The Michigan Engineer News Center

Heath Hofmann recognized for excellence in teaching with the Jon R. and Beverly S. Holt Award from the College of Engineering

Hofmann is great at introducing students to power electronics| Short Read
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Prof. Heath Hofmann was honored to receive the Jon R. and Beverly S. Holt Award for Excellence in Teaching. This award, previously limited to faculty in other departments, was opened up to the entire College of Engineering faculty for the first time.

Prof. Hofmann specializes in power electronics and electromechanical energy conversion. Specific research interests of his include energy harvesting, flywheel energy storage systems, finite element analysis, and the design and control of electric machines.

He has revitalized the area of electrical machines and drives, and power electronics at Michigan. It was an area that had been phased out in the late 1970’s and 1980’s, but renewed when he arrived at Michigan in 2010 in response to the department’s and College of Engineering’s commitment to issues of sustainability.

Hofmann, who is currently writing a textbook on electric machines and drives, created the courses EECS 418 and EECS 419, Power Electronics and Electric Machinery and Drives, respectively. These hands-on laboratory courses are relevant to both electrical engineering students as well as the broader engineering community. In addition to the coursework, he supervised construction of the Michigan Power and Energy Lab (MPEL) instructional and research labs.

Recently, Hofmann and his doctoral student Abdi Zeynu traveled to Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAIT) in the capital of Ethiopia to bring the latest knowledge in Controls Systems and Power to a nation in dire need of this expertise. During their trip in June 2015, they taught a 3-week course in Electric Machinery and Drives and provided consultation and support to the school’s engineering college which is expanding its Control and Power programs. Hofmann and Zeynu were sponsored by the Ethiopia-Michigan Platform for Advancing Collaborative Engagement (EM-PACE) initiative.

As founding advisor to the Michigan Hybrid Racing Team, Hofmann mentors students in this interdisciplinary team as they strive to compete their racecar at the Formula Hybrid competition. He is also frequently called upon to mentor students participating in other student teams, including the U-M Solar Car Teama nd the MiTEEE satellite project team.

He is also introducing the younger generation to hands-on experiences in energy conversion in the “Power Up” Electrify Tech Camp, which he created. This camp gives high school students the opportunity to gain experience with power electronic circuits, electric motors, and solar cells.

In the area of graduate education, Prof. Hofmann has graduated 12 PhD students, and has been awarded two best paper awards for published research. He has published 43 journal papers in the field’s most prestigious publications, and has leadership roles in the IEEE Power Electronics Society. In addition, he has 13 patents and has several active partnerships with industry.

Read more about Heath Hofmann

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The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

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