ENews Princeton Engineering

FALL 2008

Photo of H. Vincent Poor and Dennis KellerDear Friends,

In a recent interview with National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation, Paul Maeder '75 noted that in the past few decades we have seen three big innovation cycles. The first was driven by the invention of the personal computer. The second was driven by biotechnology. The third, by the Internet. What did Paul Maeder predict would drive the next big innovation cycle? Energy and the environment.

Indeed, many of our alumni are betting that clean tech is the next big thing and view innovation in this area as essential. So I am exceedingly grateful to report that Gerhard R. Andlinger '52 has made an historic $100 million gift that positions Princeton to become world-class center for engineering research in energy and the environment. By any measure, this gift is an act of extraordinary vision. The Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment will provide for a new state-of-the-art engineering laboratory, new faculty positions, endowed funds for innovative fields of inquiry, as well as outreach programs to inform the public of the important work underway.

Gerry's gift is a testament to the fact that -- as Bloomberg News recently noted -- Princeton has been a leader among its peer institutions in recognizing the importance and power of engineering in addressing the profound technological challenges that our world faces. In case you haven't heard: Princeton has just welcomed its largest and most diverse class of incoming Engineering undergraduates. In these turbulent times, I am much reassured to witness first-hand the raw intellectual talent and deep societal commitment that the Class of 2012 brings to the challenges -- and opportunities -- that lie ahead.

All the best,

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

Engineering's surprising election connections

Ed Felten is rumored by Washingtonian magazine to be on Barack Obama’s short list of candidates for national technology tsar... As part of a research project, Vince Poor and Sanjeev Kulkarni, along with psychology colleague Dan Osherson and electrical engineering graduate student Guanchun Wang, are conducting an online election forecasting study in which they invite you to participate by going to this site... Robert Vanderbei is mashing 2008 election data with his famous purple America map ... Andrew Appel delivered a report to the New Jersey Superior Court on the security of voting machines… Mother Jones featured the Hack-a-Vote project at Rice University, which is masterminded by Dan Wallach *99...  Juan Melli, who in September finished his dissertation on “A Hierarchy of Models for the Control of Fish-Like Locomotion,” has been named associate editor of politicker.com…

purple America map
New ORFE/CITP building

Sherrerd funds new building at intersection of engineering and social science

The Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering (ORFE) and the Center for Information Technology Policy have a new home: Sherrerd Hall. The elegantly transparent, glass-clad building is symbolically situated between the EQuad and the Wilson School and the Bendheim Center -- at the intersection of technology, policy and finance.

The building was funded by a major donation from the late John J.F. Sherrerd, a 1952 alumnus and longtime Princeton supporter. “There's no one I can think of in the last 40 years who has been as dedicated and loyal to the University as Jay Sherrerd,” President Shirley M. Tilghman told the Daily Princetonian.

Engineering at the intersection of art and technology

Electrical engineering graduate students Shannon Hughes and Eugene Brevda’s use of mathematical sleuthing in the service of detecting art forgeries was featured by NOVA, The Independent, and the Philadelphia Inqurier

“Virtual archaeologist” software invented by Szymon Rusinkiewicz, David Dobkin, Tim Weyrich, Benedict Brown *08 and others was reported on by the Philadelphia Inquirer as well as bloggers at  National Geographic and Discovery News

A new exhibit on Felix Candela’s sculptural buildings has opened at the Princeton Art Museum. A team of Princeton students built models for the exhibit under the supervision of Maria Garlock and David Billington '50. The exhibition, which is on display through February 22, coincides with the publication of a book on Candela by Garlock andBillington. In this 2004 video, Billington discusses the role of engineering in the liberal arts while talking about his previous exhibit at the museum. This year Billington gave the Morison Prize Lecture in Science, Technology and Society at MIT.

Greek fresco
IGVC team

Student News

Princeton’s team pulled in an impressive number of awards at the 16th Annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition, including Rookie of the Year and first place in design. Watch the video

Writing in the Daily Princetonian, mechanical and aerospace engineering major Ben Chen ‘09 dared Princeton to go carbon neutral and hailed the new Andlinger Center as well as Princeton’s new certificate program in sustainable energy

Microsoft’s Craig Mundie talked with Princeton students about the future of computing.

Faculty members in the news

Rob Socolow, who was a featured speaker at the Aspen Institute's 2008 Ideas Festival, is quoted in the New York Times Magazine on the intrinsic relationship between technology and policy when it comes to solutions for climate change ...

