Yeti at Pole marker_cropEngineering alumna Laura Ray, now a professor of mechanical engineering at Dartmouth, and her students helped create Yeti, a robot that is making Arctic and Antarctic exploration safer and more effective.

Yeti uses ground-penetrating radar to map crevasses, the deadly gaps hidden in ice fields that have been the bane of explorers since people first ventured into frozen lands. In a news release, the National Science Foundation, which funded Ray’s work, noted that Yeti “opens the door to making polar travel safer for crews that supply remote scientific research stations.”

“Polar exploration is not unlike space missions; we put people into the field where it is expensive and it is dangerous to do science,” said James Lever of the U.S. Army’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, which helped lead the Yeti project.

Ray and her students at Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering designed and built a predecessor to Yeti called Cool Robot. Researchers plan to deploy Cool Robot this summer on the Greenland ice sheet where it will take atmospheric samples as it travels. “The solar-powered, four-wheel-drive Cool Robot led to Yeti’s success, while helping the researchers meet NSF’s goal of integrating research and education,” the NSF said.

The NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory also funded the development of Yeti.

Ray earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton in 1984 and, after receiving her master’s at Stanford, returned to the Princeton MAE department for her Ph.D. She was a student of Professor Robert Stengel, a renowned figure in the field of flight control systems, who is now applying his numerical expertise to a range of problems in biology.

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Optics & PhotonicsThe cover story of the March issue of Optics & Photonics News features research by Branko Glisic on a new wave of sensors that will help ensure the long-term safety of buildings and bridges.

Glisic, who is an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, along with colleagues installed pair of novel fiber-optic sensor systems into the concrete of Streicker Bridge, a newly built pedestrian walkway between two areas of the Princeton campus. Read more about Streicker Bridge here.

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Pi Day PrincetonThe Princeton Theatre Experiment, in collaboration with the Arts Council of Princeton, on Saturday, March 9, is presenting a comedy mashup featuring several Princeton faculty. The event, called “An Evening of Physico-Mathematica-Logical Music and Comedy,” is a warm up to the town of Princeton’s annual Pi Day, a celebration of geekdom that occurs on the anniversary of the birthday longtime Princeton resident Albert Einstein. That date is March 14, or 3.14, the equivalent of pi, a mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.
The show will feature “Go-go boot jazz” bassist Wilbo Wright, saxophone/synth wizard Eric Haltmeier and Box Project guitarist Jeff Nathanson (whose day job is as director of the Princeton Arts Council) along with Princeton faculty members Bonnie Bassler, Howard Stone, and Ned Wingreen.  Concert pianist and former Institute for Advanced Study artist-in-residence Robert Taub will introduce and perform a Milton Babbitt piece as part of the evening’s offerings.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Arts Council. General admission tickets are $5; $3.14 for students and seniors.
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EWB prize photoThe United States Engineers Without Borders organization has named Princeton’s EWB chapter a 2013 Premier Project winner for its library project in Ashaiman, Ghana. In the summer of 2011, five students from Princeton Engineers Without Borders traveled to Ashaiman, to finish the construction of a community library. This trip was the culmination of a three-year project to provide the area with improved education and digital resources. The finished structure is now fully operational and open to the public. The library features electric lighting and fans, 37 netbooks and a charging station, and more than 7,000 labeled and catalogued books. This video by Jeremy Blair chronicles the group’s final visit. The travel team members were Buse Aktas ’14, Jeremy Blair ’13, Cole Freeman ’14, Elizabeth O’Grady ’13, and Akhil Reddy ’13.

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Three Princeton Engineering faculty members are part of a newly announced $194 million government-industry initiative called the Semiconductor Technology Advanced Research network (STARnet), a consortium of six new university research centers whose mission is to maintain U.S. leadership in microelectronics.

STARnet iconThe five-year cooperative effort between academia, government and industry is being directed by the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa).

Sharad Malik, Margaret Martonosi, and Naveen Verma will conduct research as part of the STARnet Center for Future Architectures Research (C-FAR), which is led by the University of Michigan. Malik will serve as the center’s associate director. C-FAR will be developing scalable next-generation computing platforms that will power applications such as computer vision, speech recognition, enhanced graphics, and big-data analysis.

Malik and Verma are also affiliated with the Systems on Nanoscale Information fabriCs Center (SONIC), which is led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. SONIC aims to achieve unprecedented levels of robustness and energy efficiency through statistically-driven applications, architectures and circuits.

More coverage on all six STARnet centers here via SRC and  here via EE Times.

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Red Bulletin Magazine coverRed Bulletin magazine has named Mike McAlpine one of the world’s 20 mightiest minds. He is in good company:  Stephen Hawking and Tim Berners-Lee also made the cut.

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The Princeton Fung Global Forum conference on the future of the city takes place January 30 to February 1 this year in Shanghai, China.  The conference showcases the work of a number of Princeton Engineering faculty and affiliated faculty, including Howard StoneJames SmithSigrid AdriaenssensBranko GlisicDenise MauzerallGuy Nordenson and Maria Garlock.

The Princeton-Fung Global Forum was established in 2012 as part of a $10 million gift by William Fung, who earned a BSE in electrical engineering from Princeton in 1970.

This short beautiful film of Shanghai was made by Princeton molecular biology graduate student Zach Donnell.

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New Yorker_Chouieri

Adam Gopnik, writing in the current New Yorker, features the redoubtable Edgar Choueiri *91 and his “quest for 3-D recording and other mysteries of sound.” You have to be a subscriber to read the whole piece. Here is an abstract.

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Spring BermanSpring Berman ’05 has won the Grolier Discovery Award for her book of poetry “All Time Acceptable.” The award is bestowed by the venerable Grolier Poetry Book Shop at Harvard Square. Naomi Ehrich Leonard, Berman’s mentor in mechanical and aerospace engineering, reports that the book includes a poem titled “The Autonomous Underwater Gliders.” Only at Princeton.

Berman earned her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in mechanical engineering and applied mechanics after receiving her undergraduate degree from Princeton. She is now an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Arizona State University.

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Great Inventions that Changed the WorldJames Wei has written a new book on Great Inventions that Changed the World. The book is written for a lay audience and covers inventions in a wide range of fields, from medicine and communications to music and painting.

The book grows out of an freshman course Wei taught at Princeton to both engineering and liberal arts students.

Wei is Pomeroy and Betty Perry Smith Professor of Chemical Engineering Emeritus and Dean Emeritus of the School of Engineering.

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