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At UW Madison student entrepreneurs win BIG



PERSPECTIVE                                                For alumni and friends of the
                                                           UW-Madison College of Engineering

                                                           SPRING 2010

                    Fruitful creativity
                    At UW-Madison, student entrepreneurs win BIG
    A coil experiment built by Ludois and electrical and computer engineering grad student Justin Reed.

         Built by electrical and computer engineering graduate student Dan Ludois, this Tesla coil is driven
    with a solid state converter and can play music. View more of Ludois’ creations at

                         PERSPECTIVE                                                                  Volume 37, Issue 1
                         The magazine for alumni and friends of the UW-Madison College of Engineering SPRING 2010


                                                                                                                       David Nevala
                         12 INSTITUTION FOR INNOVATION
                            Over the last decade, UW-Madison has built up a suite
                            of opportunities for students to develop their creativity
                            and expand their business savvy.
                            By Renee Meiller                                                   ON THE COVER

                         16 THE CHEMISTRY OF MEMORY
                            Chemical and Biological Engineering Professor Regina Murphy has dedicated her career
                            to studying the chemical processes that underlie debilitating brain ailments, including
                            Alzheimer’s disease.
                            By Sandra Knisely


                                          4 In Depth
                                            By Dean Paul Peercy

                                          5 From the Lab
                                            College research news

                                         11 Who Knew?
                                            Five questions …
                                            with Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Nicola Ferrier

                                         20 The Next Generation
                                            Engineering students take on local and global challenges,
                                            have fun, and learn a lot in the process

                                         24 Engineering Beyond Boundaries
                                            Rethinking engineering education: Integrating engineering and biology

                                         26 Wisconsin Ideas
                                            Quick-response manufacturing:
                                            Custom solutions keep manufacturers competitive

                                         28 Badger Engineers
                                            Two alumni you should meet:
                                            • Miller Park Executive Director Michael Duckett
                                            • Qualcomm CDMA Technology VP Jim Thompson
Photos by Tim Obermann

                                         30 A New Perspective
                                            Haiti: From helpers to helpless
                                            By Eyleen Chou

                   In Depth

                               Dean Paul S. Peercy

                                                                    fall 2009 survey of UW-Madison College of Engineering
                                                                    alumni revealed some valuable information about your
                                                                    communication preferences.
                                                                                                                                   The magazine for alumni and friends of the UW-Madison College of Engineering

                                                               More than 1,500 alumni completed the September 2009                 SPRING 2010 • Volume 37, Issue 1
                                                           survey, which focused on communication, alumni engagement
                                                           and philanthropy. One of the strongest messages to come through         Renee Meiller
                                                           is that PERSPECTIVE remains valued as the primary vehicle for           Writer
                                                           keeping alumni informed about the college. Of the general survey        Sandra Knisely
                                                           group, more than two-thirds of respondents labeled PERSPECTIVE          Design
                                                           as either “very important” or “important” to staying in touch with      Phil Biebl
                                                           college news.                                                           Photography
                                                               When asked for their preference for receiving information           Jeff Miller, David Nevala,
                                                                                                                                   Tim Obermann, Bryce Richter
                                                           through print vs. electronic formats, the result was a virtual 50-50
                                                           split. This might seem surprising, given the explosive growth of        COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING
David Nevala

                                                           online and social media platforms, but the enduring appreciation
                                                           for print publications gave us a useful reality check.                  Paul S. Peercy, Dean
                                                                                                                                   Steven Cramer, Associate Dean
                                                                                                                                     for Academic Affairs
                                                                                                                                   Brian Mattmiller, Assistant Dean
                    Redesigned from top to bottom, the new PERSPECTIVE magazine                                                      for Alumni and Corporate Relations
                                                                                                                                   James C. Beal, Director,
                    will provide more of the news and features alumni value in a modern                                              Engineering External Relations
                    and visually compelling format.                                                                                Contact the college:
                                                                                                                                   Alumni relations
                                                                                                                                   Brian Mattmiller
                                 It’s one of the reasons we are very excited about the publication you hold in your hands.
                              Redesigned from top to bottom, the new PERSPECTIVE magazine will provide more of the       
                              news and features alumni value in a modern and visually compelling format.
                                                                                                                                   Prospective students:
                                 One significant change is that all future issues will have a lead cover story that represents a   Nancy Hansen
                              significant trend or issue in the college. This issue explores the growth in student opportunities   608/262-2473
                              to build skills in innovation, from hands-on competitions to academic certificates. We also are
                              incorporating new voices into the magazine, beginning with a moving piece from student               Industry, R&D:
                              Eyleen Chou about the Engineers Without Borders student members’ experience in Haiti.                Lawrence Casper
                                 We also reorganized our core content to emphasize your highest priorities. Survey       
                              respondents gave either high or medium importance to research news (91 percent) and
                                                                                                                                   Professional education:
                              educational quality and improvement (91 percent). Respondents also placed high value                 Department of
                              on news about economic impact and industry outreach (87 percent). The new PERSPECTIVE                Engineering Professional Development
                              has sections dedicated to those topics.                                                              608/262-2061
                                 With this change, we also recognize a much greater need for more avenues of online      
                              communication with alumni. Beginning this summer, we will debut a monthly online
                                                                                                                                   Make a gift to the college:
                              magazine that will highlight alumni success stories, upcoming events and a “news you
                                                                                                                                   Deb Holt
                              can use” feature on how to take advantage of college services.                                       608/263-0779
                                 Our challenge is balancing traditional and emerging communication platforms to reach    
                              the broadest possible audience of alumni and friends. We view it as a responsibility to inform       Story ideas or feedback about PERSPECTIVE:
                              alumni of the impact we are making in the world—one that builds on the prestige of                   Renee Meiller
                              your degree.                                                                                         608/262-2481
                                 Please let us know what you think of the new issue, or other ideas about our communication
                              efforts, by E-mailing

