ENews Princeton Engineering

September 2007

Photo of H. Vincent PoorThe school year at Princeton Engineering is off to an exciting start, and it has been a pleasure welcoming our freshmen. Women comprise a record-breaking 41.7 percent of the incoming class, which is the second-largest in the school's history.

But the 254 freshmen pursuing B.S.E. degrees are not our only new students -- we consider all 1,246 students in the Princeton Class of 2011 to be ours. Whether they choose to study anthropology or architecture, physics or philosophy, all of these students must be prepared for leadership in an increasingly technological world.

The Center for Innovation in Engineering Education supports courses that appeal to many interests and backgrounds. Students this fall may explore energy solutions for the future or participate in Engineering Projects in Community Service, among many other opportunities. Currently, 60 percent of students outside the engineering school take at least one engineering course at Princeton, and this figure is rising. With our ever-expanding programs, we are striving to bring that percentage to 100 for the benefit of all Princeton students and society at large.

All the best,

-- H. Vincent Poor *77
Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science
Michael Henry Strater University Professor of Electrical Engineering

Record-breaking female enrollment in Princeton Engineering freshman class

The freshman class in the School of Engineering and Applied Science includes a record-breaking number of women, 41.7 percent of the class as of matriculation on Sept. 10. With 254 students, the class also is the second-largest matriculating freshman class ever -- just five students shy of last year's record size of 259. The percentage of women in this year's class is nearly six percentage points above last year, which held the previous all-time high.

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Freshman Orientation photo

Preparing to Lead: Internships pair students with executives

Mechanical and aerospace engineering major Zhen Xia is accustomed to solving problems that have cut-and-dried solutions, but an internship at IBM this past summer taught him how to approach problems that don't have one right answer.

Xia was one of six participants in the new Preparing to Lead internship program, which closely pairs undergraduates with business leaders to provide opportunities that wouldn't be possible in traditional internships. Offered by the Center for Innovation in Engineering Education, the program was first envisioned by center director Sharad Malik to help prepare Princeton students for leadership positions in a technology-driven society.

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Internship photo

From nanotechnology to extreme weather events, Princeton engineers are at the cutting edge of research

A new way to pattern microchips and the realization that urban landscapes can intensify thunderstorms are among the highlights of recent research by Princeton engineers. Additional projects include ongoing work with experimental mini-tsunamis that may help save lives and efforts aimed at reducing jet travel's role in global warming.

Thunderstorm photo

Satellite system may give ecologists a bird's-eye view

Aerospace engineering professor Jeremy Kasdin usually designs space systems to search for distant planets, but his latest endeavor is on the lookout for creatures close to Earth. Kasdin and Martin Wikelski, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, have collaborated with faculty colleagues and students to develop an innovative satellite system to track the migratory patterns of small birds.

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Kasdin satellite photo

Materials academy tackles multiple societal challenges

A little clay and sawdust went a long way at Princeton last summer when a group of Trenton-area high school students used the simple materials to create effective, low-cost water filters.

The project was part of the Princeton University Materials Academy outreach program for underrepresented minorities and low-income students, offered each summer by the Princeton Center for Complex Materials. Their work was part of a broader Princeton project to design low-cost, sustainable water filters for use in the developing world. Currently, more than 1.5 million children under age 5 die each year from water-borne illnesses that could be prevented by effective filtration practices.

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Materials academy photo

Upcoming events: Entrepreneurship, leadership and the future of the Internet

Now that classes are back in session, Princeton Engineering is kicking off what promises to be a full year of events for members of the University community and the public. Princeton Engineering alumnus Frank Moss, the director of the MIT Media Lab, will discuss "Inventing a Better Future" on Sept. 26. The following day, Robert Kahn *64 and computer science chair Larry Peterson will "re-imagine the Internet" in a talk moderated by Jennifer Rexford, professor of computer science.

Longtime entrepreneur and business school professor Julian Lange will lead a series of workshops in October and November exploring the application of entrepreneurial principles in a variety of settings beyond startup ventures. The first workshop in the series, "Entrepreneurship in Government," will be held Oct. 4, featuring guest speaker Craig Benson, former governor of New Hampshire and co-founder of Cabletron Systems, one of the first major providers of computer networking equipment.


Princeton's self-driving car selected as semifinalist in DARPA competition

Princeton undergraduates who have engineered a self-driving car designed to navigate city streets without human help have been selected as semifinalists in a hotly contested Pentagon competition with top prizes worth $3.5 million.

The Princeton team was among 36 semifinalists named last month by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in its "Urban Challenge" -- a competition whose purpose is to spur innovation in autonomous robotic vehicles. During the final week of October, Princeton and the other semifinalists will compete in a National Qualification Event.

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Princeton shield

Photos by Denise Applewhite, Lance Herrington, Alan Zale and Frank Wojciechowski

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