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It is my privilege to present the Honor Roll listing of donors, a special edition of NJIT Magazine, because the generosity of those listed in these pages has directly contributed to the success of our students and enabled NJIT to make critical advancements in its mission. Very often, the financial support provided by our donors is what enables a talented and hard-working student to graduate from NJIT and make an important contribution to society. Like many of you did while studying at NJIT, a great number of our current students face financial challenges and often are the first from their families to attend a university. They understand the sacrifices you made to earn an NJIT degree and are deeply appreciative of your decision to give back as alumni and friends of the university. And, as the following study demonstrates, these students are making the most of their opportunity. • A  New York Times study of “America’s Great Working-Class Colleges” ranked NJIT #1 in the nation for the upward economic mobility realized by its graduates. Data from the Equality of Opportunity Project showed that a higher percentage of NJIT students coming from the bottom of the income distribution rise to the upper three-fifths than do similar students at any other college or university in the United States. In addition to the success of our lowest-income students, NJIT received several accolades pertaining to the success of our graduates during the past year. MONEY Magazine named NJIT one of the top 10 colleges in the country for career services based upon the combination of outstanding career centers and young alumni who go on to earn higher-than-average early salaries. released “11 Public Colleges Where Grads Make Six Figures” within 15 years of graduation without having to attend graduate school, which included NJIT. And the PayScale College Salary Report ranked NJIT first in New Jersey and 16th nationally among public universities for salary potential with a bachelor’s degree. Many other critical initiatives have been achieved, in no small part, due to the support of our alumni and friends: • I n December, the 2020 Vision Strategic Plan Mid-Year Report was completed. The Key Performance Indicators from the first year of 2020 Vision have been quite positive. Both graduation and retention rates are improving. External funding has exceeded expectations in academic research, technology development and fundraising. The number of undergraduate applications and the quality of the entering freshmen cohort also has risen. • I n January, we opened the balance of the magnificently renovated Central King Building (CKB). The new spaces in CKB host the writing center, the math emporium and student interaction areas. The former gymnasium was converted into a new home for New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII) i-Labs. The new Life Science and Engineering Building is scheduled for completion in April 2017, and construction on the Wellness and Events Center (WEC) remains on schedule for a September 2017 opening. On behalf of the university, I thank every Honor Roll donor for supporting these and the other achievements described in this issue. Sharing your time and treasury with NJIT makes such a difference to so many of our students and allows them the opportunity to use their considerable talents to improve our society. Your continued generosity has demonstrated how the power of giving is fueling the transformation of our university, and that is greatly appreciated.


Denise Anderson Associate Vice President Communications, Marketing and Branding Christina Crovetto M.S. ’03 Editor Tanya Klein Editorial Assistant Shydale James Contributing Editor Dean L. Maskevich, Tracey L. Regan Contributing Writers Babette Hoyle Production Manager Diane Cuddy Design Editorial Advisory Board Kevin D. Belfield, Reggie J. Caudill, Charles R. Dees Jr., Atam P. Dhawan, Craig Gotsman, Moshe Kam, Anthony Schuman, Michael K. Smullen NJIT Magazine is published by New Jersey Institute of Technology, Office of Strategic Communications. Its mission is to foster ties with alumni, university friends and corporate partners and to report on relevant issues, particularly those in education, science, research and technology. Please send letters of comment and requests to reproduce material from the magazine to: NJIT Magazine Office of Strategic Communications University Heights Newark, NJ 07102-1982 Joel S. Bloom President Charles R. Dees Jr. Senior Vice President University Advancement Michael K. Smullen Director of Alumni Relations On the web: Cover photo caption: A sun dog, or parhelion, luminous arcs formed by thin ice crystals at cold temperatures, that lead and follow the Sun like two playful puppies chasing after their solar master. Cover photo: August Allen

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DESOLATE BEAUTY: A Scientific Team Journeys into Antarctica’s ‘Deep Field’ NJIT engineers traveled to remote unmanned observatories in Antarctica’s deep field to upgrade instruments that measure fluctuations in Earth’s magnetic lines caused by solar wind and the light from the Aurora Australis. PAG E 14


A NEW VISION FOR YING WU COLLEGE OF COMPUTING Dean Craig Gotsman discusses his vision for NJIT’s Ying Wu College of Computing


