating officer and chairman of the board, during which time Jamesbury enjoyed success, with factories operating all over the world. Freeman sold the company in 1984; its nearly $80 million in annual sales and more than 1,200 employees made it one of the world's largest valve manufacturing firms.

For ceremony reservations, contact Tom Heinold at +1-978-365-3867 or theinold@builtrite-reliance.com, or theinold2860@charter.net by Monday, Oct. 20.

WPI Students Invent 3D Map of Campus

You may have seen it in Bartlett Center or the Campus Center and wondered what it was. Well, here's the backstory on the WPImap Kiosk, which was invented by two WPI students.

The cutting-edge technology stems from an IQP and has been adopted by the university's admissions office in the Bartlett Center as a means to help prospective students, parents, and current students to better explore and learn more about the WPI campus. The kiosk, which is located in the Campus Center, houses a 3D virtual map of the campus and allows the user to "walk around" campus in a virtual setting. But if walking seems "too last century," users also have the option to hop on a Segway human transport vehicle - invented by one of WPI's most famous alums, Dean Kamen - to take their virtual tour of campus, a journey that is accompanied by seven minutes of audio.

This invention was completed last spring by seniors Alexander Schwartz of New Fairfield, Conn., and Elisabeth Beinke of Norwalk, Conn. Humanities and Arts Professor Joseph Farbrook served as advisor, with input from WPI's Admissions Office.

Akin to a 1980s arcade game, the kiosk features a joystick and trackball, and users can navigate around the 3D environment in real time, viewing all of the buildings and campus landmarks in photorealistic detail. Outside the virtual Bartlett Center, players will notice a Segway. Upon stepping onto it, a full campus tour starts, complete with a virtual tour guide and a scripted path through all of the academic and residential buildings. The map will be continually developed and updated as the WPI campus evolves.

Around Campus

WPI Contracts With EthicsPoint

As mentioned at last month's Town Meeting, WPI has contracted with EthicsPoint Inc. to create a whistleblower mechanism for employees to anonymously and confidentially report suspected fraudulent activities or behavior. Reports can be made via the EthicsPoint website or by calling EthicsPoint toll-free at +1-888-359-6326. Direct links to the EthicsPoint website can be found on the Accounting and Treasury website, the Office of Human Resources website, and on the Administration and Policies page of the WPI website.

All reports submitted through EthicsPoint will be carefully reviewed and investigated without attribution. If you have any questions about using this new whistleblower mechanism, contact Michael Curley, university compliance officer, at ext. 6919 or mjcurley@wpi.edu.

Flu Vaccine Clinic on Oct. 30

A walk-in flu vaccination clinic will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, in the Campus Center Taylor Room. A meningitis vaccine will also be available. The cost is $30. Harvard Pilgrim and Aetna health insurance will be accepted, as well as cash, check, and bursar billing. The clinic is sponsored by Maxim Health and WPI Health Services. For more information, call ext. 5520.

Professors Greet Students at Global Fair

Professor Tahar El-Korchi, head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and director of the Morocco Project Center, helped to answer students' questions, at the Sept. 16 Global Opportunities Fair, which drew hundreds of students to the Campus Center Odeum to learn about IQP possibilities in the new academic year. With El-Korchi at the Morocco booth is Adjunct Associate Professor Lorraine Higgins, director of Writing Across the Curriculum.

Publications & Presentations

Biomedical Engineering

Humanities and Arts

Social Science and Policy Studies

Recent Grants


Mathematical Sciences

Mechanical Engineering

Cyber Awareness Month Continues

WPI's Information Technology Division has observed Cyber Awareness Month in October through a series of seminars to teach students, faculty, and staff how to protect themselves and their loved ones from online predators, cyberbullying, and identity theft. Cyber Awareness Month is a national program sponsored by Microsoft and the National Cyber Security Alliance. The final event of the month is:

Oct. 21, 10 to 11 a.m. - Identity Theft: Using the formulated agenda and materials from the FTC we will present and encourage the audience to participate in conversations regarding the latest threats including a more particularized section on internet safety. By focusing on some issues recently seen on campus, such as phishing attacks purportedly from the Helpdesk, we will make the participants more aware at both their workplace and their home. This session will be held in Morgan Hall, Access Grid.

To register, go to IT Division website and click on the "calendar." For more information contact Neil Spellman, Information Security, ext. 6656 or cws@wpi.edu


Note: Information for the calendar comes from the Web-based WPI Events Calendar, which is powered by the Social Web. To have your events listed in @WPI, please enter them in Social Web and request that they be added to the appropriate WPI calendar. Visit Social Web to learn how.


Wednesday, October 22

Thursday, October 23

Monday, October 27

Tuesday, October 28

Thursday, October 30

Saturday, November 1

Wednesday, November 5

Computer Tip

Deleting Browsing History

Internet browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.) save lots of details about your computer's online activity, including:

To delete this saved information, open your browser's Tools or Internet Options to find Browsing History. You'll have the ability to clear particular kinds of items, or all of those mentioned above at once. If you need assistance locating this option in your browser, or clarification of what types of files to delete, contact the Helpdesk at ext. 5888 or helpdesk@wpi.edu.

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Last modified: July 08, 2010 09:42:43