Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Holidays From the Jacobs School of Engineering!

Wishing everyone a great holiday break!

Learn more about the Vices and Virtues art piece by Bruce Nauman here.

Learn more about hte Charles Lee Powell Laboratories here.

Note: The Jacobs School of Engineering, and the UC San Diego campus, will be closed Dec. 22 to Jan. 1.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Prof. Joseph Wang's Research Featured in The Economist's The World of 2013 Issue

Microrockets developed in the lab of Prof. Joseph Wang at the Jacobs School of Engineering are featured in The Economist's "The World of 2013" issue, now available online and at news stands.

The story says, in part:

"On the diagnostic front, a variety of nanotechnologies have been developed for the detection of cancers, including circulating tumour cells (CTCs), which are responsible for a cancer’s spread. The challenge is that CTCs are few and far between. Normally, a few mingle with the 10m or so white blood cells and 5 billion red blood cells in each milli-litre of blood, making their detection and isolation a formidable challenge. Recently, though, a group at the University of California, San Diego, has developed self-propelled “microrockets” about 10,000 nano-metres long. These carry a small amount of zinc as fuel and, in a reaction that may be familiar from school chemistry lessons, this fuel can be made to react with natural acids in the body to generate hydrogen, which is then used to propel the rocket. Thus, at least in tissues which are acidic, microrockets should be able to move actively about. Experiments suggest they can navigate through a sample of blood at a speed of about 0.3 metres an hour.
Moreover, such microrockets might be guided from outside the body using magnets, if suitable magnetically sensitive materials were built into them. That guidance, plus their rapid propulsion, would make them more likely than otherwise to encounter CTCs, which they could then selectively pick up and transport to a desired location for analysis.
Proteus, the submarine in “Fantastic Voyage”, was nuclear-powered—a system of propulsion that remains beyond nanotechnology. But zinc propulsion is still an impressive feat. As it suggests, the field is advancing by leaps and bounds. With luck nanomedicine will, indeed, make its own fantastic voyage into the future."
The full story is available here

Monday, December 17, 2012

2012: Best of Media Coverage

2012 has been a busy year for news here at the Jacobs School of Engineering. We've compiled some of our best media coverage and wanted to share these with our readers. They are organized by subject. Enjoy!

·        Five-story building on the Englekirk shake table:

The tests were featured on NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News and ABC Nightly News. The broadcasts from these shows can be found here:

In addition, the tests were featured in a wide range of online and print media, including:

BBC News: Engineers Launch Artificial Earthquakes at 'Hospital'

The New York Times: In California Quake Research, Boring Is the Hoped-for Result

Huffington Post: California Earthquake Test Looks for Ways to Shore Up Hospitals

·        CSE Prof. Henrik Wann Jensen’s research on rainbow simulations:

ScienceNOW: 'Burgeroids' Cause Double Rainbows

ABC News: Fake Rainbows Lead to Scientific Discovery

·        MAE Prof. Mark Meyers’ research on an Amazon fish with piranha-proof scales:

ScienceNOW: A Piranha-Proof Fish

CNN: Fish Scales may Inspire Body Armor

·        MAE Prof. Miroslav Krstic’s research on EV batteries:

Engadget: Researchers Create Algorithms That Could Help Lithium-ion Batteries Charge Two Times Faster

UT San Diego: UCSD Research Could Yield a Better Battery

·        MAE Prof. Forman Williams’ research on fire in micro-gravity:

Scientific American: Flame Dances on Board Space Station

Smithsonian: Daily Planet blog: Great Balls of Floating Fire

·        Medical devices Prof. Alison Marsden and SE Prof. Yuri Bazilev’s research on the Berlin Heart

KPBS: UC San Diego Engineers Try to Redesign Heart Pump

·        MAE Prof. Carlos Coimbra and Jan Kleissl in The New York Times

The New York Times: Gleaning Clues on Sunny Days from the Clouds

·        BE Prof. Geert Schmid-Schönbein’s research

The Atlantic: Infant Formula Causes Cell Death Where Breast Milk Does Not

Dairy Reporter (industry publication): Formula ‘may contribute’ to intestinal condition in premature infants

