We are at MS&T this week and a little busier than usual. We hope to bring back lots of news and information to tell you about. Meanwhile, here are a few items of interest.

Participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Alfred University’s Center for High-Temperature Characterization Friday afternoon were, from left, Ralph Truitt, division vice resident & research director, Corning, Inc.; Doreen Edwards, dean of the Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering at AU; State Senator Catharine Young of Olean; Charles M. Edmondson, AU president; and Linda Jones, vice president for statutory affairs and head of the College of Ceramics at AU. Credit: Alfred University.

Alfred University dedicates center for analyzing materials of the future

Alfred University dedicated a new Center for High-Temperature Characterization of Materials on Oct. 5, that will help researchers analyze new materials and their characteristics, an integral step in development of new products. The center contains five suites of specialized equipment for analyzing materials that are either processed or used at very high temperatures (1300-degrees C). In the past year, the Center for High-Temperature Characterization has helped AU researchers secure about $3 million in grants from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the Defense Department. Additionally, General Electric has contracted with Alfred University to undertake characterization and analytical work on the new battery materials at a cost of $1.2 million as part of its $2 million project funded by the  New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Besides the research projects, the high-temperature materials characterization center is doing analytical work for New York State companies including Corning Inc., Corning; TAM Ceramics, Niagara Falls; Cummins Engine, Jamestown; Dal-Tile and Cooper Power, Olean; Free Form Fibers, Saratoga Springs; Air Flow Catalyst Systems, Rochester; and Ceragen, Alfred.

Colorado workshop Oct. 18 to explore plans for national network for manufacturing innovation

Boulder, Colo., will be the site of the fourth and final public workshop to gather input on the design of the proposed National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, on Oct. 18, at the Millennium Harvest House Boulder. “Designing for Impact IV: Workshop on Building the NNMI” is organized by the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office, a federal interagency body launched in late 2011 to coordinate federal resources and to promote collaborations addressing key manufacturing technology challenges and opportunities. Area hosts include the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado State University, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The Boulder workshop will be seeking ideas on the technology focus, organization, operation, management, and other topics and activities relating to the proposed network. Advance online registration is now open and will close by Oct. 16. For more information on the workshop and to access the registration site, go to: http://manufacturing.gov/event_101812.html

Felix Baumgartner to attempt record-breaking supersonic freefall Tuesday

On Tuesday morning (Oct. 9), Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner will attempt to break the world record for highest-ever skydive, leaping from a balloon nearly 23 miles above Earth’s surface. If all goes according to plan, Baumgartner will step into the void 120,000 feet (36,576 meters) above southeastern New Mexico early Tuesday, then plummet to Earth in a harrowing freefall that will see him become the first skydiver to break the sound barrier. Baumgartner hopes to break a skydiving record that has stood for more than 50 years set by Joe Kittinger (102,800 feet; 31,333 m) back in 1960 while a captain in the USAir Force. If everything works out on Tuesday, Baumgartner will also shatter the marks for fastest freefall, longest-duration freefall and highest manned balloon flight.

Editor’s note: This project has been in the works for awhile. We reported on the design of the special suit that Baumgartner will be using in a CTT last February.

A clock that will last forever

A device known as a “space-time crystal,” a four-dimensional crystal that has periodic structure in time as well as space may keep perfect time forever, even after the heat-death of the universe. However, there are also practical and important scientific reasons for constructing a space-time crystal. With such a 4D crystal, scientists would have a new and more effective means by which to study how complex physical properties and behaviors emerge from the collective interactions of large numbers of individual particles, the so-called many-body problem of physics. A space-time crystal could also be used to study phenomena in the quantum world, such as entanglement, in which an action on one particle impacts another particle even if the two particles are separated by vast distances. A space-time crystal, however, has only existed as a concept in the minds of theoretical scientists with no serious idea as to how to actually build one—until now. An international team of scientists led by researchers with the Department of Energy Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has proposed the experimental design of a space-time crystal based on an electric-field ion trap and the Coulomb repulsion of particles that carry the same electrical charge.