Monday, February 13, 2012

Brown School of Engineering Receives $19.5 Million in Gifts; Will Add Three New Faculty

At its regular winter meeting on Saturday, February 11, 2012, the Corporation of Brown University announced that it had accepted a number of gifts, of which $19.5 million had been designated for the School of Engineering. Included among the gifts was a gift from anonymous donors of $10 million, of which $9 million is for three endowed professorships in the School of Engineering. In addition, there was a gift from an anonymous trustee of the Corporation of $10 million for the School of Engineering, and a gift from an anonymous donor of $1.5 million, of which $500,000 is for the Engineering Dean’s Discretionary Fund.

“This is a fantastic start on our long-term vision of building a great School of Engineering here at Brown,” said Dean Larry Larson. “We will keep working hard on further fundraising efforts, and I expect more good news in the future. We have the great efforts of the University Advancement team,  Provost Schlissel and President Simmons to thank for these transformational gifts.”

In addition, the Corporation announced that growth of the School of Engineering, formally established in 2010, continues as a high priority for the University. Plans for the next five to 10 years call for increased revenues from sponsored research, fundraising, graduate programs at the master’s degree level, and corporate partnerships. For fiscal year 2013, the Corporation has allocated funds to recruit three new faculty and to add technical staff.

As part of the University’s effort to develop the School of Engineering, the Corporation approved a new position in the Technology Ventures office within the Office of the Vice President for Research. That position will focus on patents and technology transfer activities related to engineering.

School of Engineering Hosts First Annual Networking and Career Fair

On Saturday, February 4, the School of Engineering hosted its first annual networking and career fair at Barus and Holley. More than 100 students and over 20 alumni representing more than 15 different companies gathered together for a full-day of panel sessions, presentations, and workshops.

The Engineering Career Fair underscored the incredible availability of Brown alums who want to connect with current Brown students,” said Beverly Ehrich, career advisor at Brown’s CareerLab. “They answered student questions about their companies and their career paths. Throughout the day alumni were ready to give advice about internships and job options, and encouraged follow up conversations. Brown alums are an incomparable resource for engineering students who want to develop contacts in their career field and explore careers.

After a welcome from Dean Larry Larson, Assistant Professor (Research) John Simeral gave a plenary talk, “Engineering the BrainGate Neural Interface System at Brown” which provided both students and alumni an insight into the cutting-edge research that the Brown Institute for Brain Science is working on and the incredible progress they have already made.

The day continued with two alumni panel sessions. The first featured advice on finding a job and included Chris Moynihan ’11 (Google), Madeleine Sheehan ’11 (Analog Devices), and Caitlin Ashley-Rollman ’09 ScM’10 (Microsoft).
“I definitely thought the career fair was worthwhile and thought that the panel of recent graduates was particularly interesting,” said biomedical engineering concentrator Courtney Mazur ’13.

That was followed by another alumni panel session that included James Truman ’02, Hector Inirio ’10, and Theo Doucakis ’96 ScM’00. This lively session, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now” provided a chance for the alumni to give some practical, real world advice to the undergraduates and again allowed the students the opportunity to ask the panelists questions.

After that, several alumni gave brief presentations on their companies and their current positions. Included among the presenters were: Melissa Loureiro ’07 ScM’08 (Hamilton Sundstrand), Adam Greenbaum ’08 ScM’09 (Draper Labs), David Perlmutter ’09, Chris Coleman ’11 (Oracle), Chris Hoffman ’09 (DPR Construction), Nick Sarro ’08 (DPR Contruction), Nick Vina ’10 (DPR Construction), Lorenzo Majno ’79, ScM’81 (Instron), and Dave Durfee ’80 ScM’87 PhD’92 (Bay Computer Associates).

Following an afternoon break, there was a chance for students and alumni to interact one-on-one. Each company set up a table and students were able to network with the alumni and talk about job and internship opportunities at each company.    

“The first annual career fair was a success,” said Professor Karen Haberstroh ’95. “It proved to be an excellent opportunity for current engineering students and faculty to network with alums - both in terms of internship and job placement possibilities, but also as a mechanism for reconnecting engineering alums with the new School of Engineering.” 

