Inside Mines


100th Anniversary of the M, Monument Goes Green

The legendary white M that sits above the Colorado School of Mines campus on Mt. Zion turned 100 this year – and to commemorate the event, the famous landmark is going “green.” (more...)



Mines Places 9th at Shell Eco-Marathon with 680 mpg Vehicle
Mines Senior Design Team “Ramblin Wreck” placed ninth at the 2008 Shell Eco-Marathon Americas Challenge held in April in California. The competition pitted 38 university and high school teams against each other to see whose vehicle would manage the most miles per gallon.(more...)


EPICS Team Reaches Stratosphere
A team of EPICS 251 engineering students successfully launched a balloon to an altitude of nearly 18 miles above the plains of Eastern Colorado. Suspended below team Sat V’s balloon was a device they designed that took panoramic photographs of the earth’s horizon and the landing site below.(more...)




Women’s Soccer Team Spends 2008 Spring Break Mentoring Students in Jamaica
Accompanied by their head coach Frank Kohlenstein, the Orediggers went to Kingston, Jamaica, to teach and mentor local young women in the areas of math, science and athletics during their 2008 spring break. (more...)




Mayor Hickenlooper Speaks on Sustainability
How can we make our communities more sustainable? Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper offered some answers to this question at the 2008 Young Environmental Symposium held April 7.(more...)





Symposium Draws Astroparticle Physicists From Around the World

In May, Mines hosted the International Astroparticle Physics Symposium: the High Energy Frontier, where 130 of the world’s leading astroparticle physicists gathered from 19 countries. James Cronin, a Nobel laureate in physics, was among the speakers. (more...)



In Brief...
Announcement and additional news items (more...)

 

100th Anniversary of the M, Monument Goes Green

The legendary white M that sits above campus on Mt. Zion turned 100 this year – and to commemorate the event, the famous landmark is going “green.”Members of Mines’ chapter of Blue Key International Honor Society plan to replace the monument’s 1,653 incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs). And, with the initial LED bulb upgrade likely to cost more than $30,000, the proposed change is no small undertaking.Finances aside, Steven Meyerhoff, Mines Blue Key member and M chair, said the idea behind the switch was based on the need for an upgrade. “I felt it was time for students to step up and take initiative on leading issues at our school and in our country. It is important to set a tone that we are working towards sustainable energy means,” Meyerhoff said.
Steven Meyerhoff (left) with Brad Bettag

The energy and dollar savings after the switch will be substantial. Meyerhoff said the average 12-hour burn time of the monument’s 11-watt bulbs uses about 73 kilowatt hours per night – with LEDs, the nightly usage will drop to about 11 kilowatt-hours. In addition, Blue Key currently has to buy replacement bulbs every year, but the new LEDs will last about four years. “Right now we spend close to $2,200 a year on energy costs to light the M for one year. With the new bulbs this cost will be cut to around $375. Also the M will look crisper, emanating a bright white light, instead of the traditional pale yellow incandescent bulbs produce,” said Blue Key member Brad Bettag.

The students said the support behind the initiative has been overwhelming. The group raised about $500 through the sale of T-shirts and has rallied $500 in financial support from alumni. Donations to aid Blue Key’s fundraising efforts and future lighting can still be made through the Colorado School of Mines Foundation. Meyerhoff said the Associated Students of Colorado School of Mines has pledged more than $18,000 in support of the effort and another $12,000 is slated through use of the funds generated by the school’s student tech fee. “They really took an idea and ran with it,” said Blue Key advisor Michelle Kozel. The students were really creative in their efforts to do this.” Bettag said commemorating the 100th anniversary of the M during E-Days made for a good opportunity to announce the LED conversion plans.

“Steve and I felt that it was a good time to give back to the M and do something great for the School and for all of Golden. With the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, incandescent bulbs are being phased out in favor of LED and fluorescent bulbs. Instead of delaying the inevitable, we decided to push forward and convert the M to new LED bulbs in commemoration of the M’s centennial,” said Bettag.

The M was constructed in 1908 when 250 Mines students and 20 faculty members loaded a supply train of burros and packed their way up Mt. Zion. In 1931, Blue Key members borrowed a tractor, generator, poles, wire and bulbs to light the M for homecoming. The first lighting of the M was such a huge hit, students and civic
committees raised money to light it permanently in 1932. By 1948, the lighting became fully automatic. Forty-one years later in 1989, the lighting system was modernized including wiring and conduit upgrades. The original light sockets were replaced with multi-bulb weatherproof fixtures. Lighting was computerized in 2003 with a wireless antenna system developed by a Mines Senior Design team.

