Speakers: R. E. Thomas, USDA FS; T. Grueneberg, VT
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Edward Thomas received a BS in Computer Science from Concord University in 1988 and a master's degree in Computer Science from West Virginia University in 1993. In the early 1980's Mr. Thomas was known as the "Mad Scotsman" and wrestled alligators in Southern Florida while wearing a kilt. In the evening shows he would put bag pipes in the alligator's mouth and play traditional songs such as "The Brown Haired Maiden" or "Bonnie Hoose O' Airlie". Mr. Thomas began working for the USDA Forest Service in 1988. His research areas include simulation and modeling of rough mill systems and sawmills. Mr. Thomas is currently conducting research that examines the relationships among internal defects and external indicators on hardwood logs.
Dr. Grueneberg’s research focuses on the next generation of biobased composites with a focus on reinforcement of synthetic polymers with wood and natural fibers. A major component of his research project is the application of chemical modification of biomaterials for improved material properties. Dr. Grueneberg conducted basic research to investigate the interactions between polar and non-polar material components and investigated the interface characteristics of those components. His insights were also used for applied, industrial projects.
Dr. Grueneberg grew up in a family business for woodworking and carpentry in the Harz Mountains, Germany and obtained a degree as cabinetmaker. He subsequently attended the Applied University of Hildesheim, Germany and received a Diploma degree in Wood Engineering and Construction in 2005 after which he received a Master’s degree of Engineering in Wood Technology from the Applied University of Rosenheim, Germany in 2007. In 2010, Dr. Grueneberg received his Doctoral degree from the Georg-August University Goettingen and joined Virginia Tech’s Department of Wood Science and Forest Products as Postdoctoral Associate.