May 5, 2006

Student to spend summer with
NASA breaking new ground in science

Sacramento State mechanical engineering graduate student Luke Gibbons has an enviable summer job – working with the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia to uncover an area still relatively unknown in the world of science.

Gibbon studies dynamic systems and developing software in nanoscale to create reusable energy systems. At NASA he will research the materials found in everything from golf clubs to airplane wings, finding ways to improve the materials and investigating how to create micro-fuel from energy sources such as solar panels.

Gibbons will join 150 of the nation’s most advanced engineering students selected by Peter Lillehei, a scientist from NASA’s Advanced Materials and Processing Branch.

Gibbons said his Sacramento State professor Jose Granda, an expert in mechanical engineering and four-year NASA Faculty Fellow, played an important role in creating this opportunity. “Professor Granda tries to be a mentor to all of his students,” Gibbons said.

As part of Gibbons’ research he has been working with Granda on how to apply nanotechnology to the CAMP-G program (Computer Aided Modeling Program with Graphical Input), which Granda created in 1982.

Last year Granda was involved in NASA’s space shuttle mission STS-114 and currently works in assembling computer models for the Space Station Mission 12A to simulate what happens in space during maneuvers of the shuttle and the space station. In 2003-04 Granda was involved in a project where he and Ignacio Sandoval, another Sacramento State student, “morphed” airplane wings in an effort to create a new generation of airplanes that bend and twist to increase agility.

Granda has received international recognition for his work, winning awards such as the Society for Computer Simulation International Research Award in 2005 and the Outstanding Scholarly Achievement Award at Sacramento State in 2004.

For more information contact Professor Jose Granda at (916) 278-5711. For media assistance contact the Public Affairs Office at (916) 278-6156.

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