NJIT news in brief

5 P OINT BY POINT Athletics update


Leading-edge achievements by faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of NJIT





nationally among





among the


as one of the top 10 colleges in the nation with great career services. The university ranked fourth among public institutions with a strong combination of well-staffed career centers and young alumni who go on to earn higher-thanaverage early salaries. College Factual, a leading source of college data analytics and insights ranked NJIT’s information systems (IS) program the best in the country. The program, which recently moved into the newly formed Department of Informatics housed within Ying Wu College of Computing, was ranked #1 out of 333 nationwide and #1 out of 14 in New Jersey, making it the best IS program in the state and the country for the second year in a row. With a strong emphasis on technical application, the department offers data-intensive research, undergraduate and graduate degree programs that focus on the integration, design, deployment and management


among the

the country - U.S. News & World Report

- U.S. News & World Report

NJIT continues to be celebrated for both its online learning and campus-based programs—and the upward mobility of its students. A recent report from The New York Times ranked NJIT #1 nationally for colleges with the highest percentage of students from the bottom fifth of the income distribution who end up in the top three-fifths. The study is based on new data analysis by The Equality of Opportunity Project, which compares the financial status of a student’s family before they enter college and the graduate’s earnings after college. “Our students know that an NJIT degree is both affordable and a catalyst for career success,” said NJIT President Joel S. Bloom. “The fact that our students graduate with an average of nearly three job offers in hand and starting salaries almost 20 percent above the national average shows that they will receive an immediate and lasting return on their educational investment.” MONEY Magazine named NJIT



One of the BEST 10 COLLEGES with great career services - MONEY Magazine

of computing and networking resources and services. “We are very excited about this newest achievement,” says Yi-Fang Brook Wu, associate professor and chair of the informatics department. “With the field of information systems advancing so rapidly, our faculty and degree programs strive to stay current with the latest industry standards. We couldn’t have achieved the #1 ranking without the wonderful students, staff and faculty. This honor belongs to everyone.” U.S. News & World Report has ranked NJIT’s graduate computer information technology programs 38th among the “Best Online Programs” offered by universities throughout the country. NJIT also offers other online programs that were mentioned by the report, such as the MBA and graduate programs in engineering. In 2016, included NJIT among the 25 “Best Online Master’s in Engineering Programs.” “We are very pleased to be

included in U.S. News & World Report’s list of the country’s best online higher education programs,” said Sotirios G. Ziavras, associate provost for graduate studies and dean of the graduate faculty at NJIT, where students receive innovative and immediately applicable skillbuilding instruction through 32 advanced online programs. NJIT offers an online MBA, 12 online master’s degree programs and 19 online graduate certificate programs in emerging fields such as data mining, network security and information assurance, which culminate in a stand-alone credential and can be applied toward a related master’s degree. “The value of graduate degrees, as well as graduate certificates, cannot be underestimated when it comes to career advancement,” added Ziavras. “Not only are they often essential for landing wellpaying positions, they help cultivate leadership qualities and contribute to personal growth as well.” n

TWEEN TECH TOURNAMENT More than 700 New Jersey elementary, middle and high school students hunkered together to test their anatomy and physiology knowledge, launch bottle rockets and maneuver homebuilt electric vehicles at the 2017 New Jersey Regional Science Olympiad (NJSO), hosted by NJIT in January. The students competed in more than 20 handson science competitions that took place in various locations across the NJIT campus, after they prepared for many months with coaching from their science teachers. All the competitions, called “events,” involved teamwork and problem-solving and encouraged STEM learning. “The Science Olympiad brings together hundreds of students interested in STEM for a fun day of team competitions,” said Suzanne Berliner-Heyman, director for program operations and outreach at the Center for Pre-College Programs, which coordinates the NJSO. “It also exposes the students

to NJIT, a top-ranked national university, and its prominent professors, which we hope further spurs their interest in STEM.” The university has hosted the regional gathering since 2007. NJIT professors and student volunteers, along with representatives from UPS, PSE&G and Northrop Grumman Corp. supervised some of this year’s events. The top-scoring teams — which included Montville High School and Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter Middle School (first place), Bergen County Academies Team #1 and Montgomery Upper Middle School (second place), and Livingston High School Team #2 and Alpine Middle School

A robotic arm picks up pennies at the 2017 New Jersey Science Olympiad, hosted at NJIT.

