Winter - Princeton University

equad news
Princeton University School of Engineering and Applied Science
Winter 2006-07
Volume 19, Number 1
Engineers advance the science, technology and policy of sustainable energy
2 E-voting shakeup • 3 Far reach of mid-infrared • 10 Billington’s new book • 12 Mathematical mentoring • 20 Engineers in Africa • 28 The three deans • 32 Quark Park
eqn Winter 2006–07
2 Engineering News
EQuad News
• E-voting hack fuels pre-election debate
• MIRTHE center draws ‘roadmap’ for future of mid-infrared technologies
• Patents from Princeton Engineering
• Beyond encryption, new stealth technique hides messages
• ‘Gigascale’ project pushes Moore’s Law to its limits and beyond
• Malik becomes director of Center for Innovation in Engineering Education
• Students learn engineering and help their community in new course
• Leadership in action: Augustine shares insights from pioneering career
• Go East, say entrepreneurs at panel on India
10An innovator in engineering
Winter 2006-07
Volume 19, Number 1
H. Vincent Poor *77
Associate Dean, Administration
Roland Heck
Associate Deans, Academic Affairs
12Massey’s mentorship creates
education, Billington connects
Margaret Martonosi
Catherine Peters
network of mathematicians
Associate Dean, Undergraduate Affairs
Peter Bogucki
Associate Dean, Graduate Affairs
Stephen Friedfeld
Associate Dean, Development
Jane Maggard
° Capturing
° Reducing
° Meng ’05 combines interests to confront environmental problems
in China
° Fanning
flames with
° Practical
Director of Engineering
Steven Schultz
Senior Writer
° Collaboration with
start-up company
improves efficiency of
solar power
Teresa Riordan
Writer/Publications Assistant
Hilary Parker ’01
Prachi Patel-Predd *03
Copy Editor
Jeanne DeVoe
20 Princeton Engineering in Africa
° Student sows seeds of community-helping
technology in Africa
° Project floods,
but persistence mounts
for Engineers Without Borders
° Initiative aims to improve
water and land use in Africa
23 Undergraduate News
• Leading companies
seek Princeton engineers
at annual job fair
24 Graduate News
• Graduate
fellowships support
technology for
developing regions
C2 eqn Winter 2006–07
Matilda Luk
26 Faculty News
28 Alumni News
EQuad News
C-222, EQuad,
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544
32 Quark Park
tel 609 258 4597
fax609 258 6744
[email protected]
• Graduate
travel grants
• Top graduate
students earn
fellowship honors
Graphic Designer
EQuad News is published
twice a year by the Office
of Engineering Communications in collaboration with
the Princeton University
Office of Communications.
It serves the alumni, faculty,
students, staff, corporate
affiliates and friends of the
Princeton University School
of Engineering and Applied
1 Dean’s Message
Denise Applewhite
John Jameson ’04
Frank Wojciechowski
Leveraging the strengths of many to solve global societal problems
My association with Princeton Engineering
extends more than three decades, yet I am still
impressed with what I have learned about this
school and the overall University in the last
six months. The end of November marked my
first half year as dean, and I am both happy
and humbled to report what I have found,
including the depth and extent of the support that the engineering school enjoys from
the Princeton administration, our colleagues
across the campus and our incredible group of
alumni. The picture that has emerged is one of
an exceptionally vital institution with a distinguished tradition of excellence in research and
Moving forward, the most important questions for the engineering school are: How can
we best organize our teaching and research to
address the major challenges facing society?
How can we improve human health around
the world? How can we clean up the environment? What are the most promising sustainable sources of energy? How do we detect
and prevent threats to our security? These
very complex questions require technological
solutions, but not just technological solutions.
The best answers will involve a synthesis of
fundamental science, creative engineering and
expertise from other fields including economics, public policy and the humanities. Longterm solutions also require that we prepare
our students to be leaders who integrate a
foundation in technical domains with a broad
understanding of society and history.
In many ways, the engineering school at
Princeton is built around such connections.
In this magazine, you will read about work
by engineers who, in close collaboration with
colleagues across the University and around
the world, are developing sustainable energy
sources. Robert Socolow, for example, is a
professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering who has become a leading voice on
how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over
the next 50 years. Rob is a member of the
Princeton Environmental Institute, which connects scientists, engineers and policy experts.
Engineers also work closely with the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International
Affairs, which includes world renowned
climate expert Michael Oppenheimer; with
the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, the nation’s
first lab for developing nuclear fusion energy;
and with the U.S. Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab, one of the world’s leading sources of
climate models.
Another major new cross-disciplinary
effort is the Mid-Infrared Technologies for
Health and the Environment (MIRTHE)
center, which was awarded initial funding
of $15 million from the National Science
Foundation. Led by electrical engineer Claire
Gmachl, this project brings together six
universities and a growing list of corporate
partners to take new sensor technology from
the lab to the marketplace. We expect the
results to bring major improvements to medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring and
homeland security.
These resources give us the opportunity
and responsibility to pursue big problems
while creating a rich educational environment.
Our Center for Innovation in Engineering
Education, now under the leadership of outstanding teacher and researcher Sharad Malik,
is ensuring that we educate students—engineers and non-engineers—to be leaders who
carry forward the spirit of inquiry, innovation
and service that is so abundant at Princeton.
As I look forward to the rest of my first
year as dean and many years ahead, I am
excited by the opportunities before us. I
encourage readers of this magazine—our colleagues in academia, industry and government,
prospective students and Princeton alumni—to
learn more about us and to help us in this
enterprise of leveraging Princeton’s strengths
to solve problems and create opportunities
around the world.
Photos by Frank Wojciechowski,
Steven Schultz, and John Jameson
H. Vincent Poor *77,
eqn Winter 2006–07
from Princeton Engineering
E-voting hack fuels pre-election debate
(From left)
Alex Halderman ’03, Professor
Edward Felten and Ariel Feldman
surround the Diebold AccuVote-TS
electronic voting machine they
hacked to demonstrate its
vulnerability to attacks that could
undermine election accuracy.
Photo by Shin Jae Won of the
Daily Princetonian
eqn Winter 2006–07
It is difficult to name a major
media outlet that did not feature, in the frenzied run-up
to the November elections,
Princeton computer scientist
Edward Felten’s now-famous
electronic voting machine
Among those that did:
Time, the NewsHour with
Jim Lehrer, the Los Angeles Times, the Philadelphia
Inquirer, the Wall Street
Journal, Technology Review,
ABC’s World News Tonight,
Agence France-Presse,
Fuji-TV and NPR’s Weekend
Edition Saturday with
Scott Simon, Science Friday, and the Diane
Rehm Show (twice).
The media juggernaut launched almost
immediately after Felten and colleagues
published a paper and video, describing the
hack, on the website of Princeton’s new Center
for Information Technology Policy, which
addresses crucial issues at the intersection of
society and computer technology.
Felten and graduate students Ariel Feldman
and Alex Halderman ’03 spent their summer
analyzing a Diebold AccuVote-TS electronic
voting machine that they obtained through a
private party and then creating demonstration
vote-stealing software to infect it.
“We found that the machine is vulnerable
to a number of extremely serious attacks that
undermine the accuracy and credibility of the
vote counts it produces,” wrote Felten and
his co-authors in their paper. The software,
which can be installed within a minute, can
fraudulently change vote counts without being
detected and then act as a virus, spreading
silently from machine to machine during the
normal process of preparing machines and aggregating vote totals.
The researchers also showed that the lock
protecting the machine could be easily picked
or, alternatively, opened with a mass-produced
key commonly used on jukeboxes, filing cabinets and hotel minibars. They demonstrated
various hacking scenarios in a 10-minute
The week after their postings, Felten, Feldman and Halderman appeared nationally on
Fox News and CNN and gave live demonstrations showing how the software could
sabotage a mock presidential election between
George Washington and Benedict Arnold
(though Washington received more votes,
Arnold won both times). When several people
uploaded the researchers’ video to YouTube,
the popular video-posting website, the Diebold
hack was soon rated one of the site’s most
popular videos.
Although the CNN and Fox News live
demonstrations went flawlessly, the researchers were besieged by some last-minute glitches.
Felten and Feldman were up until 2 a.m. the
night before, squashing a last minute bug in
their vote stealing software. Before going to
bed they handed it off to Halderman who ran
the program repeatedly for hours to make sure
there would be no problems with the on-air
Felten said the team created the software,
which they keep carefully guarded lest it fall
into malevolent hands, in the spirit of helping
to guide public officials in better securing
Diebold responded that Felten and his
students had an old version of the voting
machine software and thus their findings were
irrelevant. Felten countered that the software
he studied was used in actual elections and
that Diebold claimed at the time it was secure.
His group has offered to test a current version
to see whether the problems have been fixed.
When Randall Stross—a writer for The
New York Times who described the trio’s
work as a “devastating critique”—contacted
Diebold and asked if the company would
supply Felten with a current version of the
machine to test, it declined to do so.
Felten said his offer remains open to
Diebold or any other manufacturer of electronic voting machines. “We would be happy
to study any of these paperless systems,”
he said.
Felten, Feldman and Halderman have been
examining the tightly contested race in Florida
for the House seat being vacated by legislator
Katherine Harris. In that race, 13 percent of
electronic ballots did not register a vote for the
House race even though they included votes
for candidates in lesser races, such as that for
the local hospital board delegate (normally the
discrepancy is about 1 percent).
At press time, few election fraud allegations
had surfaced. But that was not particularly
reassuring for Felten.
“Even if we don’t see any glitches, that
doesn’t mean there aren’t any problems,” said
Felten. “Many problems would be invisible
and impossible to detect.”
He noted, for example, that a recount
in the close Virginia Senate race would not
really have made a difference because Virginia
requires no paper record to accompany electronic voting. “You can’t really do a recount if
you don’t have a paper record.”
Felten said he hoped lessons from this
election would increase Congressional support
for closer scrutiny of electronic voting. In the
last session, Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., authored
a bill that would mandate a verified paper
trail, random post-election audits and more
openness from voting machine vendors. In
September, Felten testified before the House
Administration committee on the need for
such reforms. More than half the House mem-
bers cosponsored the bill, but it languished
in committee.
“The elections are over,” said Halderman,
“But democracy continues. There is time to do
a lot of good for the 2008 election.”
Now that the media siege has abated,
Felten will be establishing the coming agenda
for his new center, which is a joint initiative of
the engineering school and Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International
Affairs. It is funded in part by a grant from
Microsoft. “This is just one example of the
kind of work the center will do,” said Felten.
­—Teresa Riodan
MIRTHE center draws ‘roadmap’
for future of mid-infrared technologies
Noninvasive medical devices that detect
disease by analyzing a single human breath are
likely to be the blockbuster applications that
launch mid-infrared laser technology, according to participants in a recent “roadmapping”
exercise at Princeton.
More than 60 representatives from 35
companies, government laboratories and nonprofit corporations participated in an all-day
workshop July 11 to share their visions for
Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and
the Environment (MIRTHE), an engineering
research center based at Princeton and funded
through a major grant from the National Science Foundation.
The day was designed to provide an opportunity for industry professionals to identify
goals for MIRTHE’s direction, said Claire
Gmachl, the center’s director and an associate
professor of electrical engineering.
“The process encapsulated the center’s
commitment to engage industry,” said Joseph
Michels, MIRTHE managing director and director for research initiatives at the Princeton
Institute for the Science and Technology of
Materials. “It’s very different from your standard collaborative research project. Instead of
making a discovery and looking for companies
to develop it, we are asking companies what
technologies they need or would potentially be
interested in before our research even starts.”
The focus of the MIRTHE center is the
development of sensors that rely on a new
type of laser to detect minute amounts of
chemicals found in air, the environment and
human breath. In 2005, Gmachl was awarded
a MacArthur “genius grant” for her work on
these devices, called quantum cascade lasers,
which are the first compact, easy-to-use source
of light in the mid-infrared portion of the
spectrum. Mid-infrared light reveals many
chemicals, including ammonia and carbon dioxide, that are invisible to other wavelengths.
The roadmapping exercise was but one
part of an ongoing conversation, Gmachl said,
as today’s sensors and their applications are
constantly evolving. Industry participation
with the center already has yielded “surprising” insights, she said, including an unexpected level of interest in sensors designed
for liquid environments. These devices could
detect pollutants in streams and rivers or
examine gases in the blood. Participants also
said that a prime area for exploration would
be sensors that monitor combustion and other
industrial scale processes.
Corporate partners said it is essential to
increase the number of reliable laser sources
and stressed the desirability of sensors that
can function in varied conditions. This would
permit the use of the devices in real-world environments, such as power plant smokestacks
where sensors could analyze emissions and air
Since it started in May, the MIRTHE center
has attracted more than ten industry and
non-profit members, including multinational
electronics giant Siemens and California-based
molecular detection and imaging firm Daylight
Solutions. The investment firms Consensus
Business Group and GHO Ventures also
signed on, as did the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the leading federal lab for
environmental monitoring and counter-terrorism research.
“As a MIRTHE member, Siemens sees an
excellent opportunity to collaborate with
university faculty and students to produce
breakthrough innovations,” said Paul Camuti,
president and chief executive of Siemens
Corporate Research. “We see applications
for MIRTHE technologies in the healthcare,
security and environmental markets, both
here in the U.S. and around the world. In
addition, MIRTHE makes it easy to partner
with different institutions and companies to
(From left) MIRTHE deputy
directors Anthony Johnson
of University of MarylandBaltimore County and Matthew
Fraser of Rice University stand
in the lab of center director
Claire Gmachl with managing
director Joe Michels, both of
Photo by Frank Wojciechowski
eqn Winter 2006–07
James Smith, Princeton professor of civil
and environmental engineering, adjusts
an arm on the eddy covariance station,
which houses instruments that monitor the
exchange of carbon, nitrogen and water
between the land and the atmosphere.
Photo courtesy of James Smith
educate future researchers about our needs.
The roadmapping exercise provided the right
forum to learn about MIRTHE and for Siemens Corporate Research to provide input to
the future direction of the center’s initiatives.”
Because MIRTHE researchers
are at the forefront of the field,
they are able to educate their
corporate colleagues about sensor technologies as they emerge,
said Joseph Montemarano, the
director for industrial liaison in
the Princeton Institute for the
Science and Technology of Materials. An ongoing dialogue will
enable industry professionals to
make well-informed decisions
when faced with investment opportunities, he said.
