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From international, national and local sources, highlights continuously updated news, events, and announcements affecting Virginia’s engineering community. Virginia’s Professional/Technical societies, colleges and universities, private firms, and industry are strongly encouraged to submit news pertaining to their engineering activities. We want to hear from and about you. Contact us at for details.

Most Recent News Item:
Research Instrument Returns From 22,000-Mile Journey
January 16, 2019

A portable research lab developed by University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists and engineers recently returned home to Madison following a 22,000-mile journey to the Philippine Sea and back during the heart of monsoon season.

The High Spectral Resolution Lidar’s green laser is clearly visible during nighttime operations. The HSRL is capable of collecting atmospheric measurements regardless of the time of day. Credit: Igor Razenkov

According to information, the lab, known as SPARCLET, traveled aboard the research vessel Thomas G. Thompson for two months to aid in a study called the Propagation of Intra-Seasonal Tropical Oscillations, or PISTON. It is aimed at better understanding how pollutants and turbulent conditions over the Philippine Sea affect the region and influence global weather.

For example, researchers want to improve regional forecasts by learning more about aerosols, such as smoke and exhaust, and how they interact with clouds to form atmospheric convection.

Aboard the vessel, a crew of international collaborators used a robust set of instruments to capture everything from oceanographic measurements to detailed atmospheric observations.

“Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) scientists and engineers contributed to the ship’s instrument fleet by building a portable research lab called the SPARCLET,” says Bob Holz, SSEC scientist and PISTON collaborator. “Its purpose is to provide a climate-controlled and hardened portable lab that can be easily shipped and deployed anywhere in the world.”

The SPARCLET is a downsized version of a 17-foot towable laboratory used to make land-based atmospheric field observations, called the SSEC Portable Atmospheric Research Center (SPARC). Like the SPARC, SPARCLET can carry two primary instruments: the High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL) and the Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer, both of which were also designed and built at SSEC.

However, for PISTON, the SPARCLET was fitted with the HSRL, which takes atmospheric measurements of aerosols. Aerosols are found in high concentrations over the Philippine Sea and can affect weather through convective processes and cloud seeding.

To accommodate the maritime mission, SSEC engineers built the compact structure to house the HSRL using a standard metal shipping container, or “seatainer,” to withstand the long journey, while making it readily deployable from a ship’s deck.

News Items
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Research Instrument Returns From 22,000-Mile Journey
January 16, 2019

A portable research lab developed by University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists and engineers recently returned home to Madison following a 22,000-mile journey to the Philippine Sea and back…

Parts of Deep Pacific May Still Be Cooling
January 16, 2019

Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Harvard University have found that the deep Pacific Ocean lags a few centuries behind in terms of temperature…

Microsoft Announces Expansion of Mecklenburg County Enterprise Data Center
January 15, 2019

Project will be Microsoft’s sixth expansion at the facility since 2010.

Online Degree Receives Top 10 Ranking
January 15, 2019

The Volgenau School of Engineering, at George Mason University, recently announced that their online MS in Applied Information Technology recently received an eighth-place ranking…

Understanding and Predicting The Properties of ZIF Glasses
January 14, 2019

ZIF glasses, a new family of glass, could combine the transparency of silicate glass with the nonbrittle quality of metallic glass…

8th Annual STEM Essay Contest Announced
January 14, 2019

The Virginia Council on Women (Council) will provide one scholarship to a high school junior or senior in each of five geographic regions across the Commonwealth.

FIRST® Tech Challenge Reston Qualifier In January 2019
January 11, 2019

FIRST Tech Challenge Reston Qualifier is scheduled for January 13, 2019. The event will be held at South Lakes High School, 11400 South Lakes Dr, Reston, VA, 20191.

Completion of the Belmont Ridge Road Widening Project Celebrated
January 10, 2019

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the design-build team of Shirley Contracting Company, LLC, and Dewberry recently celebrated the completion of the reconstruction and widening of…

Studies For Collecting Clean Water From Air Inspired By Nature
January 10, 2019

Bhushan’s work focuses on finding nature-inspired solutions to societal problems. In this case, his research team looked to the desert to find life that survives despite limited access to water.

Permit For Atlantic Coast Pipeline Approved
January 9, 2019

Recently, at its meeting in Richmond, the State Air Pollution Control Board (Board) approved a Buckingham Compressor Station permit that limits air pollution from this facility…

New Houseplant Developed That Can Clean Your Home's Air
January 9, 2019

Researchers at the University of Washington have genetically modified a common houseplant — pothos ivy — to remove chloroform and benzene from the air around it.

FIRST® Tech Challenge SWCC Richlands Qualifier In January 2019
January 8, 2019

FIRST Tech Challenge Southwest Community College Qualifier is scheduled for January 12, 2019.

News Items Archive
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