Sustainability is an issue that cuts across disciplines and requires a spectrum of scientific approaches. Research at NJIT embraces the integrative and collaborative approach that is critical for understanding how mankind can thrive in a more sustainable way.Reporters and editors are invited to join NJIT’s faculty Sept. 13, 2012 at 4 p.m. in the Jim Wise Theatre in Kupfrian Hall for a one-hour symposium, “Multifaceted Approaches to Sustainability,” featuring three new faculty members. Each speaker will spend 20 minutes examining sustainability from their expert viewpoints. A poster session highlighting the work of all new faculty members follows at 5 p.m. The talks are part of three days of events leading to the inauguration of Dr. Joel S. Bloom as NJIT’s eighth president on Sept. 14. Bloom was appointed as NJIT president this past January.
“From Brain Research to Environmental Monitoring,” will be the title of a talk by Eric Fortune, associate professor of biological sciences. Fortune is a neurophysiologist with expertise in electrophysiology, ethology, ecology and evolution. He studies the mechanisms of animal behavior through careful measurements of natural animal behavior and sophisticated quantitative approaches to discover the cellular mechanisms used by the brain to control behavior. The focus of Fortune’s research has recently been revolutionized by exciting results from investigation of the neurophysiological basis of cooperation in a unique species of Andean songbird — the plain-tailed wren which was published in the journal Science. He was formerly on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University.
Martina Decker, assistant professor of architecture in the College of Architecture and Design, in her talk will tackle the topic: “Material Dynamics/Emergent Materials in Architecture.” A pioneer in smart materials in architecture, Professor Decker is a partner in Decker Yeadon, the first architecture research office to synthesize “buckypaper,” a thin sheet of carbon nanotubes, and she and her partner, Peter Yeadon, are researching a range of novel, high performance materials like this for future building projects. Her work focuses on how new materials with novel properties might generate solutions to various contemporary challenges in sustainability and health and safety. In both her research and her architectural practice, she makes use of materials that are engineered at the molecular level.
Michel Boufadel, professor of civil and environmental engineering in Newark College of Engineering, will look at “Mitigating the Adverse Effects of Unsustainable Practices.” An expert in hydraulics and numerical modeling of large scale systems, Boufadel is noted for his work in the investigation of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and BP’s Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. His research projects include floodplain delineation for FEMA and predicting contamination in urban streams. He was involved in the response to the DWH blowout and has received funding from the Unified Command to evaluate oil biodegradation in the Gulf of Mexico beaches following the blowout. He comes to NJIT from Temple University.