March 9, 2015 – Cadets and faculty members were recognized for their research efforts March 3 at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s 19th-annual Research Awards Ceremony. The ceremony celebrated the best Academy research in the basic sciences, humanities, engineering and social sciences.
This year’s winning projects included creating a nuclear physics curriculum, developing a new engine design, exploring spacecraft docking techniques at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and investigating cost savings from sustainable buildings.
The event honored the research efforts of senior cadets who gave up summer leave to work at laboratories and offices around the nation.
Overall, 157 cadets went on summer research projects, ranging from serving as an intern for former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to researching new enzymes to detect and neutralize chemical and biological hazards.
Cadet 1st Class Michael Grimmer spent his time on a project known as Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, in laboratories at MIT.
“We examined ways of flying to and docking at the International Space Station,” he said. “SPHERES are small devices, about the size of volleyballs. Basically, we’re trying to find new ways to dock with the ISS.”
Academy faculty members received their share of the accolades during the ceremony, from work in philosophy and history, to new engine designs and comparisons of roundabouts, to the laws of thermodynamics.
One award honored innovation in engine designs. Assistant aeronautics professor Lt. Col. A.J. Rolling won the Frank J. Seiler Award in Engineering for a new engine designs that will save the Air Force millions in fuel costs, and for a patent-pending design into an engine system.
“Last year, we ran the tests and found out that this design will allow a cruise missile to loiter for 24 hours and then dash to take out a target at Mach 1.8 (1,334.8 mph),” he said.
The event’s keynote speaker, Intel Corporation’s principal strategist Keith Uebele, said invention is necessary but not enough – it takes innovation and an emotional connection to make a difference, he said.
Uebele is a liaison connecting Intel Corp with the Homeland Security Department’s Center of Innovation here.
“There’s a difference between innovation and invention,” he said during his speech. “Invention is important, answering those open-ended questions. We need it. But we need innovation. We need to implement what we’ve learned. Without innovation, we can’t create the future we want.”
Thomas D Moore Award for Outstanding Summer Research
McDermott Award for Faculty Research in the Humanities
McDermott Award in Social Sciences
Frank J. Seiler Award for Basic Sciences
Frank J Seiler Award for Engineering:
Martinson Award for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
Institute for National Security Studies Maj. Gen Robert E. Linhard Award
Editors and authors of “On Limited Nuclear War in the 21st Century,” including Dr. Schuyler Foerster and Dr. Jim Smith