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February 2015

From the Dean

It's already February and the Oregon State engineering community continues to rack up successes:

  • Gabor Temes was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the highest professional distinction for engineers in both industry and academia. Our stellar faculty continue to work on artificial intelligence safety (thanks in part to a $10 million grant from Elon Musk), wave energy generation with the potential to be cheaper than wind energy, and the up-and-coming field of nuclear forensics to deter terrorism.
  • Student teams designed and built a water catchment system in Nicaragua, participated in a 1,200-kilometer solar vehicle race in the United Arab Emirates, and are aiming high (25,000 feet!) in a rocket competition.
  • Our alumni are finding success and changing lives all over the world. In particular, Ken Austin has written a biography about his life, founding a multi-million business, and his time at Oregon State.

Be sure to attend our inaugural Engineering Research Expo on March 4 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, where you'll see cutting-edge research by our graduate students aimed at solving some of the world's most pressing problems.

Thanks for being part of our community, and go Beavs!

Scott A. Ashford, Ph.D.
Kearney Professor and Dean
College of Engineering
Oregon State University

Research

Energy from waves could be cheaper, more reliable than wind
A new study, co-authored by OSU engineering faculty Ted Brekken and Tuba Ozkan-Haller, has found that once the infrastructure is in place, wave energy production would be a reliable, steady, and dependable source of electricity — even cheaper than wind power. But there are issues when generating power from the ocean. More…

Seeking the impact of nano-pesticides on the environment
As the first nano-formulations of pesticides quietly make their way onto agricultural fields, Stacey Harper, an assistant professor in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering, is researching the use of nanoparticles with the goal of identifying which will be a boon and which a bane for farmers, consumers, and the environment. More…

OSU research pushing the limits of Moore's Law
Researchers at Oregon State University are experimenting with novel materials and new techniques for nano-scale lithography — the microscopic stenciling process used to trace and etch nano circuits onto a chip. This and many other research topics will be explored at the Engineering Research Expo on March 4 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. More…

Nuclear forensics helps thwart terrorist attacks
With funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a new graduate emphasis in nuclear forensics — the tracing of interdicted nuclear and radioactive materials to their place of origin — is being launched in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics. Brittany Robertson is poised to become the first Oregon State student to earn a Ph.D. in this up-and-coming field. More…

Faculty & Staff

Gabor Temes elected to National Academy of Engineering
Gabor Temes, a professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the highest professional distinction for engineers in both industry and academia. More…

Women STEM faculty to benefit from $3.5M NSF grant
Engineering faculty Michelle Bothwell and Tuba Ozkan-Haller are part of a $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation that's giving Oregon State University the opportunity to create a more equitable work environment for women and other underrepresented faculty in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines. One component of the new project is an annual campus lecture series/visit that kicks off April 20-21 with former NSF Director Rita Colwell. More…

Students

Grad student wins Michael Kyte Outstanding Student Award
Jennifer Warner, a master's candidate in civil engineering who is advised by Assistant Professor David Hurwitz, has won the 2014 Michael Kyte Outstanding Student of the Year Award at the PacTrans Reception during the Transportation Research Board's Annual Meeting. The award is based on accomplishments in technical merit and research, academic performance, and professionalism and leadership.

Keith Kostol featured in Human Energy Stories
Keith Kostol, a student in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is featured in Pac-12’s inspiring stories of student athletes who excel on and off the field. More…

Students design, construct water system in Nicaragua
The Oregon State chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) completed its second international service project last summer, designing and building a rainwater catchment system that brings potable water to a village of 400 people in Nicaragua, where septic systems were contaminating the water table during heavy rainfall. More…

DCI Engineers and HDG Architecture announced winner of travel scholarship
Master’s student Kyle Sullivan’s mission will be to discover the engineering and architechtural marvels in the cities of Berlin, Prague, and Amsterdam. Sullivan, advised by Professor Rakesh Gupta and Associate Professor Thomas Miller, is currently writing a thesis on cross-laminated timber. More…

