Canadian grad student creates graphene Bruins logo to honor his new hometown team

June 17, 2011

By Denise Brehm
Civil & Environmental Engineering

When civil engineering graduate student Steve Cranford, a native of Newfoundland, Canada, arrived at MIT in 2008, he brought with him a love of hockey. After attending a few Boston Bruins games, he switched his allegiance from the Canadian Canucks, becoming a loyal fan of his new hometown team.

Last week, as he waited for Game 5 of the championship match between the Bruins and the Canucks to begin, he integrated that newfound love for the Bruins with his enthusiasm for research, creating a computer model of the team’s logo made from graphene, the recently discovered form of carbon with a honeycomb geometry a single atom thick.

“Graphene is an amazing material that can be manipulated into a diverse array of nanoscale structures,” says Cranford. “Many of my simulations are of single sheets or ribbons. When I was looking at how the graphene sheets moved — rippling due to temperature fluctuations — they reminded me of the flags and banners that typically fly in the TD Garden. I was working on graphene geometries to see how precise I could construct some multilayer systems, and the Bruins logo seemed a logical choice.”

Atomistic modeling obeys the laws of physics to create realistic simulations of materials at the atomic scale. The