High school apprenticeship opportunities in HEMI

For the 8th consecutive year, the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI) has partnered with the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) to provide high school apprenticeship opportunities.

Students will work on an exciting research project in HEMI which is one of Johns Hopkins University’s premier, non-medical engineering institutes. HEMI’s mission is to advance the fundamental science associated with materials and structures under extreme conditions and demonstrating extreme performance. Students will assist HEMI faculty and graduate students with conducting experiments, developing software code to perform computational analysis/modeling, and in synthesizing new materials. These apprenticeships are best suited for students interested in the following engineering disciplines: mechanical, civil/systems, electrical, chemical/biomolecular, and materials science. Students will improve their communication skills by presenting their research project in a research group meeting, poster symposium, and at a final presentation event attended by US Army and university VIPs.

The dates of the apprenticeships are tentatively scheduled for June 27 through August 7, 2023. Students will be able to earn a stipend of $3,000. The apprenticeships are focused on students from underrepresented minorities in STEM.

For more information and to apply, visit: https://www.usaeop.com/program/high-school-apprenticeships/ The deadline to apply is March 5, 2023.

HEMI Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Launched in 2012 with a $90 million grant from the U.S. Army, the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI) is celebrating its 10th anniversary and the progress it has made in its mission to develop the science and technology needed to protect people, structures, and the planet.

In addition to establishing itself as a global leader in the area of materials in extreme environments, HEMI also launched major research initiatives that have supported collaborations between academia, industry, and government, including the Center for Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments (which has just completed its mission) and the Materials Science for Extreme Environments University Research Alliance. HEMI also has amplified its impact by  managing more than 40 subawards to partner universities and research organizations in 20 states and four foreign countries.

In the Baltimore region, they have led partnerships with leading institutions, including the Extreme Science Internship program with Morgan State University and the Extreme Arts program with the Maryland Institute College of Art.

HEMI currently has 50 Fellows from the Whiting School and JHU’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and Applied Physics Laboratory.Learn more about HEMI’s accomplishments, this important milestone, and what lies ahead in their new video.

HEMI Fellows awarded best papers at MS&T conference

Lori Graham-Brady, HEMI associate director and professor in the Department of Civil and Systems Engineering and KT Ramesh, the Alonzo G. Decker Professor of Science and Engineering and director of HEMI, were awarded best papers by the Journal of the American Ceramic Society. On October 11, 2022, their winning papers were presented at a special awards symposium at the Materials Science and Technology Technical Meeting and Exhibition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   

Graham-Brady’s paper is titled, “Fragmentation and Granular Transition of Ceramics for High Rate Loading,” and included co-authors Amartya Bhattacharjee and Ryan Hurley of Johns Hopkins University. 

“Models for the Behavior of Boron Carbide in Extreme Dynamic Environments,” is the title of K.T. Ramesh’s winning paper. Co-authors included: Lori Graham-Brady, Ryan Hurley, Mark Robbins, Amartya Bhattacharjee, Qinglei Zeng, Weixin Li, and Nilanjan Mitra from Johns Hopkins University; William Goddard, California Institute of Technology; Andrew Tonge, DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory; Joel Clemmer, Sandia National Laboratories; and Qi An, University of Nevada, Reno. 

Both papers were the result of research conducted in the Center for Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments(CMEDE), a center within the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute. Funded by the DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory, CMEDE research has developed a materials-by-design process for protection materials which have military armor applications.    

MICA extreme arts interns present final projects

Interns in the Extreme Arts program, a collaboration between HEMI and Maryland Institute College of Art, presented their final projects recently to an audience including HEMI mentors, staff, and students.

Started in 2015, the HEMI/MICA Extreme Arts internship program brings students from MICA to HEMI to translate results of HEMI’s research on extreme events in creative and visual ways.

Riley Cox, MICA student majoring in fibers, interned with Rebecca Schulman, an associate professor in the Whiting School of Engineering’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Cox experiments with weaving structures that contain LED matrices and can be coded to light up portions of cloth in desired patterns. Her goal is to create responsive, smart textiles that could be programmed to generate patterns, both through the physical process of weaving and through integrated technology.

