Winter 2008

Dean’s Leadership Fund: Alumni- Supported Research Alumni & Leadership

From research into tsunami-resistant structures to the creation of microscopic disease fighters, the work being conducted by engineers at Johns Hopkins is laying the groundwork for advances that will, over the next decade, change the world. At the core of this research is the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit of our faculty. Thanks to the generous support…

Pioneer in Forensic Engineering Aims to “Improve Life” Alumni & Leadership

When Joe Reynolds ’69 launched his first company, FTI Consulting, in 1982, he built it on the academic model he learned as a student and research assistant at Johns Hopkins. “The relationship between faculty and students mirrors the structure of business,” he says. “The concept of multidisciplinary teams is the only way in today’s world…

Parting Shots Alumni & Leadership

The year 2007 saw the retirement of four Whiting School faculty legends. In the reminiscences that follow, some of the people whose lives were forever changed by these stellar academicians share their memories… Professor Bob Green When it came to Professor Bob Green, Sandy Buxbaum ’79, MS ’83, PhD ’86 and his classmates knew how…

Alumni Awards. Alumni & Leadership

The Heritage Award Established 1973 The Heritage Award honors alumni and friends of Johns Hopkins who have contributed outstanding service over an extended period to the progress of the university or the activities of the Alumni Association. Walter L. Robb, PhD A great friend to Johns Hopkins and a chemical engineer by training, Walter Robb…

Engineering and the Liberal Arts: More In Common Than You’d Think Alumni & Leadership

Excerpted from the talk “Inquiry-Driven Engineering: One of the Liberal Arts,” given by James Wagner at the Harriet Shriver Rogers Lecture on April 30, 2007, at Johns Hopkins. Wagner, MS ’78, PhD ’85, is a former Whiting School faculty member and department chair and today president of Emory University. Engineering disciplines, particularly inquirydriven disciplines, deserve…

Friends We’ll Miss Research & Development

Jack Spangler William Jack Spangler, whose affiliation with Johns Hopkins spanned 45 years, died on September 16, 2007 at the age of 62. Spangler began at Hopkins in a work/study position during his senior year of high school and was hired by the Department of Physics immediately upon his graduation in 1963. In 1995, he…

We’re barraged by information—what will happen when it’s too much? Research & Development

Sanjeev Khudanpur, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, Center for Language and Speech Processing Information overload. That’s indeed what we’re facing. On any given day, 1,000 articles about my area of research may appear in various publications—and the same holds true for other engineers, scientists, and doctors. Twenty years ago, a doctor wouldn’t have…

New Provost An Engineer at Heart Research & Development

Kristina Johnson’s engineering path seems as though it was destined. Her father and grandfather were both electrical engineers for the Westinghouse Corporation and first-class tinkerers. Johnson’s father, who died her sophomore year of college, fashioned his own ham radio at age 13 and pieced together an electronic keyboard during his senior year in high school—back…

Diagnosing Cancer By the Numbers Research & Development

If you’re trying to create a diagnostic test for cancer, you’d expect that the more information you consider, the better. But recent work by Whiting School mathematicians shows that winnowing down the information you’re looking at can be a better strategy. Advances in gene chip technology now allow researchers to take a tissue sample and…

Kudos: West Garners National Medal of Technology Research & Development

In 1962, James West and Gerhard Sessler revolutionized the field of sound technology when they invented the electret microphone, found today in everything from cell phones to hearing aids, from children’s toys to the devices astronauts use to communicate from outer space. More than 2 billion electret microphones are produced each year—95 percent of the…

New Paths of Excellence Research & Development

On first meeting, Elliot McVeigh’s laid-back demeanor comes through immediately. But don’t be fooled. It’s a serious kind of laid-back, an approach to life and work that should serve him well as the new Massey Professor and director of the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME). The internationally renowned department is unique at Hopkins; it straddles…

A MacArthur Fellowship for Ruth DeFries Research & Development

Ruth DeFries can see the forest through the trees, or more precisely, through satellite data. DeFries, PhD ’81, has spent the better part of the past two decades using sophisticated satellite- imaging systems to obtain a clearer picture of the processes transforming our planet. An environmental geographer, she uses this imagery to detect human modifications…

A Hospital Head Who Listens Research & Development

On a recent afternoon after receiving an award for corporate leadership from the Greater Dallas Asian-American Chamber of Commerce—one of several awards she has garnered in the last few years—Winjie Miao ’98 returned home with an 11 x 17-inch foam-board headshot of herself. “I was proud of the award, and flattered, but what do you…