Following the networking opportunities, students were able to participate in two workshops. Ehrich led a workshop on technical interviewing with assistance from recent alumni, while Durfee led resume workshop.

“The career fair did a great job at fulfilling its designed purpose of connecting students with employers,” said Durfee. “But, in addition, I personally really enjoyed reconnecting with the alumni and could tell that they enjoyed sharing their time (and a meal) together with the students and faculty.”

Friday, February 10, 2012

Brown Professor Kyung-Suk Kim PhD’80 to Receive 2012 Engineering Science Medal from SES

Brown University School of Engineering Professor Kyung-Suk Kim PhD ’80 will receive the 2012 Engineering Science Medal from the Society of Engineering Science (SES). The prize is awarded in recognition of a singularly important contribution to engineering science. Professor Kim will receive his award during the 49th Annual Technical Meeting of the Society of Engineering Science to be held at Georgia Institute of Technology from October 9-12, 2012. The Society of Engineering Science has only awarded the Engineering Science Medal eight previous times since its inception in 1987.

“This is a tremendous and well-deserved honor for Professor Kim,” said Dean Larry Larson. “As both a Brown Engineering alumnus and professor we are extremely proud of his accomplishments and look forward to his continued contributions to the field.”

Professor Kim receives the prize for his singularly important contributions to experimental micro and nano-mechanics. These include his inventions of transverse displacement interferometer for high strain rate combined normal and shearing load, stress intensity tracer for time dependent fracture testing, Moiré interferometry for finite displacement measurement at the micro and nano-length scales, field projection methods to extract cohesive laws, residual stress measurements via chemical etching, high resolution TEM analysis to extract near atomic resolution constitutive laws and extension of the AFM range to measure the size scaling in contact and adhesion.

Professor Kim received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Seoul National University of Korea in 1974 and 1976, respectively, and his Ph.D. from Brown University in 1980.  He worked on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1980-1989 before returning to Brown as Professor of Engineering in 1989. He is currently the director of Nano and Micromechanics Laboratory in the Mechanics of Solids and Structures Group in the School of Engineering at Brown University.

About the Society of Engineering Science
Founded in 1963, the Society of Engineering Science (SES) was established to promote the free exchange of information on all aspects of engineering science and to provide a forum for discussion, education, and recognition of the talents of the engineering science community. Since its founding in 1963, the SES has established its reputation as the most vibrant and relevant technical society to promote the field of engineering science, where science and engineering meet. The annual technical meetings organized by SES bring leading engineers, scientists and mathematicians from around the world together to tackle some of the most challenging problems at the interface between engineering, sciences and mathematics.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Brown Professor Huajian Gao Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

Huajian Gao, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Engineering at Brown University, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Gao, honored for contributions to micromechanics of thin films and hierarchically structured materials, is one of 66 new members and 10 foreign associates elected, and is one of just 2,254 U.S. members and 206 foreign associates in the NAE.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature," and to the "pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

Professor Gao becomes the fifth member of the Brown School of Engineering faculty to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering. He joins Rush C. Hawkins University Professor Rod Clifton (elected 1989), Professor Emeritus L.B. Freund (elected 1994), Professor Emeritus Alan Needleman (elected 2000), and Vice President for Research and Otis Randall University Professor Clyde Briant (elected 2010).

"This is a spectacular professional achievement for Professor Gao and we are extremely happy for him," said Dean Larry Larson. "To have five members of the National Academy within a faculty of 40 also underscores the strength and level of accomplishment of our faculty here at Brown.”

Professor Gao received his B.S. degree from Xian Jiaotong University of China in 1982, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in engineering science from Harvard University in 1984 and 1988, respectively. He served on the faculty of Stanford University between 1988 and 2002, where he was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 1994 and to full professor in 2000. He was appointed as Director and Professor at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart, Germany between 2001 and 2006. He joined Brown University in 2006. Professor Gao has a background in applied mechanics and engineering science. He has more than 25 years of research experience and more than 300 publications to his credit.