During her internship, Cox says she was “inspired by Professor Schulman’s use of synthetic DNA computing circuits as a way to generate patterned responses.”

In Schulman’s research, chemical patterns act as a blueprint, defining the growth of cells. The process of weaving can function in a similar way, relying on patterns embedded in the order and placement of threads to create an output of different structures of cloth, according to Cox.

“The loom has historically been considered the precursor to modern computing,” said Cox,  whose project explores this relationship between technology and handcraft.

In tackling her project, she used digital drafting software which allowed her to experiment with patterns that could be generated within the threading process.

Fibers work by Riley Cox

Fibers work by Riley Cox

Candice EH Cramer, a MICA student majoring in multidisciplinary art, says, “The most resilient of things on Earth are what comprises the planet: minerals. Some of these minerals, like zircon and garnet extracted today, could share evidence of evolution during the earliest part of Earth’s history.”

Cramer interned at HEMI with Emmy Smith, an assistant professor in the Krieger School of Arts and Science’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Cramer said that through Smith’s work, she was able to “glean whispers of Precambrian life recorded in sedimentology, which endures beyond carbon dating by using uranium lead dating.” Through observing rocks extracted for their zircons, searching for sulfur as metabolism markers in marine sediments, and witnessing garnets prepared for spectrometry, she said she “gained a fondness” for minerals for their intrinsic value and their innate storytelling.

“As we face an age on Earth that is being shaped in front of our eyes by humans to the detriment of the environment, I wonder if these minerals can offer us wisdom by examining and replicating their forms through drawing,” said Cramer.

She is also inspecting minerals found in paint pigments to ponder upon the sustainability of the painting practice.

The event completes the eighth consecutive year of the Extreme Arts program which is a collaborative program between HEMI at Johns Hopkins University and the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Multidisciplinary Art by Candice EH Cramer

Resilient Shard
(Snowball Earth)
by Candice EH Cramer

HEMI leadership participates in CNR delegation visit

 Members of a delegation representing Italy’s National Research Council recently visited the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI) as part of a visit to Johns Hopkins hosted by Larry Nagahara, vice dean for research and translation in the Whiting School of Engineering (WSE). CNR operates under the auspices of the Italian Research Ministry and is that country’s largest public research institution focused on performing multidisciplinary activities. 

During the visit to HEMI, Lori Graham-Brady, HEMI associate director and professor in the Department  of Civil and Systems Engineering, presented the accomplishments of the Center for Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments (CMEDE), a recently completed 10-year program focused on improving protection materials for military armor applications. CNR delegates were particularly interested in ceramic materials research and how CMEDE managed the large, 25-member consortium.  

Ramesh provided a tour of HEMI’s Hypervelocity Facility for Impact Research Experiments (HyFIRE), spotlighting the facility’s a two-stage light gas gun that can launch impactors at velocities up to 7 km/s (Mach 20) and has advanced diagnostic equipment which can capture high speed imagery. 

Italy’s CNR Delegation in front of Mason Hall.

HEMI completes MEDE+ AI-M final technical review

KT Ramesh, the Alonzo G. Decker Professor of Science and Engineering and director of HEMI, recently co-chaired the final technical review of Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments and Artificial Intelligence for Materials (MEDE+ AI-M) projects.  

These projects and their principal investigators include:   


  • Using artificial intelligence to accelerate the iterative materials design cycle by high-throughput microstructural characterization and rapid processing (Mark Foster, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering;) 
  • Acoustic signature and reconstruction of defect avalanches in metals (Jaafar El-Awady, associate professor of mechanical engineering;) 
  • Real-time monitoring of laser-material interactions (Steven Storck, Senior Materials Scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory;) 
  • Toward self-repairing devices: Data-directed design of active, hierarchical colloidal assembly and reconfiguration (Rebecca Schulman, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.) 