New “front door” Research & Development

The Homewood campus debuted its new “front door” on the evening of October 27, 2007, when the Alonzo G. and Virginia G. Decker Quadrangle, the Computational Science and Engineering Building, and Mason Hall were formally dedicated at a gala that included more than 800 Johns Hopkins alumni, friends, faculty, and students. Before dinner, guests had…

First or Not, Maryland Hall a Gem Research & Development

In the beginning, there was Gilman Hall—or was it Maryland Hall? History grants Gilman Hall status as Homewood campus’s first academic building, but there exists some speculation as to which building actually first welcomed students. There is no debate, however, as to Maryland Hall’s role in putting the School of Engineering on the map. The…

Fixing Fick’s Law Research & Development

Marc Donohue, the Whiting School’s vice dean of research, places a cup of water on a table in his office. A cherry-flavored Life Saver rests at the bottom. “That’s diffusion,” he says, pointing at the cup. Donohue has been working to better understand diffusion for nearly a decade. Recently, he and a team of colleagues…

Work That’s All Fun and Games Research & Development

He-Man and Voltron action figures no longer rule the toy store. And while there are a few classic games and toys that seem almost guaranteed to remain popular forever, like Monopoly and Barbie dolls, even these favorites need helpful extras each year to keep sales brisk. (Witness Barbie Girls: A doll that doubles as an…

And They’re Off! Research & Development

Adam Baumgartner, a sophomore mechanical engineer, is talking in a corner of Latrobe Hall’s basement. He’s describing his involvement on the Hopkins Baja-SAE team and is so excited that he’s actually jumping up and down in place. Standing 6 feet 8 inches (he’s also a forward on Hopkins’ men’s basketball team), he has enthusiasm that…

Expanding Worlds Research & Development

Each summer, several undergraduate recipients of the Whiting School’s Vredenburg Scholarships receive funding to apply their engineering, technology, and applied science skills in an international setting. We checked in with three 2007 Vredenburg Scholars upon their return to Hopkins in the fall to find out more about their research and travels… As a kid, Blair…

The Sum of Its Parts Research & Development

For Chieh-San Cheng, MS ’91, everything he ponders is made up of parts—parts, or data, that ultimately create a whole picture or system. Cheng is the co-founder and president of Global Science & Technology (GST), a company devoted to solving the technical and scientific challenges fundamental to technology- based enterprises. These enterprises range from creating…

Beware the Eavesdropper Research & Development

In the past decade, millions of people have begun to use Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services that route their telephone calls over the Internet. Because the public nature of the Internet makes eavesdropping relatively easy, VOIP providers are increasingly encrypting the conversations to protect users’ privacy. But the encryption scheme has a weak spot,…

Blackbird Takes Blue Jays Under Its Wing Research & Development

Computer science major Matt Fedderly can’t say much about what he did last summer as an intern at Blackbird Technologies Inc., but he enjoyed it immensely. “I was working with really smart people, and I learned stuff you can’t really learn in school,” he says. Based in Herndon, Virginia, Blackbird provides high-level information security and…

Sight Unseen Features

The answers, my friend, may be blowin’ in the wind—or, for that matter, hidden in the nether regions of the brain. But how to see them? Through tools ranging from toy turbines to a “magic box,” Hopkins engineers are pushing to make visible that which is indiscernible to the naked eye. Wind Energy One of…

The Illusion of Certainty Features

Environmental engineer Ed Bouwer is sure about one thing: When it comes to health risks, uncertainty rules the day. Bran flakes or bacon this morning? Schedule that mammogram, or skip it for now? Start up with that powerful new cholesterol-busting drug, or pass on it? An environmental engineering professor from Johns Hopkins University is probably…

Whither the Job Market? Features

We tapped a bevy of engineering “forecasters” to find out what fields will be hottest in the decade to come. Surprising as it may sound, the most common undergraduate degree among today’s CEOs isn’t business or economics. It’s engineering. More than ever, engineers are venturing into just about every niche of corporate America. Both Lee…

Final Exam Final Exam

“We’re in the danger zone.” That’s how senior Rodwitt Lai describes the Senior Design project he and fellow team members Eric Ngeo and Joel Frankford are working on in the Department of Computer Science. The course, led by Lecturer Peter Froehlich, matches real-world clients with teams of seniors who spend a semester working on technical…

From the Dean From The Dean

The opening of the Computational Science and Engineering Building this fall was an exciting time for the entire Hopkins community. The building itself combines the best of form and function. Bordering the new Decker Quad, it is adjacent to Mason Hall, and its presence contributes to the Homewood campus’s new “front door.” The building makes…