Archive for 'Issues'

Peter Tong: Building ideas

Posted on 24. Jan, 2014 by .

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Since 2000, undergraduate competitors in the Schoofs Prize for Creativity (and later, Innovation Days) also vie for the Tong Prototype Prize. Funded by electrical and computer engineering alumnus Peter Tong (pictured with mechanical engineering undergrad Eric Ronning) and the Tong Family Foundation, the prize recognizes the best physical representation of the students’ ideas. Tong established [...]

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Making a very meaningful difference

Posted on 24. Jan, 2014 by .

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During the past 12 months, we have seen many exciting changes at UW-Madison. Among them: Rebecca Blank began as the university’s new chancellor, Ian Robertson hit the ground running as the ninth College of Engineering dean, and, as part of Dean Robertson’s new integrated advancement model, the engineering development directors moved into offices on the [...]

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Alumnus built a legacy of generosity

Posted on 24. Jan, 2014 by .

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In recent years, one of Andrew Johnson’s pleasures in life was to read letters of gratitude from College of Engineering under-graduates who received Great People Scholarships. “Every time he got a letter, he was exuberant about it, and he was happy to do so much good for those students,” says Johnson’s son, Robert. Andrew passed [...]

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Astronaut scholarship honors undergrad’s bold adventures in research

Posted on 24. Jan, 2014 by .

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Even in the UW-Madison College of Engineering, where undergraduates are encouraged to seek hands-on experience, it’s rare that a faculty member finds himself taken aback by a freshman’s eagerness to get involved in research. That’s how Karu Sankaralingam, an associate professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering, remembers his first conversation with electrical [...]

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Fellowships help undergrads turn pro

Posted on 24. Jan, 2014 by .

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To earn an undergraduate research fellowship, mechanical engineering students need more than passion and a great technical problem to tackle. They also have to function like professionals in a research context. “We’re looking for clarity of thought in students’ fellowship proposals,” says Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Krishnan Suresh. “That reflects a clarity of process in [...]

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Investment aimed at growing GLE

Posted on 24. Jan, 2014 by .

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When Ryan Bennett reconnected with faculty and fellow graduates of the Geological Engineering Program a couple of years ago, the growth and resilience of GLE surprised him. After all, Bennett experienced the program when it was just beginning as a small, interdisciplinary venture between geology and engineering faculty. In 1990, he earned his BS in [...]

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Natural resources: Support helps faculty become self-sustaining

Posted on 24. Jan, 2014 by .

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When a department hires a new faculty member, funding from the College of Engineering and the UW-Madison Graduate School helps to pay that person’s salary. However, new faculty also need a way to start research programs. Private gifts provide the initial support for faculty startup packages, which cover stipends, scholarships, and fellowships for students to [...]

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Lessons from an unlikely career

Posted on 24. Jan, 2014 by .

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Bob Forbess began his UW-Madison education in mechanical engineering during World War II, then embarked on a career that spanned from rockets to education. Perhaps that’s why Forbess, now retired, takes such a broad view of the value of a mechanical engineering degree. He is leaving a portion of his estate to the mechanical engineering [...]

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In celebration of decades of dedication

Posted on 24. Jan, 2014 by .

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In 1941, before Bob Bird enrolled at the University of Maryland, he told his dad he was planning to study foreign languages. Bob’s dad, however, had other ideas. “If you want to be able to earn a living, you should take engineering,” said his dad. “Furthermore, since chemical engineering is the newest field and reputed [...]

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Reinforcing design, honoring dedication

Posted on 23. Jan, 2014 by .

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A Stirling engine built by a team of mechanical engineering undergraduates helped to inspire a mechanical engineering alumnus and his wife to make a $100,000 anonymous gift that will support hands-on design experience in the College of Engineering undergraduate curriculum. When the students presented their work to a group of ME alumni, the alum noted [...]

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A big future for structural engineering

Posted on 23. Jan, 2014 by .

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For Jun Lee, structural engineering is more than a professional field. It’s a multigenerational force. It runs in the family for Lee, who earned his bachelor’s, master’s and PhD in civil and environmental engineering at UW-Madison. His mother, Florence Lee, who graduated with a master’s degree from the University of Michigan, ran her own building-design [...]

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Reflections on innovation

Posted on 23. Jan, 2014 by .

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Past Schoofs Prize for Creativity and Innovation Days participants talk about their experiences in the competition and highlight lessons they’ve learned that have served them well in their professional lives. Cedric Kovacs-Johnson CBE, current student 2013—The American Press I was prompted to enter the competition through contact with past participants as well as a design [...]

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5 questions with Dick Schoofs

Posted on 23. Jan, 2014 by .

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In February 2014, the college will celebrate 20 years of the Schoofs Prize for Creativity, the oldest running innovation prize on the UW-Madison campus. Since its inception, the contest has yielded several spin-off companies and hundreds of creative ideas, and participants often cite their Schoofs Prize experiences as a major factor in their professional success. [...]

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Take action to advance the reputation and potential of the College of Engineering

Posted on 23. Jan, 2014 by .

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Chances are that you are advancing and realizing your potential in no small part because of your UW-Madison education and the brand equity of that “University of Wisconsin” credential behind your name. I graduated 30 years ago and left campus with a Wisconsin Alumni Association card and a job. I didn’t expect to lead product [...]

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Unique expertise and education for the world

Posted on 01. Oct, 2013 by .

