Bettoli and Ting share 2007 Caplenor Research Award

This year's winners of Tennessee Tech University's top research award share a common ability to generate applied research that has benefited, even changed, their fields.

Phil Bettoli, professor of biology, and Kwun Lon Ting, mechanical engineering professor, have been named the 2007-2008 Caplenor Faculty Research Award winners.

The Caplenor Award, first presented in 1984, is the university's premier research award and is named in honor of Donald Caplenor, former associate vice president for research and dean of instructional development who died in 1979.

Phil Bettoli

Bettoli is a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, stationed in the biology department in a cooperative arrangement between TTU and the federal government.   His major research focus addresses recreational and commercial fishing and how best to study and manage fish communities to provide sustainable, economically viable fishing opportunities.

In the last five years, Bettoli has conducted the most high-profile, high-impact work of his career on the conservation of caviar-producing species of paddlefish and sturgeon in the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers.

Although Bettoli frequently interacts with commercial fishermen whose livelihoods depend on continued harvest of a diminishing resource (and who took issue with the study), he has been able to collect and analyze sound data even under adverse conditions.

"His research findings have been instrumental in setting fisheries regulations and management protocols in Tennessee and elsewhere," said Daniel Combs, TTU biology department chairperson.

Bettoli has studied a wide variety of ecological topics of many different species of fish in may different aquatic habitats. For example, his long-term trout study provided some of the best comparative data among reservoir tail-waters anywhere.

"Based on this study, the state regulatory agency, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, was able to fine tune trout management in Tennessee, including optimum stocking rates and protocols, as well as harvest regulations," said Combs.

National and regional media often feature Bettoli's applied research. Articles about caviar-producing paddlefish appeared in media as diverse as Wine Spectator and the India Gazette. National Public Radio also aired a Bettoli interview nationwide.

Bettoli received the 2007 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society for his noteworthy and longstanding contributions to fisheries and aquatic sciences. He has received $3.8 million in grants, has mentored 42 graduate students and has published more than 100 articles, book chapters and major reports.

He received his doctorate in wildlife and fisheries science from Texas A&M, his master's degree in biology from TTU, and his bachelor's degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Maine.

Kwun Lon Ting

Ting has been awarded more National Science Foundation research grants than any faculty member in TTU's history.

His N-bar Rotatability Law, also known as Ting's Theorem, has been recognized as a landmark contribution in machine theory and used in Norton's Design of Machinery, the most popular undergraduate machinery textbook in the United States.

"Ting's Theorem is one of the most fundamental theorems that govern the mobility of linkages and robot manipulators," said Ken Currie, TTU's Center for Manufacturing Research director. "The N-bar rotatability law will make him one of the few great researchers remembered forever in the area of mechanisms and machine theory."

Ting put the accolades that accompany his success into perspective.

"Discovering the wisdom and order in God's creation is the most awesome, satisfying, and yet humble experience in scientific research," Ting said.

Ting is also one of the few top researchers in the world in curvature theory.   He has published more than 130 research papers in journals and conferences proceedings.   He is an editor of the Journal of Mechanical Design, which is the most prestigious journal in the area of machines and mechanisms.

Ting is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, which recognizes exceptional engineering achievements and contributions to the engineering profession .   He received the South -Pointing Chariot Award in 1999, which is the most prestigious award from the National Applied Mechanisms and Robotics Conference.   The trophy is a replica of the most complex geared mechanism of the ancient Chinese civilization.   It is a non-magnetic compass vehicle that always points in the same direction .   The award recognized the contribution of top researchers and leaders in the area of applied mechanisms and robotics.

He was one of the few scholars in the world-renowned scholar lecture program sponsored by the National Research Council of Taiwan. He has also been honored as the honorable committee member of the Chinese Academy of Mechanical Engineering and as the Seasky Chair Professor by Dalian University of Technology, a key research university in China.

Ting, who joined the university in 1982, is a two-time winner of the College of Engineering's Kinslow Research Award.   He was also the recipient of the Bernard Roth Award from the National Applied Mechanisms and Robotics Conference.

Ting earned a doctorate from Oklahoma State University, a master's from Clemson University, and a bachelor's from National Taiwan University.

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