Over 500 visitors filled the Kennedy Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building on June 7 for Hopkins on the Hill, a biennial event showcasing some of the federally funded research taking place at Johns Hopkins University. Congressional staffers and government officials mingled with Johns Hopkins researchers, staff, and alumni.
Of the programs highlighted at the event, two are housed within the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute. Both HEMI-affiliated programs strive to make the world a safer place by expanding the horizons of materials science in extreme environments. Knowledge gained from both programs has the potential to bolster national defense, making them particularly valuable to government partners and collaborators.
The MEDE+ program, within HEMI’s Center on Artificial Intelligence for Materials in Extreme Environments (CAIMEE), aims to explore the possibilities of AI in materials design. By utilizing AI, machine learning, and automation, researchers hope to create a facility that can accelerate the modelling, production, and testing of materials. The program has the potential to revolutionize high-throughput materials design, facilitating the creation of materials with tailored properties for use in extreme environments, with a focus on materials of interest to its partners at DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory.
Rayna Mehta, a graduate student studying materials science in the Whiting School of Engineering, explained some of the cutting-edge work being done in the MEDE+ program while Bess Bieluczyk, CAIMEE’s program manager, presented information about the program’s new state-of-the-art materials fabrication facility. This facility, the Artificial Intelligence for Materials Design (AIMD) Laboratory, is currently being built in the historic Stieff Silver Building and is set to open this fall.
Representatives from the Materials Science in Extreme Environments University Research Alliance (MSEE URA) were also in attendance. MSEE’s research covers a wide range of topics, from neutralizing chemical weapons to studying the effects of nuclear blasts. Researchers studying reactive materials—in this case, substances designed to defeat chemical and biological weapons—showed samples of their work. Among these researchers was Kyle Fisher, an ROTC cadet and the only undergraduate student presenting research at the event.
For Andrew Proulx, the program manager of MSEE, Hopkins on the Hill was a chance to show off not only the group’s groundbreaking research, but also MSEE’s workforce development potential. “Hopkins on the Hill was an exciting opportunity to showcase the great research being performed in MSEE to a number of stakeholders,” said Proulx. “From congressional aides and DOD partners to Hopkins alumni, everyone was engaged and excited to meet with our students and learn about our critical research and workforce development activities. I am proud to be a member of MSEE and appreciative of the opportunity to talk with so many folks about the program’s impact.”