(third place) — will go on to compete in the statewide Science Olympiad. “This type of event is incredibly important for the advancement of STEM, because it sparks an interest in our students early on, encourages collaboration and provides students with a memorable experience,” offered Steven Romero ’12 (M.S. in information technology administration and security), who coached the team from HoLa Hoboken Dual Language Charter School, where he is the STEM teacher.

“The competition at NJIT was fierce. While we may have only placed in one event this year, we gained valuable insight through observing other groups on how to approach some of the building events that we struggled with. My students loved the experience and, being the resilient bunch that they are, are already looking forward to next year’s Olympiad and are going back to the drawing board, studying more and reworking designs for devices.” n

TOY STORY Krystal Persaud, an adjunct faculty member in the School of Art + Design, and the director of product design at littleBits Electronics, Inc. produced an award-winning tech toy that encourages interactive invention. The “Rule Your Room Kit” was named one of the top 30 toys for 2016 by Good Housekeeping, one of the top toys of 2016 by Parents Magazine, and one of the top 2016 holiday educational STEM toys by Toys, Tots, Pets & More. It also received a 2016 Parents’ Choice Gold Award. The kit is designed to empower children, ages 8 to 13, to “master their domain by transforming everyday objects into awesome touchactivated contraptions.” The product includes a step-by-step guide to create eight touch-activated inventions — like using a banana to move a computer cursor — with countless opportunities for expansion and creativity. The product, along with other littleBits kits, is designed to introduce children “to the kind of 21st-century skills they will need to succeed in higher education and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) careers.” The product is available online directly at littleBits as well as Amazon, Macy’s, Barnes & Noble, Marbles and Microsoft stores. n NJIT MAGAZINE | SPRING 2017 3

ABSTRACTS END NOTES NIRWAN ANSARI, distinguished professor in the Helen and John C. Hartmann Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, led three of his doctoral advisees to attend and present four papers at IEEE GLOBECOM 2016, the flagship conference of the IEEE Communications Society, held in Washington, D.C., Dec. 4-8, 2016. One of the papers, “Optimizing Uplink Resource Allocation for D2D Overlaying Cellular Networks with Power Control,” won an IEEE GLOBECOM 2016 Best Paper Award, and Professor Ansari was also honored with the 2016 Technical Recognition Award, the prestigious annual award given by the IEEE Communications Society Ad Hoc and Sensor Networks Technical Committee, with the citation, “for advancing the field of ad hoc and sensor networks.”

PRESIDENT BLOOM NAMED EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR NJIT President Joel S․Bloom was named Educator of the Year by the American Council of Engineering Companies of New Jersey (ACECNJ), the leading advocate for New Jersey’s consulting engineering profession, which strives to enhance the business practices of professional engineering companies in the planning, design and construction industry. The honor was bestowed at ACECNJ’s 46th Engineering Excellence Awards Banquet March 15, 2017. Each year ACECNJ hosts the Engineering Excellence Awards, a program that celebrates and

recognizes recent accomplishments of New Jersey’s engineering industry and contributions that members and member firms have made to society and to their local communities through exceptional engineering design and construction. Of the award, President Bloom said, “I am very grateful for this recognition, because it is the result of partnerships that NJIT has fostered with industry to both advance innovation and to prepare our students for extraordinary career success upon and long after graduation.” n


CESAR BANDERA AND ELLEN THOMAS, assistant professor and associate professor, respectively, in NJIT’s Martin Tuchman School of Management, received the Best Research Paper Award for their work on business incubation titled “Social Capital, Density, and Startup Survival” from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship® (USASBE) at its annual conference in Philadelphia, Jan. 19-22, 2017. Professor of Mathematics, HORACIO G. ROTSTEIN, was honored by the government of Argentina with a “Premio Raices,”

an award recognizing significant contributions to promoting international collaboration in science and technology. Honorees, who are nominated by their peers and academic institutions, are selected by Argentina’s National Directorate of International Relations and Ministry of Science. KAMALESH SIRKAR, who is a distinguished professor of chemical engineering, acclaimed for his innovations in industrial membrane technology used to separate and purify air, water and waste streams and to improve the quality of manufactured products such as pharmaceuticals, solvents and nanoparticles, has been named a 2016 Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He joined more than 750 inventors representing 229 research universities, government agencies and nonprofit research institutions who, in the words of the Academy, “have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.” DIANA WALSH, senior university lecturer in NJIT’s Martin Tuchman School of Management, presented a paper at the USASBE Annual Conference in Philadelphia, Jan. 19-22, 2017. The USASBE is the largest independent, professional, academic organization in the world dedicated to advancing the discipline of entrepreneurship.




