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Purdue Engineering Impact Magazine Fall 2009

College of Engineering In the eye of the storm - quelling economic turmoil

As nations around the world heal from the global economic crisis, they are looking for help from a source that is near and dear to us all: engineers. In fact, engineering and science are vital to healthy economies. Governments around the world have acknowledged this in economic stimulus packages that focus on improving infrastructure, energy efficiency, and healthcare.

Whether we play a role in reviving aging infrastructures in developed lands or introducing novel energy sources to developing nations, this is, indeed, an opportunity for Purdue Engineering to have global impact.

In this issue of Engineering Impact, we explore the ways in which our faculty, staff, and students are rallying to work with both developed and developing countries in this time of financial difficulty. The cover story takes a global look at the ways in which we are engaging with partners on both the local and international level, from research to improve healthcare delivery to a student and faculty partnership dedicated to improving transportation in Cameroon.

In telling this story, we continue throughout the magazine to feature perspectives from our partners around the world, all of whom share a common belief that engineering can help rebuild global economies.

We are making a difference not only on Earth but also in space. We are very proud in this issue to feature two alumni who joined this summer as crewmates on the space shuttle Endeavour. As they prepared for the mission last spring, Commander Mark Polansky (BS and MSAAE ‘78) and mission specialist David Wolf (BSEE ’78) took time to share their thoughts on the mission, engineering, and their dedication to Purdue.

I think you’ll agree that the extraordinary people of Purdue Engineering are truly making global impact.

Leah H. Jamieson
John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering
Ransburg Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Students design Boilermaker baseball complex
September 09, 2009
Civil engineering students in CE498—Senior Design had a curve ball thrown at them this spring when they were challenged to design a new Purdue baseball complex. We caught up with one of the 14 design teams, Atlas Consultants, as they presented their final design. In keeping with the sports theme, the team dubbed themselves “The Fantastic Four.”
Permanent exhibit inspires future engineers
September 09, 2009
The next time you walk through the lobby of Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering, don’t be surprised if you bump into a swarm of middle school students.
Biofuels Research Center Puts Purdue in National Eye
September 09, 2009
The U.S. Department of Energy will fund a $20 million effort at Purdue to create an Energy Frontier Research Center to advance work in biofuels.
Modeling Tool Fights Flu Pandemic
September 09, 2009
A modeling tool developed for the Indiana State Department of Health by engineering researchers and their colleagues could help manage the spread of pandemic flu.
Nanoscopic Probes Could Eliminate Cancer Cells
September 09, 2009
Joseph Irudayaraj, associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering, has developed probes that can help pinpoint the location of tumors and may directly attack cancer cells. The nanoscale, multifunctional probes have antibodies that search out and attach to cancer cells.
Nuclear engineering professor receives lifetime achievement award
September 09, 2009
Upon returning from a fall semester sabbatical last winter, Lefteri Tsoukalas found a rather humbling surprise in his unopened stack of mail. Unbeknownst to the professor of nuclear engineering was documentation that announced he had not only been nominated, but won the Humboldt Prize from Germany’s Humboldt Foundation.
Quelling economic turmoil
September 09, 2009
In 2005, with concern mounting about the eroding strength of the American science and technology enterprise, a task force was convened by the National Academies of Science and Engineering. The Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century prepared a report containing recommendations on how to reverse the perceived decline. It was published in 2007 under the title, Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future.
Notes from Africa: The Economy and Engineering
September 09, 2009
Purdue’s Global Engineering Program is working with the African Centre for Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technology (ACREST) to establish a motorized Basic Utility Vehicle (BUV) micro-factory in Bangang, Mbouda, Cameroon. The factory will serve as a manufacturing and training center for all of Central Africa.
Notes from Germany: The Economy and Engineering
September 09, 2009
For an international perspective on the global economic climate, we turned to Sigmar Wittig (HDR ’00), former president of the University of Karlsruhe (TH) in Germany and chairman emeritus of the German Aerospace Center. He is a member of the College of Engineering’s Advisory Council. Purdue Engineering has a close partnership with the University of Karlsruhe through exchange and learning programs such as the Global Engineering Alliance for Research and Education (GEARE).
Tackling Opportunities in Moments of Distress
September 09, 2009
Economic swings come and go, but the harsh reality is that entities that flourish at one point in time might not necessarily do so in others, as has been evidenced in recent press. Although quite obvious, it’s important to remember that it’s not just external factors, but also internal management approaches that, over time, determine various outcomes.
Stimulation Through Innovation
September 09, 2009
Are you sick of hearing about the poor state of the economy? I know that I am. I am concerned that we as a country are spending money we do not have and ultimately creating a larger downstream problem that our kids will have to solve.
Engineering skills used for a good cause
September 09, 2009
It turns out that the qualities that make good engineers also make good citizens. Teamwork, problem solving, and risk-taking skills—all essential qualities in the world of engineering—were put to the test in April by a group of agricultural and biological engineering students. The challenge for the eight-member team? Clean up a West Lafayette yard in three hours.
ABE students partner with African farmers
September 09, 2009
Clustered around a desktop computer in a cramped office in Accra, Ghana, a handful of Purdue students watch the screen as their African partner enters data into a spreadsheet. Typing in such parameters as slope, soil type, and available water inflow, the water management consultant develops the ideal furrow irrigation plan for a maize crop being cultivated just down the road.
Mark Lundstrom and his work on the frontiers of nanotechnology
September 09, 2009
Fifteen years ago, when Mark Lundstrom needed something to keep a graduate student busy for a semester, he set up a project on what is now known as cyberinfrastructure. That short-term endeavor soon sparked a revolution and evolution.
Celebrating a 50-year bond with Taiwan
September 09, 2009
Purdue and Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) are celebrating a 50-year alliance that took engineering and science from the American Heartland to the other side of the world.
Challenge match helps gifts grow
September 09, 2009
Mary Helmick (BSME ’86) has always been fascinated by the way things work, so when it came time to choose a college major, she was drawn to mechanical engineering. The hands-on nature of the discipline appealed to her, and Purdue was a good choice based on its reputation and an environment that supported women in engineering, Helmick recalls.
Engineering alums team up on shuttle mission
September 09, 2009
The summer 2009 mission of the space shuttle Endeavour marks the seventh time in space shuttle history two Purdue alumni have been aboard.
Seizing Opportunities in the Downturn
September 09, 2009
Grim. Glum. But golden. The economic downturn and its plummeting jobs and revenues are hitting the world hard. But that’s not stopping or slowing down some economic development and manufacturing leaders.