The Mpact Challenge offered University of Maryland engineering students—many of whom were undergraduates—the opportunity to take risks, gain unmatched experience, and collaborate with each other and accomplished faculty alike. What happened was student innovation writ large: a drone with the execution of a flying carpet; an industry-changing 3D-printed prosthetic foot; an electric bicycle able to travel 125 miles on a single charge; a solar-powered device that can pull drinking water out of thin air.
Higher education institutions have been forced to make critical decisions about how and when to reopen that could have significant health and financial implications. Because of the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, these decisions are being made with limited information. Three University of Maryland researchers are working to fill in the gaps in knowledge about how to keep people safe in a university setting.

“Blue whirls”—small, spinning blue flames that produce almost no soot when they burn—have attracted great interest since their discovery in 2016, in part because they represent a potential new avenue for low-emission combustion. Now, a team of researchers at the University of Maryland and Texas A&M University have identified how these intriguing whirls are structured.

UMD's Quantum Technology Center entered into an Education Partnership Agreement with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) to identify and pursue opportunities related to quantum technology research. The partnership is focused on advancing quantum technology for applications relevant to the warfighter, and will involve exchanges of expertise and samples; collaborations in experimental, theoretical, and educational work; mutual research proposals; and the exchange of researchers.

Alba Torrents and her team have developed a series of learning modules for a critical senior-level lab course, Environmental Engineering Science (ENCE 411). Students in the course will receive take-home kits that can be used to conduct experiments with the help of readily available materials, many of them found in their own households or garages. In one project, students will replicate the deterioration of water pipes in Flint, Michigan, using copper pipes and non-hazardous chemicals, such as phosphate salts.