Phillip Costa, a junior on the NJIT men’s soccer team, has been selected to the ASUN Conference Fall 2016 semester Winners for Life team, which is comprised of one student-athlete from each of the eight institutions in the conference and honors those who display excellence on and off the playing field. The team honors a campus citizen respected as one who shares and/

or demonstrates the ASUN Core Values: Education, Honesty, Student-Athlete Experience, Fairness, Health, Ambition, Respect, Diversity, Inclusion, Leadership, Responsibility and Sportsmanship. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must have competed in the current academic year in an ASUN-sponsored sport and be in good academic standing at his/her university. Costa has been on the dean’s list in every semester since he joined the Highlanders program. He has a cumulative GPA of 3.83 in civil engineering. On the pitch, he was a pivotal defender who helped the NJIT men’s soccer team reach the ASUN Championship first round in its first season in the conference. He was a Defensive Player of the Week honoree after scoring his first goal for the Highlanders this past year. n

DAMON LYNN SETS ALL-TIME CAREER SCORING RECORD Senior guard Damon Lynn sunk the three-pointer that set the NJIT all-time career scoring record (all levels) at 2,030, passing the previous mark of 2,028 held by Clarence Pierce ’96 (D-II). The Union Catholic High School grad scored 2,153 collegiate points, smashing the program record,

and made 434 3-pointers, which ends up fifth in NCAA history. This season, Lynn averaged 20.6 points and 3.5 assists while shooting 87 percent from the freethrow line and 35 percent from deep. His Achilles tendon gave way Jan. 21 against Florida Gulf Coast University. n

ALANA DUDLEY SELECTED NJAIAW WOMAN OF THE YEAR Senior Alana Dudley was NJIT’s recipient of the New Jersey Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (NJAIAW) Woman of the Year award. Dudley was among the guests of honor at the 25th Annual NJAIAW Woman of the Year Luncheon held at Seton Hall University. Award winners were chosen by their institution’s athletics department based upon athletic excellence, academic success and citizenship/community service. More than 150 high school and junior and senior college student-athletes earned the award in 2017. Dudley, a four-year member of the NJIT women’s basketball squad, is a mathematical sciences major, an Albert Dorman Honors College scholar, Ray Cassetta Financial Analysis Lab Coordinator, Special Programs Assistant for the Martin Tuchman School of Management, Secretary of the Investment Club and a member of the Math and Actuarial Club. In the Highlanders ’64-62 victory over North Florida Jan. 14, Dudley hit the game-winning shot with :03 second left on the clock for NJIT’s first ASUN Conference win in 2017. n NJIT MAGAZINE | SPRING 2017 5

desolate beauty: Three hundred miles from South Pole Station aboard a Twin Otter turboprop plane, Bob Melville and Gil Jeffer were searching the ground, eyes glued to their frozen windows, for a tiny flash of color amid the unbroken


sea of white below. While their maps gave them precise coordinates for the red flags marking the refueling station, the shifting snow drifts of the Antarctic


ice shelf seemed to mock those two-dimensional certainties.

a scientific team journeys into antarctica’s ‘deep field’ Landing on a glacial “airfield” at one of the five remote instrumentation sites known as autonomous geospace observatories, or AGOs, that NJIT operates in Antarctica’s deep field.


The challenge of providing continuous power to the remote observatories, including the six months of darkness prohibiting solar energy, has led to substantial engineering improvements such as upgrades to wind turbines to operate at low temperatures and novel methods to service them.