In addition to the initial work with
corporate partners, collaborative research has
begun among scientists and engineers from
MIRTHE’s six partner universities—Princeton,
Texas A&M University, Rice University, Johns
Hopkins University, the City College of New
York and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
James Smith, Princeton professor of civil
and environmental engineering, is currently
working with two measurement platforms
housed at Princeton that rely on MIRTHE
technologies. The first, a Laser Imaging
Detection and Ranging system that measures
atmospheric aerosols, is a partnership with
scientists and engineers at City College. The
second, called an eddy covariance station,
will measure the turbulent fluxes of carbon
dioxide, water vapor and nitrogen compounds
between the land surface and atmosphere.
Smith, who is collaborating with scientists
and engineers at Rice, UMBC and Princeton,
has installed the 20-foot-tall station near the
Broadmead detention pond in Princeton.
Smith and his collaborators believe the instruments they develop will provide previously
unattainable information about the carbon,
nitrogen and water exchange between the land
surface and the atmosphere. These key data
could advance the quest to understand and
mitigate global environmental change,
he said. (See story, page 15.)
“It opens up all kinds of doors for research,” he said.
MIRTHE also has begun a number of
educational activities, including the creation
of the “MIRTHE Academy,” a core group of
graduate and undergraduate students involved
in research projects and exchange programs
between the member universities. Future
MIRTHE educational outreach initiatives will
target students in kindergarten through twelfth
grade, teachers and members of the general
A major goal of these efforts, Gmachl
said, will be to provide people with a “bigger
vision” of mid-infrared technology and
its inherent possibilities. —Hilary Parker
Princeton’s patent value ranked third among universities
IEEE Spectrum ranked Princeton third among
universities in its assessment of “the world’s
most valuable patent portfolios.” The ranking
was published in the magazine’s November
“This reflects the strength of patents in the
engineering school and the greater University,” said John Ritter, director of the Office of
Technology Licensing and Intellectual Property
at Princeton.
According to Ritter, nearly three-quarters of patents granted to Princeton are for
research in the engineering school.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology
ranked first and the University of California
system ranked second. Stanford University,
the University of Michigan and the California
Institute of Technology rounded out the top
six slots.
The ranking took into account four
eqn Winter 2006–07
•Pipeline growth: the university’s trend in
patenting, measured by dividing the number
of patents obtained in 2005 by the annual
average for the years 2000 through 2004.
•Pipeline impact: how frequently the university’s patents are cited in other patents.
• Pipeline generality: the variety of technologies that might spring from a patent.
• Pipeline originality: the number of original inventions compared to the number of
inventions that were incremental improvements on existing technology.
The article also ranked companies in terms
of patent power. The full article can be found
online at
In the spring, Princeton’s Center for Innovation in Engineering Education will sponsor its second Innovation Forum, which will
feature cutting edge research across Princeton
with robust potential commercial applications.
See for
updates about the engineering forum. —TR
Beyond encryption, new stealth technique hides messages
Princeton engineers have invented a method of
stealth communication that disguises not only
the information contained in a message, but
the existence of the message itself.
Today’s encryption technologies rely on
computer programs to scramble information, but the fact that a message is being sent
is still detectable to outside parties. Evgenii
Narimanov, assistant professor of electrical
engineering, and graduate student Bernard Wu
have taken security to a new level, hiding the
transmission in the “static”—or minute random light pulses—found along the fiber-optic
cables in all public networks.
“One would use this stealth not instead of,
but in addition to encryption,” Narimanov
said, thereby providing the greatest security
Narimanov and Wu presented their proposed method at the annual meeting of the
Optical Society of America on Oct. 9.
The most exciting thing about this form
of stealth, Narimanov said, is that it would
use existing technology and networks. His
system relies on a technique called CDMA
(code-division multiple access), which spreads
radio transmissions across the spectrum and is
widely used in increasing the capacity of cell
phone networks.
Narimanov, whose research arises from his
background in theoretical physics, is working with electrical engineering professor Paul
Prucnal to test the concept experimentally.
The CDMA encoder would be used to
transform the message into a lengthy series of
small signals that are imperceptible against
the ever-present background noise in public
information networks. Upon receipt of the
transmission, the appropriate party could use
a similar method to recondense the message,
provided the recipient was aware of how it
had originally been manipulated.
Though the method is not yet in use, this
“cheap and fast” technique could lessen the
need for organizations to build and maintain
more secure and more expensive networks,
he said.
“This can be done at many levels—from
long-haul all-optical networks to the really
small ones, such as a fiber network on a ship
or on an airplane,” Narimanov said.—HP
Electrical engineering faculty
members Evgenii Narimanov
(left) and Paul Prucnal are
collaborating to conduct
practical tests of a stealth
communication technique
developed by Narimanov and
graduate student Bernard Wu.
Photo by Steven Schultz
‘Gigascale’ project pushes Moore’s Law to its limits
and beyond
Four Princeton researchers are working on
a major project to ensure that computing
capability continues to increase long after individual transistors reach their physical limits.
As transistors approach the nanometer
scale, many challenges must be met to match
the rate of advancement described by Moore’s
Law, said Sharad Malik, the associate director
of the Gigascale Systems Research Center, a
project involving 41 researchers at 17 institutions.
Based on an observation by Intel founder
Gordon Moore, the law describes the increase
in computing capacity made possible by
decreasing the size and thus roughly doubling
the number of transistors on computer chips
every two years, an escalation that’s gone
unabated for 40 years.
Malik and his Princeton colleagues, computer scientist David August and electrical
engineers Margaret Martonosi and Li-Shiuan
Peh, are contributing to the center’s efforts to
design new ways to meet the growth described
by Moore’s Law even after transistors can no
longer be made smaller or faster. The center
recently received renewed funding from the
Microelectronics Advanced Research Corporation, an industrial consortium, and the
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
One of the challenges is to use hundreds, or
even thousands, of processors effectively on a
single chip, Malik said. This division of labor
among separate processors allows greater
computing power without resorting to the
conventional method of increasing the speed
of individual processors, which consumes
exorbitant amounts of power.
Although preliminary applications of this
technique are commercially available in chips
with two to four processors, Malik said it
remains difficult to divide computer problems
among many parallel processors. August,
Martonosi and Peh are working to solve the
challenges presented by these devices while
also tapping their potential.
“Having billions of transistors at the nanometer scale also poses a significant reliability
challenge,” Malik said. His research involves
mitigating these problems through the design
of systems that work even if all of their components do not.
As physical limits are approached, it is possible that new devices may replace traditional
transistors, Malik said. A key part of the
center’s research aims to ensure that computing capabilities continue to grow even as a
migration to these devices takes place.
eqn Winter 2006–07
A Princeton faculty member since 1991 and
the director of Princeton’s Center for Innovation in Engineering Education, Malik lauded
the Gigascale Systems Research Center as “a
tremendous resource” for Princeton students.
They participate in collaborative projects with
leading academics and researchers from industry leaders, including IBM and Intel.
“The students are part of this cutting-edge
dialogue on the changing face of the entire industry over the next 10 to 15 years,” he said.
Malik becomes director of Center for Innovation in Engineering Education
Above: Sharad Malik.
Left: Bob Monsour.
Photos by Denise
Sharad Malik, George Van Ness Lothrop
Professor in Engineering, has been named
director of Princeton’s Center for Innovation
in Engineering Education.
The freshly minted center begins its second
academic year with an ambitious agenda
that includes two lecture series, an internship
initiative and innovative curriculum offerings
for undergraduates and graduate students.
H. Vincent Poor, dean of engineering and
founding director of the center, said he has
high expectations for the center under Malik’s
“Sharad is a stellar talent in his field of
research, in the classroom, and as a leader,”
said Poor. “He embodies the very qualities
that CIEE aspires to nurture in students.”
Malik said that CIEE’s primary role is to
serve as an incubator for new ideas in engineering education. The center is pioneering
new interdisciplinary approaches to teaching
engineering as well as new approaches to the
teaching of core technological concepts to
non-technical majors.
“One of our goals is to help equip
students—whether they are engineers or nonengineers—with the skills they will need to be
technologically astute leaders of the future,”
said Malik. “We need to cultivate and grow
the pathways between the engineering school
and the greater University. All students on
campus should have access to the rich opportunities that the engineering school offers
and engineering students should be working
shoulder-to-shoulder with their colleagues
elsewhere on campus as they tackle real-world
Malik’s research expertise is the computeraided design of electronic systems. (See ‘Gigascale’ story, page 5.) Malik has been honored
three times with the Undergraduate Engineering Council’s Excellence in Teaching Award.
Among CIEE’s curriculum initiatives are:
•A course in community-focused design
taught by Edward Coyle *82, Kenan Visiting
Professor for Distinguished Teaching and
eqn Winter 2006–07
co-founder (with Princeton alumna Leah
Jamieson *77, dean of engineering at Purdue
University) of Engineering Projects in Community Service. (See story, page 7.)
•A course titled “Faster and Higher: Hypersonics and Space Exploration,” taught by
Roger Burk, a visiting professor from United
States Military Academy.
•A course in patent law for engineers, taught
by Margaret Radin, a visiting professor
from Stanford Law School who this year is
a fellow with the Woodrow Wilson School’s
Program in Law and Public Affairs.
• A course in innovation process management
taught by Karl Zaininger *64, chairman
and CEO of Global Technology Management Partnerships and visiting professor of
mechanical and aerospace engineering.
• An interdisciplinary course called EMP
(Engineering, Math, Physics), led by Class
of 1950 Professor of Chemical Engineering
Pablo Debenedetti, designed both to give
freshmen early exposure to engineering and
integrate the teaching of math and physics in
an engineering context.
• Writing seminars for engineering graduate
students, taught by Judith Swan, the
Princeton Writing Program’s assistant
director for scientific and technical writing.
The center also seeks to highlight popular existing courses, such as the “High-Tech
Entrepreneurship” class taught by Ed Zschau
’61, visiting lecturer with the rank of professor, and “Entrepreneurial Engineering,” taught
by Dan Nosenchuck, associate professor of
mechanical and aerospace engineering.
Another major initiative of the center is
to increase the opportunities for students to
engage in internships and gain hands-on experience. Longtime entrepreneur Bob Monsour
has been appointed as the center’s associate
director and is leading the internship effort.
(For details about Monsour, his new work at
Princeton Engineering and his experience as
a founder of an early computer industry phenomenon, see an online article at engineering.
The center is sponsoring two lecture series
this academic year. On Oct. 19, Norman Augustine, former chairman and chief executive
officer of Lockheed Martin Corp., delivered
the inaugural talk in a new lecture series titled
“Leadership in a Technological World.” And
in partnership with the Jumpstart New Jersey
Angel Network, the center hosts a lecture series on technology entrepreneurship. The first
event in that series this year was an Oct. 25
panel discussion of entrepreneurial experiences and opportunities created by the emergence
of India as a technology power. (See stories,
page 8-9.)
Malik emphasizes that the center’s mandate is to be experimental.
“Some initiatives will succeed and some
will fail but we will always be trying new
things,” he said.—TR
New course combines engineering and community service
An innovative teacher and researcher, Edward
Coyle *82 connected the dots when he saw engineering students in need of real-world design
experience and local non-profit organizations
struggling to use technology to better serve the
The result of Coyle’s insight is Engineering
Projects in Community Service (EPICS),
a program he and Leah Jamieson *77 cofounded at Purdue University in 1995 to pair
teams of students with local educational and
service organizations. Now a Kenan Trust
Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching,
Coyle brings the program to Princeton this
year, making the University one of nearly 20
throughout the world to offer the educational
“The goal is to have every student doing
something that’s relevant to their discipline,”
Coyle said, including engineers and non-engineers.
EPICS is sponsored jointly by Princeton’s
Center for Innovation in Engineering Education and the Community Based Learning
Initiative and has so far attracted early applications from students in many departments,
from engineering to the Woodrow Wilson
School of Public and International Affairs.
Though they register for the course in the
spring, Princeton students in EPICS already
have begun working with their partner organizations and will continue to do so throughout
the academic year. An option exists to enroll
in the course for two additional years, thereby
satisfying three course requirements.
Two projects, each with eight team members and a faculty advisor, are now in the
planning stages at Princeton. The first will
partner students with the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association to transform the
organization’s 30-year-old Buttinger Nature
Center into a model “green” building.
“The project is about environmental sustainability and energy,” said the team’s faculty
adviser Catherine Peters, an associate dean of
academic affairs in the School of Engineering
and Applied Science and a professor of civil
and environmental engineering. “This is one
of the most important technological problems
facing future generations of engineers.”
The second project pairs a team jointly
with Isles, a Trenton-based community organization, and Princeton Young Achievers, an
after-school program for Princeton elementary
students from low-income families. Under the
guidance of mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Michael Littman, the team
will renovate an eighteenth-century clock in a
factory building owned by Isles while creating
a hands-on engineering experience for the
Princeton Young Achievers.
“I think it’s a wonderful program,” said
Bob Ellis ’79, a mechanical engineer at the
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and a
Princeton Young Achievers board member.
“It’s the sort of thing you’re not really accustomed to seeing out of engineering schools.”
Catherine Peters, professor of
civil and environmental engineering, introduces students
to a “green building” project
at the New Jersey Stony
Brook-Millstone Watershed Association. The student team will
pursue the project this spring
as part of a new course.
Photo by Frank Wojciechowski
eqn Winter 2006–07
In addition to the benefits for the Princeton Young Achievers, many of whom have
never before had tangible experience with mechanical objects and processes, Ellis said the
experience will help Princeton students when
they enter “the real world” after graduation.
This has been verified for Coyle many
times in the past decade. A Motorola recruiter
once told him that EPICS participants have
a three- to four-year advantage over other
recent college graduates, and Coyle has found
that increasing numbers of companies actively
seek students with EPICS experience.
The seeds of EPICS were sown when
Coyle was an undergraduate at the University
of Delaware. Three years of experience on
an electronic printing project with electrical
engineering professor Peter Warter ’54 *62,
a former vice-president of the Xerox Corporation, taught him the power of hands-on
projects. At Purdue, Coyle teamed up with
colleagues Jamieson, the current dean of
Purdue Engineering, and Hank Dietz, now
a professor at the University of Kentucky, to
create EPICS.
Here at Princeton, alumni connections
have been instrumental in getting the program
off the ground. In addition to Ellis, many of
the key players in the new partnerships are
University graduates, including Isles’ founder,
president and chief executive officer Martin
Johnson ’81, Isles’ research associate Joseph
Robinson II ’05 and Jim Waltman ’86, the
Watershed’s executive director.
Now that EPICS has arrived at Princeton,
Coyle said his goal is to ensure the program
continues to grow long after he returns to
Purdue in the fall. With plans to expand the
current projects already in the works, perhaps
with the addition of a new wing to the nature
center, and a long list of potential partner
organizations, he is confident of EPICS’ future
success at the University.
