May 12, 2010

MIT Sea Grant’s Sea Perch to be tested by 24 Université Pierre et Marie Curie Students May 28, 2010 at the Institut Jean Le Rond d'Alembert, Saint Cyr l'Ecole, France

Funded by Total Corporation, this presentation will conclude Year Two of University-Based Program for Marine Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs)

Beginning in fall, 2008, the MIT Sea Grant College Program, Cambridge, Massachusetts, entered into a unique collaboration with Total Corporation, Paris, France, to create an undergraduate course centered on MIT Sea Grant’s ROV, Sea Perch, at Université Pierre at Marie Curie (UPMC), Paris. The UPMC course introduces students to the mechanics of building the ROV and culminates in sending the hand-built ROVs on missions. The final presentations for the second year of this course will take place May 28, at the Institut Jean Le Rond d'Alembert - Université Pierre et Marie Curie, 2 Place de la Gare de Ceinture, Saint Cyr l'Ecole, France. Twenty-four second year students will participate. The collaboration between UPMC and MIT Sea Grant is sponsored by the Total Foundation. The course will run for an additional year in 2011.

In January 2009, following the signing of an agreement between MITSG, Total, and UPMC, UPMC Professor, Didier Lucor, traveled to MIT Sea Grant College Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts to learn how to build a Sea Perch. Professor Lucor also worked with MITSG research engineer, Michael Soroka, and MITSG Marine Educator, Sarah Hammond to translate the project into his curriculum covering a wide range of physics, science, and engineering concepts. MITSG commissioned a translation of the Sea Perch manual for the course.

During year one of the program, Professor Lucor’s students built the Sea Perch during the semester’s progression of lectures, and ended their semester and the building process by testing their vehicles in a local pool with great success. MITSG’s Hammond and Soroka visited Paris to help the students finish up the project. They return to Paris this month for the May 28, 2010 final project event at the Institut Jean Le Rond d'Alembert, Saint Cyr l'Ecole.

“I’m always amazed at how quickly students connect the broad principles learned in lectures, such as circuits or Bernoulli’s Principle, to the ROV they built. As soon as the Sea Perch goes in the water, all the lights come on in the students’ minds; they understand what they’ve learned, and how it applies in the real world.” –Sarah Hammond, MIT Sea Grant.

“We can wait to get started on the second year. Already, the students and teachers were pushing the limits of what they could build…”- including building their own depth sensor, and frame modifications-“This year, we plan to foster even more innovation and creativity in the students by introducing a more advanced build project”
–Michael Soroka, MIT Sea Grant

As the fifth largest publicly-traded integrated oil and gas company in the world and a major actor in the chemicals business, Total has operations in more than 130 countries on five continents with approximately 97,000 employees. Total engages in all aspects of the petroleum industry, including Upstream operations (oil and gas exploration, development and production, LNG) and Downstream operations (refining, marketing and the trading and shipping of crude oil and petroleum products). Total also produces base chemicals (petrochemicals and fertilizers) and specialty chemicals for the industrial and consumer markets (rubber processing, adhesives, resins and electroplating). In addition, Total has interests in the coal mining and power generation sectors. Total is helping to secure the future of energy by progressively expanding its energy offerings and developing complementary next generation energy activities (solar, biomass, nuclear). This program is funded by the Foundation arm of Total.

Université Pierre et Marie Curie, or UPMC, is the largest scientific and medical complex in France, active in all fields of research with scope and achievements at the highest level, as demonstrated by the many awards regularly won by UPMC researchers, and the many international partnerships it maintains across all five continents. It has over 180 laboratories, most of them associated with the Centre national de la recherche scientifique. Some of its most notable institutes and laboratories include the Institut Henri Poincaré, Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, Laboratoire d'informatique de Paris 6 (LIP6), Institut de mathématiques de Jussieu/Chevaleret (shared with University Paris Diderot) and the Laboratoire Kastler-Brossel (shared with Ecole Normale Supérieure). The University is ranked 40th in the World and 1st in France by the prestigious Academic Ranking of World Universities. It was ranked 7th in the world in the field of mathematics by the same study. The UPMC is a member of Paris Universitas.

The mission of the MIT Sea Grant College Program is to employ innovative research, education and outreach strategies to responsibly use and sustain the vital marine resources of Massachusetts. The issues we address manifest locally but many are global in nature. Compelling challenges demand our attention as a solo entity and in partnership with other groups living and working on the coasts and at sea. MIT Sea Grant brings the substantial intellectual abilities of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and our sister universities to bear on ocean-related challenges requiring an extraordinary technical contribution. In meeting these challenges, we expand human understanding of the ocean and establish the infrastructure to sustain the initiatives and talent pool needed to address complex issues of critical and fragile marine resources.


Pierre and Marie Curie University students test their Sea Perches

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