IN SEARCH OF ROSANNE CACHE En route this past December to one of the five remote automatic geophysical observatories, or AGOs, that NJIT operates in the frozen wilderness, running out of fuel at the halfway point was a scary prospect indeed. Rescues in what denizens of the Earth’s southernmost continent call “the deep field” are dependent on two of the biggest uncertainties

of all: fair weather and available transportation. There are times when atmospheric conditions make it impossible to distinguish between sky and ground. “It’s like finding a buoy a third of the way across the Atlantic Ocean,” recounts Melville, an engineer with NJIT’s Center for SolarTerrestrial Research, describing the Antarctic Plateau, unpunctuated by trees, animals or even visible rocks in most areas. “The wind

blows and you can come back two weeks later and not find them.” Traditional navigation near the Pole is unreliable: standard compasses are disrupted so close to the Earth’s southern magnetic pole and GPS sometimes fails. But finally, “Hurrah! There it was.” After a snowy landing at the fueling site, “Rosanne Cache,” a bit of drift-digging for the 55-gallon barrels and a quick inspection by flashlight for any signs of ice in the

jet fuel, they were back up in the air and on the way to AGO 3, where he said the real adventure began. “Once down, we had just two hours to dig our way into the station, get out our laptops and connect to the computers there so we could upload the software I’d designed to update our instruments – and hope there were no glitches. And then get back up in the air in time to reach the South Pole before the pilots exhausted their

Abominable engineer, Gil Jeffer, after shoveling his way through a snow drift to gain entrance to one of the remote instrumentation observatories, last visited four years ago. 8 NJIT MAGAZINE | SPRING 2017

Phew! From high in the sky, the crew spots a fueling station and dips down to fill up before continuing on to a remote solar observatory.

authorized flying hours,” Melville said. “We were also installing a new telemetry system to send data back to the states, for which Gil had written the program. I was chewing my nails. We plan and rehearse for these moments. Mission failure – and more than $50,000 in National Science Foundation (NSF) funding for nothing – is unthinkable.” POLAR GEOSPACE LABORATORY NJIT researchers have been

journeying to this nearly empty, frozen wilderness at the tip of the globe since 2007 to collect data on fluctuations in the magnetic lines caused by solar wind and to measure light from the Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights, the luminous collision of charged particles drawn by the South Pole’s magnetic field. Their instruments include photometers that collect light from the Aurora Australis and measure energy from outer space, magnetometers that measure

fluctuations in the magnetic field and GPS receivers. “Our instruments in Antarctica give us continuous data sets of the larger geospace environment, which you can’t do in space because the instruments are continuously orbiting,” says Andrew Gerrard, director of NJIT’s Center for SolarTerrestrial Research, who notes that the university’s work in Antarctica, which is supported by the NSF, comprises a mix of basic and applied science focusing on the Sun

and its impacts on Earth. But this year’s two-month stay was unusually challenging – and important. NJIT is now managing the major geospace instruments in Antarctica – at McMurdo Station, South Pole Station and the five AGOs – not just for its own purposes, but for the entire community of space weather physicists, including researchers from Dartmouth College and Merimack College conducting high-frequency radio work at the South Pole, as well as longtime

Fear of freezing? Never! NJIT’s intrepid engineers look forward each year to their winter trek to the frozen wilderness of Antarctica, where the science and the polar society are like none other. NJIT MAGAZINE | SPRING 2017 9

The South Pole telescope, located about a kilometer from the base station, is designed to study the cosmic microwave background, helping scientists map galaxy clusters and explore dark energy, the force that may be driving the expansion of the universe.


remote data collection at the AGOs for collaborators at the University of New Hampshire, Augsburg College, Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, and many others. “We’re able to collect critical data for our own research, help the broader community bring their instruments to Antarctica and sharpen our own unsurpassed engineering skills while we’re there,” Gerrard notes. NJIT’S CRACKERJACK ANTARCTICA CREW The three-member engineering crew of Melville, Jeffer and Andrew Stillinger had little idea what awaited them at the remote stations, last visited four years ago. It was even possible that they would be buried. Indeed, maintaining the unmanned instruments is no

small engineering feat in the harsh environment around the South Pole. The remote observatories, approximately the size of a Winnebago, must be jacked up periodically to stay out of reach of rising drifts. Supplying continuous power year around, including the six months of darkness prohibiting solar energy, has led to substantial engineering developments such as robust power delivery, upgrades to wind turbines to operate at low temperatures, and novel methods to service them. The crew has written papers about their exploits that have been published in peer-reviewed engineering journals. “The replacement parts are mostly off-the-shelf electronic components from online vendors – we purposely designed the system to use commonly available parts


whenever possible,” says Stillinger, the power-system maestro. They monitor the stations, which are positioned on magnetic meridians, by Iridium satellite system short-burst data service. Melville designed and built a small, self-contained computer-based electrical monitoring unit that observes the main power system, including temperatures, and sends the information up to a satellite which then conveys the information to a website or e-mail address. By doing a remote log-in to a computer in New Jersey from the South Pole, Jeffer is able to verify that data is coming in as expected. “The AGO power system is measured several times an hour and reported, 24 / 7 / 365.25+ — that’s geek humor for all of the time,” Stillinger says.