The potential also exists for the commercialization of technologies developed through
EPICS partnerships, he said. In March,
Princeton will host the 2007 National Idea
to Product Competition for socially-focused
entrepreneurship projects. Princeton’s EPICS
teams will have a chance to gain feedback and
guidance from industry professionals at the
event as they compete against other entrants
for cash prizes.—HP
Leadership in action: Augustine shares insights from pioneering career
Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin
eqn Winter 2006–07
Great leaders help create other great leaders,
Norman Augustine ’57 *59 told a Princeton
audience Oct. 19 as he did just that, sharing
his insights on leadership to inaugurate the
engineering school’s “Leadership in a Technological World” lecture series.
Augustine, the former chairman and chief
executive officer of Lockheed Martin Corp.
with leadership experience in industry, academia, government and the non-profit world,
earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees
in aeronautical engineering from Princeton.
Calling him a leader who embodies Princeton’s informal motto, “in the nation’s
service and the service of all nations,” Dean
of Engineering H. Vincent Poor *77 said
Augustine was the perfect choice to kick off
the new series, which is sponsored by the Center for Innovation in Engineering Education.
“The main goal of the center is to educate
leaders, both engineers and non-engineers,
who can lead what is becoming increasingly a
technological world,” Poor said.
Using positive and negative examples to
illustrate 12 necessary “ingredients” for true
leadership, Augustine touched on everything
from the Boston Celtics basketball team to a
fateful decision that led to the 1986 Challenger space shuttle disaster. Attributes including
integrity, vision, courage and selflessness come
together in diverse combinations in leaders
who have a positive impact on the world, he
“You don’t necessarily know [great leadership] when you see it in advance, but you’ll
sure recognize it when you see it in action,” he
said, humorously pointing to a 1978 photograph of Microsoft Corp.’s founders, which
included a boyish-looking Bill Gates.
Humor may have peppered his talk, but
Augustine was serious as he discussed the
challenges, particularly ethical ones, faced by
leaders in today’s world. Honesty is always the
best policy, he said, even when it has shortterm negative repercussions. He told of a time
at Lockheed when he received an anonymous
envelope containing a competing company’s
upcoming bid for a major contract. He informed the competitor and refused to alter his
own bid, which ultimately lost.
People always face difficult decisions
with incomplete information and conflicting
advice, he said. Whether they become great
leaders depends on how they rely on their own
skills, and the talents of others, to rise to
the occasion.
“Often, the difference between victory and
defeat is very small,” Augustine said. —HP
N E W S Faculty
Go East, say entrepreneurs
at panel on India
American entrepreneurs and venture capitalists
should cast their eyes toward India, Princeton
graduates Randolph Altschuler ’93 and Sumir
Chadha ’93 said in a panel discussion Oct. 25.
Altschuler, co-founder of the outsourcing
company Office Tiger, and Chadha, senior managing director of Sequoia Capital India, painted
a picture of the Indian economic landscape that
was optimistic, but tempered with the realism
of hard experience.
“It’s almost like every sector is booming,”
Chadha said, though he warned of pitfalls hidden in the “huge amount of economic optimism” that has taken India by storm.
The event, “Creating New Ventures in India:
Experiences, Opportunities and Challenges,”
was part of a Technology Entrepreneurship
Series co-sponsored by Princeton’s Center for
Innovation in Engineering Education and the
Jumpstart New Jersey Angel Network. It was
moderated by engineering professor Ed Zschau
’61, who teaches the University’s popular hightech entrepreneurship course.
Former roommates at Princeton, and
later classmates at Harvard Business School,
Altschuler and Chadha shared similar thoughts
on business in India, despite having taken different approaches to the market. Altschuler,
who majored in German literature, co-founded
Office Tiger in 2000 with classmates Joseph
Sigelman and Ravi Srinivasan. Chadha, a computer science major, plunged into the country
that same year as a venture capitalist.
The forward-thinkers were among the first
to realize the possibilities in outsourcing to
India, but their successes did not always come
“The infrastructure in India is still pretty
poor,” Altschuler said. “But you can build your
own infrastructure much easier [now than six
years ago].”
Both Office Tiger and Sequoia are battling
high turnover rates among employees, and dealing with the Indian government is a challenge,
the panelists said. Furthermore, labor and real
estate costs have skyrocketed in Bangalore,
Delhi and Bombay, leading many companies to
set up shop in smaller, less-developed cities.
These challenges notwithstanding, Altschuler
and Chadha said that taking advantage of the
business opportunities in India­­—from coffee shops to accounting services to software
design—will help, rather than hurt, individual
companies and the U.S. economy as a whole.
“I actually think it is going to make
us much stronger,” Chadha said. “It creates
new markets and new opportunities as the
Indian markets develop.”
Improved telecommunications also are extending business opportunities to many other
parts of the globe, including rural parts of the
United States, said Altschuler.
The entrepreneurship series will continue
early next year, date to be announced, with an
Innovation Forum where Princeton scientists
and engineers will present research with commercial potential to an audience of students,
entrepreneurs and investors. —HP
Sumir Chadha ’93 shares insights on entrepreneurship and
venture capitalism in India with
interested audience members
following an Oct. 25 panel
discussion at Princeton.
Photo by Stephanie Landers
eqn Winter 2006–07
An innovator in engineering education,
Billington connects disciplines
David P. Billington explains
the mechanics of a suspension bridge with the help of a
model built out of K’nex toys
and simple supplies from a
hardware store. The bridge is
part of a laboratory created
by Michael Littman, professor
of mechanical and aerospace
engineering and Billington’s
collaborator for the “Engineering in the Modern World”
course. It allows students to do
quantitative experiments with
three-dimensional models of
structures studied in class.
by Teresa Riordan Photo by Denise Applewhite
David P. Billington ’50 is well known for connecting engineering to other disciplines within
the University—to the humanities, art, science
and politics. His courses in “Structures and
the Urban Environment” and “Engineering in
the Modern World” combine the study of engineering with an exploration of the aesthetic
and social values intrinsic to it, an association
of ideas that have made them some of the
most popular courses among engineering and
non-engineering students for decades.
Billington, the Gordon Y.S. Wu Professor of Engineering, has taught perhaps 5,000
Princeton undergraduates since joining the
faculty in 1960.
“It would have never occurred to me to
make these kinds of connections if I had not
been at Princeton,” said Billington. “I don’t
think it would have been possible at other
universities to have such long and fruitful
conversations with other disciplines. But I was
able to do it here because of the University’s
relatively small size and because the engineering school is so integral to the University
Billington’s latest project is a book that
provides an accessible account of eight
breakthrough innovations that transformed
American life from 1876 to 1939. He and his
son, historian David P. Billington Jr., collaborated to write “Power, Speed and Form: Engineers and the Making of the 20th Century,”
published this month by Princeton University
10 eqn Winter 2006–07
Press. The authors provide short narrative
accounts of each breakthrough to explain
the engineering behind the innovation and to
describe how its innovators thought. On Oct.
27, he and his son were keynote speakers in
San Diego at the annual conference of the
National Academy of Engineering’s Center for
the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education.
Billington has earned numerous honors
for his scholarship and his teaching, including
three Engineering Council awards. When Billington received the President’s Distinguished
Teaching Award in 2001, one former student
praised him as “the best instructor, the most
inspirational adviser, and the professor with
the most lasting impact on my interests and
thinking.” In 2003, he received the National
Science Foundation Director’s Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars.
In a recent conversation, Billington spoke
about the beauty of engineering, his approaches to teaching and how Princeton has changed
in the past 50 years.
Why did you and your son write the book?
The book grows out of my class “Engineering
in the Modern World,” which I teach with
Michael Littman [professor of mechanical and
aerospace engineering]. It is often the largest
course offered by the engineering school, and
it draws engineering and liberal arts students
alike. All of my scholarship grows out of this
introductory course and two similar ones, and
it feeds into those courses. I think of every
lecture as a peer-reviewed publication.
The idea of the book, which is a follow-up
volume to my 1996 book “The Innovators,” is
to focus on individual people and to differentiate between true innovators and mere inventors. The difference is that an inventor takes
out a patent on a specific invention. There are
hundreds of thousands of inventors but many
fewer innovators. An innovator in private
industry brings an invention to market so that
it has a place in the market economy, while an
innovator in public works designs a new type
of structure that has widespread impact.
There are two types of innovations. One
type is an improvement on something that
already exists. Then there are radical innovations, which truly change the culture. The telephone and the radio were radical innovations.
The cell phone is less so because it is basically
an improvement on existing innovations in
wireless and the telephone. I don’t denigrate
the more gradual kind of invention; it’s just
that the other kind is more interesting to teach
in an introduction to modern engineering.
Do these innovators share certain
I’m naturally suspicious of general theories
of innovation. Each one of these individuals is unique. But I would say they share a
strength of character and an ability to think
independently. For big thoughts, thinking
alone is usually the most productive approach.
But such engineers can only be successful in a
technologically strong culture and usually with
a group of talented people as assistants.
You have been an innovator yourself
in the field of engineering education.
I’m trying to break out of the tradition of
the standard way of introducing engineering. Technological literacy should be part of
the liberal arts. Our life is an artificial world,
and everything in our life is bounded by the
built environment. I want my students to be
equipped to see and interpret in an educated
way the engineered environment that surrounds them.
On the other hand, I would like engineers
themselves to be more imbued with the history
of their profession. If you ask most engineers,
“Who are the greatest engineers of the 20th
century?” you will often get a blank look.
The engineering field is forward-looking and
with good reason. But the future is always an
outgrowth of the past. You can’t grow from
What innovations do you cover
in the book?
Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, Thomas
Edison’s light and power network, oil refining
breakthroughs, the automobile, the airplane,
the radio, large-scale steel bridges and concrete
structures, and the streamlining of automobiles
and airplanes in the 1930s.
One of my favorite innovations is
William Burton’s idea for obtaining gasoline
from crude oil. Standard Oil began using the
method in 1913, about the time that Henry
Ford perfected his mass-production system for
making automobiles. Burton’s process vastly
increased the amount of gasoline that could
be produced from a barrel of crude oil and
therefore had a tremendous but frequently
overlooked role in the ascendancy of the automobile and in the more efficient use of natural
Who are your favorite innovators?
In personal terms, I would say that Orville and
Wilbur Wright were such stellar people that
they come across very well. If we were just
writing hagiography, it would not be nearly so
interesting. These were real people. They were
flawed and stubborn but possessed brilliant
insight as engineers. Samuel Morse and Henry
Ford could be nasty. You don’t have to revere
them to respect their innovations.
You have said that innovators are very different from scientists. How?
Unlike a scientist whose goal is discovery, the
goal of engineers is to design new objects or
systems. [Samuel] Langley, the head of the
Smithsonian, approached the problem of flight
as a scientist, and he was unsuccessful. The
Wright brothers focused on full-scale testing
and relatively simple mathematical formulas
to design their pioneering airplane. All the
innovations we explore used relatively simple
numerical ideas. Our book is unique in that
we gently weave these mathematical concepts
into the narrative accounts of each breakthrough.
You have revamped your spring structures
course. Why?
Because the course already deals with the
urban environment, we want to expand the
material covered to include such things as the
Big Dig in Boston and New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. To make room
for all this new material, we have radically
simplified the emphasis on calculations, so the
course should appeal to all students.
Kenneth Condit, who [when I was an
undergraduate] was the pioneering dean of
the School of Engineering, had invented an
academic program called Basic Engineering.
It was for generalists rather than specialists.
I took a wide range of engineering classes
and had more electives than the liberal arts
students did. My “Engineering in the Modern
World” course is really a boiled down version
of that whole program.
When did you come back to Princeton
to teach?
After I graduated I won a Fulbright fellowship and went to study in Belgium, where I
was exposed to a lot of innovative work in
pre-stressed concrete. This made me valuable when I got back two years later to the
United States, which was behind in this field. I
worked in New York designing structures for
a consulting engineering firm. In 1958 I was
invited to teach a night course at Princeton,
and two years later I joined the faculty.
Although you are not formally trained in
history, you and your brother, Librarian of
Congress James H. Billington ’50, are both
historians. Was history highly prized in your
family growing up?
My father really should have been a history
professor. But when he was 14 his father died,
and he had to support the family; he ultimately
became an insurance broker. Jim fulfilled his
ambition. In another era our mother would
have been an engineer; her father was an
engineer, and she was very good in math and
science. Instead she became a home economist and was the cooking editor of the Curtis
Publishing Co. and helped to found Jack & Jill
We grew up middle-middle-class outside of
Philadelphia in Merion, Pa. Our parents lost
all their money in the Depression. We had a
truly wonderful upbringing in that it was not
privileged. We hardly went anywhere in the
summer. We were a close little family. It was
very happy but not consciously intellectual.
Jim and I loved comic books; we had a huge
collection that we would loan out to our
And now your son David Billington Jr. is a
historian too, working as an independent
scholar. What was it like to work together on
this book?
David has described our work together as a
collaboration in which each has learned from
the other. I think that is absolutely correct. I
grappled with this book for 10 years and then
turned it over to him. David’s contributions
changed the focus of the book to emphasize
some important new themes. In some ways,
this is perhaps more his book than mine,
which is particularly impressive given that at
the same time he was completing a significant
book on modern British history that was also
published this year.
Now that this book is finished, what lies ahead
for you?
One principal challenge now for me is to ensure that the teaching of engineering becomes
a significant part of the liberal arts curriculum
at Princeton and that all engineering students
gain an understanding of the grand tradition
of modern engineering. A vital way to meet
this challenge will be to educate, through my
graduate program, a new kind of teacherscholar. These students will learn how to do
first-rate structural engineering scholarship
during the course of their doctoral work; they
will also teach in introductory courses and
their research will in turn enrich these courses.
Then, as exemplars of this teacher-scholar
model, the students will carry this tradition
forward as they take positions in other colleges
and universities.
This Q&A was adapted from a longer version
published in the Princeton Weekly Bulletin:
eqn Winter 2006–07
Massey’s mentorship creates
network of mathematicians
by Teresa Riordan 12 eqn Winter 2006–07
Photos by Steve Exum
In decades of mentoring minority and women
mathematicians, engineering professor William
Massey has done more than foster a new,
more diverse generation of mathematical
scholars. He has created a community of
colleagues who support and inspire each
other’s research, including Massey’s own.
“His mentorship is more than just oneon-one,” said Otis B. Jennings, a member
of Princeton’s class of 1994 who is now an
assistant professor at Duke University’s Fuqua
School of Business.