Professor Gao’s research group is generally interested in understanding the basic principles that control mechanical properties and behaviors of both engineering and biological systems. His current research includes studies of how metallic and semiconductor materials behave in thin film and nanocrystalline forms, and how biological materials such as bones, geckos, and cells achieve their mechanical robustness through structural hierarchy.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Brown Engineering Alumna Jeanie Ward-Waller ’04 Bicycling Across the Country for Safe Routes

Jeanie Ward-Waller ’04, a Brown University civil engineering alumna, is bicycling across the country as part of an advocacy campaign to raise awareness for safe routes. Her journey began on February 5 in Key West and will cover approximately 5,500 miles and take three months before concluding in San Francisco on April 28.

Ward-Waller, 29, who organized the trip, will be riding with her mother, 60-year physican Dr. Jane Ward, her 22-year old sister Chelsea Ward-Waller, and 26-year old friend Stephanie Palmer. These four women will be promoting the critical need for bike- and pedestrian-friendly streets in the sustainable communities of the future through public events in the 30 cities along their route.

They will also be meeting with local bicycle advocates along the way to combine efforts to raise awareness for bike safety in their local communities. In addition, they are fundraising for the League of American Bicyclists and Safe Routes to School National Partnership, two non-profits working for bike-friendly communities nationwide. For more information, or to follow their journey, please go to their website at or follow them on Twitter @Ride4SafeRoutes

Jeanie Ward-Waller is a civil engineer currently based in Washington, D.C. She recently completed a master’s degree in engineering for sustainable development with a thesis investigating methods to promote higher rates of cycling in US cities. Also passionate about getting kids outdoors and active, she took a break from engineering in 2011 to teach environmental education at the Mountain Institute in the mountains of West Virginia and to teach rock climbing in the D.C. area. A 2-time Ironman triathlete, she has spent countless hours in the saddle on unsafe and unfriendly roads, growing increasingly frenetic about making roads safe for all cyclists.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Professor Kyung-Suk Kim melds engineering with history and humanities

“The West had William Tell and the East had Yang Man-Choon in Korea”

When Kyung-Suk Kim, a renowned Korean-American scientist and professor of mechanical engineering at Brown University, says this in his class Dynamics and Vibrations, a required course for engineering students, students are generally puzzled.

Yang was the legendary lord of Ansi Castle in Korea’s ancient dynasty of Goguryeo. He has been known to hit Emperor Taizong of the Chinese Tang Dynasty with an arrow in 645 A.D., when Tang invaded Goguryeo.

Kim`s students, however, pay attention to his lecture that combines history with physics and mechanical engineering if he says, “I will explain the principle of bow’s operations in a mechanical engineering point of view. The Korean bow is considered to be the best in the world from an engineering perspective, which you can confirm through experiments.”

Since 1989, Kim has taught mechanical engineering at Brown University, a prestigious Ivy League university in the U.S., with a laboratory text he wrote himself. More than 1,000 students have attended his lectures and 25 students have completed doctoral and postdoctoral studies under his advising over the years. Indeed, Kim has played the role of missionary for the promotion of Korea`s scientific excellence in its culture.

Speaking to the Dong-A Ilbo, a Korean news paper, over the phone Sunday, he said, “In the early 1990s, Brown University suggested me to develop a laboratory for engineering students that reflects some aspects of humanities and history. So I began working on developing such laboratory courses that bring in scientific excellence of Korean culture.”

Through experiments, Kim and his students have unveiled the secret of an ancient Korean bow that flies arrows up to nearly 1 kilometer, twice and three times the range of British and Japanese bows, though the bowstring is just 120 centimeters, shorter than Britain`s (180 centimeters) and Japan’s (2 meters). Kim showed that the Korean bow has a thrust of double pushes while launched, analogous to the thrust of a two-staged rocket.

Many had thought Korean bowstrings too short since Koreans have small frames. Kim, however, said the short bowstring creates great impellent power by the double-push mechanism and Korean bows bend to increase such power.

After completing graduate studies at Seoul National University, Kim went to the U.S. in 1976 for his PhD. He joined the Brown faculty in 1989 as a full professor. As the Director of the Nano and Micro Mechanics Laboratory at Brown, he received world attention last year with an article on the principle of precisely cutting carbon nano tubes using ultrasonic waves, written jointly with his collaborators at the Korean Institute of Science and Technology. The article was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, London.

- Courtesy of the Dong-A Ilbo (Korea)