Engineering the Recovery of Sunken Treasure

by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor

As a farm boy growing up in northern Michigan, Mike Milosh dreamed of the sea and the adventures of Captain Nemo and Mike Nelson of the TV show Sea Hunt. He even worked on plans for a one-man submarine. So when a real-life adventure presented itself, he didn’t have to think twice.

The Michigan Tech mechanical engineering alumnus never thought that adventure would involve searching for gold coins and bars 8,000 feet down in the Atlantic. “It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that you can’t turn down,” Milosh says. It took him a long way from his Columbus, Ohio, home, and it would blossom into his successful career.

In 1989, he was working at Battelle Memorial Institute, an Ohio-based R&D firm, when he caught drift of a co-worker, Tom Thompson, investigating the wreck of the SS Central America.

Thompson and his team located and identified the shipwreck 200 miles off the coast of South Carolina. Thompson approached Mike to be lead engineer to design, build and operate a new remote-operated vehicle (ROV) and special tools needed to do the delicate recovery operations.

“We were looking at picking up delicate objects from a mile and a half away while bobbing around in a boat," says Milosh. "One scratch and you destroy the value of a coin."

It was a challenge Milosh couldn’t resist. So he joined Thompson in the search and recovery of the SS Central America’s gold, so much (over three tons) that the ship’s loss caused the Panic of 1857 and a run on the New York City banks for which it was heading.

"I spent three seasons at sea and even got to find the largest bar ever, 74 pounds-- dubbed the ‘Eureka’ bar." It later sold for a record $8 million, although none of the booty ended up in Milosh’s pocket.

For the full story, see Michigan Tech News.

ESC/BRC Student Research Forum Winners Announced

The Ecosystem Science Center and the Biotechnology Research Center announced award recipients of the Ninth Annual ESC/BRC Student Research Forum, held March 27.

For the graduate students, two Grand Prize Awards and six Merit Awards were presented. They were selected from among the 59 posters and abstracts submitted by graduate students conducting research related to ecology, the environment and biotechnology at Michigan Tech.

Each center also awarded a Grand Prize to an undergraduate researcher in a separate division of 17 undergraduate student submissions this year.

Posters will continue to be on display in the atrium of the Forestry building through April 12.

Graduate Research

$500 Grand Prizes
Biotechnology Research Center

Ramkumar Mohan (Bio Sci) for, "miR-483, a Novel MicroRNA Expressed in Pancreatic Beta Cells but not in Alpha Cells,” Advisor: Xiaoqing Tang

Ecosystem Science Center

Adam Coble (SFRES) for, "Comparison of Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) Leaf Morphology in a Closed-canopy and Canopy Gap," Adviser: Molly Cavaleri

$100 Merit Awards

Biotechnology Research Center

Komal K. Bollepogu Raja (Bio Sci) for, "The Role of Toolkit Genes in the Evolution of Complex Wing, Thorax, and Abdominal Color Patterns in Drosophila guttifera," Advisor: Thomas Werner

Maria Tafur (Chem Eng) for, "Reduction of Porcine Parvovirus Infectivity in the Presence of Protecting Osmolytes, " Advisor: Caryn Heldt

Ecosystem Science Center
Brian Danhoff (Bio Sci) for, "Manistee River Tributaries as Potential Arctic Grayling Habitat," Advisor: Casey Huckins

Anthony Matthys (Bio Sci) for, "Estimating Physical Habitat Characteristics and Fish Habitat Preference within Streams: A Tool for Restoration Monitoring," Advisor: Casey Huckins

James Olson (Bio Sci) for, "Evaluating the Impact of Culvert Designs on Hydrologic Connectivity and Nutrient Uptake in Northern Wisconsin Streams," Advisor: Amy Marcarelli

Julie Padilla (CEE) for, "An Evaluation of the Proposed MDEQ Water Quality Standard for Copper in the Upper Peninsula Using Two Multimetric Approaches," Advisor: Noel Urban

Undergraduate Research:

$150 Grand Prizes

Biotechnology Research Center
Morgan Owen-Cruise (BE) for, "Synthesis and Characterization of Dopamine and Nitrodopamine Modified Poly(ethylene glycol)," Advisor: Bruce Lee

Ecosystem Science Center
Jade Oritz (Bio Sci) for "Sand Accumulation in the Salmon Trout River Changes Gross Primary Production and Respiration Rates by Biofilms," Advisor: Amy Marcarelli

Undergrad Merit

Keegan Yates (BE) for, " Divalent Ion Removal Improves Stability and Mechanical Properties of Gelatin Hydrogel," Advisors: Megan Frost and Feng Zhao

Thank you to the participants, the judges, and all who helped with another successful ESC/BRC Student Research Forum.

Open Forums for More Information on TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments

As announced in the March 19 edition of Tech Today, the plan investment options with both TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments will be modified to help simplify the management of the investment options available while still providing employees ample choice and diversification. Both TIAA-CREF and Fidelity have sent out participant mailings describing in detail these changes.

To help employees understand what these changes mean, the Benefits Office will be sponsoring open forums by both vendors. TIAA-CREF will be presenting on May 13 in the Memorial Union Peninsula Room at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Fidelity Investments will be presenting on Monday, April 8, in the Memorial Union Peninsula room at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

In addition, the Benefits office has set up dates and time for one-on-one consultations with both vendors.

TIAA-CREF–you may sign up for a time by calling 866-843-5640:

Tuesday, April 30, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (MUB Alumni B)

Wednesday, May 1, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (MUB Alumni B)

Monday, May 13, 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (MUB Datolite Room)

Tuesday, May 14, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (MUB Alumni B)

You may sign up for a time for Fidelity Investments by visiting the website:

Tuesday, May 14, 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. (MUB Conference Room 106A)

Roger Rogge Passes Away

Roger Rogge, age 79, of Green Valley, Arizona and formerly of Hancock, Michigan, passed away peacefully at home March 28, 2013.

Rogge retired from Michigan Tech in 1995 after 39 years of service. His positions included manager of operations of the University’s Ford Forestry Center and director of support services on the main campus. He was also a consultant to Ford Motor Company, overseeing land and mineral rights of their vast Upper Peninsula holdings.

He was born in Milwaukee on May 13, 1933, to Esther and Theodore Rogge. After graduating from Kingsford High School, he enlisted in the Army in 1952 and was stationed in Germany. After his military service, he earned a degree in business administration from Michigan Tech.

Rogge was a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Houghton, and an associate member of Desert Hills Lutheran Church in Green Valley.

He is survived by his wife, Verna, four children and two stepchildren. Mike (Peggy) Rogge, Kay (Riley) McIntyre, Karen Rogge, Sharon Haapala, Kristine (Don) Hagwell and Kevin (Kimmie) Berner ; 11 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren and siblings Carol Schumacher, Bill Froehlig, Richard Froehlig and sister-in-law Lois Froehlig.

Roger and Verna traveled the country in their motorhome with cats and dogs along for the ride. Many of their trips took them to quilt shows from California to Wisconsin where they displayed and sold quilt hangers made by Roger and quilts made by Verna.

Roger was an avid outdoorsman, an early advocate of forests being a renewable resource and a student and proponent of water issues in southwest Arizona.

His quick wit, storytelling, intellect and great sense of humor were enjoyed by all who knew him. He will be greatly missed by his family and many friends in the Upper Peninsula and Green Valley.

A memorial service will be held Friday, April 5, at 11 a.m. at Desert Hills Lutheran Church in Green Valley, A.Z. Memorials may be directed to Desert Hills Lutheran Church.

MIOSHA/OSHA Compliance Information Meeting April 8

There will be a MIOSHA/OSHA compliance information meeting for all students and staff who will be finding employment and being on sites of construction and in general industry, April 8, from 12:05 to 12:55 p.m., EERC 214. Pizza and pop will be sponsored by KEDA and Michigan Tech. Steve Tighe of MIOSHA Technical Institute will be speaking. Please email if you are planning to attend or would like to sign up for workshops that day.

Friends of the Library Book Sale Today

The annual Friends of the Van Pelt Library Book and Media Sale will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., today, in the Memorial Union Ballroom.

The book prices are phenomenally low: $2 for hardbacks, $1 for softcover and $0.50 for trade paperbacks. Used media is also available at bargain prices: $2 for DVDs, $1 for CDs, and $0.50 for VHS and cassette tapes. Even bigger bargains start at 3 p.m., with books at $5 per bag. Community members and visitors can receive a pass to park for free on campus at metered or visitor spaces.

All proceeds from the sale benefit the Van Pelt and Opie Library. For more information, visit the website .

Michigan Tech Summer Hours Announced

Starting Monday, May 6 the University shifts to its summer schedule. The general hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. All offices must be staffed during those hours.

Employees are expected to fulfill their usual full-time or part-time obligations. Your actual work schedule must be approved by your supervisor. Regular office hours resume on Monday, August 19.

Symphony and Concert Band Present a Concert Inspired by Water!

Is water important in your life? This Friday, April 5, at 7:30 PM, The Michigan Tech Superior Wind Symphony and Campus Concert Band will present, “An Homage to Water,” at the Rozsa Center. The concert will be directed by Mike Christianson and the SWS will perform original works inspired by: oceans, ice, rain, rivers, glaciers, ships and sailors, by great composers such as George Frideric Handel, Reinhold Gliere, John Mackey, Anthony Iannaccone, Percy Grainger, and Robert Russell Bennett.

Tickets are $12.75 for adults, and free for Michigan Tech Students. To purchase tickets, call 7-2073, go online at , or visit Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours, and will only open two hours prior to show times.

ME-EM Seminar Speaker April 4

Greg Shaver, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, will be presenting, "Model-Based Engine Algorithm Development for Control and Virtual Sensing," at 4 p.m., Thursday, April 4 MEEM 112.

View the poster for more information.

Physics Colloquium Thursday

Ashim Chakravarty and Hugo Ayala, graduate students in the physics department, will present, respectively two physics colloquia titled “A Study of Magnetophotonic Crystals and Magnetic Quantum Dots/Wires Fabricated on Magnetic Garnet Films”, and “Studying Galactic Diffuse Gamma-Ray Emission with the HAWC Gamma-Ray Observatory in Mexico” Thursday at 4 p.m. in Fisher 139. For more information, please contact Petra Hüntemeyer (, 487-1229).

In Print

Jim Baker (Innovation and Industry Engagement) was cited in an article titled, "Attorneys, tech transfer pros offer their take on how to address new rules under AIA," that related to recent changes that related to US patent law and appeared in the March 2013 edition of Technology Transfer Tactics.


Jim Wrinn, editor at "Trains," braved our most recent blizzard for a visit to campus and to attend the 8th Annual Railroad Night event held on February 19. Jim talks about his visit, the Rail Transportation Program (RTP) and the student chapter of the American Railroad Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) in his editorial of the May 2013 edition of the magazine. In addition, a brief video of Michigan Tech students captured during the event has been posted on TrainsTube at .

In the News

Michigan Radio, a National Public Radio affiliate, aired a story about the 3-D printer research being done by Associate Professor Joshua Pearce (ECE). See Michigan Radio for the full article.

The Chronicle of Higher Education's "Percolator" blog published a lengthy feature on Michigan Tech's wolf-moose predator-prey study at Isle Royale National Park and the two scientists who run it, associate professor John Vucetich and research professor Rolf Peterson (SFRES). See for the article.

Job Posting

Staff and faculty job descriptions are available in Human Resources or at

For more information regarding staff positions, call 7-2280 or email For more information regarding faculty positions, contact the academic department in which the position is posted.

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UAW Internal and External Posting
Computer Science

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