“It’s sort of a meta-mentorship,” said Jennings, who was advised on his senior thesis by
Massey. “He creates the environment where
people can make connections for mutual
benefit. As a mentor you may help someone
get a Ph.D.—but in the end you have a new
colleague. And Bill is building a family of
On Nov. 3, Massey, the Edwin S. Wilsey
Professor of Operations Research and
Financial Engineering and a 1977 Princeton
alumnus, received the Blackwell-Tapia Prize
at the Institute for Mathematics and its
Applications in Minneapolis.
The prize is in recognition of his outstanding record of achievement in mathematical
research and his mentoring of minorities and
women in the field of mathematics. In a tribute
to Massey’s distinguished career as a pioneer
in the field of applied mathematics called
queueing theory, the institute has organized
a two-day conference on topics related to
Massey’s research.
In addition to Jennings, minority and women Princeton alumni Massey has mentored include Andrea Bertozzi, a 1987 undergraduate
and 1991 graduate alumna who is currently
a full professor in mathematics and director
of applied mathematics at the University of
California-Los Angeles; Arlie Petters, who
Right: Massey (foreground)
gathered with some of the
people he has mentored over
the years, including (from left)
Robert Hampshire, a current
graduate student in operations research and financial
engineering who will join the
faculty at Carnegie Mellon
this spring; Arlie Petters, a
graduate student from 1988 to
1991 who is now a professor
of mathematics and physics
at Duke University; and Otis
Jennings, a 1994 undergraduate alumnus who is now an
assistant professor in the
Fuqua School of Business at
Duke University.
Below right: Otis Jennings ’94
Photos by Steve Exum
“His mentorship is more than just one-on-one. He creates the environment
where people can make connections for mutual benefit.”
– Otis Jennings ’94
attended Princeton as a graduate student from
1988 to 1991 and is now a full professor of
mathematics and physics at Duke University;
and Robert Hampshire, a current Princeton
engineering graduate student who will begin a
teaching position at Carnegie Mellon University in the spring.
Massey, the first African-American Princeton undergraduate to have become a full
professor at the University, also founded and
continues to provide leadership for the annual
Conference for African American Researchers
in the Mathematical Sciences, now in its
12th year.
Playing with numbers
Massey grew up in St. Louis, the son of a
high school counselor and a home economics
teacher. He loved numbers as a small child,
and his mother playfully encouraged his talent
by cutting up calendars for him and creating
games. His mathematical abilities became
fully manifest in a predominantly black public
school for gifted students, and later in high
When it was time for college, his parents
brought him east to visit Harvard, MIT and
Princeton. “It certainly helped having parents
who were educators,” said Massey. “They
were encouraging of me wanting to do mathematics. At the time, I didn’t know that other
black people even worked in math.”
Massey remembers his own mentors as
an undergraduate at Princeton with great
fondness: mathematicians W. Stephen Wilson,
Ralph Fox and Bernard Dwork; and physicists
Cyrus Hoffman and Aaron Lemonick.
“I was lucky in who taught me,” said
Massey, who remembers that Wilson advised
him to do something non-intuitive when he
arrived at Princeton.
“I saw myself as a math major and had
placed out of freshman math,” Massey recalls.
“Wilson told me to go ahead and take a freshman honors-level calculus class but sophomore-level physics. This turned out to be the
best advice I could have gotten because I had
been for the most part self-taught in math. [By
taking the calculus class] I learned that my
understanding of math was really cookbook
mathematics; I was familiar with various
formulae and how to manipulate them but not
with the more sophisticated understanding of
how to prove theorems.”
Massey said that an early course with
Lemonick imbued him with a love for physics. “I was thinking I didn’t want to be that
involved in physics but he actually got me
excited about it. So rather than thinking of
it as fulfilling a requirement, I took physics
throughout my four years.”
Graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta
Kappa with a degree in mathematics, Massey
continued on to graduate school in mathematics at Stanford University, earning his Ph.D.
in 1981. While at Stanford, he became friends
with Erhan Çinlar, who was then at Northwestern University and is now Princeton’s
Norman J. Sollenberger Professor in Engineering. Çinlar, who will be delivering the plenary
address at the conference in honor of Massey,
tried to hire Massey right out of graduate
school but Massey demurred. He instead went
to Bell Labs, then in its heyday as one of the
nation’s premier research institutions, and
stayed for 20 years.
Creating a legacy
Massey credits his time at Bell Labs with
fostering innovative research but also creating
an environment that allowed minorities to
flourish. He had first worked there his summer
after he graduated from Princeton, and felt inspired by the sizable cadre of black scientists.
“Bell Labs of the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s was
to black scientists what Harlem of the 1920s
was to black writers, artists and musicians,”
said Massey. “It was a true renaissance.”
Massey was in the mathematical sciences
research center but rubbed elbows with
researchers in electrical engineering and physics and many other fields. On a given day he
might have bumped into Jim West, co-inventor of the modern day microphone, and then
the next minute have run into the physicist
Shirley Jackson, now president of Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute.
“There was no shortage of black individuals who were high-achieving in their respective fields,” said Massey. “But they were also
dedicated collectively to creating a legacy for
the next generation.”
Massey said that his mentoring philosophy
grows out of the Bell Labs approach — and
out of the notion that small steps cumulatively
will lead eventually to momentous change.
Bell Labs hired its first African American
scientist, W. Lincoln Hawkins, in 1942 but
it would be 20 more years before it hired
another African American researcher. By the
time Massey first worked there, Bell Labs had
a critical mass of black scientists.
“We see what happened at Bell Labs with
Lincoln Hawkins,” said Massey. “Imagine
what could have happened at Princeton or any
other research institution for that matter” if
someone of Hawkins’ stature had been hired
back in the 1940s.
Massey, his protégés say, may well become
to Princeton what Hawkins was to Bell Labs: a
fulcrum that tips the institution into becoming
a mecca for African American scientists.
“The more soldiers you have, the more
soldiers you can train,” observed Jennings.
(Continued on page 14)
eqn Winter 2006–07
“Bill always coupled his mentoring with a lot of mathematical discourse. It created an ideal setting for addressing a variety of ideas and techniques.
I enjoyed those grad school days largely due to his mentoring style.”
(Continued from page 13)
Massey and his protégés Bertozzi, Jennings,
Petters and Hampshire all received graduate
school funding from Bell Labs fellowships.
Massey served as a mentor in the Bell Labs
fellowship programs for minorities and
women—the same programs in which he participated as an undergraduate. He conducted
joint research with students funded by these
programs over the summer, publishing seven
papers with students as co-authors. In addition, he included his students as speakers at
telecommunications conferences.
Queueing up
Çinlar, who came to Princeton in 1985 and
served as the founding chair of the Department of Operations Research and Financial
Engineering, continued his efforts to tempt
Massey back into academia for two decades.
Finally, in 2001, Massey relented and came to
Princeton as a full professor.
“One thing I learned from my experience
with Bill Massey is that you have to keep after
valuable people,” said Çinlar. “You have to
pursue them over quite a long period of time
and get used to being spurned.”
At Bell Labs, Massey had begun to make
his mark in queueing theory by analyzing
it from a dynamic rather than a static point
of view. At Princeton, he has continued that
research and has taught courses in queueing
theory and Monte Carlo simulations.
Queuing theory is a key mathematical tool
used to solve many problems of providing
communications services, from the old-fashioned telephone service to Internet phenomena like Napster and YouTube. The success
of a business model for a wireless telephone
provider, for example, might hinge on how
efficient that provider is at applying queueing
“Even simple queuing theory involves a lot
of complex mathematics and statistics, and
understanding the type of queuing systems
that arise in modern communication systems
requires new mathematics and new analysis,”
said Douglas Arnold, director of the Institute
14 eqn Winter 2006–07
– Arlie Petters *91
for Mathematics and its Applications and
an organizer of this year’s Blackwell-Tapia
Conference at which Massey received his
award. “This is where Bill Massey has made
outstanding contributions.”
A much cited paper of Massey’s showed
how to create a mathematical description of
wireless networks in which calls are being
placed and received from moving vehicles. In
2005, The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education named Massey the second most frequently
cited black mathematician in the world. Massey also has a patent on an optimal
server staffing algorithm for call centers that is
based on his research in queueing.
Three days after receiving the BlackwellTapia Prize, Massey (along with Robert
Vanderbei) were inducted as a fellow of the
Institute for Operations Research and the
Management Sciences—an honor accorded to
fewer than 1 percent of the institute’s membership and made in recognition of significant
research contributions.
Coming full circle
In addition to carrying on his research from
Bell Labs, Massey has built upon the mentoring efforts he began there. He has served as a
board member for the National Association
of Mathematicians, a mathematics organization for underrepresented minorities, and has
hosted its annual presentations by doctoral
recipients that provide students with an opportunity to showcase their research at a major
international conference.
“Bill always coupled his mentoring with a
lot of mathematical discourse,” said Petters,
who moved on to MIT after three years of
graduate work at Princeton and earned his
Ph.D. there. “It created an ideal setting for
addressing a variety of ideas and techniques. I
enjoyed those grad school days largely due to
his mentoring style.”
Massey also has been an active participant
in the Blackwell-Tapia Conference, held every
other year in honor of David Blackwell and
Richard Tapia, two mathematical scientists
who inspired many African American, Latino/
Latina and Native American mathematicians.
In receiving the third biennial Blackwell-Tapia
Prize at this year’s conference, he follows in
the footsteps of Petters, who was the first
recipient of the prize in 2002.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Massey was
also a driving force in the Association of Black
Princeton Alumni. “The reason ABPA is one of
the best organized and largest affinity groups
among Princeton alumni is due in part to his
legacy,” said Jennings. Massey served as moderator of a panel discussion about careers in
academia at Princeton’s recent “Coming Back
and Looking Forward” conference for black
One former Princeton student who attended the Princeton conference described
Massey’s mentoring as a kind of “tyrannical
affection.” “If Bill takes a liking to you, you
are in for a rigorous friendship,” he said.
Jennings acknowledged that Massey can be
tough on the people he mentors. “Bill holds
himself to a very high standard and if you are
going to do business with him you had better
hold to that standard as well. Bill likes to brag
that I had never worked hard until I met him.
He is a refreshing combination of brilliance,
perseverance and concern for others.”
But, Jennings emphasized, Massey is in the
business of creating peers, not acolytes.
“As I mature as a researcher my appreciation of Bill continues to grow,” said Jennings.
“I have always been able to confide my
research dreams and aspirations to him. But
our relationship has experienced an evolution.
Now I have an independent perspective that
I hope he benefits from as much as I benefit
from his insight. We have come full circle.”
Engineers, scientists and
policy experts join forces
to solve energy and
climate problems
7 Wedges
are needed
to build the
one billion tons
of carbon
per year
by 2054
1 Wedge
Flat path
Practically every activity of
every human being every day
contributes to perhaps the most dramatic experiment
ever conducted—what happens to life on Earth if the
atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide gas triples?
Any action that consumes fossil fuels or changes land
use plays a role in the current human pattern of transferring
billions of tons of carbon from plants and the ground into the
atmosphere each year. At the current rate, the percentage of
atmospheric carbon dioxide gas will triple during this century from
pre-industrial levels.
The general effect of this change appears to be that the planet gets
warmer because carbon dioxide traps the sun’s heat. The specific consequences still are being determined but appear to include loss of polar
ice, coastal land areas, coral reefs and biodiversity, changes in ocean
circulation and weather patterns, and increases in disease propagation.
The complexity of understanding, monitoring and, ultimately,
controlling this experiment is staggering. Each aspect requires close
interaction among scientists, policy-makers, engineers and business
leaders. Building on these connections forms the basis of Princeton
Engineering’s strategy for helping to manage the carbon experiment.
“We are taking a big-picture approach to this problem,” said
H. Vincent Poor *77, dean of engineering. “We are working ever
more closely with our colleagues in the natural sciences and public
policy to develop a coordinated approach and go after the big
questions, including the fundamental technologies that need to be in
place to move forward.”
This approach already is making a difference. In 2004, Stephen
Pacala, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and Robert
Socolow, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, teamed
up to publish a landmark paper in the journal Science outlining what
could be done to hold global carbon emissions steady for the next 50
years, thus keeping the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide on
track, with further effort, to stay just below double pre-industrial levels.
Their paper, which divides possible solutions into easy-to-understand
“wedges,” quickly became a standard way of describing the problem
and is referred to at practically all climate conferences.
(Continued on page 16)
Billions of Tons
of Carbon Emitted
per Year
Historical emissions
The “wedges” paper by Pacala and Socolow describes two
possible futures: the current path of growing carbon emissions and an alternative path on which emissions stay flat for
50 years. The difference between these paths is small in the
first years, but grows to 7 billion tons of carbon a year by the
2050s. The paper looks at how to avoid those added carbon
emissions and breaks the challenge into seven 1-billion-ton
“wedges.” The authors provided extensive analysis of 15 existing technologies, any seven of which could be selected à la
carte and scaled up to create the necessary wedges.
eqn Winter 2006–07
(Continued from page 15)
“The wedges concept has become the
iPod of climate policy,” said David Hawkins,
director of the Climate Center at the National
Resources Defense Council. “By designing an
attractive and recognizable package, Pacala
and Socolow have provided the climate community with a versatile and accessible tool that
helps clarify the murky subject of reducing
greenhouse gas pollution. Like the iPod, the
wedges image is a versatile container that different users can fill with their favorite ideas on
how to fight global warming.”
Pacala and Socolow are co-directors of the
Princeton Environmental Institute’s Carbon
Mitigation Initiative, a 10-year venture funded
in 2000 by BP and Ford. The initiative, which
exemplifies Princeton’s multidisciplinary
approach, seeks to understand and develop
solutions for the carbon problem.
In the following pages, EQuad News
presents three examples of research projects
within Princeton Engineering, each of which
could contribute a wedge or more of climate
solutions. Much of this research receives
funding through the Carbon Mitigation
Initiative as well as from the National Science
Foundation, the Department of Energy and
other sources. A fourth project presented here
improves the prospects of nuclear fusion, a
safe and clean energy source that may become
crucial in the second half of the century.
In addition to contributing to these technological solutions, Princeton engineers are
advancing the techniques and devices needed
to improve fundamental climate science. Civil
and environmental engineer Professor Eric
Wood, for example, is developing hydrological models that feed into scientists’ overall
understanding of how water, land and air
interact. In the same department, Professor James Smith is part of Princeton’s newly
established MIRTHE center for mid-infrared
sensors and is developing technology that
could better monitor greenhouse gasses in the
This rich collection of expertise positions Princeton to be the leading institution
in the world for dealing with the overall
climate problem, said Pacala, who directs the
Princeton Environmental Institute. Strong
programs in engineering, science and public
policy combine with the presence at Princeton
of two important national labs: the Princeton
Plasma Physics Lab, which is the nation’s first
research center for nuclear fusion, and the
Capturing carbon Studies test safety of sequestration
Burning oil and coal, which are rich in carbon,
releases the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
Until alternative fuels become mainstream,
one viable option to cut carbon emissions is
to capture the gas and inject it into sediments
deep underground, according to Princeton’s
Michael Celia *79, chair of civil and environmental engineering.