Boingboing highlighted an IEEE Spectrum report that draws on Ruby Lee’s expertise in microchip security... Ron Weiss talked to MSNBC about mini bio-computers… The International Herald Tribune called upon Eric Wood’s drought expertise in an article about sunscreen for agricultural cropsSciencewatch named Olga Troyanksaya a “rising star” in computer science ...

Technology Review and C&EN drew upon Pablo Debenedetti’s expertise to explain the microfluid dynamics of a synthetic tree reported in Nature Technology Review interviewed Claire Gmachl about a discovery in an area of laser research that she has pioneered ...

For a story about security of data networks , The Washington Post interviewed Ed Felten, who also talked with Bloggingheads.tv about digital copyright, voting machine security, and how to make government more transparent... The life of Nobel Prize winner Dan Tsui is the subject of a Chinese-language documentary, which features an interview with Jim Wei ...European CEO magazine gave a nod to fuel efficiency research by Fred Dryer and Yiguang Ju which is funded in part by the Warren Buffett-owned Netjets ...

The National Academy of Engineering has published a tribute to the late Dudley Saville... Read about new faculty honors here.

Closeup of solar panel
Young Filmmakers

Young Filmmakers chronicle research and events at the School of Engineering

Three recent Princeton graduates -- all of whom majored in engineering -- took part over the summer in a "young filmmakers" program, producing six short videos about the School of Engineering.

Michael E. Wood '08 created videos about the Center for Information Technology Policy and about a new technology that is assisting archaeologists who are reassembling ancient mosaics in Greece... Taofik Kolade '08 created videos about Women in Theory, a conference hosted by Princeton for women in the field of computer science theory, and about research in Kenya being done by civil and environmental engineering graduate student Trenton Franz... Zennen Clifton '08 created videos about the iGEM competition and about Kolade and Wood's senior thesis -- a new type of videocamera stabilization device.

Research News

The National Science Foundation has awarded nearly $20 million to the Princeton Center for Complex Materials Sanjeev Arora is the principal investigator on a new $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation …

Celeste Nelson has just been named a Packard fellowSaeed Tavazoie, Ilias Tagkopoulos and Yir-Chung Liu reported in Science that bacteria anticipate and prepare for coming changes in their environment ...

Wole Soboyejo’s research on off grid-solar for rural development was highlighted in the Materials Research Society’s Bulletin ...

Energy company BP has committed to a five-year renewal of its climate change research partnership with Princeton … The School of Engineering and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory are hosting a workshop October 29 on Science and Technology Related to Climate Change … On November 6, the Keller Center will feature François Auzerais *89, speaking on Oil and Gas: Myths, Realities and Technical Challenges

Lynn Loo
Electric torches at Olympics

The latest news from Princeton Engineering alumni

John Ochsendorf *98has won a MacArthur “genius award” … Bruce W. MacDonald ’69 *72 *73 published a special report in September on “China, Space Weapons, and U.S. Security” for the Council on Foreign Relations… Dan Warmenhoven '72 is the author of a commentary piece in Forbes titled "Technology's Education Gap"...

Vanity Fair magazine featured Bob Kahn *64 and Jeff Bezos ‘86 in its epic article on “How the Web Was Won”; the online version includes a fascinating audio clip of Bezos talking about the tough venture capital scene that Amazon.com faced back in the day… Isy Haas *57recounted his historic role in the development of the semiconductor in an interview with the Computer History Museum ...

Alice Gast *84 welcomed the Dalai Lama to Lehigh University … The Los Angeles Times profiled Anthony Russo *63 and his role in the release of the Pentagon Papers… Wesley Harris *68 addressed the Jefferson Society at the University of Virginia … The electronic “waving torch” that lit up the Bird’s Nest during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summer Olympics owes its invention to Yang Zhao *93 …

The Wall Street Journal reported on Boeing’s acquisition of Insitu Inc., whose president is Steve Sliwa ’77 and founder is Tad McGeer ’79... Ge Wang *08 and Spencer Salazar ‘06, with computer science professor Perry Cook, launched Smule, a startup whose inaugural iPhone app, a digital lighter, was reviewed by Cnet and TechcrunchNewsweek wrote about Sherwood Forlee ’02 and his peanut butter-and-jelly invention …

Siu-Tang “Tim” Leung *08took a faculty position at Johns Hopkins UniversityDaniel Wong Kuok-Shoong '92 won the Outstanding Young Malaysian award for Science and Technology Development ... Eli Harari *73, who will receive the Morris Chang Exemplary Leadership Award from the Global Semiconductor Alliance in December, talked with the San Francisco Chronicle about the future of flash memory … More alumni news here.

Princeton shield

Images by Frank Wojciechowski, Robert Vanderbei, Mike E. Wood, and the Princeton Graphics Group.

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