                From the Lab

                                    research news

                                                     GOING WITH THE GRAIN
                                         Novel approach to a new superconducting material

                               S       uperconductors are powerful materials that conduct electricity with no resistance,
                                      meaning no loss of electricity. Recently, scientists have discovered a new class of
                                     superconducting materials called pnictides, which are based on iron and arsenide.
                               Pnictides are promising because they can operate at relatively high temperatures and
                               have other ideal properties.
                                   A team led by Materials Science and Engineering Professor Chang-Beom Eom has
                               demonstrated a breakthrough approach in fabricating pnictide thin films with promising
                                                                                                                                      Chang-Beom Eom
                               results. Until now, no one has been able to study the intrinsic properties of pnictides because
                               it has been impossible to fabricate a single crystal of it with all of the material grains pointing in the same direction.
                                   Eom, who is collaborating with teams from the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and the University
                               of Michigan, hypothesized that the pnictide thin films couldn’t grow properly because the substrate used most
                               commonly by researchers is oxide-based. Thin films like to grow in the same way as the material beneath them.
                               Hence, the metallic-based pnictides couldn’t thrive on the oxide substrate.
                                   The researchers then engineered a thin template to place on top of the oxide substrate. This template has
                               both metallic and oxide elements, meaning it can interface with both the substrate and the thin film. With the
                               template, the film grows in a more ideal arrangement. The template also acts as barrier between the conducting
                               thin film and the non-conducting substrate.
                                   Previously, researchers were only able to measure 10,000 amps of electricity per .06 cubic inch, which is a
                               relatively useless amount. With the template, which is made of barium titanate or strontium titanate, Eom’s team
                               has demonstrated that pnictide thin films are capable of producing 5 million amps per .06 cubic inch—a 500-fold
                               increase that brings pnictide current capacity into the usable range.
                                   The team’s research will help other researchers learn more about pnictides and expand basic knowledge
                               about superconductivity in general. Beyond superconductors, the template approach can be applied whenever
                               a researcher wants to grow a metallic film on an oxide substrate.
                                   The research appeared online in the journal Nature Materials on February 28, along with a second paper by
                               Eom about a new approach to help researchers “couple” the electric and magnetic mechanisms in a special class
                               of materials. This could lead to a wide range of magnetoelectric devices, such as new integrated circuits or tiny
                               electronic devices with the information storage capacity of hard drives.

