ENews Princeton Engineering

February 2008

Photo of H. Vincent PoorPrinceton Engineering is rapidly enhancing its ability to address major societal needs in the areas of health, energy, the environment and security, and to prepare leaders for this technological world. Princeton University set the cornerstone for this growth on Nov. 9 with the launch of its fundraising campaign, named "Aspire: A Plan for Princeton." Of the $1.75 billion goal, $325 million is planned to support initiatives related to "Engineering and a Sustainable Society."

At the campaign kick-off, Princeton faculty members and alumni discussed the future of the Internet and climate change; I hope it was the first of many conversations about our initiatives and how they can benefit society.

We're in good hands for this campaign -- Don Dixon '69 is overseeing the "Engineering and a Sustainable Society" effort. He recently spoke with EQuad News about the campaign, his experiences at Princeton and how you can get involved. His words say it all: These are exciting times and Princeton Engineering is a place where great things can happen.

I'll look forward to sharing good news with you as the campaign progresses.

All the best,

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

Fine print: New technique allows fast printing of microscopic electronics

A new technique for printing extraordinarily thin lines quickly over wide areas could lead to larger, less expensive and more versatile electronic displays as well new medical devices, sensors and other technologies.

Solving a fundamental and long-standing quandary, chemical engineers at Princeton developed a method for shooting stable jets of electrically charged liquids from a wide nozzle. The technique, which produced lines just 100 nanometers wide (about one ten-thousandth of a millimeter), offers at least 10 times better resolution than ink-jet printing and far more speed and ease than conventional nanotechnology.

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Microprinting photo

Move over, silicon: Advances pave way for powerful carbon-based electronics

Bypassing decades-old conventions in making computer chips, Princeton engineers developed a novel way to replace silicon with carbon on large surfaces, clearing the way for new generations of faster, more powerful cell phones, computers and other electronics.

The electronics industry has pushed the capabilities of silicon -- the material at the heart of all computer chips -- to its limit, and one intriguing replacement has been carbon, said Stephen Chou, professor of electrical engineering. A material called graphene -- a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice -- could allow electronics to process information and produce radio transmissions 10 times better than silicon-based devices.

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Stephen Chou photo

Weird water: Discovery challenges long-held beliefs about water's special properties

Beyond its role as the elixir of all life, water is a very unusual substance: Scientists have long marveled over counter-intuitive properties that set water apart from other solids and liquids commonly found in nature.

That is why chemical engineer Pablo Debenedetti and collaborators at three other institutions were surprised to find a highly simplified model molecule that behaves in much the same way as water, a discovery that upends long-held beliefs about what makes water so special.

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Courtland Perkins, a leader in aeronautical engineering, dies

Courtland Perkins, a pioneer of modern aircraft stability and control, gifted teacher and international leader in the field of engineering, died Jan. 6. He was 95.

Perkins joined the Princeton faculty in 1945 as part of a fledgling aeronautical engineering group and led the department in becoming the foremost in the nation in his quarter century as its chair. During leaves from Princeton and after retiring in 1978, Perkins served as chief scientist and undersecretary of the Air Force, chair of NATO's aerospace advisory group and president of the National Academy of Engineering.

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Upcoming events: Advancing start-ups, Invention to innovation and a visit from Walt Mossberg

Princeton alumna Lynda Clarizio, the president of Advertising.com, will discuss "Advancing a Startup: Becoming a Big Business" on Feb. 7.

Less than a week later, on Feb. 13, SRI International President and CEO Curtis Carlson will explore "The Journey from Invention to Innovation" in the first event in this year's Princeton-Jumpstart Lecture Series on Technology Entrepreneurship.

The Center for Information Technology Policy will bring Walt Mossberg, the Wall Street Journal's "Personal Technology" columnist, to campus on Feb. 21 to give his thoughts on "The Next Stage of the Net and The Future of the Cell Phone" in one of the highlight events in the center's busy spring schedule.


Visiting entrepreneurship professor Lange brings new workshop series, course to Princeton Engineering

Entrepreneurial thinking is not just for start-up companies and can be applied to all situations, according to Babson College professor of entrepreneurship and public policy Julian Lange, which is why he organized a five-workshop series in the fall semester on "Harnessing the Power of Entrepreneurship."

Lange, who received his bachelor's degree in economics from Princeton in 1965, currently is serving as the inaugural Dean's Visiting Professor in Entrepreneurship in Princeton's Center for Innovation in Engineering Education. This semester, he is teaching a new course on the management of high-growth entrepreneurial ventures through a combination of case studies and experiential methods, including a sophisticated international simulation exercise.


Princeton Engineering faculty and alumni recognized at national and international level

Recent awards and honors presented to Princeton Engineering faculty members include the Morningside Gold Medal of Applied Mathematics, the IEEE Hamming Medal and the American Society of Civil Engineers Francis C. Turner Award.

Among the latest accomplishments of alumni are a Lincoln Laboratory Technical Excellence Award, the 2008 Japan Prize for Information Communication Theory and Technology and a SciAm50 Award.

Awards and Honors

Alumni News


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Photos by Frank Wojciechowski

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