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2001-2002 HIGHLIGHTS
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2001-2002 HIGHLIGHTS

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2001-2002 HIGHLIGHTS

NOTEWORTHY

The hope is that the high-energy particles emitted by radioactive materials as they decay will one day drive a generation of MEMS devices. ... Resigned to alarmed reactions at the mention of the word 'nuclear,' [UW-Madison Engineering Physics Professor] Dr. [James] Blanchard is quick to explain how little nuclear material is involved. "Batteries headed for another planet make a few hundred watts using an isotope of plutonium and are the size of a dishwasher," he said. "Ours is about as dangerous as a smoke detector that falls off the wall and breaks. Smoke detectors contain small amounts of radioactive materials."
The New York Times, 1/10/02

Dr. David J. Beebe, a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Wisconsin, has made valves that mimic the ones in veins: flaps that allow flow in only one direction. To build structures within channels, he flows a light-sensitive liquid polymer into the channel. Shining ultraviolet light onto the polymer solidifies it. "Much like building a ship in a bottle, but a whole lot easier," he said.
The New York Times, 1/1/02

Citing security concerns, the Postal Service isn't saying how the systems might work. [UW-Madison Engineering Physics Associate Professor Paul] Wilson, however, said they likely would resemble those found at food irradiation centers, with letters and packages lying flat on conveyors and passing beneath a device that shoots out electrons. The beam not only would kill anthrax, but other kinds of bacteria terrorists might use.
Chicago Sun-Times, 10/26/01

To make a stiffer composite, it makes perfect sense to use stiffer components. In fact, all mechanical engineers followed that rule, until [Engineering Physics Professor] Roderic Lakes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison started experimenting with so-called negative stiffness. ... "Part of our general theme of research," he said, "is to try to expand the space of possibilities and make materials do what normally people think they shouldn't be able to do."
American Scientist, Nov.-Dec. 2001

For all its promise, Liquidmetal (a versatile, super-strong alloy) is still largely untried, which is why the company is concentrating on industries where there is a readiness to explore the new. John Perepezko, professor of materials science at the University of Wisconsin, says making sports equipment is a safer place to start, than, for instance, the aircraft industry. "Nobody is going to fall out of the sky, no ship is going to sink if you make a mistake," he says. "If you break a golf club, you usually brag about being too strong, rather than blame it on a weak club."
MSNBC.com, 7/5/02

[UW-Madison Assistant Professor of Biomedical and Electrical and Computer Engineering Susan] Hagness is taking a different tack: The patient would lie on her back, and the antennas would pass over her breasts. Microwave imaging, in theory, could spot tumors as small as millimeters across, or less than half the size that mammograms pick up.
BusinessWeek, 6/10/02

Liquid crystals: Chemical engineers Rahul Shah, now at 3M Corporation, and [Professor] Nicholas Abbott of the University of Wisconsin, coat a small plate with liquid crystals. If viruses, proteins, or other chemical targets are present, they displace the crystals, causing them to change color or brightness. Such a detector could be designed as a badge that requires no batteries.
Discover Magazine, February 2002

More than 1,000 civil engineering students are gathering this weekend at the University of Wisconsin. Some of the students will be getting the chance to see who could be the best to build a concrete canoe. Some of the students will be using household things to clean up a sample of polluted water, but they have to find someone to taste test the final product.
Weekend Edition,
National Public Radio, 6/23/02

Randy Cortright and James Dumesic, chemical engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have invented a new catalytic process for converting the corn-derived compound, lactic acid, into chemical polypropylene glycol. Unlike current processes for manufacturing polypropylene glycol, which make use of petroleum-based starting materials, this advance taps into a low cost, renewable resource, available in surplus right now.
The Hindu, 12/27/01

Planning for the future

The new Mechanical Engineering Building project has entered the architectural phase. — MORE

Advances in research and technology transfer

During the fiscal year 2002, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) recorded 116 disclosures from College of Engineering faculty and staff. — MORE

Honors for faculty, staff and programs

The college's faculty received many honors over the past year. — MORE

Student opportunities and achievements

The College of Engineering Diversity Affairs Office (DAO) has expanded programming to increase the "pipeline" of diversity students attending college, and a new course on business for engineers will be offered fall 2002. — MORE

Planning for the future

The new Mechanical Engineering Building project has entered the architectural planning phase. The project will completely gut the old building and place a four-story building in the center, on the site of the old "sawtooth" section. The remainder of the old building will be completely renovated, preserving the building's original façade. During the summer, meetings were held between the chosen architects, UW facilities planners and engineering staff to plan the building. A final set of drawings is expected in late 2002. Fund raising continues for the required $10 million private portion of the cost.

The college is home to the new Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute (WISELI). Funded by the National Science Foundation, WISELI will gather data, monitor results and disseminate information on the best practices in advancing women in science and engineering.

Advances in research and technology transfer

During the fiscal year 2002, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) recorded 116 disclosures from College of Engineering faculty and staff. This is the largest number of disclosures from any UW-Madison college during the year, the second year in a row the College of Engineering achieved this distinction. The number of disclosures by engineering faculty and staff has been rising steadily, up from 35 annual disclosures six years ago.

Also, WARF has taken equity in 24 faculty start-up companies; three of these have been with companies started by engineering faculty. WARF is in the start-up discussion stage with engineering faculty for another five companies.