However, the technology will only succeed
if the gas stays safely stored for hundreds,
even thousands of years. Celia and colleagues
in his department are trying to make sure that
it does.
Old oil and gas fields would be convenient sites to inject and store captured carbon
dioxide, but the old wells also create potential routes for the gas to escape. “A typical
injected CO2 plume may encounter tens to
hundreds of these existing wells,” Celia said.
Working with the Alberta (Canada) Geological Survey, Celia is developing large-scale 3D
16 eqn Winter 2006–07
models to simulate how the gas might move,
interact with the wells and potentially leak.
Professor Jean Prevost is also simulating
the behavior of injected CO2, predicting how
carbonic acid formed by the CO2 will degrade
the cement used to plug old wells. Professor
George Scherer is conducting laboratory experiments to answer the same question, while
associate professor Catherine Peters is studying
the structure and mineral composition of rock
samples from Alberta to understand how
they react with carbonic acid. So far, their
conclusions are mixed: in many cases the acid
cannot eat through rock or cement to reach
the surface, but in situations where the cement
already has defects, the acid can enhance the
damage and lead to CO2 leakage. These results
could influence the development of regulations
and permitting criteria for large-scale injection
operations, Celia said. —Prachi Patel-Predd
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab, which is
one of the most important climate modeling
centers in the world.
The payoff for reducing carbon emissions goes beyond slowing climate change.
Pacala and Socolow noted that a technology
designed to solve that one problem often will
eliminate other forms of pollution, including
smog and acid rain, and increase U.S. energy
independence, thereby improving national
security and easing global tensions.
“It’s an example where you solve multiple
societal problems by inventing a technological
solution to solve one,” Pacala said.—Steven
Carbon dioxide injected underground forms strong carbonic
acid, which could eat away some
minerals, possibly allowing the gas
to escape. Researchers led by Prof.
Catherine Peters have devised
an imaging technique and color
processing scheme to quantify how
vulnerable typical sandstones are
to acid attack. The gray color represents quartz, which is not reactive;
the mildly reactive green-labeled
minerals tend to surround the open
pores, obscuring access to the
reactive red minerals.
Reducing emissions
Deeper understanding of combustion improves efficiency
Eighty five percent of the world’s energy supply comes from burning fossil fuels, and this
will most likely be the case for a few decades,
according to assistant professor Yiguang Ju.
In Princeton’s mechanical and aerospace engineering department, Ju and Professors Frederick Dryer and Chung K. Law are making the
best of that reality by studying the combustion
of conventional and alternative fuels to harness their energy with maximum efficiency.
Their understanding could lead to the best
possible burning methods, improved engines
and the safe use of hydrogen as a fuel.
These researchers, for example, are studying the burning and emission properties of
dimethyl ether and syngas, synthetic fuels that
can be derived from coal or biomass. Syngas
could drive power plant turbines, generating
less particulate pollution and mercury than
coal. “If you make syngas from biomass and
then sequester the CO2, you could negate
overall CO2 emissions,” Ju said. But controlling the ignition and combustion of syngas
can be difficult, a problem that Ju is tackling
in research funded by the U.S. Department of
Energy and the American Chemical Society.
Above right corner:
To understand how hydrogen burns in the highpressure environment of internal combustion
engines, Law and his student Grunde Jomaas took
high-speed movies of the expanding flame after the
mixture had been ignited by a spark. Increasing the
chamber pressure caused profuse wrinkles to develop over the flame surface; the increased surface
area leads to a greatly increased burning rate. Spiral
waves were also observed.
In an upcoming Combustion Science and
Technology paper, researchers led by Prof.
Fred Dryer show that, contrary to previous
assumptions, hydrogen can spontaneously
ignite if a storage vessel ruptures and the
geometry of the space outside the rupture
is right.
Fanning flames with water
Fuel cell research makes most of moisture
Fuel cell batteries might power clean cars of
the future, but for now they are found in niche
applications such as spacecraft, where cost is
no object. “We are trying to figure out how
you could build fuel cells that operate more
simply and are cheaper to produce so that they
would be acceptable in a consumer market,”
said Princeton professor of chemical engineering Jay Benziger.
Fuel cells can be thought of as chemical reactors in which hydrogen and oxygen
combine, generating electricity and water.
Benziger works with polymer electrolyte
membrane (PEM) fuel cells, which are said to
hold the most promise for transport applications. To operate, PEM cells need water, which
( )
Dimethyl ether, a diesel and cooking fuel
substitute, emits low amounts of nitrogen
oxide and no soot, he said. In another project,
he is collaborating with researchers at China’s
Tsinghua University to examine the impact
on nitrogen oxide emissions when ethanol is
added to gasoline. Ju’s work could slash the
emissions from dimethyl ether and ethanol,
benefiting their use in China and other developing countries.—PPP
is provided by an auxiliary humidification
system. In a landmark finding, Benziger has
determined the optimum amount of water in
the membrane that sustains the cell’s chemical
By understanding this and other key mechanisms of a fuel cell reactor, his research group
has improved the system’s design. They have
made a new reactor that eliminates the hardware and cost of humidification equipment.
Instead, it uses the water produced by the fuel
cell reaction itself. They are now developing
new, less expensive polymer materials for the
membranes. “There are still major obstacles
to dramatically reduce cost and increase reliability that must be solved before fuel cells can
compete with modern combustion engines,”
Benziger said.—PPP
Conventional design–
auxilliary humidification
Improved design–
automatic humidification
An improved fuel cell design from the lab of Prof. Jay
Benziger allows simpler construction and operation
a higher current densities than conventional designs.
The improvement could provide smoother operation
and more power from the same size cell.
0.0 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4
Current Density (Aom )
eqn Winter 2006–07
Practical fusion?
A new ultrafast laser offers hope
As an ultrashort laser pulse
travels through a collection of
hot ionized particles known as
plasma, another longer and less
intensive laser pulse amplifies it
as much as 1,000 times to an
intensity of 200 petawatts per
square centimeter. It also compresses the pulse to a duration
of a few dozen femtoseconds
(quadrillionths of a second).
Nuclear fusion promises clean, unlimited energy, of the sort created by the sun. But making
a practical reactor is difficult and expensive. In
one approach, called inertial fusion, scientists
bombard a tiny pellet of deuterium-tritium
fuel with intense laser pulses to kick off the
fusion reaction.
The problem, said Princeton mechanical
engineering professor Szymon Suckewer, is
that this technique requires large lasers that
come with equally large price tags—billions of
dollars. One leading idea to make fusion more
efficient is a two-laser system that ignites the
fuel pellet in steps. Suckewer is developing an
extremely powerful, compact laser that could
greatly reduce the cost of the first step.
His laser exploits the properties of plasmas—hot ionized particles—to transfer energy
from one laser into another, producing pulses
that deliver an enormous amount of power
(on the order of petawatts, or 1015 watts) in
ultrashort bursts measured in femtoseconds.
In addition to reducing the cost of fusion, the
new laser could lead to a practical x-ray laser,
a long-sought tool for microscopy and for
manufacturing ultra-small devices, including
computer chips.­—PPP
Collaboration with start-up company
improves efficiency of solar power
Professor of Electrical Engineering Sanjeev Kulkarni (center) and
Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Clancy Rowley ’95 (far left) are collaborating on a solar energy
project with Princeton Power Systems founders (from left) Erik
Limpaecher ’01, Mark Holveck ’01 and Darren Hammell ’01. In the
foreground is a solar panel similar to those to be installed on the
Engineering Quadrangle roof. Photo by John Jameson
18 eqn Winter 2006–07
The technology that emerges from an innovative industry-academia collaboration
may eventually save New Jersey households
millions of dollars in energy costs and help
propel solar power toward a larger share of
the energy market.
Princeton Power Systems, a company started in 2001 by three freshly minted Princeton
engineering graduates, received a grant from
the New Jersey Commission on Science and
Technology to conduct joint research with the
School of Engineering. The company’s technol-
Meng ’05 combines
interests to confront
environmental problems
in China
By Hilary Parker Whether in Princeton, Beijing, New York or
Nairobi, there’s a certain continuity to the
work of Kyle Meng ’05.
After winning the University’s coveted
Martin Dale ’53 Fellowship, which annually provides $25,000 to support a senior’s
yearlong post-graduation project, Meng spent
nine months in China exploring the Chinese
perceptions of their environment.
The project had its roots in the research
Meng did for his senior thesis in civil and
environmental engineering, “Identifying Opportunities for Carbon Capture and Storage
Demonstration Projects in China.” As he gathered data at the Tsinghua-BP Clean Energy
Research and Education Centre in Beijing the
summer after his junior year, he became aware
of significant cultural and political roadblocks
to China’s burgeoning environmental movement.
His Dale project, “Unearthing the Dragon:
Understanding How the Chinese Perceive
Their Environment,” merged his knowledge
of environmental issues with his certificate in
environmental studies and interest in public
Based at the Tsinghua University School
of Public Policy in Beijing, Meng took an
interdisciplinary approach to his self-declared
mission. Through surveys of 900 Chinese un-
dergraduates, interviews with environmental
activists and weeks of library research, he
immersed himself in the history and culture
of the country where he lived until he was
6 years old.
“I was really just so impressed by the
environmentalists in China,” he said. “As a
foreigner, I was able to tap into this community and I met some remarkable individuals.”
He told some of their stories in freelance
articles written for publications including The
Environmental Forum, the Environmental
Law Institute’s policy journal. One article
described a poor farmer in the Hebei province
who profited from single-handedly reforesting a 600-acre swath of land. Meng’s goal,
he said, was to “tell the whole story,” going
beyond statistics and figures to spread an
important message.
“In China, it is possible to meld economic
and environmental benefits,” he said emphatically. “[The Hebei farmer’s] story has become
a model to a lot of villagers in his area.”
While current events are important, Meng
said that true knowledge of Chinese attitudes
toward the environment requires an understanding of the interplay between traditional
philosophies and the modern communist
ideology. He recently submitted a paper on the
subject to China Quarterly.
“It was certainly a very important learning
process for me,” Meng said of his time in
China, noting that the “no strings attached”
nature of the fellowship allowed him the
chance to modify his project over time to meet
his goals.
Now a High Meadows Fellow, supported
by Princeton’s Pace Center, Meng recently
began work with the New York-based Environmental Defense on the group’s Climate and
Air Program, specializing on China.
He constantly relies on the quantitative
and multidisciplinary problem-solving skills
he honed at Princeton in his new position,
he said.
From Nov. 6 to Nov.17, Meng turned once
again to the subject of his thesis research as
part of the Environmental Defense delegation
to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, where he addressed
issues relating to China.
With an eye toward graduate school, Meng
said his future focus will be on China and the
environment, but he doesn’t yet know from
what perspective.
“At the moment, I’m not sure which discipline I want to specialize in,” he said. “But
these are complicated environmental problems, ones that will require an interdisciplinary approach. My task in these two years is to
find the discipline that will allow me to most
effectively tackle these problems.”
ogy transfers electricity from the solar panel
to the public electric grid more efficiently than
other systems, allowing peak performance during less-than-optimal sun conditions.
“Most people think of solar panels as being
passive,” said Darren Hammell, who is chief
executive officer of Princeton Power, which he
cofounded with Erik Limpaecher and Mark
Holveck, all members of the class of 2001.
“But we can actively control them to optimize
their efficiency in response to changing environmental conditions.”
Hammell noted that most studies of solar
power have been done in sun-saturated states
like California and Arizona. “New Jersey is in
many ways ideal for solar power because of
a good state rebate program and high energy
prices,” he said. “But no one has really studied
how solar power can be optimized in New
For one thing, of course, New Jersey has a
lot of clouds. This means that in order to maximize the power harvested from the panels, the
inverter needs to tweak both the voltage (the
capacity to produce electricity) and the current
(the flow of the electricity) so that both run
optimally in an on-the-fly response to changing sun intensity.
For more details see
eqn Winter 2006–07
Princeton Engineering in
‘The dynamo’
Student sows seeds of
community-helping technology
in Africa
By Hilary Parker Since her arrival at Princeton, junior Ishani
Sud has made a difference by thinking inside
the box.
Not just any box, but rather a solar-powered
oven she designed her freshman year with
classmate Lauren Wang, under the guidance
of Wole Soboyejo, professor of mechanical
and aerospace engineering. Powered by the
sun’s energy and constructed with locally
available materials, the ovens can be built and
used in Third World nations, thereby allowing
development while preserving the environment
and local economies. In many communities,
the ovens could slow deforestation that results
from harvesting wood for cooking fires.
“Coming to Princeton, I was expecting to
be involved in projects that used engineering
and did outreach,” Sud said, adding that the
University’s emphasis on serving all nations
was a key factor in her decision to attend.
She fulfilled her expectations
through her involvement with the
Global Development Network,
an extension of the U.S.-Africa Materials
Institute directed by Soboyejo and sponsored
by the National Science Foundation.
“Ishani exemplifies the whole notion of
Princeton engineering in service of the world,”
Soboyejo said. “In just two years, she has
worked within the Global Development Network family to change the lives of school children in Kenya and Tanzania, while pioneering
new ways of solving basic problems of energy
and water in the developing world.”
Many factors led to Sud’s passion for science
and community activism. The daughter of
an environmental engineer and a geneticist,
she was moved by the extreme poverty she
encountered on childhood trips to her parents’
native India.
“As a kid, when you see other kids that are
suffering, your heart goes out to them,” she
said. “You want to do something to make a
She was similarly affected by the suffering
she encountered in her hometown of Durham, N.C. As a participant in the Durham
County Teen Court program to decide juvenile
misdemeanor cases, Sud found herself faceto-face with peers who had shoplifted diapers
for their newborn babies or stolen food they
simply couldn’t get at home.
20 eqn Winter 2006–07
Ishani Sud (above), a junior
chemical engineering major,
spent part of last summer in
Kenya and Tanzania teaching
children and helping local
people build solar ovens that
she helped design under the
guidance of Prof. Wole Soboyejo. She enjoyed enthusiastic receptions among children,
including a group (right) who
made pinwheels as part of a
part of a lesson Sud helped
teach on energy. The solar
ovens (below), which reach at
least 300 degrees in less than
half an hour, could help prevent
deforestation by reducing the
need for firewood.