This year, the different crew members were able to make it to four of the five remote stations, despite the lack of fuel supply from the all-important providers – the U.S. Air National Guard stationed at McMurdo – for 19 days in a row in December. Always precarious, Stillinger recalled that one delivery was delayed for several hours because their suppliers were having a tough time shooing penguins off the runway. “Humorous,” he concedes. To their delight, all but AGO 1, where the primary voltage regulator in a wind turbine “blew up,” as he put it, were working with humming efficiency. “Andy (Stillinger) went all MacGyver at AGO 1 to fix it with a junkyard assortment of replacement parts he’d collected at the Pole. He was truly heroic,” Jeffer recounted.

“We arrive with few parts, because it’s not clear until you get there what’s happened and you don’t have the luxury to lug a lot of heavy equipment. Even for people who go to Antarctica, this is the middle of nowhere.” “We’re the consummate scroungers for replacement parts and smaller electronic equipment,” Stillinger notes. “Keeping these stations running for that long is quite an accomplishment that should be fully appreciated,” says Louis Lanzerotti, distinguished research professor of physics at NJIT, who was among the pioneers to first establish instruments — mainly magnetometers — in Antarctica in the 1980s. A celebrated figure there, he was honored a decade ago with the naming of the eponymous “Mt. Lanzerotti” 100 miles from McMurdo Station. Under Gerrard, the current crackerjack crew assumed the mission several years ago lest it fall

into disarray. They promised – and delivered – key upgrades, such as a new proton magnetometer, which records changes in Earth’s magnetic field every second. They expanded the instruments to cover not just the magnetosphere, the region where solar wind collides with the planet’s magnetic field, but the closer-in ionosphere, where radio signals are detected. They improved power systems and data acquisition instruments. Three years ago, for example, the team established internet connectivity to NJIT’s instrumentation for the first time, allowing the Center to collect real-time data on solar radiation, magnetism and wind. With upgraded telemetry following this year’s trek, they now get real-time readings every five seconds from magnetometers, Jeffer notes. “The most important data we collect on Earth’s magnetic field keeps us apprised of what’s going on deep in the magnetosphere, and

can therefore tell us what’s coming in from the Sun’s wind and what’s driving the upper-atmospheric system,” Gerrard says. However, they continue to gather data manually at regular intervals because there is not the bandwidth at the stations to send the even more precise data recorded thousands of times a second that is stored on the computers in Antarctica. All of this despite temperatures that sometimes fall to 100 degrees below zero and the attendant risks of accidents in this inhospitable environment. From the most remote spots, “If you break a leg, it’s 15 hours before you can get back to the South Pole,” Melville says, adding, “I did 16 days once. Two weeks without a shower and you start to get ‘toasty,’ a term at the Pole that conveys a host of things, physical and psychological. Even your clothes stop insulating you as well.” This year, as always before a trip into the deep field, the team

was required to undergo two days of “Happy Camper” training, including an overnight 10 miles from South Pole Station where they set up a shelter and acclimated to the below zero temperatures and high elevation in order to avoid altitude sickness and other “coldness injuries.” After spending nearly three weeks at lower elevations, Jeffer and Stillinger were required to retrain before a final trip to AGO 5, which is 660 miles from McMurdo Station. They rode by helicopter to the northeast slope of Mt. Erebus, the southernmost active volcano in the world, where they pitched camp with guides August Allen and Vicki Siegel on a jagged stretch of the caldera rim called Fang Ridge, at an elevation of 9,900 feet. CAMPING ON MT. EREBUS “This is one of three volcanos in the world with active lava lakes inside, which bubble all of the time, not just during eruptions,” Jeffer said.

Left to right: Gil Jeffer, Andy Stillinger, August Allen (kneeling) and Bob Melville NJIT MAGAZINE | SPRING 2017 11

The Nathaniel B. Palmer, an Antarctic icebreaker built for extended scientific missions and named for a 19th century sea-faring seal hunter, explorer and ship designer, in McMurdo Sound.

