Check out this awesome stop-motion video of a starshade. Our own Jeremy Kasdin, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, is one of the principal researchers on the project, which will aid in the search for planets outside our own solar system.

“This is the first time we’ve actually seen this thing deploy,” Kasdin tells New Scientist. “That was a huge accomplishment.” Rumor has that the Discovery Channel will be featuring the starshade, along with interviews with Kasdin and other team members, in an upcoming feature filmed in August in California.

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David HalePrinceton Engineer David Hale ’11 pitched his first major league game on Friday, for the Atlanta Braves. First batter up? Princeton alum Will Venable ’06. Hale struck out the Padres hitter and proceeded to pitch 5 scoreless innings. That same night Princeton Engineer Ross Ohlendorf ’05 pitched five winning innings for the Washington Nationals.

Both Hale and Ohlendorf majored in Operations Research and Financial Engineering. Venable’s major? (cough) Anthropology.

Prof. Alain Kornhauser *71 can’t resist crowing: “Think of this: one night, two ORFEs pitching in the Bigs each pitching 5 innings, giving up a total of 1 run. That is a combined 0.90 ERA for ORFE majors” in one night!



Staten Island coastlinePrinceton researchers are part of a flood risk study that has received $2.3 million in funding from the Rockefeller Foundation.

The project, “New Directions in Coastal Resilient Design Strategies—Four Integrated Designs,”  is a comprehensive study of the flood risks of vulnerable coastal populations in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The Princeton project team, together with partners at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, the City College of New York School of Architecture, and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, will develop four integrated coastal resilient design strategies for the mid-Atlantic region.

The Princeton effort is a collaboration between the Andlinger Center for Energy and Environment and the School of Architecture.  Guy Nordenson, a professor of architecture is the lead investigator. Co-investigators are Ning Lin, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering; James Smith, chair and professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Michael Oppenheimer, the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs and director of Princeton’s Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP) in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

This interdisciplinary effort will complement and augment initiatives already underway by the City of New York and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Princeton researchers took part in the June 11 report, “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” a comprehensive analysis of New York City’s climate risks and proposed steps for preparing for future climate events. The report stems from the Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency that Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. That report can be found here.

Photo courtesy Staten Island Borough President’s Office.

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LIttman ice cream social motorcyclesThe School of Engineering and Applied Science is hosting an ice cream social Friday, August 9, at 4:30 p.m. in the Friend Center Atrium on the Princeton University campus. Professor Michael Littman will do a show and tell with antique motorcycles, telephones, phonographs, radios, and more from his marvelous collection of vintage technology. The event is free and open to the public. All are welcome!

Display cases filled with artifacts collected and restored by Professor Littman and his students are across the hall from Princeton’s Art of Science exhibit. Both exhibits are located in the Friend Center for Engineering Education, which is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

 Photo by Frank Wojciechowski.

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The technology news blog GigaOM has named computer scientist Jennifer Rexford, the Gordon Y. S. Wu Professor in Engineering at Princeton, one of the top ten ‘cloud trailblazers’ for 2013.

Rexford is working to develop modular programming language called “Frenetic.” It works, GigaOM reports, by “breaking up monolithic network services, from routing and monitoring to security and load balancing, into units that programmers can control and play with in building other apps.”

To learn more, watch the video above or read this.

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Dan Boneh *96, now a professor at Stanford, has racked up another award: the ACM Gödel Prize for advances in cryptography. Read all about it here.

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Szymon Rusinkiewicz, professor of computer science, and collaborators at Industrial Light & Magic and USC have devised a new technique for making digital hair look more natural (see video above). They will present their new paper in July at SIGGRAPH, the premier computer graphics conference. Great coverage here from ExtremeTech.

Below watch a video on the graphic magic that will be featured in the upcoming Siggraph conference: melting rabbits, undulating lassos, exploding buildings, sculptures that balance on a pinpoint, handwriting beautification, modular 3D printing, Rapunzel tresses (above), and a virtual snowball fight. The video is narrated by our own Adam Finkelstein, professor of computer science.


Technology Review recently highlighted research by Margaret Martonosi and colleagues from  AT&T, Rutgers University, and Loyola University who have devised a way to mine cellphone data without revealing callers’ identity.

The researchers are working with billions of location data points from AT&T mobile phone calls and text messages made in Los Angeles and New York City. The team is creating a “mobility model” of the two cities that “aggregates the data, produces representative ‘synthetic call records’—then mathematically obscures any data that could tend to identify people,” Technology Review reports.

“Noise is injected into the model at points in order to reduce the likelihood of individuals being identifiable,” says Martonosi, who is the Hugh Trumbull Adams ’35 Professor of Computer Science at Princeton.

In other news, a research paper coauthored by Martonosi and Sharad Malik, George Van Ness Lothrop Professor of Engineering, has been identified as one of the 25 most significant papers from the first 20 years of the International IEEE Symposium on Field-Programmable Custom Computing Machines.

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Engineering Dean H. Vincent Poor *77 has been elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Poor is a lead­ing researcher in the areas of sta­tis­ti­cal sig­nal pro­cess­ing, sto­chas­tic analy­sis and informa­tion the­ory — par­tic­u­larly as they apply to wire­less net­works. As EQN has pointed out before, two giants in Poor’s field of research also have an Edin­burgh con­nec­tion. The physi­cist James Clerk Maxwell and the inven­tor Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell were both educated at Edin­burgh.

In 2011 Poor received an hon­orary doc­tor­ate from the Uni­ver­sity of Edinburgh (see photo above).

David MacMillan, James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry, also was elected a fellow of the RSE this year.

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Queen Elizabeth Prize

Robert Kahn *64, widely credited with being one of the fathers of the Internet, is one of the winners of the first-ever Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.

Fellow award winners are Louis Pouzin, Tim Berners-Lee, Marc Andreessen, and Vint Cerf, with whom Kahn invented the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP), the fundamental communication protocols at the heart of the Internet.

Kahn, who received his Ph.D. from Prince­ton in 1964, is part of Princeton’s lumi­nous legacy in the field of com­puter sci­ence and in the devel­op­ment of the Inter­net. Alan Tur­ingAlonzo Church and John von Neu­mann all spent time at Prince­ton. Recent Inter­net inno­va­tors who were Prince­ton Engi­neer­ing under­grad­u­ates include Jeff Bezos, founder of Ama­zon, and Google executive Eric Schmidt.

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