Photos courtesy of Ishani Sud.
Her scientific mind was honed in Durham, as
well, at the North Carolina School of Science
and Mathematics, a public boarding magnet
school in Durham she attended for her junior
and senior years of high school.
Sud found an outlet for her expertise and
empathy in Mpala, Kenya, where she spent
six weeks the summer following her freshman
year with classmate Julianne Davis. There,
the two engineers worked with elementary
and middle school students to build solar
ovens with readily available materials, while
teaching them about science, conservation and
renewable energy. (Continued on p. 22)
The landscape of central Kenya
reveals some of the features of
interest to Princeton researchers studying water dynamics,
land management and wildlife.
The deep channel above is
a “headcut” caused by flash
floods in which water rushes
through and then evaporates
quickly. Acacia trees (right)
play an important role in regulating the water cycle and are
known as “islands of fertility.”
Engineers Without Borders
Project floods, but persistence stands firm
Photos for this story by Eric Hui
Members of the Princeton
Engineers Without Borders
team in Ethiopia last summer
were (left to right) Margaret
Soroka, Emily Weissinger, Emily Stehr, H. Clay McEldowney
‘69, Pinky McEldowney, Eric
Hui, Anh-thu Ngo, Sebastien
Douville, Gregory Redman,
Andrew Lapetina and Sean
A flash flood swept away a dam built by the
Princeton chapter of Engineers Without Borders this summer in its first attempt to irrigate
fields around the village of Kumudo, Ethiopia.
But it did nothing to dampen the volunteers’
commitment to their task.
Mentored by civil engineer H. Clay McEldowney ’69, the nine students abandoned their
effort to divert a river’s course and redirected
their own efforts instead, devising a plan to
install a siphon-pump system to provide muchneeded water to the arid land.
The trip to Ethiopia was the second
major project for Engineers Without
Borders-Princeton. In the group’s first
year, 2005, students built sanitary
bathrooms in Huamanzaña, Peru.
This year in Africa, after some quick
rethinking, the engineers bought local supplies
and laid nearly half a mile of PVC piping to
carry water from a cistern near the river’s
headwaters to a tank they built adjacent to the
villagers’ crops.
“The way EWB works is that it connects
chapters with communities,” said Andrew
Lapetina ’07, the chapter’s president.
As community involvement is essential for
the success of any project, Lapetina said he
and his fellow students demonstrated siphonpump systems to gatherings of community
members, many of whom volunteered their
time and energy to the labor-intensive project.
The entire system is now in place and
should become operational when the Princeton chapter returns to Kumudo over winter break with the tools and priming pump
needed to start the siphon action. The chapter
has a similar ongoing relationship with the
community in Peru.
Everyone involved benefits from these ongoing partnerships, Lapetina said. Not only does
the quality of life improve in the partner communities, but Princeton students broaden their
minds and realms of experience.
“Getting real-world engineering experience
of this type at my age is a very unique thing,”
Lapetina said. “And, living and getting in
touch with the daily trials of people who live
on less than two dollars a day, learning to
live really simply, is something that’s really
valuable.” —HP
Initiative aims to improve water and land use in Africa
Work combines engineering, ecology and public policy
Princeton engineers are playing a leading role
in a new initiative to improve the socioeconomic wellbeing of Kenyans by studying the
interplay between water dynamics, land management and wildlife on the savanna.
In August, Michael Celia, chair of civil
and environmental engineering, and Daniel
Rubenstein, chair of ecology and evolutionary
biology, visited Mpala, Kenya, with graduate
students to begin fieldwork. They and Ignacio
Rodriguez-Iturbe, James S. McDonnell
Distinguished University Professor of Civil
and Environmental Engineering, will return
to Kenya in early 2007 for a second round of
“The long-term goal is to understand the
central role that water plays in these semi-arid
regions, as well as the pressures imposed on
vegetation by both livestock and wildlife. If
possible, we would like to avoid widespread
degradation of the landscape,” Celia said.
The Water, Savannas, and Society in SubSaharan Africa Initiative – directed by Celia,
Rodriguez-Iturbe, Rubenstein and Professor of
Political Science Jennifer Widner – is funded
by the Princeton Institute for International
and Regional Studies, with additional support
from the Princeton Environmental Institute.
The participants in the initiative are studying
an area that is approximately 10 kilometers by
10 kilometers in central Kenya and which is a
crossroads of important migratory pathways
for elephants and zebras. The area is controlled by a half dozen different Masai tribes.
(Continued on p. 22)
Photos for this story by Trenton Franz
eqn Winter 2006–07
‘The dynamo’ (continued from page 20)
They also hosted community days to teach
residents how to cook local recipes, including
the traditional African starch dish ugali, in the
solar ovens.
During her sophomore year, Sud worked with
the Global Development Network to establish
collaborations with universities in Third World
countries, where resident faculty and students
are better equipped to work with local people
and are more in tune with their needs. This
allows the Princeton students to deploy the
programs they’ve developed, such as the solar
oven, without requiring them to travel to every
This past summer was a whirlwind for Sud,
who met with researchers at universities in
Brazil and Tanzania to share ideas on sustain-
able projects, spent time in Kenya continuing the solar oven project and launched a
similar program at the Aang Serian school
for indigenous people in Monduli, Tanzania.
During her travels she was joined by fellow
Princetonians Viola Huang, Brandon Rogers,
Patricia Li, Daniel Cohen and Julianne Davis
and research staff member Michael Vocaturo.
“This was a nice experience because it gave
me a chance to learn about the community,
give back, manage a project and learn about
the actual science and research that goes into
it,” Sud said.
This year, “the dynamo,” as Soboyejo describes Sud, is organizing a group of students
to research and design ceramic water filters
built with basic materials, such as clay and
plant matter. The students plan to test and
analyze their designs before winter break and
hope to spread the technology in outreach
projects this summer.
With seemingly limitless energy, Sud has
done all of this while completing the requirements for her B.S.E. in chemical engineering,
along with four certificate programs: materials
science and engineering, the Woodrow Wilson
School of Public and International Affairs,
engineering biology and neuroscience.
Faced with a challenging academic schedule—she’s taken at least five courses every
semester at Princeton—she said her interest in
the subjects and the camaraderie she finds in
study groups help her handle the heavy load.
“And, I tend to plan my time really carefully,” she added after a brief pause.
She even makes room in her calendar to
remain active with the Society of Women
Engineers, serve as a residential college adviser
in Butler College and this semester assist the
investment and technology development firm
D.E. Shaw with on-campus recruiting.
“I enjoy these activities so I don’t think of
them as work,” she said.
Though Sud said she can envision many possible futures for herself, from pharmaceutical
chemical engineering to public policy work,
they share a common thread.
“I want to be able to make a real difference
in whatever community I’m working with or
serving,” she said.
Initiative aims to improve water and land use in Africa (continued from page 21)
According to Celia, the region should yield
important data because it is a patchwork of
different kinds of lands, ranging from land that
is strongly overgrazed and degraded, to land
that is well-managed and productive.
When they return to Africa in the spring, the
participating engineers will collect data from
watersheds—essentially small valleys—and
study the effect of strong storms whose
resulting rainfall causes large gashes in the
soil known as headcuts. They also will study
the interaction between different grass and
tree species, to better understand vegetation
Other participants in the initiative are Trenton Franz and Alex Lester, graduate students in
civil and environmental engineering; Elizabeth
King, a postdoctoral researcher in ecology;
Eva Kaye, a graduate student in political science, Kelly Caylor, an assistant professor in
22 eqn Winter 2006–07
ecohydrology at the University of Indiana;
Jan Nordbotten, a visiting associate professor
in civil and environmental engineering, and
John Githaiga from the University of Nairobi.
Both Githaiga and King will spend the spring
semester at Princeton, conducting research and
Rodriguez-Iturbe will lead a graduate seminar, to be co-taught by Githaiga and King, that
will cover broad issues associated with water
in Africa.
“The seminar will cover politics and policy,
hydrology, ecology—as many dimensions of
the problem as possible,” said Celia. —TR
The researchers conducted detailed
analyses of plant species and soil
types at several representative plots in
central Kenya. This graph, prepared by
graduate student Trenton Franz, shows,
centimeter by centimeter, what soil
types were present and what species,
if any, grew in those soils. The data
will help in creating computer models
of the terrain, which can act as tool to
help guide conservation efforts.
Leading companies seek Princeton engineers at annual job fair
The Princeton Engineering Office
of Undergraduate Affairs hosted its
annual Science and Technology Job
Fair on Oct. 13 in Dillion Gym. The
event brought together about 500
undergraduates with representatives
from 67 companies, listed below.
Photos by Frank Wojciechowski
ALK Technologies
Apex Technology Group
Boeing Defense Company
Bridgewater Associates
CarMax Corporate
CIA Employment Center
Clark Construction
Commvault Systems
Elysium Digital
Environ International
Ford Motor Company
General Electric Global
Research Corp.
Gilbane Building Company
Glaxo Smith Kline
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Green Hills Software
GSK Pharmaceuticals/
Hardesty & Hanover
Hensel Phelps Construction
Institute for Defense Analyses
Integra Life Sciences
Johnson & Johnson
IMLDP Program
Lime Wire
Lucent Technologies
Merck & Co.
Microsoft Corporation
MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Murex North America
Navigant Consulting
NRG Energy
NYC Dept. of Buildings
Oracle Corporation
Parsons Brinkeroff
PPL Corporation
Princeton Consultants
Right Media
Rockefeller University
Sandia National Laboratories
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
T. Rowe Price
Teach for America
Terra Technology
The Open Planning Project
Transform Pharmaceuticals
Turner Construction
United States Marine
Officer Program
US Patent & Trademark
Werum Software Systems
ZS Associates
eqn Winter 2006–07
Graduate fellowships support technology for developing regions
The inaugural fellowship winners are:
Ying Liu, a Ph.D. student in mechanical and
aerospace engineering, who is developing drug
delivery techniques based on nanoparticles.
The technology could become a cost-effective
way to deliver tuberculosis medicines that do
not require refrigeration and are easier to use
than conventional medicines. With her thesis
advisor Professor of Chemical Engineering
Robert Prud’homme, Liu is collaborating
with researchers of Harvard University and
the University of Rochester. Tuberculosis is a
major health issue in developing regions. It is
the leading cause of death in South Africa with
nearly 70,000 deaths per year.
Yan Zhang, a Ph.D. student in civil and
environmental engineering, who studies
atmospheric aerosols and air pollution. Her
research seeks to apply new light sensing technologies to studying air pollution in China,
which has some of the highest air pollution
levels in the world. With her adviser James
Smith, professor of civil and environmental
engineering, Zhang intends to collaborate
with research scientists in Anhui and Beijing
in China to investigate the optical properties
of the lower atmosphere and the physical
properties of urban aerosols and their impact
on local weather.
The center expects to award two fellowships every year for the first three years.
Photos by Steven Schultz
The Princeton Center for Technology Research
for Developing Regions has awarded its first
graduate fellowships to two students who are
analyzing air pollution in China and developing improved methods for delivering tuberculosis drugs.
“We are supporting technology and scientific research for regions of the world that
have not yet been touched by the technological revolution,” said Margaret Martonosi,
professor of electrical engineering and director
of the center. “Many of these areas are at key
junctures—they need new technologies to
improve quality of life but lack choices that
are economically feasible and environmentally
The center has its home in the engineering
school, with initial funding coming from
the Princeton Institute for International and
Regional Studies at the Woodrow Wilson
School of Public and International Affairs.
It is directed by Martonosi, along with
Michael Celia *79, chair of the Department
of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and
Daniel Rubenstein, chairman of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
Ying Liu
Yan Zhang
Graduate travel grants
Each year the Office of Graduate Affairs
awards a limited number of grants to help
graduate students travel to major conferences
around the world to present their research.
Here are the five most recent recipients, the
conferences they attended and the papers or
posters they presented.
Juan Gao in Utah
Juan Gao
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Computational and Systems Neuroscience
Salt Lake City, Utah
March 5-10, 2006
“On the dynamics of electrically-coupled
neurons with inhibitory synapses”
Ronny Luss
Operations Research and Financial
International Symposium on Mathematical
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
July 30-Aug. 4, 2006
“Computing matrix exponentials for smooth
semidefinite optimization”
24 eqn Winter 2006–07
Anthony Hoffman
Electrical Engineering
International Society for Optics Engineering
(SPIE) Optics East
Boston, Mass.
Oct. 1, 2006
“Transmission and reflection of highly anisotropic layered semiconductor structures with
plasmonic resonances”
James Donald
Electrical Engineering
IEEE/ACM International Symposium on
Lower Power Electronics and Design (ISLPED)
Tegernsee, Germany
Oct. 4-6, 2006
“Power efficiency for variation-tolerant multicore processors”
Photos by Frank Wojciechowski
Top graduate students
earn fellowship honors
Princeton Engineering honored 51 top graduate students at a dinner Oct. 13. The students
were the recipients of competitive external
and honorific University fellowships.
Charlotte E. Proctor Honorific Fellowship
Scott McAllister
Department of Homeland Security Fellowship
Joseph Calandrino
Francis Lothrop Upton Fellowship
Rebecca Fiebrink
Efstathios Metsovitis
Ilya Ryzhov
Gordon Y.S. Wu Fellowship
Robert Batten
Meghan Bellows
Sheng Li
Samantha Sanders
Yanhua Deng
Yana Vaynzof
Yiyue Wu
Mohammad Bateni
David Eisenstat
Martin Suchara
Steven Brunton
Francis (Mac) Haas
Yushan Luo
Joshua Proctor
Lee (Sally) Ling
Harold Willis Dodds Award
Derek Paley
Hitachi Limited Scholarship
Koji Ishikawa
M.Eng. EE
IBM Ph.D. Fellowship
Keith Morton
Electrical Engineering
10th International
Conference on
Miniaturized Systems
for Chemistry and
Life Science
Tokyo, Japan
Nov. 5-9, 2006
fluidic devices for
continuous separation
of nanoparticles”
National Science Foundation (NSF) Fellowship
Eugene Brevdo
Ph.D. EE
Rebecca Fiebrink
Francis (Mac) Haas
Christina Peabody
Richard Pepe
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research
Council of Canada (NSERC) Graduate
Lorne Applebaum
Ph.D. EE
Jiayue (Jenny) He
Ph.D. EE
Konstantin Makarychev Ph.D. COS
Intel Foundation Fellowship
Sharon Betz
Ph.D. EE
Amit Kumar
Ph.D. EE
Microsoft Research Fellowship
Frances Spalding Perry Ph.D. COS
National Consortium for Graduate Degrees
for Minorities in Engineering and Science
(GEM) Fellowship
Alan Johnson
M.Eng. EE
National Defense Science and Engineering
Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship
Samantha Sanders
Christopher Barsi
Ph.D. EE
Eugene Brevdo
Ph.D. EE
David Eisenstat
Daniel Swain
Peter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship
Egemen Kolemen
President’s Fellowship
Baley Fong
Richard Cendejas
Natalie Kostinski
Dallas Dissmore
Princeton Environmental Institute-Science,
Technology, and Environmental Policy
(PEI-STEP) Fellowship
Ilias Tagkopoulos
Ph.D. EE
Quebec Funds for Research
David Champagne
Ph.D. EE
Stephane Kena-Cohen Ph.D. EE
Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship
Sunghwan Ihm
Stanley J. Seeger Prize
Konstantinos Aisopos Ph.D. EE
Emmanouil KoukoumidisPh.D. EE
Wallace Memorial Honorific Fellowship
Gregory Reeves
James Donald (left) in Germany
eqn Winter 2006–07
Faculty awards and honors
Garry Brown, the Robert Porter Patterson
Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace
Engineering, is an author of the most cited
paper in the history of the Journal of Fluid
Brown wrote the paper with Anatol Roshko in 1974 during their time at the California
Institute of Technology. An analysis conducted on the occasion of the journal’s 50th
anniversary showed that the paper has been
cited 1,035 times, or roughly 33 times each
year. The paper presented a new apparatus to
analyze turbulent mixing between two plane
streams of different densities. The high speed
movies discussed in the paper were one of the
first visualizations of coherent eddy structure.
