Purdue Engineering Impact Magazine Winter 2013

College of Engineering From the Dean

In 2009, we launched our strategic plan to achieve preeminence through societal impact around the world. The stories in this edition of Impact magazine demonstrate some of the ways that we are achieving this goal.

By thinking more broadly, taking valuable, measured risks, and stepping outside traditional disciplinary boundaries, Purdue Engineering's extraordinary people are addressing today’s pressing challenges. Faculty, staff, students, and alumni, whose stories you’ll read here, are contributing to our progress.

Our cover story pays tribute to perhaps the most famous Purdue Engineering alum, astronaut Neil Armstrong, who passed away in August. Always a humble hero, Armstrong’s “small step for a man” has forged a path for so many seeking knowledge of our universe.

Also in this issue we explore interdisciplinary approaches being taken to address one of the most urgent challenges facing the world today — the need for safe, efficient, green energy. One example is our Hoosier Heavy Hybrid Center of Excellence that is engaged in innovative research to advance energy efficiency through fuel-flexible buses and trucks. 

You can also read about the work of alumni Douglas Adams and Eugene Bonfiglio, and Steve Schneider, professor of aeronautics and astronautics. They contributed to NASA’s successful mission to land “Curiosity,” the Mars Science Laboratory, on the surface of Mars in August. As they did their work, one of our undergraduates working as an intern at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed an iPhone app that solved problems encountered in maneuvering a Mars rover test double. 

On the topic of impact — but a very negative sort — research by the Purdue Neurotrauma Group documenting the number of head blows sustained by high school football players has been getting national attention. The findings are proving pivotal in developing new safety guidelines and gear. They also are providing supporting data for the argument being made by 2,000 former NFL players accusing the league of ignoring brain injuries resulting from the game.

And finally, I encourage you to join us in celebrating the global impact of the School of Civil Engineering, which is marking 125 years of excellence.

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

Saluting a quiet hero
January 30, 2013
Neil A. Armstrong, a Purdue  aeronautical engineering alum, will forever be known as the first human to set foot on the moon, but in a 2000 speech he humbly described himself as “a whitesocks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer, born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace and propelled by compressible flow.”
Toward a greener tomorrow
February 01, 2013
Multidisciplinary research is leading to clean, efficient, fuel-flexible vehicles.
EcoCar2: Plugging into the future
February 04, 2013
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has given students from 15 universities across North America, including Purdue, the chance to show what they can do in the field of automotive technology that looks to reduce greenhouse emissions and improve fuel efficiency.
City works with Purdue to create high-tech traffic-control system
February 04, 2013
Purdue engineers have worked with the city of Lafayette to create a new Advanced Transportation Management System, a network of sensors, computers and software to efficiently control traffic signals and reduce congestion.
Leading the charge in motorsports safety
February 04, 2013
Motorsports is big business in Indiana — $4 billion big. Teams increasingly need highly skilled technicians to engineer cars both for speed and safety. So when Purdue decided two years ago to start a motorsports program, officials sought out someone with strong credentials to lead the effort — Danny White.
Educated racer
February 04, 2013
If ever anyone was born to race cars, it may be Ryan Newman. A South Bend native and Purdue grad (IDE ’01), he got into racing when he was four-and-half years old. He was a member of the Richard Petty Fan Club and his boyhood heroes included the intimidating Dale Earnhardt and the fearless A.J. Foyt.
New models point way toward better solar cells
February 04, 2013
Research provides path to low-cost, more efficient designs and materials.
Winds of change
February 04, 2013
Collaboration across disciplines works to overcome technical challenges in quest to develop economical, clean and reliable wind energy.
‘Curiosity’ Mars mission inspires space exploration
February 04, 2013
Two Purdue alumni and a professor are part of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission, which landed the Curiosity rover on the planet’s surface in early August.
There's an app for that!
February 04, 2013
Purdue sophomore creates iPhone app to maneuver Mars rover test double.
Never too late to fulfill a dream
February 04, 2013
As a young boy growing up 60 miles from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Tony Cofer could see the big rockets go up into space, fueling his dream of becoming a rocket scientist. The dream, however, was interrupted by reality — 20 years as a laborer in a furniture factory. Now, at the age of 49, his dream is about to come true. He is a year away from receiving a doctorate in aeronautical and astronautical engineering.
Designing for efficiency
February 04, 2013
Reduce operating costs while helping the environment — that is the goal of Boeing engineer David Loffing, who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering at Purdue. He completed two summer internships at Boeing as an undergraduate and was hired full time after earning his master’s degree. Loffing explains his role in the wing development on the new Boeing 747-8, which has resulted in the best fuel efficiency for any large jetliner.
On course for discovery
February 04, 2013
A discovery by any other name might just be as unpronounceable. Yet for Emilia Czyszczon, a newfound passion for research led to a previously unidentified virus that will forever share her name — Czyszczon1.
When is one hit too many?
February 04, 2013
Purdue researchers are examining subconcussive injury in football players.
Student entrepreneur aims to head off concussions
February 04, 2013
Anne Zakrajsek didn't come to Purdue with becoming a serial entrepreneur foremost in her mind. But she knew she wanted to be more than successful. She also wanted to do things that are "significant," work that somehow makes a difference.
Engineering ace
February 04, 2013
Former Boilermaker tennis star helps bring lifesaving products to market.
Heritage, engineering combine to brew a unique career
February 04, 2013
Perhaps it was the German genes. Maybe, fatherly advice. Perchance, a desire to go off the beaten track. Whatever the cause, something led chemical engineer Otto Kuhn to a career that, 35 years into it, he still adores — brewmaster.
Body of work
February 04, 2013
Alum achieves unprecedented accolades for her breakthrough work in biomaterials and tissue engineering.
125 years of excellence
February 04, 2013

Civil Engineering embarked on its road to greatness in September 1887 with 39 students registered. By 1906, the discipline had its own ruddy brick building. Today more than 550 undergraduate students and 420 graduate students specialize in architecture, environment, construction, geotech, geomatics, hydraulics and hydrology, materials, structures and transportation. State-of-the-art facilities include more than 20 research and undergraduate teaching laboratories, two large computer laboratories and classrooms.

In 1887, Civil Engineering's road was paved with lofty intentions that shine as reality in 2012. The school ranks among the nation's top programs, with an undergraduate ranking of 7th and a graduate ranking of 6th as reported by U.S. News & World Report in 2013.

As we celebrate this important anniversary, take a look back at significant events that have shaped the school as compiled by writer Angie Klink and Cindy Lawley, director of external relations.