The College of Engineering has set its third consecutive annual research expenditures record. Research expenditures for the fiscal year July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2002 increased to $95.1 million compared with $90.2 million the previous fiscal year. Research funding from industry decreased compared with the previous year, but federal funding increased by more than ten percent.

Faculty, staff and programs received many honors during 2001-2002

A sampling includes:

  • Five College of Engineering assistant professors received National Science Foundation CAREER awards this year: Manos Mavrikakis, chemical engineering; Wendy Crone and Robert Carpick, engineering physics; and Tim Shedd and Xiaochun Li, mechanical engineering. These prestigious awards are granted on the basis of creative career-development plans that effectively integrate research and education.

  • President George W. Bush appointed Engineering Physics Professor Mike Corradini to chair the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (NWTRB). An independent agency of the U.S. government, the board provides independent scientific and technical oversight of the U.S. Department of Energy's program for managing and disposing of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel from civilian nuclear power plants.

  • Biomedical and Electrical & Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Susan Hagness was chosen one of the world's top young innovators, according to Technology Review magazine. A panel of judges from five nations placed Hagness on the list of 100 creative individuals under age 35 whose research will shape how people live and work in the future.

  • An annual study conducted by Georgia Institute of Technology again ranked the UW-Madison Department of Industrial Engineering highest in external research funding among the country's top-ranked industrial/manufacturing systems engineering programs.

  • The Internet-delivered Master of Engineering in Professional Practice program continues to be a success with a retention-graduation rate of almost 100 percent. The program received awards this year from the University Continuing Education Association and the American Distance Education Consortium.
Student opportunities and achievements

The College of Engineering Diversity Affairs Office (DAO) has expanded programming to increase the "pipeline" of diversity students attending college. Two staff members are being added to the office to support DAO's growing activities, especially its summer programs and high-school linkages. In addition to the long-established Engineering Summer Program (ESP) for high school students, DAO participated for the first time this summer in UW-Madison's diversity-focused PEOPLE Program (Pre-college Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence). In conjunction with PEOPLE, DAO created a one-week program for ninth-grade students and a three-week program for 10th-grade students. Students in the 11th grade are being incorporated into ESP. In the last five years, 32 percent of students in the ESP program enrolled at UW-Madison.

For the first time this fall, the college will offer a course on business for engineers. More than 100 students registered for the course within the first two days after it was announced. The primary goal is to enable engineering students to develop tools for business decision making. The course will be taught through the case method, utilizing guest speakers from business and industry. Topics will include business strategy, new product development, financial accounting and control, and entrepreneurship and business planning. The course is the brainchild of the instructor, Associate Professor Dan Van Der Weide, along with Dean Paul Peercy and engineering alumnus Peter Tong, sponsor of the Tong Prototype Prize and Loan Program.
2002 Concrete Canoe Competition

Nearly 40 teams from throughout the country participated in the national Concrete Canoe Competition held as part of the 150th annual National Student Conference of the American Society of Civil Engineers hosted at UW-Madison in June 2002. (49K JPG)

2002 UW-Madison FutureTruck

Student Fred Mauermann drives the UW-Madison Team Paradigm during test runs as part of the 2002 National FutureTruck Challenge, held in Arizona and California. The UW-Madison FutureTruck outpaced 14 teams to win the competition. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company. (27K JPG)

The college's student teams fared extremely well last year. The FutureTruck team took first place in its national competition. The Formula SAE and Mini Baja racing teams finished second nationally in their respective competitions. For the first time this year, the college fielded an entry in the national Clean Snowmobile Challenge.

The 2002 Innovation Day undergraduate competitions — the Schoofs Prize for Creativity and the Tong Prototype Prize — had the most female entrants and the most prototypes submitted of any previous year.

The student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers played host this year to the sesquicentennial national convention and competitions — where the UW concrete canoe team paddled to fifth place and the bridge building team placed 16th.
Nicole Werner and Lisa Ruehlow

Last spring, students entered 19 ideas or inventions in the college's annual Innovation Day competition, which featured the Schoofs Prize for Creativity and the Tong Prototype Prize. Biomedical Engineering students Nicole Werner (left) and Lisa Ruehlow entered the Portable Voice Calibrator, which received a fourth-place ($1,000) Schoofs Prize and a second-place ($1,250) Tong Prize. The calibrator is an inexpensive, portable device speech patients not only can use to monitor their vocal intensity or nasal sounds, but also continuously treat vocal conditions. (20K JPG)

Johnathan Goins

A mechanical engineering undergraduate from Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Johnathan Goins spent his second consecutive summer at UW-Madison as part of the Diversity Affairs Office's Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE). He returned this summer specifically to work with Mechanical Engineering Professor Jay Martin, who is designing a wireless sip-and-puff technology to enable wheelchair users to operate a myriad of everyday devices more easily. (29K JPG)

Despite a significant decline in hiring needs which reduced the number of on-campus interviews, Engineering Career Services reported that demand for UW-Madison engineering graduates remains steady. Hiring increases occurred in several areas, including petroleum companies, national research laboratories and defense-related employers. Some of these needs are directly linked to a prioritized national security agenda. Also, the demand for UW-Madison civil engineers has remained strong.

UW-Madison engineering students continue their participation in international studies and programs. In the academic year 2001-02, 60 students took part in an engineering study abroad program — a number that has been growing for the past five years. In addition, 10 students worked on international internships in the summer of 2002.

 



Copyright 2002 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System Content by perspective@engr.wisc.edu
Date last modified: 30-Sep-2002
Date created: 30-Sep-2002
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