Brown also was named a Fellow of the
American Physical Society in 2006 for his
work on turbulent shear flows.
Robert Calderbank, professor of electrical
engineering, mathematics, and applied and
computational mathematics and the director
of the Program in Applied and Computational
Mathematics, received the 2006 IEEE Donald
G. Fink Prize Paper Award. The award was
presented in July at the 2006 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory.
His winning paper, “Great Expectations:
The Value of Spatial Diversity in Wireless
Networks,” was published in February 2004
in the Proceedings of the IEEE.
Emily Carter, Arthur Marks ‘19 Professor
of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
and Applied and Computational Mathematics, will receive the 2007 American Chemical
Society Award for Computers in Chemical
and Pharmaceutical Research. A scientific
symposium will be held in her honor in March
during the society’s meeting in Chicago.
Perry Cook, professor and associate chair of
the computer science department, won the
2006 International Computer Music Conference Paper Award, sponsored by the Journal
of New Music Research, with graduate student co-authors Ananya Misra and Ge Wang.
The paper, “Musical Tapestry: Re-Composing
Natural Sounds,” discusses the award-winning TAPESTREA software, which was used
to write an original composition for a 2006
ICMC concert.
Jianqing Fan, the Frederick L. Moore, Class
of 1918, Professor in Finance and director of
the Committee for Statistical Studies, is the
2006-2007 president-elect of the Institute of
Mathematical Statistics. He will serve as the
president of the organization in 2007-2008
and remain on the executive committee as
past president through 2009.
26 eqn Winter 2006–07
Christodoulos Floudas, professor of chemical engineering, was honored with the 2006
Computing in Chemical Engineering Award
by the American Institute for Chemical Engineers. An authority in mathematical modeling
and optimization of complex systems, Floudas
conducts research at the interface of chemical
engineering, applied mathematics, operations
research and computational biology.
Philip Holmes, professor and interim chairman of mechanical and aerospace engineering, was elected a fellow of the American
Physical Society for his contributions to the
theory of nonlinear dynamics and its application to mechanics, neuroscience and cognitive
Holmes also was named a 2006 visiting
lecturer by the Society for Industrial and
Applied Mathematics.
Chung K. (Ed) Law, Robert H. Goddard Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, was awarded the 2006 Alfred Egerton
Gold Medal by the Combustion Institute. The
award honored Law’s “distinguished, continuing and encouraging contributions to the field
of combustion.”
Law also was named a fellow of the American Physical Society in 2006 for his combustion work, particularly droplet combustion
and the behavior and chemistry of flames.
Bede Liu, professor of electrical engineering,
was elected to the Academia Sinica of the
Republic of China in July at its 27th Convocation in Taipei, Taiwan. The organization is the
most prominent academic institution in the
Republic of China.
Massey also was elected a fellow of the
Institute for Operations Research and the
Management Sciences. Fewer than 1 percent
of the institute’s members are elected as fellows, an honor that recognizes significant
research contributions to the field.
Paul Prucnal, professor of electrical engineering, received the Gold Medal Award from the
Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics at the Comenius University, Slovakia
for his leadership in the field of optics and his
contributions to the development of optics at
their university. The university cited Prucnal’s
pioneering role in optical communications and
collaborations with Comenius faculty that
resulted in more than 70 published journal
Prucnal also received a 2006 Graduate
Mentoring Award from the McGraw Center
for Teaching and Learning and the Graduate School. The awards are given annually
to honor Princeton faculty members who are
exemplary in supporting the development of
their graduate students as teachers, scholars,
and professionals.
Clarence W. Rowley ’95, assistant professor
of mechanical and aerospace engineering, is a
recipient of funding from the U.S. Air Force’s
Young Investigators Research Program. Rowley will study unsteady aerodynamic models
for flight control of agile micro air vehicles.
Sharad Malik, George Van Ness Lothrop
Professor in Engineering and the director
of the Center for Innovation in Engineering
Education, was selected to receive a 2006 IBM
Faculty Award for his research achievements
in electronic design automation. The honor
is meant to foster collaboration between
researchers at leading universities and IBM
and to promote courseware and curriculum
William Russel, Arthur Marks ‘19 Professor of Chemical Engineering and dean of
the Graduate School, will receive the 2007
American Chemical Society Award in Colloid
and Surface Chemistry. A scientific symposium
will be held in his honor in March during the
society’s meeting in Chicago.
Russel also was honored with the publication of a Festschrift issue of Industrial and
Engineering Chemistry Research, one of the
pre-eminent archival journals in chemical
engineering. The special issue is in recognition
of his lifetime achievements in colloid science
and includes 21 research papers authored
by Russel’s colleagues, former students and
research collaborators.
William Massey ’77, Edwin S. Wiley Professor
of Operations Research and Financial Engineering, received the 2006 Blackwell-Tapia
Prize at a conference in November at the
Institute for Mathematics and its Applications
in Minneapolis. The prize, awarded every
other year by a national committee, recognized his outstanding record of achievement
in mathematical research and his mentoring of
minorities and women in the field of mathematics. (See story, p. 12.)
Szymon Suckewer, professor of mechanical
and aerospace engineering and co-director of
the Program in Plasma Science and Technology, has been selected to receive the 2007
Arthur Schawlow Prize in Laser Science from
the American Physical Society. The honor recognizes his work with ultra-short wavelength
femtosecond lasers and x-ray microscopy to
advance knowledge of fundamental physical
properties of materials and their interaction
with light.
Sundar Sundaresan, professor of chemical
engineering, received the President’s Award for
Distinguished Teaching, the University’s highest teaching award, at Commencement. He
was honored for his unfailing dedication to
illuminating complex subjects for students.
Robert Vanderbei, chair of the operations
research and financial engineering department,
was elected a fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.
His primary research interest is in developing
algorithms for nonlinear optimization, a form
of applied mathematics used to solve problems
arising in engineering and science.
Sergio Verdu, professor of electrical engineering, was selected as the 2007 recipient of the
IEEE Information Theory Society’s highest
honor, the Claude E. Shannon Award, for his
consistent and profound contributions to the
field of information theory.
Verdu also received the 2006 IEEE Communications Society/Information Theory Joint
Paper Award for “Universal Discrete Denoising: Known Channel,” co-authored with
Tsachy Weissman of Stanford University and
Hewlett-Packard researchers Eric Ordentlich,
Gadiel Seroussi and Marcelo Weinberger.
Wayne Wolf, professor of electrical engineering, received the 2006 Education Award from
the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society. The
award recognized his “outstanding education
and leadership in very large scale integrated
systems and embedded computing.”
Eric Wood, professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been selected by the
European Geosciences Union to receive the
2007 John Dalton Medal. Wood will receive
the award for his “distinguished research in
hydrology reviewed as an earth science” at the
union’s annual General Assembly in Vienna,
Austria, the week of April 15, 2007, when he
also will deliver the Dalton Lecture
Engineering faculty honored and promoted
Princeton University has named two engineering faculty members to endowed professorships and promoted three others.
Emily Carter has been named the
Arthur W. Marks ’19 Professor of Mechanical
and Aerospace Engineering. Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe will be the James S. McDonnell
Distinguished University Professor of Civil and
Environmental Engineering.
Perry Cook has been promoted to the
rank of professor in computer science. David
August and Mona Singh have been awarded
tenure and promoted to the rank of associate
professor in computer science.
All the new titles were effective July 1,
E-Council honors faculty and graduate
students for excellence in teaching
Six faculty members and three teaching assistants were recognized for their dedication
and commitment to student learning in April
with Excellence in Teaching awards presented
by the undergraduate and graduate Engineering Councils.
Chemical engineering graduate student
Peter DiMaggio, operations research and
financial engineering graduate student Evan
Papageorgiou and Katherine Bold, a graduate
student in applied and computational mathematics, were recognized for their contributions
to the intellectual life of Princeton engineering
The winning faculty members were:
Andre Neves, an instructor in mathematics; Kevin Wayne, senior lecturer in computer
science; Robert Cava, the Russell Wellman
Moore Professor of Chemistry and the chair
of the chemistry department; Jaswinder Pal
Singh ’87, professor of computer science; David Lando, visiting senior research scientist in
operations research and financial engineering;
Robert Dondero, lecturer in computer science.
Three new faculty members appointed
Three new assistant professors in the School of
Engineering and Applied Science, all women,
were approved by the Board of Trustees with
appointments effective during the 2006-2007
academic year.
Fei-Fei Li, a member of the Princeton class
of 1999, will join the computer science
department as an assistant professor in January 2007.
After earning her B.A. in physics with
certificates in engineering physics and applied
and computational mathematics at Princeton,
Li obtained her Ph.D. in electrical engineering from California Institute of Technology in
Since then, Li has served as an assistant
professor at the University of Illinois UrbanaChampaign. In this capacity, she has explored
her specialty field of computer vision with her
students, using of state-of-the-art algorithms
to address topics such as object recognition.
In addition to her engineering work, Li has
conducted research on health and medicine in
Tibet in conjunction with two organizations,
the One H.E.A.R.T. Foundation of Orem, Utah
and the Tibetan Medicine Hospital of Lhasa,
Celeste Nelson, whose research interest are
in bioengineering, will join the chemical engineering department as an assistant professor in
January 2007.
She comes to Princeton following a postdoctoral fellowship in the Cancer Biology Department of the Lawrence Berkeley National
Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif. During her three
years at the lab, Nelson focused on the regulation of mammary gland development. Since
2004, her research has been supported by the
U.S. Department of Defense Breast Cancer
Research Program.
Prior to earning her Ph.D. in biomedical
engineering from Johns Hopkins University in
2003, Nelson received two B.S. degrees from
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in
biology and chemical engineering.
In addition to her numerous papers that
have appeared in peer-reviewed journals,
Nelson has since 2001 jointly submitted four
provisional patent applications. The most
recent, submitted in 2005 based on work done
at the national lab, identifies a malignancy
marker and mediator.
Birgit Rudloff joined the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering
as an assistant professor in September after
finishing her Ph.D. in financial mathematics at
Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg in
Halle, Germany.
While completing her dissertation, Rudloff
spent nearly a year at the Instituto Nacional
de Matematica Pura e Aplicada in Rio de
Janeiro, Brazil. During that time, she was
in 2005 awarded the Student Award at the
Second Brazilian Conference on Statistical
Modelling in Insurance and Finance.
Rudloff worked as a postdoctoral project
assistant in financial mathematics at the
Vienna University of Technology and also
worked with Bode Management Consultants
of Hamburg, Germany, and DWS Investments,
Germany’s largest fund management company
located in Frankfurt.
Rudloff began her career at Princeton this
fall teaching “Special Topics in Statistics and
Operations Research: Risk Measure Theory,”
a graduate-level financial engineering course.
eqn Winter 2006–07
Mentorship and freedom were defining experiences for new engineering deans
Jamieson *77, Munson *79 and Poor *77 assumed top posts this year
Photo courtesy of Purdue University
by Steven Schultz Photo courtesy of University of Michigan
Leah Jameson *77
Photo by John Jameson
David Munson *79
H. Vincent Poor *77
28 eqn Winter 2006–07
They lived the graduate student life at Princeton, working long hours in offices just a few
doors from each other, immersed in research
but also absorbing a culture of mentorship
and a broader sense of the world around
Nearly 30 years later, Leah Jamieson and
H. Vincent Poor, who graduated in 1977,
and David Munson, who received his Ph.D.
in 1979, have all risen to the top of their
profession. Last summer, each became dean
of a leading engineering school: Jamieson at
Purdue University, Munson at the University
of Michigan and Poor at Princeton.
Jamieson, Munson and Poor all earned
Ph.D.s from Princeton’s then-combined
Department of Electrical Engineering
and Computer Science. Poor and
Munson were in the same research
group, Information Sciences and
Systems, with Poor advised by now­ emeritus professor John Thomas and
Munson advised by Bede Liu, who is
still a full-time faculty member.
Jamieson’s advisor was Ken Steiglitz,
now professor of computer science.
While Munson compared the
intensity of his graduate experience to being “shot from a gun,” all three said
their time at Princeton helped them
develop a working style that looks
beyond the details of their research to
see opportunities for teaching, inno vation and solving problems for the
greater good.
EQuad News recently arranged a
conference call with the three newly
minted deans; the following is an edited
transcript of the conversation. A longer version is available at
How has graduate education changed since
your time at Princeton?
Dave Munson: For me, it’s hard to judge
because Princeton was a different place from
other places even back then. The Princeton
experience was incredibly intense, and I felt
like when I came out of the Princeton Ph.D.
program I was shot from a gun. I don’t know
that other programs at other schools, at least
most other programs at other schools, were
quite like that.
Leah Jamieson: I would agree with that. One
change I’ve noticed­—certainly one of the
things that I see at a large scale in undergrad
programs and now also in Ph.D. programs—is
a more explicit component asking ‘How is this
degree preparing you for a career in the real
world?’ compared to an experience focused
entirely on theory and research. At Purdue,
we now are starting to talk with our Ph.D.
students about professional practice instilled
beyond research skills and that’s fairly new.