Women’s Soccer Team Spends 2008 Spring Break Mentoring Students in Jamaica

For most college students, spring break in Jamaica means sun, surf, dancing to reggae music and umbrella drinks. However, for the Colorado School of Mines women’s soccer team, it was so much more. Accompanied by their head coach Frank Kohlenstein, the Orediggers went to Kingston, the capital city of Jamaica, to teach and mentor local young women in the areas of math, science and athletics during their 2008 spring break. The Mines players returned from their trip with a new understanding of the world and the part they could play in making it a better place. “I have found a love trying to interest girls in engineering as well as soccer,” exclaimed team captain Diane Wetzel. “This is something that I hope our team can continue to do at home.”

Mayor Hickenlooper Speaks on Sustainability

How can we make our communities more sustainable? Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper offered some answers to this question at the 2008 Young Environmental Symposium held April 7.

More than 350 students, faculty and community members gathered on campus to hear about the city of Denver’s sustainability initiative, Greenprint Denver, and plans for making the upcoming Democratic National Convention the “greenest” convention in history. The mayor took questions from the audience on all things green, engaging the
Mines community in a lively dialogue and urging students and faculty to incorporate environmental considerations into their work and lives. “You’re already international, already connected through your student body and your professors that come from all over Earth. You get to make those decisions about how you’re going to impact the world,” he said.

The Young Environmental Symposium is an ongoing lecture series at Mines that was established by alumnus Herb Young ’39 and his wife, Dodie, to promote the exploration of important questions about our environment and Mines’ mission in relation to sustainability. (Hickenlooper’s remarks are available in Web Extras)


Symposium Draws Astroparticle Physicists From Around the World

In May, Mines hosted the International Astroparticle Physics Symposium: the High Energy Frontier, where 130 of the world’s leading astroparticle physicists gathered from 19 countries. Attendees were exposed to more than 70 presentations on ways to improve our understanding of the high-energy universe by studying the particles it emits. Among the guests was James Cronin, a Nobel laureate in physics, who was the keynote speaker at the Graduation Banquet and was presented with an honorary doctorate during commencement ceremonies.

Fred Sarazin, an associate professor of physics at Mines and chair of the symposium’s local organizing committee, said the symposium focused on a broad range of future projects and observatories that will detect astroparticles spanning an energy spectrum of 10 orders of magnitude. “The idea here is that to get the whole picture of the high-energy universe, researchers will have to consider a so-called multi-messenger approach, where the information is gathered by different kinds of astroparticles such as photons, neutrinos, and charged particles at different energies, at different wavelengths.”

Sarazin, along with his colleague from the Physics Department, Lawrence Wiencke (co-chair of the local organizing committee), study high-energy cosmic rays as part of the international Pierre Auger Collaboration, which operates an array of detectors in Argentina the size of the state of Rhode Island. Based on data from this observatory, a paper was published late last year in the magazine Science (Nov. 9) that suggests the highest energy particles observed in the universe may come from a particular class of active galaxies. Within the astroparticle physics community, this has generated considerable excitement and activity, and it’s a key reason for the symposium.

Despite packing a prodigious punch, the ultra-high energy particles that the Auger Collaboration investigates are extremely hard to study because they are so rare—a few per square mile per century. The paper in Science was based on data collected over a three-year period while the observatory was being built in Argentina. When ultra-high energy particles hit earth's atmosphere, they create a shower of billions of secondary particles, which fan out to cover about a 15-square-mile area. However, even with an aperture of 1,200 square miles, the study cited only 27 sufficiently high energy rays after 3 years of detection. To gather data from the northern skies, the Auger Collaboration is preparing a proposal for another much larger observatory, this time the size of Massachusetts.

This $100 million-plus project, dubbed "Auger North," was presented as part of the future projects at the symposium. Sarazin says the proposal will be eventually submitted to many funding agencies in participating countries, with more than half of the funds expected to come from outside the United States.

“Where Mines and Colorado have an important stake is that this observatory, if funded, will be located in southeastern Colorado, around the town of Lamar,” Sarazin says.

Wiencke praised Mines’ Office of Special Programs and Continuing Education for helping make the symposium successful. “Fred and I continue to receive very positive comments from the participants, both about the symposium and about the School of Mines,” he says. “In the astroparticle physics community, CSM is now on the map.”

EPICS Team Reaches Stratosphere

At the beginning of the past academic year, a team of EPICS 251 engineering
students successfully launched a balloon to an altitude of nearly 18 miles above the plains of Eastern Colorado. Suspended below team Sat V’s balloon was a device they designed that took panoramic photographs of the earth’s horizon and the landing site below. Along with five other teams from Colorado universities, Sat V was participating in the DEMOSAT program sponsored by NASA and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium.

DEMOSAT challenges student teams to design “satellites” that perform various functions while flying on a high-altitude balloon or after landing on the ground via parachute. The five-member Mines team conceptualized their design in the spring of 2007 for their EPICS 251 class project. Team members included Adam Kelson, Nathan Weinsteen, Will Hatrick, Brandon Vasboe, and Zuair Al Awanmi. The team was advised by Joel Duncan, senior lecturer with the EPICS program, and Robert Knecht, director.

