Eight UW-Madison engineering alumni were honored for their significant career achievements at Engineers’ Day 2009, held October 16. Two of the awards went to ME alumni: Andreas M. Lippert received the Early-Career Achievement Award and Steven A. Schopler received a Distinguished Achievement Award.
s a child, Andreas Lippert used to run outdoors to catch a glimpse of jets roaring overhead toward a nearby air force base. He dreamed of becoming a pilot until high school when one of his seven older siblings, a mechanical engineer, inspired him to design and build airplanes rather than simply fly them.
Following in his brother’s footsteps, Lippert studied mechanical engineering in his hometown of Pretoria, South Africa, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees before working in aerospace in a national lab. Eager to develop his technical expertise, he applied to PhD programs and selected UW-Madison, thanks to the influence of his wife, Jacqueline, a civil and environmental engineering alumna.
After obtaining his PhD in mechanical engineering in 1999, Lippert joined General Motors as a senior research engineer, where he applied his knowledge of sprays, combustion and computational fluid dynamics toward GM advanced internal combustion engine development. Lippert’s work resulted in methods for spray and combustion analysis in the GM research and powertrain divisions.
He became a leader in next-generation diesel propulsion systems research and exhaust aftertreatment modeling. In 2007, on special assignment, he launched the Global Energy Systems Center, which analyzes energy supply chains and future scenarios to provide GM with timely business insights into energy opportunities and challenges. The center has a collaboration with the Tsinghua University in Beijing; called the China Automotive Energy Center, it serves as a key advising institution to the Chinese governmentas the country develops an automotive energy roadmap.
Lippert is listed as an inventor on nine U.S. patents and has authored more than 20 research papers, conference publications and reports. He has won multiple GM technical and corporate awards and a distinguished speaker award from the Society of Automotive Engineers. In 2008, Lippert was named to the corporate scientific advisory board of Mascoma Corporation, which is developing new technologies to convert cellulosic biomass into ethanol.
Currently, Lippert leads the Alternative Energy Technologies Lab at GE Global Research in Munich, Germany, where he focuses on renewable energy, waste heat recovery, novel powerplant cycles and carbon capture.
The relocation to Germany, where his parents are from, has been an adventure for Jacqueline and their children, Claudia, Karl and Gabi. When not working or spending time with his family, Lippert enjoys surfing and admiring waves, a passion he refers to as active engagement with his love for fluid dynamics.
teve Schopler has come a long way from his days biking around UW-Madison, wearing a backpack bulging with human femurs implanted with hip prostheses. A renowned reconstructive spinal surgeon in southern California, he continually bridges the orthopedic and engineering fields.
Schopler frequently toured Midwest factories and engineering facilities with his father, a chemical engineer and professor. His father’s company manufactured biomedical devices, which inspired Schopler to pursue a career that fused engineering with medicine.
Schopler grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, next door to the late UW-Madison Kaiser Chair of Mechanical Engineering Ali Seireg, who became a mentor to Schopler. He followed Seireg to UW-Madison, where he worked on Seireg’s famous “walking-machine” for paraplegics. In 1976, Schopler obtained his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, graduating with honors. He stayed at UW-Madison for medical school, where he honed his interest in orthopedic surgery and earned his medical degree in 1980.
Schopler completed a residency at the University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Orthopedics, where he combined his biomechanics and orthopedic biology studies and discovered his interest in pediatric orthopedics. After his residency, Schopler was a fellow in pediatric orthopedics at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. He returned to Van Nuys, California, and joined the Southern California Orthopedic Institute (SCOI) in 1991, where he is a senior partner. He is also a clinical instructor in orthopedics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine and past chair of the orthopedic surgery department at Valley Presbyterian Hospital, in addition to appointments at multiple California hospitals.
Schopler specializes in spinal surgery, and he has additional expertise in pediatric orthopedics and scoliosis. He relies on his engineering and medical training to develop new techniques and equipment. He is the author of numerous articles and lectures internationally on pediatric orthopedic topics and conditions. His work has helped turn the private-practice SCOI into the equivalent of a university orthopedic department. “Knowledge of biomechanics and engineering has served me well in the evolving fields of orthopedics and spinal surgery,” Schopler says. “My friends and UW-Madison mentors provided a foundation I am proud of.”
Schopler enjoys skiing, visiting the beach and other outdoor activities with wife Robin and daughters Lisa and Ellen. He hails from a family of Badgers—Robin, her parents and his parents are all UW-Madison alumni. Ellen will join them when she graduates in 2010.
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