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Known as the nature isle of the Caribbean, Dominica features waterfalls, mountainous rainforests and an abundance of rare plant, animal and bird species, many of which are protected in an extensive natural park system. Because of its location in the eastern Caribbean, this island nation is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes. This combination of weather, nature [...]

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Under construction: Revamped process speeds DOT project closeouts

Posted on 01. Oct, 2013 by .

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For a state department of transportation, concluding a construction project isn’t simply a matter of dropping a final check in the mail to the contractor. Rather, the highly administrative closeout process includes such tasks as ensuring the project objectives have been met, auditing labor and payroll records, and reviewing and reconciling material tests and material [...]

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A new opportunity for P.E.’s to talk about ethics

Posted on 01. Oct, 2013 by .

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It’s an unprecedented change, but one that will elevate the quality of engineers who practice in Wisconsin: For the first time ever, the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services is requiring professional engineers seeking to renew their licenses to complete 30 professional development hours every two years. And while engineers can meet these requirements [...]

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Fuel simulation for the real world

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Mario Trujillo confidently predicts that liquid fuels are not going away, but understanding how they’ll behave in fuel-injection systems will become increasingly complex. “There is probably going to be a wide range of new fuels with different physical properties, which means liquid fuel injection is going to change,” he says. “There’s [...]

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‘Smart’ medical material aims to unfurl at 98.6 degrees

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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Mechanical Engineering Professor Lih-Sheng (Tom) Turng has a simple office demonstration of how shape-memory polymers work. He takes the material, which is formed into a compact flower bud, drops the bud in a cup of warm water, and voila: A daisy slowly blooms. A significant materials research advance by Turng and colleagues may help translate [...]

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Hot news: Campus spin-off keeps computers cool

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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For about a decade, Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Timothy Shedd has been exploring liquid-based cooling systems for data centers to address a simple but very costly problem. “Technology is developing faster than the air-conditioning systems that cool computers,” he says. Shedd also is chief technology officer of Ebullient, a company that hopes to install its [...]

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Advancing industry through materials research and education

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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For members of the Advanced Materials Industrial Consortium, some of the greatest benefits of membership include access to world-class research—and to the students at all educational levels who conduct that research. “The research we have here is five years or more ahead of the things our members are doing, and they want to know about [...]

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Future looks bright for carbon nanotube solar cells

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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In an approach that could challenge silicon as the predominant photovoltaic cell material, UW-Madison materials engineers have developed an inexpensive solar cell that exploits carbon nanotubes to absorb and convert energy from the sun. The advance could lead to solar panels just as efficient, but much less expensive to manufacture, than current panels. The proof-of-concept [...]

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How waste wood works for forests

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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At first glance, they may look lush and green, but many of the nation’s forests also are chock-full of brush—often, invasive species and disease-transmitting biomass—just waiting for a spark. “One of the reasons wildfires are so catastrophic is that many forests are unhealthy and there’s a lot of excess biomass in the forest,” says Joseph [...]

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Centers work for state business and industry

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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The Wisconsin Idea was created as a way to keep the benefits of UW-Madison education from being an isolated island of knowledge and technological advances. In 2013, the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) and the UW E-Business Consortium (UWEBC)—two of the biggest bridges connecting university research and Wisconsin industries—are celebrating anniversaries. For the past [...]

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Laying the groundwork for safer air aid

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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It’s 1 a.m. and heavy fog cover has caused a terrible accident on the Interstate. A highly trained medical team climbs aboard the medevac chopper and a highly trained pilot flies the team to the scene. The problem, heading into a potentially life-threatening situation, is that these teams train in isolation and often have competing [...]

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Her response: Increase the ‘reward’ in high-risk scenarios

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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Industrial and Systems Engineering Associate Professor Laura McLay’s research canvas is massive data—banks of millions of emergency 911 calls, commercial airline flights and ship cargo deliveries—which she uses to tease out the risk factors in these high-stakes endeavors. As a data challenge, it might seem like searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack, but [...]

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Stiff, strong and stable composites

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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It was a sweltering day on Long Island, and young Rod Lakes and his family were stuck in the middle of a traffic jam. Up the road, there was a drawbridge. Its two halves had expanded due to the heat and, instead of closing properly, the pieces overlapped. Though at the time Lakes didn’t realize [...]

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From helix to donut

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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Understanding how a Pegasus plasma forms Because the UW-Madison experiment Pegasus is among the world’s most compact tokamaks, the device plays a unique role in global efforts to develop fusion as a viable energy source. In particular, Pegasus—a very-low-aspect-ratio tokamak that has a small center hole and nearly spherical shape—serves as a testbed for plasma [...]

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In Wisconsin, cold-spray knowledge is a hot commodity

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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Back in the mid-1980s, Fisher Barton founder Richard Wilkey (BSMetE ’59) was looking for coatings to extend the life of the lawnmower blades his Wisconsin-based company manufactured. For help, he looked to Frank Worzala, then a professor of metallurgical and mineral engineering, and Worzala’s master’s student Bill Lenling (BSMetE ‘84, MSMetE ‘86), who was seeking [...]

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Closing the loop on big data … one beer at a time

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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Computers serve as powerful tools for categorizing, displaying and searching data, but they’re only the medium for big data. “We really need people to interact with the machines to make them work well,” says McFarland-Bascom Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Rob Nowak. Unlike machines, people work at a finite speed and at rising costs. [...]

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