Purdue Engineering Impact Magazine Winter 2011

College of Engineering From The Dean

The 2011-12 academic year is in full swing at Purdue, and the College of Engineering is busier than it ever has been. The stories in this edition of Impact remind us that so much of what keeps us busy makes a profound impact outside Purdue, around the world, and even beyond our own planet.

In March, when a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, Purdue engineers provided analysis and understanding amid catastrophe and chaos. As you’ll read in the cover story, their expertise and ongoing work also will inform future natural-disaster safety strategies.

Safety is a constant concern for Purdue civil engineers whose work creating sound, long-lasting buildings and roads is relied on around the world. This edition of Impact gives you a glimpse into the large-scale research they are doing in Purdue’s state-of- the-art Bowen Lab.

Now that we have bid good-bye to NASA’s space shuttle program, you can read about how Purdue engineers are helping to guide the move away from NASA’s Constellation program by shaping future deep-space research.

I hope that you enjoy reading this edition of Impact. I am always delighted to have the opportunity to share with you a small sample of the exciting, vital work we are doing, and give you a periodic reminder of just a few of the ways that your Purdue College of Engineering continues to make a great impact throughout our world. 

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

Nuclear Fallout
February 02, 2012
Purdue engineers weigh in on lessons learned and what’s next for the industry following the power plant failures in Japan.
Q&A With Ahmed Hassanein
February 02, 2012
The Paul L. Wattelet Professor and Head of Nuclear Engineering
Ahmed Hassanein
Getting A Grip On Radiation
February 02, 2012

Like it or not, most nuclear engineers find themselves becoming spokespersons for the industry. Audeen Fentiman, professor of nuclear engineering and associate dean of graduate education and interdisciplinary programs, prefers to speak up on behalf of the technology. And she wants to set the record straight on radiation.

"Probably the biggest misconception about nuclear power is radiation," Fentiman says. "People do not realize that we are bombarded by radiation all day, every day."

Engineering For Safety
February 02, 2012
Drive to work, to school or on daily errands and you likely take for granted some bridges and roads built in the 1950s. But if any break down, that disturbs our routines, our safety and our economy. Purdue engineering faculty have a long history of researching infrastructure in the U.S. and around the world. Their work on assessing structural safety and developing innovative solutions makes them sought-after experts by local, state and federal government agencies as well as industry.
New course emphasizes human aspect of safety
February 02, 2012

Three Purdue alums who collectively have worked for nearly a century in the chemical engineering field have teamed up with chemical engineering faculty and staff to create a new undergraduate course focused on process safety management. CHE49700, Process Safety, was introduced this past spring and already is receiving praise from students and employers alike.

The course is open to juniors and seniors, many of whom work in internships and co-ops for companies.

Turning obstacles into opportunities
February 02, 2012
From a minority position as one of only 10 women in a class of 110 chemical engineering graduates in 1977, Deb Grubbe has gained majority standing in the chemical engineering industry.
The Future of Spaceflight
February 02, 2012
As the shuttle program ends, Purdue research is paving the way for deep-space exploration
Q&A With Janice Voss
February 02, 2012
Janice Voss (B.S. '75, Engineering Science), was an astronaut and NASA mission specialist. She lost her battle with breast cancer on Feb. 6, 2012. She became an astronaut in July 1991 and spent more than 49 days in outer space on five space missions.
Growing Hope
February 02, 2012
They say when given lemons, make lemonade. Purdue alumnus Carlos Odio (BSIE '65, BSCE '65) instead took oranges and parlayed them into a multinational citrus processing company.
STEMing the Engineering Brain Drain
February 02, 2012

Purdue's renowned program continues to inspire, recruit and retain through creative approaches.

What the world may need — now more than ever — is more women engineers. In the United States alone, where women wield more than half the buying power, it makes good business sense. Why not have more women involved in designing the technology and services they're buying?

A Century of Progress
February 02, 2012

Ray Harroun pilots his Marmon-Nordyke Wasp across the finish line capturing the win at the first Indianapolis 500. Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his team are the first to reach the South Pole. Researcher Marie Curie wins the Nobel Prize in chemistry — the first woman to earn such an honor.

There were a lot of firsts that year in 1911, but closer to home Purdue celebrated the founding of the School of Chemical Engineering. While many changes have occurred over the century, the same drive for discovery and excellence in education has continued.

As we celebrate this important centennial, take a look back at significant events that have shaped the school as compiled by Phillip Wankat, the Clifton L. Lovell Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Cristina D. Farmus, administrative director in the school.