“We were there for five days, the amount of time it takes to acclimate in order to avoid headaches, ulcers and even death, before heading out to the AGO.” Why do they relish these harsh conditions? They answer with an incredulous look. No matter how many times you visit, the Antarctic remains a place of wonder, like no other on earth. Jeffer, who pinched a nerve early on in the trip but soldiered on nonetheless, calls it “beautiful desolation” akin to the otherworldly experience of landing

on another planet. Or they show you a photo of a sundog, or parahelion, a mammoth halo of ice crystals above the horizon that “dog the sun” and look like a coded message from outer space. Melville explains how the Earth’s magnetic field lines are shaped like the letter C, touching down at the North and South Poles and bowing out in between. At the extremes, particles from the Sun get trapped in a field line and lose their energy, emitting a radio signal. “And we

Seen from the window of a Twin Otter plane, thaw streams at the terminus of the Koettlitz Glacier where it flows into McMurdo Sound.


can listen to those signals with our receivers. It takes four minutes for them to travel from one hemisphere to the other.” WAVING AT BUZZ ALDRIN Near the Shackleton Glacier, they helped a team of paleobotanists load boxes of fossils onto a plane before returning to McMurdo. “You never know what kind of scientific task you might be asked to help with,” recounts Melville. Indeed, Antarctica is so unique and magical that it attracts adventurers

who have visited other worlds. On their arrival, the crew saw Buzz Aldrin, the 87-year-old Apollo 11 astronaut and second man to walk on the moon, embark on their plane on his way out of McMurdo. According to news reports, he’d suffered from altitude sickness and was airlifted to Christchurch, New Zealand. “It was clearly on his bucket list,” Melville says. n Author: Tracey L. Regan is an NJIT Magazine contributing writer.



SAVE THE DATE! May 19-21, 2017 NJIT Campus




n January 2017, Dr. Craig Gotsman was named Dean of the Ying Wu College of Computing. Prior to NJIT, Gotsman was the founding director of the

Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute at Cornell Tech, a New York Citybased graduate campus dedicated to fostering innovation and producing entrepreneurial engineers, with the purpose of growing the tech sector of that city. He had also co-founded several technology startup companies and consulted to many large technology corporations.


Q. In your new role as YWCC dean, what are your immediate priorities? A. M  y top priority is to increase the visibility of the college and open it up to the outside world. Forever gone are the days of the ivory tower academic model, the days when the campus was mostly isolated from the rest of the world: conducting research, publishing papers, living quietly within a small, closed academic community. Now things are changing so quickly that we have to interact much more with the outside world just to keep up, especially in the tech sector. I would like to see the college faculty and students interacting on a daily basis with the local tech industry and the growing tech ecosystem emerging in nearby New York City. Q. What are some examples of how YWCC provides unique real-world opportunities for students?  e tech world of the 21st A. Th century is quite different from what it was in the 20th century. There is much more activity in the entrepreneurial space; many more startups and small ventures compared to large behemoths such as

IBM, Microsoft and Google. This allows us to create multiple opportunities for daily interaction between students and the different components of the tech sector; for example, hands-on projects with small and large companies, and opportunities to promote their own ideas and ventures. There are also many advantages to young students interacting with active tech entrepreneurs. Beyond the exposure to cutting-edge technologies and real-world problems, immersing the students in the entrepreneurial culture and the level of energy that comes with it is extremely valuable. It adds important new dimensions to the students’ educational experience and makes for a more rounded engineer. Q. What are your thoughts about strengthening relationships with alumni? A. A  lumni relations at NJIT should be strengthened significantly. Alumni are a tremendous source of inspiration, support and feedback. And I don’t just mean financial support although there’s a lot of that potential as well. At Cornell Tech, even as newcomers to New York City, we were able to easily plug

through hands-on, cooperative and experiential education. It is a practice he aims to strengthen in NJIT’s computing curriculum, capitalizing on the emerging tech scene in New Jersey, and especially on the university’s proximity to New York City, which is home to a rich startup ecosystem expected to eclipse Silicon Valley as the next high-tech capital of the world. Gotsman’s research interests include 3D computer graphics, geometric modeling, animation and computational geometry. He has published over 180 research papers, won eight best paper awards at leading conferences and mentored more than 50 postgraduate students at all levels. He holds 10 U.S. patents and has commercialized some of his academic research to co-found three startup companies. He is a member of Academia Europaea, Europe’s leading Academy of Science and Arts. Gotsman received all his degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. PHOTOS DERIC RAYMOND

