Aerospace Engineering Department celebrates 100th anniversary
Last Thursday, the University’s Aerospace Engineering Department began the celebration of its centennial, titled Aero100 Weekend.
The first day of events included a “Panel on the Future of Aerospace Academics and Research,” a “Women of Aerospace” presentation and an alumni reunion reception and dinner held at the University of Michigan Museum of Art and the Michigan Union Ballroom.
The festivities continued Friday with panels on the future of the aircraft, green aviation and the future of space exploration and use. Al Romig, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works, concluded day two by hosting a keynote lecture called “Kelly’s Legacy: The Skunk Works Today.”
On the final day of Aero100 Weekend, employees and professors in the Aerospace Engineering Department came onto the field at the Big House before the Michigan football game against Utah. Prior to their entrance, a variety of helicopters and planes flew over the stadium, showcasing the most innovative aviation technologies of the last 100 years.
American National Election Studies receives federal funding
Last Thursday, the National Science Foundation awarded $10.23 million to researchers at the University of Michigan and Stanford University, money that will be used to carry out surveys about voting choice in the upcoming 2016 presidential election.
The surveys are a part of the American National Election Studies program, the longest political time series in history. Time series analysis entails taking data points throughout a time interval and extracting meaningful statistics or characteristics from those points. The American National Election Study dates back to the election of former President Harry Truman in 1948.
“We plan to address a number of important issues,” said Political Science Prof. Vincent Hutchings. “Among them are the potential impact of income inequality, the role of gender attitudes given the possible candidacy of Hillary Clinton and the growing partisan polarization in the electorate.”
Around the World
Indian satellite Mangalyaan reaches Mars orbit on maiden voyage
Wednesday, India became the first nation to send a satellite into Mars’ orbit on its first attempt and the first Asian country to reach the Red Planet.
Planning for the mission took four years, and the voyage itself took 10 months. The primary goal of the mission was to determine whether India had the technological capabilities to reach Mars. With that objective completed, the mission’s focus will shift toward the search for methane on the planet’s surface by using five instruments in the satellite’s payload.
The Mangalyaan orbiter cost $74 million to send into space, one of the cheapest recent missions to Mars. Meanwhile, a U.S. satellite that entered Mars’ orbit Sunday cost $671 million.
India — alongside the United States, Russia and members of the European Space Agency — becomes one of the few nations to achieve interplanetary travel, an endeavor that other Asian countries such as China and Japan have yet to accomplish.
“History has been created today,” said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “We have dared to reach out into the unknown and have achieved the near-impossible.”
President Obama addresses Islamic State at United Nations General Assembly
Wednesday, President Barack Obama spoke to the United Nations General Assembly in the hope of gathering support against “the cancer of violent extremism” of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL.
Obama’s speech came two days after the United States increased its presence in the Middle East by targeting members of the Sunni extremist group stationed in Syria with airstrikes. Obama outlined his plan to fight ISIS, warning that continued violence will stunt progress toward peace and prosperity. He went on to ask other nations to join in the fight against the “network of death.”
“Collectively, we must take concrete steps to address the danger posed by religiously motivated fanatics, and the trends that fuel their recruitment,” Obama said in his speech.
He also touched on the condemnation of Russia due to its encroachment in Ukraine, ways to halt the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, the need for diplomacy in solving Iran’s nuclear program and the racial turbulence in Ferguson, Mo.
Apple launches new iPhone models
Friday, Apple rolled out the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the newest models of its signature smartphone.
The company sold a combined 10 million units over the weekend, setting a record in launch sales. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus feature displays of 4.7 and 5.5 inches, respectively, and are Apple’s largest and thinnest phones on the market.
It has taken just a few days, however, for buyers to find major flaws in the new phones’ design. Tuesday, many iPhone 6 Plus users posted photos on Twitter showing that their phones had warped as a result of being placed in their pockets.
The design flaw is being called “Bendgate,” and one buyer went as far as to upload YouTube video to prove how easy it is to bend the iPhone 6 Plus when applying a minimal amount of pressure. Apple has not yet commented on the issue.
Though the latest iPhone came shipped with iOS 8.0.1, the most updated operating system, Apple removed the update Wednesday after users began complaining about major bugs in the software. Defects included not being able to make calls and a malfunctioning Touch ID fingerprint sensor, which is used to unlock the device.