Science Lecture Series

Dr. Bill Davids

Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator and Rusty Old Bridges

Thursday, March 1 at 7:00 pm

What does the deceleration of spacecraft and the condition of our roadway bridges have in common?  While engineering of course!  Explore the University of Maine’s contributions to the Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD), a NASA-developed device ideal for landing spacecraft on planets with thin atmospheres such as Mars. Take a look at a four-year collaboration with NASA which has aided NASA in optimize its design. Closer to home, Maine has about 2,500 bridges longer than 20 feet, of which about 30% are nearing the end of their original design life.  While still able to carry traffic loads, these bridges often do not meet current strength requirements, and are candidates for expensive retrofit or replacement. See how engineering can be used to test capacity using sophisticated mathematical models of behavior, allowing the state to preserve older bridges without sacrificing safety and saving Maine taxpayers money. In addition to the details of these two projects, the presentation will address the integration of research and education as well as impacts on Maine and Maine students.

  

Dr. Bill Davids is the John C. Bridge Professor and Department Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maine, where he has been on the faculty since 1998. He holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington and B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Maine. He gained four years of bridge design experience with Sverdrup Corporation in Seattle, WA prior to entering academia, and is a registered professional engineer in the State of Maine. Bill has conducted and directed research on topics in bridge engineering, inflatable structures and the mechanics of solid and engineered wood. This research has encompassed both experimental work and the development of problem-specific numerical analysis techniques. To date, he has authored or co-authored over 100 publications, including more than 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and he co-holds two patents. Bill has also developed specialized finite-element software packages for the analysis of concrete slab bridges, pavements, and inflatable fabric arches and beams. He teaches courses in structural design, structural analysis, and numerical methods. When not working, Bill is generally with his wife and daughters – preferably on skis, a bike, snowshoes, or just up at camp with lots of tools and a project.

Tickets are available online at http://astro.umaine.edu, by calling 581-1341, or at the box office.

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Previous Speakers

September 2016
Dr. Elizabeth McGrath
A Walk Among Giants: Building the Largest Galaxies in the Universe

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October 2016
Dr. Caitlin Howell
Unlocking the Secrets of Proteins: The Rise of Cryo Electron Microscopy

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November 2016
Chuck Carter
Art and Science: Visualizing Complex Ideas for Everyone

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December 2016
Dr. Paul Mayewski
Journey Into Climate

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(Google Drive link)

February 2017
Dr. Dean Astumian
How molecular motors work – insights from the machinist’s toolbox

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March 2017
Dr. Ali Abedi
Wireless Leak Detection for International Space Station

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April 2017
Dr. Henning Haack
Meteorites and the Origin of the Solar System

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May 2017
Dr. Karissa Tilbury
From Lightsabers to Tricorders:
Harnessing Light for Biomedical Applications

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September 2017
Dr. Michaela Reagan
Potential Cancer Cures Leveraging 3D Tissue
Engineering and Bone Marrow Models

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December 2017
Dr. Dale Kocevski
The Big Bang and the Origin of Our Universe

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February  2018
Dr. Nicole Rausch
The Science of Wellness:  Why Your Doctor Continues to Insist You Sleep, Exercise, and Be Well

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The Science Lecture Series at Emera Astronomy Center will take place the first Thursdays of each month and is a partnership project with the Maine Science Festival and will feature research from a variety of science disciplines from around our state and use the digital planetarium to visualize these discoveries in a new dramatic and immersive way.