Does that mean turning dials and nuts and
bolts? What does that encompass?
LJ: No, it’s not nuts and bolts. It’s emphasizing that whatever you end up doing you’re
going to be practicing it in a context, maybe
academia or maybe industry, but there are issues related to professionalism and ethics and
communication that are going to be important
no matter what you do. I don’t think that was
ever explicit when I was a student.
Vince Poor: Definitely the Ph.D. program at
Princeton has gotten to be much more closely
related to industry and application than it was
when I was a student, at least in my own particular area of expertise. I remember that when
I was a student there was very little discussion
of industrial applications. It was a much more
theoretical environment. The change is due
partly to what Leah’s saying, that we realize
students are going to be out there in the real
world and they’re not all going to be academics. But it’s also partly just the winds of change
in the field, that we’re all much more interested in the greater outside community and in
how we impact that community than we were,
I think, 30 years ago.
What do you see as the biggest issues facing
academic engineering programs?
DM: At the undergrad level here at Michigan,
we’re working hard on major interdisciplinary
student projects and finding a way to formalize that as part of the curriculum. Leah has
certainly done a lot in that area, but we have
our own slant on it. We’re also working very
hard on international programs, giving students a semester overseas, and working very
hard on entrepreneurial programs and making
it possible for students to start companies
and for that to be integrated into part of the
educational process. At the graduate level,
we’re putting on big pushes in research on topics that have tremendous societal importance.
We have a big new energy research center
and a big new environmental sustainability
research center. I’d say overall we’re trying to
get more of our faculty involved in working on
problems of global significance and not just on
narrow specialties.
LJ: I think Dave’s exactly right. For undergraduates, multidisciplinary learning is very
important, and at Purdue service learning is a
major component of that, as well as entrepreneurship and certainly international experiences. If I think about challenges for engineering,
certainly globalization is important. We find
that half of our students say that they would
love to have an international experience before
they graduate, but engineering is actually one
of the lowest participants, in general, in international programs. So there’s a burning issue
about becoming more global and preparing
our students for global careers.
Two of the other topics that we are focusing on are teaching innovation and teaching
lifelong learning. The question about making
people better lifelong learners—at both at
the graduate and the undergraduate level—is
an overarching theme in making sure that
engineering addresses global problems and the
context of the problems, whether it be energy
or environment, healthcare engineering, sustainable systems, nanotechnology. Compared
to five, ten years ago, when we used to talk
about hiring faculty or educating students in
specific disciplines—say, electrical or mechanical engineering—we’re now talking about
focusing on these grand challenges. How do
you hire faculty to work in the area of energy?
How do you educate students to work in
healthcare engineering?
DM: One difference probably between Michigan and Princeton and Purdue is that Michigan has a major medical school. That changes
the dynamic tremendously. We are heavily into
bio, the medical side of engineering, and have
about 100 joint research projects, for example.
So that opens many possibilities for addressing
these cross-disciplinary societal problems.
VP: I would echo all of what Dave and Leah
have said about this. The trends in engineering
education are toward much greater emphasis
on multi-disciplinary approaches to problems,
a focus on the societal impact of what we
do and on innovation, a greater adoption of
experiential learning modes, and a recognition that our students will be working in a
truly global community. At Princeton, I see the
greatest challenge being to educate the next
generation of leaders for a world in which
technology is playing an ever more prominent
role. This involves not only the education of
engineering leaders, but also active participation in the education of all students at the University on issues of technology and its impact.
What do you remember most fondly about
your time as students at Princeton?
DM: I remember a couple of things that are
awfully positive. One was the exceptional
quality of the student body. I was very, very
impressed with my fellow students and
learned a lot from them. The other thing is
just the huge amount of time that I was able
to spend with my adviser, Bede Liu, and the
very fine mentoring I received. Bede had a
group of reasonable size and worked very
long hours and a lot of other faculty were in
a similar mode, so they were always around.
If you had a faculty adviser at Princeton, boy,
you really had an adviser and you spent a lot
of time with that person. That really helped
set up my entire career.
LJ: Yes, I agree with that—the advising, and
I would say the camaraderie of the students,
which at least in my case maybe came from
running computer jobs in the middle of the
night. That builds its own sort of community.
The other aspect of the mentoring that I
appreciated a little while I was there but more
so as time went by was the sense that you were
in an intellectual community at Princeton but
also an intellectual community that extended
far beyond Princeton. I remember Ken Steiglitz
introducing me to people at conferences,
for example, and thinking about who those
people were, recognizing that he was part of
this incredible intellectual community, that he
was introducing me into that community. That
feeling of inclusion was a very important part
of the mentoring, and it took me a while to
understand how important it was.
VP: I agree, and another thing I would say
is that I felt that I had an enormous amount
of freedom as a student. Even though my
adviser—like Dave’s and Leah’s—was always
willing to spend time with me, I really had a
lot of freedom just to explore. The research
style in the department and the research topics that we were working on were such that
I could really go in many different directions
and allow myself to explore those directions.
The freedom to do that was very important in
establishing an intellectual work style that has
been very good for me and my career. I don’t
feel that I have to focus every moment on the
most immediate problem at hand. I recognize
that it’s productive sometimes to sit back and
think about things that are a little bit out of
the box, and I learned that in my days as a
graduate student at Princeton. It was a great
environment that really promoted creative
Photo courtesy of Lehigh University
Gast *84 appointed president of Lehigh
Pioneering researcher
and renowned teacher
Alice Gast *84 broke
new ground Aug. 1
when she became the
first female president
of Lehigh University.
Beginning with
her work at Princeton
on phase transitions in
colloids, Gast became a leader in the study of
complex fluids, an area of major importance
to biotechnology, nanotechnology and materials science. She completed her Ph.D. in chemical engineering at Princeton as a Hertz Foundation Fellow, advised by William Russel, now
the Arthur Marks ’19 Professor of Chemical
Engineering and dean of the Graduate School,
and Carol Hall, now at North Carolina State
“As a graduate student, Alice became
engrossed in the physics of polymers and colloids, completing work with Carol Hall and
myself that easily ranks as my most frequently
cited paper,” Russel said. “Alice naturally
emerged as a leader in the profession through
clear and strategic thinking, foresight, an
organized style and charismatic expression of
her ideas. The values she articulates for Lehigh
with respect to integration of education with
research, with synergy between undergraduate
and graduate programs, coincide nicely with
Princeton’s ideals. I think she has a wonderful
future ahead.”
Gast assumed the Lehigh presidency after
nearly five years as vice president for research
and associate provost at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology and 16 years as a
chemical engineering professor at Stanford
Her numerous honors and awards include
election earlier this year to the board of the
American Association for the Advancement
of Science. She was previously elected to the
National Academy of Engineering and named
a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts
and Sciences. From 1993 to 2000, she served
as a member of the Leadership Council for
Princeton’s School of Engineering and Applied
eqn Winter 2006–07
Alumni participate in major review
of Hanford nuclear facility
by Steven Schultz John Rutgers ’56 (left) and John Bodman ’56
Photo courtesy of Silvia Ferrari
John Rutgers ’56 (left) and John Bodman ’56
Silvia Ferrari *02 is the recipient of a 2006
Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. An assistant professor of
mechanical engineering at Duke University,
Ferrari received the PECASE award following
her 2005 National Science Foundation Faculty
Early Career Development Award. Together,
these honors will provide her with more than
$400,000 in research funding over the next five
years. Ferrari earned her Ph.D. in mechanical
and aerospace engineering from Princeton. At
Duke, where she directs the Laboratory for
Intelligent Systems and Controls, Ferrari’s research focuses on the advancement of adaptive
control technology.
30 eqn Winter 2006–07
Two Princeton Engineering alumni helped lead
a major review of the U.S. government project
to clean up millions of gallons of nuclear
waste at a former weapons plant in Hanford,
John Rutgers, who graduated from Princeton in 1956 with a degree in civil engineering,
chaired a 16-member review team described
by the U.S. Department of Energy as the “best
and brightest” in the field. Among those Rutgers recruited for the team was classmate John
Bodman, a chemical engineer.
Both described the review as a critical
undertaking: restoring credibility to one of the
nation’s largest environmental cleanup projects, which was in danger of losing congressional funding because of severe cost overruns.
“It was a fascinating project, and we
worked very well together as a group,” Bodman said.
Rutgers said, “Through our work we were
able to restore significant credibility to the
project. I think we really contributed to solving a problem of national importance.”
Office Depot has named Teddy Chung ’76
as its senior vice president and managing
director, Asia, a new position in the company.
Chung, who will be based in Shanghai, China,
was previously the senior vice president, Asia
Pacific, of Avery Dennison. After earning his
bachelor’s in chemical engineering from
Princeton and
an M.B.A.
from Harvard
Business School,
Chung worked
with Booz Allen
before joining
Avery Dennison
in 1985.
Teddy Chung ’76
The Hanford Waste Treatment Plant, currently under construction, is intended to stabilize 50 million gallons of nuclear and chemical
waste so it can be stored for more than 10,000
years. The waste, generated from weaponsmaking projects, is now in underground tanks
that are beyond their designed lifespan. Some
of the tanks are leaking into the groundwater,
threatening to contaminate the Columbia
River and the major population centers downstream, Rutgers and Bodman said.
The two engineers said the price tag for
the treatment facility had ballooned in the last
eight years from less than $4 billion to more
than $8 billion as first-of-a-kind technology
design evolved and regulatory requirements
changed. The review team, hired by Bechtel
National Inc. at the request of the Department of Energy, worked long hours for three
months before submitting a report at the end
of March 2006 with major recommendations
that were accepted by Congress.
Photo courtesy of Webhannet River Design
Three years after Leonard Liu *68 founded
Augmentum, a software development firm
based in Foster City, Calif., the company’s
workforce has doubled in size from 500 employees to more than 1,000. The majority of
the company’s programmers, who create software for industry giants including Microsoft,
Dell and Intel, are based in China. Liu, who
was recently featured in U.S. News & World
Report and Newsweek magazines, earned his
Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Princeton. He
taught at the University of Michigan and then
led research teams at IBM for over 20 years.
Rutgers, a retired executive from Bechtel,
has long experience managing projects in the
nuclear and fossil fuel industries. Bodman, the
president of John O. Bodman Consulting, has
led the commissioning of numerous chemical
and nuclear materials processing plants.
Bodman said that completing the Hanford
review required understanding not only highly
technical information but also a complex regulatory and political environment. “I had been
president of a large corporation but I really
had to work to understand it,” he said. “The
real puzzle is getting a handle on the entire
environment in which you are doing your engineering and communicating recommendations
effectively, and that is where the totality of our
Princeton experience served us well, not just
the engineering but the full education.”
Symmetricom, manufacturer of
atomic clocks, network synchronization tools and timing
products, has appointed James
Armstrong ’88 to be vice
president of engineering at the
company’s Telecom Solutions Division in San Jose, Calif. In addition to his bachelor’s in electrical
engineering and computer science
from Princeton, Armstrong holds
a Ph.D. in electrical engineering
from Purdue University. Prior
to joining Symmetricom, he was
president of Movidis, a privately
held company that develops
high-performance networking
SteriCoat, a start-up company that has
developed a coating technology for medical
catheters, earned Chris Loose ’02 and Joel
Moxley ’02 back-to-back honors from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and
Harvard University. Loose and Moxley, who
are both graduate students in chemical engineering at MIT, collaborated with three other
MIT researchers to develop the company’s
method to significantly reduce catheter-related
infections. Less than one month after their
company won the $30,000 MIT Business
Venture Robert P. Goldberg Grand Prize in
May, it placed first in the annual Graduate
School of Arts and Sciences Harvard Biotechnology Club Business Plan Competition. The
team received $5,000 and a one-year lease for
1,000 square feet of lab or office space from
Cummings Properties, valued at $25,000, for
winning the Harvard competition.
From left: Christopher Loose ’02, Joel Moxley ’02 and Michael
Henke, an MIT undergraduate. Photo by Melanie Miller
eqn Winter 2006–07
Quark Park sparks playful collaborations between engineers and artists
Five engineering faculty members were among
ten Princeton University scientists who teamed
up with local sculptors, architects and landscape architects to create the phenomenon
known as Quark Park.
Located in downtown Princeton, the park
features playful garden sculptures that evoke
the serious research that the scientists do.
The park was created by landscape architects Alan Goodheart and Peter Soderman
and architect Kevin Wilkes. Two years ago the
threesome created another temporary park at
the same location—on Paul Robeson Place—
called “Writers Block,” a collection of garden
follies inspired by the work of 11 writers.
This time around, Soderman told the
Princeton Weekly Bulletin, “science was the
obvious choice because there are so many
scientists in Princeton and most scientists are
relative aliens to the lay public. People don’t
understand what scientists do.”
The five engineering faculty members with
pieces in the garden are Perry Cook, professor
of computer science; David Dobkin, dean of
the faculty and professor of computer science;
Naomi Leonard, professor of mechanical
and aerospace engineering; George Scherer,
professor of civil and environmental engineering; and Jim Sturm, professor of electrical
engineering and the director of the Princeton
Institute for the Science and Technology of
For details about the project and each
collaboration, visit the Quark Park Web site:
Professor James Sturm
and President Shirley M.
Tilghman, a molecular biologist,
collaborated with artist
Nancy Cohen to create an
abstract representation of
how mammals sense and
remember scents.
32 eqn Winter 2006–07
All photos by Denise Applewhite
Photo, top right:
George Scherer collaborated
with sculptor Kate Graves
to create a stone table that
incorporates a board for the
African game of Mankala.
The sculpture, an experiment
in itself, reflects Scherer’s
research on the decay and
preservation of stone. Both
table legs rest in containers of
highly salty liquid. One is protected by a liquid preservative
invented in Scherer’s lab. The
other, left bare, was expected
to crumble from the force of
salt crystallization.
Naomi Ehrich Leonard
collaborated with glass artist
Bob Kuster to represent
Leonard’s work with robotic
gliders that self-choreograph
their movements in response
to their environment.
Perry Cook collaborated with
sculptor Jonathan Shor to
create a giant granite
xylophone whose sounds are
modified as they are made
by digital signal processing
David Dobkin collaborated
with architect Kevin Wilkes
to design the outdoor theater
and roof covering at Quark
Park, which was inspired by
Dobkin’s work on rendering
complex shapes in computer
eqn Winter 2006–07
School of Engineering and Applied Science
Undergraduate Admission Office
Graduate Admission Office
T(609) 258-3060
F(609) 258-6743
T(609) 258-3034
F(609) 258-6180
Princeton, NJ 08544-5263
eqn Winter 2006–07
Box 430
Princeton, NJ 08544-0430
011 Clio Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544