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November 8, 2001

UW-RF Professor Spoke at International Conference
By Khrysten Darm

UW-RF News Bureau

UW-River Falls mathematics Professor James Senft was one of three keynote speakers at the Tenth Annual Stirling Engine Conference held in Osnabruck, Germany, Sept. 24-26. Leaders in the fields of science and math gather each year at this and other conferences to exchange scientific and engineering information on Stirling engines.

There were 190 people in attendance at the conference and 90 papers were presented, all of which were about an aspect of Stirling engines.

"It's how science works," said Senft. "People come together to share information. Science builds upon the work of others and has the benefit of new ideas."

Senft is known for his work on the Ringbom Stirling engine, an externally-heated engine that can run on any fuel with high efficiency in an environmentally friendly way. They can run on any type of heat source, including fossil and nuclear fuel, geothermal energy, waste heat, or the sun.

He presented a paper prepared by NASA, in addition to his own paper. NASA has tentative plans to send a Ringbom Stirling Engine to Mars in 2003 to power the Mars Rover, the vehicle that will be used to explore the surface of Mars.

Before he left for the conference, Senft said that people advised him not to go because of the events of September 11.

"I listened to President George Bush, who said that we need to carry on with our lives the best that we could," said Senft. Many people from other countries offered their condolences on the terrorist attacks.

Senft, who is internationally recognized for his Stirling research work, involves undergraduate students as research assistants.


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