UT San Diego: Trials begin on therapy to treat septic shock

San Diego Business Journal: Bioengineering Professor’s Treatment for Shock Under Study

·        Nano Prof. Shaochen Chen’s research on 3D printed biological tissues and nanomanufacturing

Gizmag: New technique paves the way for 3D-printed biological tissues

CNBC: How 3D Printers are Reshaping Medicine

·         BE Prof. Todd Coleman’s research on flexible, wearable electronics

Seattle Times/Associated Press  : Gates Foundation experiments with global health

Pregnant-Monitor Idea at UCSD Gets Funding,

·         BE Prof. Bernhard Palsson’s research in systems biology

ScienceNews: Big Jobs Go to Loyal Proteins,

·        MAS in Medical Device Engineering

California Healthline: UC San Diego Program Focuses on Designing Medical Devices,

·        ECE Prof. Gert Lanckriet’s research in game-powered machine learning

Gizmag: Game-powered machine learning: could we make searching for music online easier?

The Academic Minute podcast, Inside Higher Ed: Audio Search Engines

·        BE Prof. Shyni Varghese’s research on a self-healing hydrogel Smart, self-healing hydrogels repair themselves after sustaining damage

Scientific American: New Gels Heal Themselves – and Maybe You

The Engineer: Self-healing hydrogels could help seal leakages

MSNBC: Hydrogel acts like Velcro at the molecular level

Huffington Post: Hydrogels Heal Themselves – and Maybe Your Ulcers and Stomach Perforations

·        BE Prof. Karen Christman’s Research on injectable hydrogel for heart attack repair

KPBS: A Shot in the Heart May Repair Damage

UT San Diego: UCSD Creates Gel to Treat Heart Attacks

Gizmag: Hydrogel could grow new heart tissue, without the need for surgery

·        Dedication of the new Structural and Materials Engineering building

 UT San Diego: UC San Diego opening huge engineering center


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Robots Move Plastic Monkeys from the Cage to the Tree / Engineering Students on Warren Mall

Jacobs School of Engineering undergrads in the MAE 3 class this quarter had their robot competition today over in the basketball courts at the old gym (check out the sweet pano-photo on the MAE3 course site linked above). We caught some of the students carting (literally) their robots, and plastic monkey trees and monkey cages across Warren Mall. The name of the robot contest? “Planet of the Apes Robot Contest.”

Zach Johnson, a sophomore bioengineering major, was part of Team Catastrophe…though the robot competition was anything but for him. He and sophomore bioengineer Jeff Lim, from Team Hazard, agreed that the robot competition was a great finals week project, especially since their grades were not riding on their, or their robots’ performance. Students were evaluated last week based on their robot effectiveness.

We also ran into (and photographed) two of the section tutors for the class, Sara Taghizadeh (below), a senior mechanical engineering major, and Sam Jafarian (behind the cart), a second year mechanical engineering major who joked back and forth with each other as a crowd of pre- and post-exam students passed by their big cart loaded down more robots, trees and plastic-monkey cages.

This course introduces the fundamentals of engineering graphics and the design. Emphasis is placed on applying engineering tools to design and fabrication of working machines. Course material will be centered around two projects:

Model Clock Project (2.5 weeks): Students will use AutoCAD to design an escapement wheel and pendulum for a model clock, and make the model using shop tools.

Robot Design Project (7.5 weeks): Teams of students will design and build a machine for a competition using DC motors, solenoids, and fabrication tools.

Final Push: Studying for Finals Week

It's finals week here on campus, at the Jacobs School, that means one thing: students are getting together at the many study sessions offered by organizations such as Eta Kappa Nu, WIC@UCSD, TESC and more. The IDEA Study Lab also is offering tutoring sessions. Tuesday, we went by the study lab and by the Henry Booker Room at Jacobs Hall, where ETA Kappa Nu was putting on a Study Inn with free snacks, to capture all the hard work and studying taking place this week.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Widened and Refreshed Jacobs School Website

On Friday, we launched a widened and refreshed version of the Jacobs School of Engineering website. We are still working out the kinks, fixing pages and making content changes. Have a look around and let me know if you see anything that needs attention:  dbkane AT ucsd DOT edu



Donate a Toy for Children in Need by Dec. 12

Members of the Jacobs School community have two more days to donate a toy for children in need--and be entered in a raffle to win a $100 AMEX gift card. 

