COES faculty member, students stand out

Feb 23, 2010 | General News

A Louisiana Tech associate professor in the College of Engineering and Science and two of his doctoral students published 22 articles in 2009.

Dr. Hisham Hegab, an associate professor, and his two students, Bobby Mathew and Tom J. John, averaged 1.83 technical publications per month. These articles dealt with heat transfer and fluid dynamics at the microscale as well as emerging technologies such as microbubble generation and nanowire-based sensors.

“Their research work has been primarily in micro heat exchangers and microfluidic devices,” Hegab said. “This work has a variety of potential applications, such as cooling applications in microelectronics, temperature control in chemical microreactors, and microbubble generators. Bobby and Tom are definitely the two of the most productive graduate students in publishing their research work that I have worked with in my career. They aggressively seek out what aspects of their research have not been addressed in the literature and perform the research to write papers on those specific topics.”

Mathew said his and John’s work on multiple research projects assisted in their mass 2009 publications.

“The reason behind our success at publishing is because both Tom J. John and I individually work on more than a single research project at a specific time,” Mathew said. “This is in addition to the collaborative work we carry out with other research groups. Most students go through four years of graduate school working on a single project and they get four to five publications, including journal articles and conference proceedings.”

Mathew said their success came from help from their adviser, Hegab, the ability to pursue their own research and a little bit of luck.

“This would not have been possible without Dr. Hegab giving us the freedom to pursue the research course we desire,” he said. “Unlike many of the research groups across universities in the country we do not have weekly group meetings or presentations. For many this might sound strange, but this approach has been very beneficial to us as it has helped us to mature into better researchers. In fact it is this training that has provided us with the tools to conceive the several projects on which currently work. However, this does not mean that we are not guided by Dr. Hegab. He has given us the freedom to meet him at any time we come across any blocks in our research.”

John added that Hegab encourages his students to be self-sufficient with their research, which he said gave him and Mathews the ability to reach a high level of maturity in performing research.

“Bobby and I have greatly benefited from this approach,” John said. “One thing I like about him is that once he realizes that we are stuck he makes some suggestions to the problem in a few minutes.”

John plans to do postdoctoral study in the field of microfluidics following graduation.

“I think having these many publications will definitely help me get a good postdoctoral position,” he said. “Most students from other universities would have a maximum of five to six publications. The additional publications that I have will definitely help me stand out from the crowd.”

Hegab, Mathew and John were also regular attendees at conferences organized by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Hegab is the academic director of electric engineering, electrical engineering technology, computer science and nanosystems engineering. He is also the program chair of micro/nanosystem engineering, a graduate level program at Tech.

Mathew and John are both final year Ph.D. students at the university. Mathew received his M.S. in engineering from Tech in 2007. John received his master’s in computer administration in India.

Written by Judith Roberts