Before helping found Cornell Tech in 2012, Gotsman held the Hewlett-Packard Chair in Computer Engineering at Technion– Israel Institute of Technology, where he co-founded the Technion Center for Graphics and Geometric Computing in 2001. While at Technion, he also served in a number of associate dean roles and as deputy senior vice president. Gotsman has been a visiting professor at Harvard University, INRIA Sophia Antipolis (France), ETH Zurich (Switzerland) and a research scientist at MIT. Some of Gotsman’s key accomplishments at Cornell Tech included developing, marketing and managing novel academic programs; forging industry connections and fundraising; promoting new approaches to innovation; and commercializing intellectual property in an academic environment. As an educator, Gotsman has spearheaded efforts to provide students with opportunities for building practical knowledge

into that environment because Cornell has an enormous alumni base there. These alums helped us get established in the city and provide mentorship and other opportunities for our students. NJIT has a large number of alums working in the tech industry in New Jersey and New York and I don’t think we’ve taken advantage of them as much as we could. We should bring them back to campus to see where we are and what we are doing today, connect them to our current students, and use them to build a broad, strong and robust network. Q. What do you hope to achieve in the next five years? A. W  e first need to forge the college’s identity with its department of computer science and newly formed department of informatics. Then we need to slowly,

Dean Gotsman explains an algorithm to a group of YWCC students.

but surely, put the college on the map. Rankings are not everything, but they are something we need to be conscious of. Right now, the college has a decent ranking but it must be improved. At the undergraduate level, I want to connect the college better to the outside world in terms of student engagement. At the graduate level, while we have a fair amount of research coming out of the college, we need to multiply it by a factor of two or three. That will require enlarging and enhancing our faculty and doing the same for our Ph.D. program. I want to turn YWCC into the to-go place for information technology in the region, both in the academic community and in the industrial community. n


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The BBSO’s 1.6-meter New Solar Telescope can now produce simultaneous images of massive explosions such as solar flares. ________________________________________

The multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) system is composed of three mirrors that change shape to correct the path of the incoming light waves, guided by a computer attached to ultra-fast cameras that take more than 2,000 frames per second to measure aberrations in the wave path. The system is called multi-conjugate because each mirror captures light from a different altitude, and the three corrected images together produce a distortionfree picture that eliminates the effects of turbulence up to about seven miles. Blurring occurs when air masses at different temperatures mix, distorting the propagation of the light and causing it to take a changing, random path from the distant object. That same atmospheric turbulence causes the twinkling of stars.

NEXT-GEN OPTICS UNVEIL SUNSPOT-WIDE PANORAMAS ON THE SUN’S SURFACE A groundbreaking new optical device, developed at NJIT’s Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) to correct images of the Sun distorted by atmospheric turbulence, is providing scientists with the most precisely detailed, real-time pictures to date of solar activity occurring across vast stretches of the star’s surface. The observatory’s 1.6-meter New Solar Telescope can now produce simultaneous images, for example, of massive explosions such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections occurring at about the same time across a 20,000-mile-wide sunspot in the Sun’s photosphere. “During large flares, magnetic field

changes appear to occur at many different places with near simultaneity,” explains Philip Goode, distinguished research professor of physics at NJIT and the leader of an international team of researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop the device. “Only by seeing the comprehensive array of eruptions all at once can we accurately measure the size, strength and sequencing of these magnetic events and analyze the forces that propel the star’s magnetic fields to twist around each other until they explode, spewing massive amounts of radiation and particles that, when directed earthward, can cause disruptive space weather,” he said.

The MCAO system has tripled the size of the corrected field available with the existing technology, known as adaptive optics, which employs a single shapeshifting, or deformable, mirror to correct images. An article showcasing these advances was published this year in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. “Correcting for multiple layers of turbulence in the atmosphere is an engineering tour-de-force,” comments Peter Kurczynski, director of the astronomical sciences program at the NSF that funded the research. “This study demonstrates technology that is crucial for next-generation observatories and it will improve our understanding of the Sun.” n

Author: Tracey L. Regan is an NJIT Magazine contributing writer.


New Jersey Institute of Technology University Heights Newark, NJ 07102-1982

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NJIT Magazine Spring 2017  
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