The drive benefits:
  • the UC San Diego Medical Center burn unit
  • the UC San Diego Infant CAre Center
  • the UC San Diego Bannister Family House
  • the UC San Diego Mother, Child and Adolescent Care
  • the San Diego Union Rescue Mission

New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the following locations: 

  • Deans’s Office Jacobs Hall, 7th Floor Reception
  • Bioengineering PFBH, Admin Ste, 1st Floor, outside Rm 138
  • CSE EBU 3B, Outside Rm 2264
  • ECE JACOBS HALL, Pod 2800
  • IDEA Center JACOBS HALL, 1st Floor Lobby
  • MAE EBU 2, 1st Floor Reception Area, Rm 153a
  • NanoEng SME 241F
  • Structural Eng SME 340A/B - Student Affairs Lobby

You will receive a ticket for the raffle when you drop off your donation. 

Click here for more information.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Engineers Turned Chocolatiers in the Spotlight in Forbes

Michael and Richard Antonorsi, two engineering alumni who parleyed their degrees for jobs in the technology industry and later crated Chuao, a gourmet brand of chocolate, are profiled in the BrandVoice section of Forbes' website: The brothers earned degrees in bioengineering and computer science in the mid-1980s here at UC San Diego.

The Forbes story calls Chuao "a national player in the super-premium chocolate-bar market." The chocolate bars, with exotic flavors such as maple bacon, are now sold at about 2,500 locations around the country, including major retailers like Whole Foods. If you're on the UC San Diego campus, you can also find them at several locations, including the Sunshine Store in the Price Center.

To learn more about the brother's journey to chocolate fame, read this story in This Week @ UC San Diego

Two Jacobs School Computer Scientists Named to Inaugural AMS Fellows Class

Ron Graham and Fan Chung Graham, two professors in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the Jacobs School, have been named to the inaugural class of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society. The program recognizes members who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication and utilization of mathematics.

Both are experts in combinatorics and theoretical computer science. Ron Graham is past president of the American Mathematical Society (1993-94) and the Mathematical Association of America (2003-04). He is also the co-author of "Magical Mathematics: The Mathematical Ideas that Animate Great Magic Tricks." The book has received the 2013 Euler Prize. Fan Chung Graham holds the Paul Edros Chair in Comninatorics at the Jacobs School.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Civil Engineering Magazine Puts New Engineering Building in the Spotlight

Civil Engineering magazine interviewed Jacobs School Dean Frieder Seible at length for a feature on the school's new Structural and Materials Engineering building in its November issue. The building is home to the departments of structural engineering and nanoengineering, as well as to researchers from the medical devices group at the Institute of Engineering in Medicine, and to visual artists.
The article details the building's features, including a performing arts space, a conference center, 60-foot long bridge and solar panels that can generate 140 kW of energy. It also details the building's contents, including labs, art studios and a massive robotics mill.
“We are putting four seemingly disparate disciplines together here, and it is just great  to think about what the outcome could be ten, fifteen, twenty years from now,” Seible told the magazine. “We have had great interactions with our colleagues from the visual arts. It is absolutely marvelous to see what already in a very short period of time the catalysts can be when you bring these different disciplines together and you have these shared spaces in the new building.”
The November issue of the magazine is not online yet, but here is the publication's URL:

The Secret Lives of Paintings Revealed

Maurizio Seracini, an adjunct professor of structural engineering at the Jacobs School, and well-known "Da Vinci detective," spoke at TEDGlobal 2012 in Edinburgh this summer about "The Secret Lives of Paintings." His talk is finally available via streaming video on the TED website. The video comes with an interesting blog post, titled "That unicorn is really a lap dog: The secret details in 4 classic paintings revealed."
Seracini leads several projects in Italy for the Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology, also known as CISE3, and located on the San Diego campus of Calit2. One of the project's goals is to find the long-lost da Vinci masterpiece, the Battle of Anghiari.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Biomaterials Special Issue / journal Science

Science magazine, published by AAAS, put together what looks like an interesting special issue on Biomaterials. If you're don't have a way to get behind the Science paywall, you can still access the special issue without paying...until Nov 30, but you do have to register.