Researchers involved with each project used AI or machine learning (ML) techniques to examine a particular material and then compare their results with those obtained using  traditional methods. Initial results show that AI/ML techniques can be used to predict select material behavior and characteristics. These initial discoveries are expected to lead to future opportunities as HEMI researchers advance the science in this field.      

The MEDE+ AI-M projects were funded by a cooperative agreement with the DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory which facilitated collaboration. These projects accelerate material development for the Army’s emerging needs and demonstrate HEMI’s continued partnership with DEVCOM ARL.   

HEMI hosts workshop with Sandia National Laboratories focusing on materials under extreme conditions

 HEMI co-sponsored a workshop with Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) on Thursday, September 1 . The workshop, held on the Homewood campus, focused on energetic materials, non-destructive testing, planetary science, AI for materials design, hypervelocity impact, fire science diagnostics, and the use of X-ray imaging techniques to characterize materials. Sandia representatives also shared an overview of their large-scale facilities. 

Sessions were chaired by HEMI Fellows June Wicks, assistant professor in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Jaafar El-Awady, professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering. 

Representatives from Sandia included Sarah Stair, Scott Alexander, and Caroline Winters. The visitors from Sandia also met individually with Johns Hopkins graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to outline research internship opportunities at SNL.


SNL representatives (left to right): Caroline Winters, Scott Alexander, and Sarah Stair.  

MD Congressional staff visit JHU; meet with HEMI & MSEE leadership

On August 24, 2022, legislative staff from the offices of Sen. Ben Cardin, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. David Trone and Rep. CA Dutch Ruppersberger arrived on the JHU Homewood campus to visit HEMI and meet with leaders of the Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments (MEDE) program and Materials in Extreme Environments University Research Alliance (MSEE URA).

Facilitated with the help of the JHU Office of Government and Community Affairs (JHU GCA), this visit allowed staff to receive programmatic updates from Prof. Lori Graham-Brady (MEDE) and Prof. Tim Weihs (MSEE URA) as well as touring laboratory facilities.   The facility tours highlighted the research of both the MEDE and MSEE URA programs.

This visit demonstrates the strong Maryland Congressional support for the major centers within HEMI and their emphasis on the importance of research sponsored by the Department of Defense.

Back left: Prof. Tim Weihs (MSEE URA), Prof. Lori Graham-Brady (MEDE), Prof. Todd Hufnagel (MSEE URA), Mr. Ata Khan (Rep. Trone), Mr. Sam Mollin (JHU GCA).
Front left: Ms. Kristen Reek (JHU GCA), Ms. Hunter Ryan (Rep. Ruppersberger), Ms. Elonna Jones (Sen. Van Hollen), Mr. DeMarcus Walker (Sen. Cardin), Mr. Andrew Proulx (MSEE URA), Ms. Yvonne Darpoh (JHU GCA), and Ms. Margaret Dean (JH-APL GCA).


Announcing the 2022 HEMI Seed Grant Awardees

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2022 HEMI Seed Grants: Prof. Yayuan Liu, Dr. Chao He, and Prof. Dimitris Giovanis!

Liu is an an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and an associate faculty member in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Her accepted proposal is titled “Designing Vascularized Porous Electrodes with Enhanced Ion Transport for Battery Extreme Fast Charging.”

He is an associate research scientist in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. His accepted proposal is titled “Spectral signature of prebiotic molecules in Titan’s surface materials.”

Giovanis is an assistant research professor in the Department of Civil and Systems Engineering and Fellow within HEMI. His accepted proposal is titled “Data Driven Uncertainty Quantification for Energetic Materials.”

Each HEMI Seed Grant awards $25,000 to each recipient for the effective award period of September 1, 2022 to August 31, 2023. They are given each year to fund research in fundamental science associated with materials and structures under extreme conditions. All faculty and researchers at the Johns Hopkins University, as well as Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) staff, who can serve as Principal and Co-Investigators are eligible to apply. Learn more about the program here.