Solar vehicle team competes in 1,200-km Middle East race
An Oregon State team of nine engineering students and one alumnus took its solar-powered vehicle, "The Phoenix," to the United Arab Emirates, where it competed in the grueling 4-day, 1,200-km Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge. The team was one of only 15 cars to make it through the 45-lap qualifier and placed 12th in the race overall. More…

OSU LAN party brings gaming community together
The Oregon State Gaming Club’s annual Civil War LAN Party brought more than 250 participants to the Memorial Union Ballroom to wage online battles during a three-day event, where participants set up desktop computers over a local area network (LAN) to play computers games, and organizers also set up console games for group play as well as an area for board and card games. More…

Rocket club aims high this year
Last year, a ragtag team of student engineers entered the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association's Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition for the first time ever and beat out 22 other teams from around the world to win the basic category by launching a 10-pound payload to 10,000 feet. This year, the team is entering the advanced category and aiming higher: the goal is 25,000 feet. More…

Oregon State University Open Source Lab hosts 160 projects
Emily Durham will give a talk called Human Hacking at the Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 13x. Durham is currently finishing her final year in computer science at Oregon State University, where she is the student systems engineer at the OSU Open Source Lab. More…

Programs

OSU selected to participate in national innovation program
Oregon State is one of 25 U.S. institutions selected by the NSF-funded National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) to join the Pathways to Innovation Program, designed to help institutions incorporate innovation and entrepreneurship into undergraduate engineering education. More…

The Internet of Things (including bees!)
The Internet of Things refers to everyday objects connected to the Internet that are constantly communicating back to base. At the Business Leadership Summit in Portland, Karti Mayaram, a professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, showed how Oregon State researchers have equipped bees with tiny radio frequency sensors that track movement as the insects search for pollen, nectar, and nesting sites. More…

Making a Difference

Elon Musk donates $10M to keep artificial intelligence safe
Technology inventor Elon Musk, creator of Tesla and SpaceX, has donated $10M to the nonprofit Future of Life Institute to run a global research program aimed at keeping AI safe for humanity. Tom Dietterich, professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence said, "It's wonderful, because this will provide the impetus to jump-start research on AI safety." More…

Major gifts help OSU-Cascades plan sustainable campus
Lee (’63 Civil Engineering) and Connie Kearney (’65 College of Education) have committed a $500,000 lead gift toward an initiative to develop Oregon State University-Cascades’ new campus as one that exemplifies energy conservation and is positioned for a net zero future. Rod (’79 Chemical Engineering) and Lori Ray also contributed to the initiative. More…

Alumni

Mechanical engineering alumnus is shoebiz success story
Tom Ng earned his mechanical engineering degree from Oregon State in 1991, but creating a shoe empire turned out to be his true passion. As an engineering student in Corvallis, he saved his spending money to amass a "sizeable collection" of the popular Nike high-tops and other sneakers, and now his trendy shoe label, Pazzion, is seeing 20 percent annual growth and has stores around the world. More…

Ken Austin, co-founder of A-Dec opens up in new biography
Ken Austin (’53), the 83-year-old philanthropist and entrepreneur best known for the dental equipment manufacturing company he founded in a Quonset hut with his late wife Joan and for their generous contributions to Oregon State, has written a biography, "American Dreamers," that humbly describes his rise from a Newberg farm to Oregon State, and then to the helm of a multimillion-dollar business and co-founder of a drug and alcohol treatment center. More…

Consumers are tired of cola, lemon lime flavors: Klock
Talking Rain Beverage Company CEO Kevin Klock (’92 Chemical Engineering) discusses the company’s sparkling water products on Bloomberg. More…

Intel promotes nine executives
Doug Fisher (’85 Electrical and Electronics Engineering) who runs Intel’s software group was promoted to senior vice president. Fisher has been with Intel since 1995. More…

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