A paragraph for the intro to the special issue:

Engineers think about formulas and numbers, surgeons work with their hands, physicists focus on explaining materials behavior, and biologists analyze complex cellular interactions. They all work in biomaterials, but they often speak different languages and have different priorities. For biomaterials to move from the lab to clinical use, these groups increasingly need to work together. With this in mind,Science and Science Translational Medicine are covering the basic, the applied, and everything in between—the so-called translational space.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Engineers Turn Poets at Founders' Day

What inspires you? Write it in a haiku! That was the challenge at the Jacobs School’s Founders’ Day booth. Below are samples of the creative writing work that took place over two hours Friday afternoon—engineering-inspired and otherwise.

“A world connected
Tritons here make it happen
Engineers do it!”

“A box of atoms
A bring of quantum chatter
What is life? You ask”

“Not only for guys
Overcome expectations
Go girl engineers!” (I wish we could reproduce the exclamation point with a heart that the writer used on paper)

“Engineers are cool
engineers shape tomorrow
engineers are great.”

“Great environment
Diverse culture and students
Always something new” (titled “UCSD”)

Science makes my world go round
It makes me happy”

“Love biology
It is very cool to read
Eat popcorn right now!”

“Shaking ground calls me
Beckons my windows and walls
Engineer me up”

“Be different be seen
Being Green is better than being mean
Don’t pollute be clean”

fluids are the bomb, air water
quality far out.”

“Computer science
It is really challenging
Although rewarding.”
Signed: Orion

“Testing your mind today
Bringing greater results on
Your mind over matter”

“Politics are hard
Politics are complicated
But I do love it”

“Don’t blink,
lungs shut, press enter,
Seg fault”

Visitors also could play a carnival version of Rutherford’s famous gold foil physics experiment—the first experimental evidence for the atomic nucleus. The game was designed by students from the NanoEngineering & Technology Society at UC San Diego.  
More on the game and the science experiment behind it here:

Friday, November 9, 2012

Powering medical devices with your ears

Researchers have discovered a way to harvest the power generated by a biological battery located in the inner ear to power electronics for medical applications. Patrick Mercier, who joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty at UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering in July, said this natural battery could be used to power tiny, implantable electrodes that could monitor biochemical activities within the ear. This type of study has been difficult until now because of the risk of hearing loss associated with trying to biopsy the inner ear.  Mercier said using the technology to conduct basic scientific research on the inner ear could lead to transformative new knowledge about human hearing. It could also be used to power drug delivery pumps for therapies for hearing loss patients.

Another long-term implication is what this study says about the potential of low-power electronics. The natural battery in the ear doesn't provide much power, which is one of the reasons he said its capability has likely been left untapped since its discovery 60 years ago.  That meant the researchers had to develop a device that didn't require much power to function. In an experiment with guinea pigs, the researchers were able to use their “low-power energy harvester chip” (pictured) to power a small radio transmitter without causing any damage to the guinea pigs’ hearing. A major thrust of Mercier's research here at UC San Diego, will be developing electronics that consume "orders of magnitude" lower levels of power.  Mercier’s chip consumes approximately 1,000 times less power than a wristwatch, and approximately 1 billion times less power than a cell phone.

This work was published Nov. 8 in the journal Nature Biotechnology. Mercier conducted this study as part of his doctoral research at MIT in collaboration with a team of researchers led by Konstantina Stankovich and Anantha Chandrakasan from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI), the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, and MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories.