Bijan Chamanbahar

Research Engineer

Bijan Chamanbahar is a research engineer with a foundation in mechanical engineering and computer science and has gained expertise through various projects that involve the integration of software and mechanical systems such as robotics, computer-aided design, control systems, finite element analysis, and simulation.  He is proficient in several popular coding languages, including C++, Python, Java, JavaScript, MATLAB, LabVIEW, and SQL, and has experience with rapid prototyping methods such as 3D printing, laser engraving, and implementing microcontrollers. Bijan earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science from the Colorado School of Mines, where he applied his skills in projects ranging from model rocketry and robot development to designing irrigation systems for rural communities.

Emile Augustine

Research Engineer

Emile Augustine obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in 2019 in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Control, Instrumentation, and Robotics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He joined the Engineering and Technical Support Group (ETSG) in November of 2022.  Prior to working in ETSG, Emile worked at Dexter Magnetic Technologies, designing turnkey permanent magnet components and assemblies.  His interests and hobbies include playing the drums, reading, and going to the gym.

John Brandt

Research Engineer

John has been involved with design engineering and project management for large and small-scale projects spanning multiple disciplines for nearly 10 years.  Before joining the University of Chicago, he was a Mechanical Engineer at the Laboratory for Accelerator-Based Sciences and Education at Cornell University, a Project Engineer with Kirkham Michael Engineering Consulting Services, and a Rendering Assistant for the Diocles Extreme Light Laser Laboratory.  Proficient in the use of Autodesk Inventor, Solidworks, AutoCAD, and ANSYS, his areas of expertise include: mechanical and precision design; finite element analysis for mechanical, thermal, and fluid systems; particle accelerator and laser system hardware; x-ray beamline and optical instrumentation; additive manufacturing and materials; and project management.  John received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in 2013.

Marc Berthoud

Research Engineer

Marc has extensive experience in developing, testing, and commissioning scientific instrumentation. He has written the data reduction pipeline for the High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera (HAWC) for NASA’s SOFIA telescope. He also built the electronics for the HAWC opto-mechanical and housekeeping systems, and continues to support scientists in HAWC observations and data analysis. As the software developer for the Stone Edge Observatory, Marc has taught astronomical instrumentation for several courses. He was the manager of the Fab Lab at Yerkes Observatory and mentored dozens of high school and undergraduate students in STEM projects. At Northwestern, Marc is responsible for building the electronics and developing the control software for the half-wave plate rotator for the Large Millimeter Telescope. Marc is an experienced programmer using Python, C, LabVIEW and Java for instrument control, data acquisition, and reduction. He has worked with microcontrollers, built electronics and optical systems, and worked with compressed air and cryogenic systems. A licensed drone pilot, Marc provides airborne imaging and surveys. Before joining the University of Chicago in 2007, Marc earned a PhD in astronomical instrumentation from Cornell University and a Diploma in Physics from the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland.

Ben Stillwell

Research Engineer Manager

Ben has been designing and building scientific apparatus for over twenty years. Prior to joining The University of Chicago in 2017, he was a mechanical engineer at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. Before that, he was at Los Alamos National Laboratory, providing hands-on technical support for experimentation on explosive devices. Areas of expertise include mechanical design, mechanical and thermal engineering analysis, particle accelerator hardware, x-ray beamlines, vacuum systems, and small project management. He is proficient in the use of Autodesk Inventor, AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Creo (Pro/E), and ANSYS Workbench. Ben received his B.S. Physics from the University of Florida in 1997 and M.S. Applied Physics from Northern Illinois University in 2007.