August/September 2004 Newsletter

In this issue:

From the Dean Dean Katehi

The fall semester is in full swing now, but I’d like to report two exciting developments that took place over the summer that I think you’ll find interesting.

The first: The Chronicle of Higher Education—the major trade publication for professors and other professionals in academia—featured Purdue Engineering in its July 9, 2004, articled titled “Battling the Image of ‘A Nerd’s Profession’: Universities Devise Programs to Lure More Students to Engineering.” In examining Purdue, the Chronicle specifically focused on our new Department of Engineering Education, which you read about in the April issue of this e-letter.

Purdue’s Department of Engineering Education, the first such department in any U.S. university, unites our freshman engineering department and our interdisciplinary engineering program and will eventually offer master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering education. It will reach out to local high schools, help develop K-12 engineering curricula, and look for ways to interest women and minority students in the discipline of engineering. In this era of declining engineering enrollments in the U.S. and increasing demands for engineers, Purdue is doing vital work.

The second news item I’d like to report is Purdue Engineering’s #8 ranking (shared with Carnegie Mellon) by U.S. News and World Report in its August survey of undergraduate academic programs. We’ve advanced one place from last year, and that’s indeed good news. (See “Engineering in the News,” below, for details on how individual engineering programs ranked.)

We at Purdue, and you—our dedicated alumni and friends—have known for a long time that Purdue Engineering is on the move. It’s rewarding indeed to see that others are taking notice as well!

Linda P.B. Katehi

Engineering in the News

U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges 2005 badge

The College of Engineering tied with Carnegie Mellon University for eighth nationally—up one place from last year—among doctoral-granting engineering programs. Purdue’s individual engineering disciplines ranked as follows:

  • Industrial/manufacturing engineering, 2nd
  • Nuclear engineering, tied for 4th
  • Aerospace/aeronautical engineering, tied for 4th
  • Agricultural engineering, 5th
  • Civil engineering, 6th
  • Mechanical engineering, 7th
  • Electrical/electronic/communications engineering, 8th
  • Computer engineering, 10th
  • Materials engineering, 12th
  • Chemical engineering, 13th
  • Environmental engineering, 18th
  • Biomedical engineering, tied for 18th

While Purdue Engineering has made substantial progress in the past two years, we are just starting on our journey toward preeminence. We expect to see all of our programs in the top ten, and we’re also working to place Purdue Engineering among the top four engineering schools in the country.

Signature Area Feature: Intelligent Infrastructure Systems (IIS)

Concrete lifecycle prediction experiment

Damage Detection: Concrete undergoes substantial movement between the time it is placed and the time it begins to develop strength. Here, Guy Mazzotta, a civil engineering undergraduate student working with Jason Weiss, an assistant professor in civil engineering, performs experiments to quantify movements as the concrete changes from a semi-solid to a solid using a robotically controlled non-contact laser. This length change is linked with acoustic emission testing that is used to detect cracking for the development of life-cycle prediction models for long-term durability of the nation’s infrastructure.

Intelligent Infrastructure Systems research on smarter buildings, self-monitored environmental systems, and better managed transportation flows will make for a safer, more efficient world. IIS seeks to proactively make security, self-monitoring, and emergency response plans part of the forethought of environmental, transportation, and structural systems.

Intelligent Structural Systems, a subhead under IIS, incorporates the ideas behind self-diagnosing and even self-healing structures. In addition to wiring buildings for their own self-examinations, two other subheadings—Intelligent Environmental Systems and Intelligent Transportation and Logistic Systems—will look to bolster those infrastructures. Chemical and biological sensors, for example, could ensure the safety of drinking water. When coupled with wireless technology, optimally placed sensors could immediately detect accidental and intentional releases of hazardous contaminants. Likewise, a smart transportation and logistics system will increase security while deftly managing day-to-day flows for both passenger and freight traffic.

With research experts pulled from practically every academic corner of the College of Engineering, including aeronautics and astronautics, chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical and computer engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, and nuclear engineering, Purdue is positioning itself as a frontrunner in the IIS field.

“Work in these areas is interdisciplinary by its very nature, involving expertise found in many departments in the School of Science, as well as engineering,” says Jim Krogmeier , co-chair of the IIS signature area and professor of electrical and computer engineering. “My own work involves the application of information technology—particularly wireless communications and sensor signal processing—to the problems of IIS. This effort began with a small collaboration with civil engineers working in the transportation area and has grown with the support of the Joint Transportation Research Program and other agencies.”

The Bowen Laboratory for Large-Scale Civil Engineering Research is providing a new research home for the interdisciplinary teams that will increase the IQs of next-generation buildings. “With 55,000 square feet of space, 14 faculty offices, three conference rooms, and space for 40 graduate students, this facility will be one of the largest and most advanced structural and materials testing facilities in the world ,” says Fred Mannering , the head of civil engineering. “The Bowen Lab will allow us to take a national leadership role in emerging new areas in structural analysis and materials such as composite systems, auto-adaptive media, seismic response and behavior, structural modeling and system performance, experimental mechanics, nondestructive testing, advanced sensor development and application, multi-scale modeling, and the application of advances in nanotechnology for structural evaluation and monitoring.”

Alumni News

LCDR Roland C. Roeder (BSNE ’90) is serving as executive officer onboard the USS Monterey (CG-62).

Joseph P. Martino (MSECE ’55) has published a murder mystery, The Justice Cooperative. Excerpts can be read at The book is available from

Purdue Engineering has contracted with the data company PCI to publish a College of Engineering alumni directory in Summer 2005. Our last directory was published in 1989. A representative may be contacting you in the next few weeks to update your information.

If you have news to contribute, whether about yourself or a friend or colleague who’s an alum, please forward it to Cindy Lawley, Director of External Relations, at


Homecoming’s Coming Up October 16
Check out Engineering’s displays, meet your Engineering Alumni Association representatives, and test your Purdue Engineering knowledge using our new touchscreen quiz—all at the MSEE building and courtyard (11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.). Enjoy some live entertainment and some good, and grab your opportunity to march with the All-American Marching Band to the stadium and cheer on the Boilermakers. Visit http:/ for more information.

Engineers Luncheon for Dean’s Club Members October 22
If you’re a member of the Dean’s Club (annual contributors at the $ 500-and-above level), make sure to attend this year’s Engineers Luncheon. It’s our expression of thanks to you, and it’s your opportunity to hear the latest on what’s going on in the College of Engineering. Please R.s.v.p. to


October 16

Homecoming Celebration, Purdue vs. Wisconsin
Alumni and friends welcome!
Engineering Tent, Engineering Mall, Purdue.
11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

October 22

Engineering Dean's Club Luncheon
Memorial Mall, Purdue
R.s.v.p. to

November 19

Engineering Alumni Association Service Awards
Maize Catering Facility
6 - 9 p.m.
R.s.v.p. to

Contact Us

Send your alumni news and thoughts on what you’d like to see in this e-newsletter to the Engineering Alumni Association at