SAT V’s design consisted of a hard protective shell that housed four high-resolution Canon digital cameras mounted at 90 degree angles. This configuration, along with the addition of special wide-angle lenses attached to the front of each camera, enabled the satellite to take 360 degree panoramic photographs. All non-critical parts of the cameras were stripped away to minimize weight. The quantity of photographs taken at specified times and altitudes were programmed by a brainstem and pressure transducer wired to the cameras. More than six hundred photographs were taken of the landscapes below during the two hour flight. At the highest altitude, the curvature of Earth and the boundary between the atmosphere and the blackness of outer space are clearly visible. After the flight, the teams were rewarded with a trip to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to present their results and watch the launch of the space shuttle Endeavor.

Mines Places 9th at Shell Eco-Marathon

Mines Senior Design Team “Ramblin Wreck” placed ninth at the 2008 Shell Eco-Marathon Americas Challenge held in April in California. The competition pitted 38 university and high school teams against each other to see whose vehicle would manage the most miles per gallon. Competitors were charged with building a vehicle capable of completing eight laps (about 11 miles) around the inside course of the California Speedway in Fontana, CA. The teams were judged on fuel consumption using a mathematical conversion that allowed fuel cell and combustion engines to be compared against each other. This year’s entries included 28 vehicles powered by combustion engines, six by fuel cell/hydrogen technology, one by diesel fuel, one by liquid petroleum gas and two by solar power.

“While most of the classes at Mines teach engineering principles in a classroom setting, competitions like these enforce teamwork and managerial skills as students take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it to real world scenarios,” said A.J. Tupper, team leader. The Mines team—composed of Tupper, driver Dana Drake, Jack Bell, Angie Blum, Gavin Custodio, Bill Everson, Nick Macon and Tanner Stamey—competed at the event for the first time this year. “Everyone had the same set of rules and all the cars came out different—demonstrating there is more than one solution to a problem,” said Richard Passamaneck, the team’s faculty advisor.

Tupper, who is going to work for Shell in Martinez, CA, said the Mines team focused on building a reliable combustion vehicle—named “Peanut Butter”—using as many off-the-shelf components as possible. They built a frame around a four-stroke, fuel-injected 49 cc motor from a Yamaha scooter and custom-built wheels using mountain bike hubs and 650 C road bike wheels and tires. “During each run, the engine was only run while the vehicle was accelerating to reduce idling losses. This design achieved 679.4 miles per gallon placing us ninth in the competition. This was the best finish for a first generation vehicle as many of these teams have competed in not only last year’s Eco-Marathon event, but in the SAE Supermilage competition,” said Tupper. The Shell Eco-Marathon has been held since 1939 but came to the U.S. for the first time only last year.

This year’s winning team, Mater Dei High School, achieved 2,843.4 miles per gallon and received $10,000 for their school.

In Brief...

Nathan George, a senior majoring in chemical engineering, received a Goldwater Scholarship. Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,035 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. The one and two year scholarships cover tuition, fees, books and room and board up to $7,500 per year. The scholarship program honoring Barry M. Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. It is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.

Mines was recognized as the third top university contributing to the operations research journal, Interfaces. Interfaces is a bimonthly journal of INFORMS and is dedicated to improving the practical application of operations research and the management sciences to decisions and policies in today’s organizations and industries.

Collin Donohoue was awarded the Rickover Fellowship through the Medical University of South Carolina, Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory and the Department of Energy. The program is designed to meet the needs of the Naval Reactors Division of the U.S. DOE for the development of science and engineering technology as it pertains to naval nuclear propulsion. The fellowship provides funding for the completion of a PhD in nuclear engineering or a directly related field and includes an appointment at either KAPL or Bettis after graduation.

Karem Tello, a graduate student in the Materials Science program has been awarded the 2008-2009 AWS International Scholarship. This award recognizes an outstanding international student pursuing education in the field of welding. Tello is performing her research at the Center for Welding, Joining and Coatings Research under the guidance of Patricio F. Mendez, assistant professor of metallurgical and materials engineering.

Two Mines students received the nationally competitive Critical Language Scholarship sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Paul Johnson was awarded a fully-funded critical language scholarship to study Korean in Korea this summer. Jackson Lee was awarded a fully funded advanced Chinese language Scholarship to study Chinese at Suzhou University. Johnson and Lee are the first two Mines students ever to receive the award.

The second annual Climate Action Days was held on campus April 16-25. This year’s event—which was organized entirely by students—included festivities, lectures and movies and was hosted by the CSM Sustainability Committee, the Student Council on Sustainability, Engineers for a Better World and Earthworks. The event ended with the Earth Day Celebration on Kafadar commons featuring climate-oriented retailers and scientists, free food, drinks and live music.