ENews Princeton Engineering

FALL 2010
Photo of H. Vincent Poor and Emily Carter
Dean Vince Poor and Andlinger Director Emily Carter standing in front of Bowen Hall, which is adjacent to the future site of the new Andlinger Center.

Dear Friends,

The pressing need to generate viable clean energy sources, while simultaneously weaning the world from fossil fuels, can seem daunting. Yet when I think of the work that our faculty, alumni and even undergraduate students are undertaking in this area, I am profoundly heartened.

This month Princeton appointed Emily Carter as founding director of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, created with a visionary $100 million endowment from Gerhard Andlinger.

While the Andlinger Center solidifies Princeton’s reputation as an international hub of cutting-edge research in energy and the environment, that hub has many spokes.

Our faculty members are measuring water vapor in the Earth's atmosphere, unraveling the mysteries of short battery life, boosting energy efficiency in buildings, investigating clean-burning combustion fuels, capturing carbon, and inventing algorithms to optimize the capture, storage and distribution of energy.

Meanwhile, Princeton students are transmuting landfills in Pakistan into electricity, identifying the best placement for wind farms, building prototypes of solar-powered planes and making it easier for people to bike rather than drive.

Please keep in touch. I appreciate hearing how Princeton Engineering alumni are changing the world for the better, in ways both big and small.

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

Class of 2014 arrives

This month Princeton welcomed its largest freshman class ever, bringing the number of enrolled undergraduate engineering students to 936.

Princeton undergraduates are a diverse and cosmopolitan group these days, taking advantage of opportunities to study and travel abroad and Princeton's new bridge-year program, as well as engaging in endeavors like Engineers Without Borders.

To get a sense of how much campus life has changed -- and yet remained the same -- in the past half century, check out this 1962 Orange Key guide training film, which has some fascinating glimpses of engineering teaching and research from back in the day.

Freshman Orientation
Edgar Choueiri

Project X

Lynn Shostack describes Project X as a "fund for creativity and risk-taking." Shostack created Project X grants at the School of Engineering to underwrite unconventional research that is unlikely to find funding elsewhere.

One Project X grant recipient is Edgar Choueiri, who has developed a mathematical technique for recording and playing back sound in 3-D.

Digital music pioneer Paul Lansky has called Choueiri's efforts ingenious. What Choueiri has managed to do, said Lansky, "is recreate the spatial dimension of the original recording situation. If he could make this truly portable, it would change the world."

The Project X grants come from a fund named in honor of Shostack's husband, David Gardner, Princeton Class of '69. The fund, administered by the Council of the Humanities, is known as the Magic Fund -- read here to find out why.

Harari and Toppin are new profiles in alumni video series

Princeton Engineering's video library of prominent alumni now includes Eli Harari, the founder and CEO of SanDisk, and Boston patent attorney Catherine Toppin.

Harari, who earned his doctorate in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton in 1973, built SanDisk into a global leader in flash memory, the computer storage technology that is fundamental to a wide range of consumer electronics, from digital cameras to mobile phones. With his wife, Harari has endowed a graduate fellowship at Princeton.

Toppin, who earned her undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Princeton in 2002, is the president of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni and is a member of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations National Board and of the Princeton University Alumni Association Executive Committee.

The alumni video series is by Princeton Engineering graduate Michael E. Wood.

Eli Harari
Play Video

Catherine Toppin
Play Video

Lynn Loo
Play Video

Plastic electronics research highlighted at Summer Davos

Yueh-Lin "Lynn" Loo, a researcher in the field of plastic electronics, was one of five young scientists who spoke this month in China at the World Economic Forum's "Annual Meeting of the New Champions," a k a Summer Davos.

Plastic electronics is a young and growing field that can potentially change the quality of human life in a wide range of ways, according to Loo.

"Imagine tinted windows that can also generate power during the day," says Loo in this video highlighting her work. "Imagine disposable sensors that would change color if the water source is contaminated, or yet, think of smart plastic patches that can monitor your health and deliver medication when you're sick. The possibilities are endless."  

Lectures: sharing the knowledge wealth on iTunes and the web

Princeton Engineering video libraries include lectures that are of broad appeal, such as Modern Marvels: Engineering the Future and Leadership in a Technological World.

Also available are more specialized libraries such as Combustion, a primer on combustion science from Princeton's Combustion Energy Frontier Research Center, and Women in Theory, a workshop on theoretical computer science from Princeton's Center for Computational Intractability.

As part of the Women in Theory workshop, President Shirley M. Tilghman gave a talk on the role of women in the sciences that can be viewed on Youtube.

Those who use iTunes software can download Princeton Engineering libraries directly from iTunes University. By the way, our lecture videos are powered by CoBlitz.

Modern Marvels
Eric Schmidt

The latest news from Princeton Engineering alumni

Google CEO Eric Schmidt went mano-a-mano with Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report... Kateeva founder and CEO Conor Madigan has been named one of Technology Review's top world innovators under the age of 35... John Dabiri has won a MacArthur "genius" award to explore jellyfish propulsion...

The Obama administration has appointed Alice Gast as one of three State Department envoys charged with promoting U.S. global engagement in science and technology... A research paper on serious security flaws in India's electronic voting machines, co-authored by J. Alex Halderman, has generated hot debate in India...

Seth Priebatsch gave a TED talk on his ambitions to "build a game layer on the top of the world."... Both Priebatsch and Paul Maeder appear in a New York Times article on what makes entrepreneurs tick... Darren Hammell is featured in this video on Entrepreneurial Princeton.... Nick Frey has launched Boo Bicycles...

Vorbeck Materials, headed by John Lettow, is developing new materials to improve battery performance... Warren Powell and his Castle Lab received the Daniel H. Wagner Prize from INFORMS... Paul Johnson has been named dean of engineering at Arizona State University... Lance Collins has been named dean of engineering at Cornell...

Frank Moss announced he will be leaving MIT's Media Lab for the private sector... To raise money for diabetes research, Lee Iacocca is raffling off a silver 45th anniversary Ford Mustang...

Last but not least: the Princeton Baccalaureate address given in June by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has gone viral -- watch it on Youtube or the TED blog...

Princeton shield

Images by Bentley Drezner (Vince Poor and Emily Carter); Frank Wojciechowski (undergraduate students and Edgar Choueiri); Michael E. Wood (alumni videos); Volker Steger (Lynn Loo); Dan Lev (iTunes logo).

Do you have suggestions, comments or story ideas? Please email them to triordan@princeton.edu.

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