                                                                      A superconductor makes a magnet levitate.
Mai-Linh Doan

 From the Lab

                            research news

Casting industry goes nano
                                                                                     plants + process = fuel
                     T    he National Institute of Standards and
                          Technology has awarded a $10.1 million,
                   five-year grant to a team led by Mechanical                       A     team of chemical engineers has developed a highly efficient, environmentally
                                                                                           friendly process that selectively converts gamma-valerolactone, a biomass
                   Engineering Professor Xiaochun Li. The                            derivative, into the chemical equivalent of jet fuel. The simple process preserves
                   researchers are studying a process that could                     about 95 percent of the energy from the original biomass, requires little hydrogen
                   yield new technologies for commercial-scale                       input, and captures carbon dioxide under high pressure for future beneficial use.
      Li           production of aluminum and magnesium                                 With Steenbock Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering James Dumesic,
                                           matrix nanocomposites                     postdoctoral researchers Jesse Bond and David Martin Alonso and graduate students
                                           in the traditional                        Dong Wang and Ryan West published details of the advance in the February 26, 2010,
                                           casting industry within                   edition of the journal Science.
                                           the next five years.                         Much of the Dumesic group’s previous research of cellulosic biomass has focused on
                                              “If successful, the                    processes that convert abundant plant-based sugars into transportation fuels.
                                           production of these
                                           metal nanocomposites
                                           will enable transforma-
                                           tive changes in multiple
                                           industries and directly
                                           address the critical
                                           national needs of
                                           reducing oil dependency,
                                           lowering greenhouse
                                           gas emissions and main-
                                           taining U.S. leadership in
A magnesium nanocomposite cast sample manufacturing,” says Li.                            HERE’S A TIP:
                                              Most molten metals                          Technique yields durable diamond probes
                  have a large surface-to-volume ratio and are
                  unable to maintain contact with the solid
                  nanoparticle surfaces, meaning the nanopar-
                  ticles clump together. Li’s lab has developed
                                                                                          W       hen a university-industry team of researchers tried a novel,
                                                                                                  foundry-style mold-filling technique to make nanoscale devices,
                                                                                          they realized they had discovered a gem: They used their process to fabricate
                  an experimental technique that uses high-                               ultra-hard, wear-resistant nanoprobes out of a material much like diamond.
                  intensity ultrasonic waves to disperse the
                  nanoparticles through the melts. The waves
                  cause the formation, growth and collapse of
                  microbubbles, which produce
                  microscopic “hot spots” that reach temperatures
                                                                                             On a larger scale, materials that look smooth still abrade because of slight
                  above 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Li and his
                  team have shown that the violent micro-shock                            irregularities and defects on their surfaces. Now, zoom in: At the nanoscale,
                  waves from the hot spots disperse nano-                                 atoms rub off one at a time, challenging researchers who build devices just
                  particles evenly through the molten metals.                             tens of atoms wide. Silicon-containing diamondlike carbon, or Si-DLC, could
                      Li’s collaborators include Kuo K. and Cindy F.                      solve this problem.
                  Wang Professor of Mechanical Engineering                                   Engineering Physics Distinguished Research Professor Kumar Sridharan
                  Tim Osswald, Industrial & Systems Engineering                           developed the “nano foundry” technique. He started with an IBM silicon-
                  Associate Professor Shiyu Zhou, Eck Industries                          on-insulator wafer previously etched with sharp, pyramid-shaped “molds.”
                  Inc., the Oshkosh Corporation, Nanostructured                           Then, he used plasma immersion ion implantation and deposition, a room-
                  and Amorphous Materials Inc. and the                                    temperature deposition process, to fill the molds.

                  Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

      However, in previously studied                             herbal food and perfume additive.     “The product we make is ready for the jet
   conversion methods, sugar mol-                                Using laboratory-scale equipment      fuel application and can be added to existing
   ecules frequently degrade to form                             and stable, inexpensive catalysts,    hydrocarbon blends, as needed, to meet specs,”
   levulinic acid and formic acid—                               Dumesic’s group converts aqueous      says Alonso.
   two products the previous methods                             solutions of GVL into jet fuel.          Now that they have demonstrated the process
   couldn’t readily transform into high-                            “With very minimal processing,     for converting GVL to transportation fuel,
   energy liquid fuels.                                          we can produce a pure stream          Dumesic and his students are developing more
      With levulinic and formic acid as the starting of jet-fuel-range alkenes and a fairly pure       efficient, cost-effective methods for making
   points, the team’s new method exploits sugar’s stream of carbon dioxide,” says Bond, of the         GVL from biomass sources such as wood, corn
   tendency to degrade. In the presence of            two-step catalytic process.                      stover, switchgrass and others. “Once the GVL
   metal catalysts, the two acids react to form           The hydrocarbons produced from GVL in        is made effectively, I think this is an excellent
   gamma-valerolactone, or GVL, which now             this new process are chemically equivalent       way to convert it to jet fuel,” says Dumesic.
   is manufactured in small quantities as an          to those used in the present infrastructure.

                                                         New laser structure is a bright idea
                        The technique
                     works somewhat
                                                        T     wo electrical and computer engineering professors—Philip Dunham Reed Professor
                                                              Dan Botez and Professor Luke Mawst—have created a nanoscale laser structure to
                                                        produce more efficient, reliable and stable semiconductor lasers emitting in the mid-infrared
                     like the way in                    within the next two years.
                     which a snowfall                      The structure all but eliminates the temperature sensitivity for lasers operating in continuous-
                     blankets the                       wave mode, meaning the laser emits uninterrupted, coherent light. These lasers could benefit
                     ground. In this                    a wide range of industries, including biomedical devices, environmental monitoring devices,
                     case, the “snow” is                missile avoidance systems and food packaging processes.
                     ionized hexamethyl                    Botez and Mawst created the structure via metalorganic chemical vapor deposition, a scalable
                     disiloxane, a liquid               process that involves exposing a substrate to high heat and chemicals, causing the layers with
                     precursor to Si-DLC                varying compositions to form on the substrate in an
                     that gasifies in the               atomic-lattice configuration.
plasma chamber and packs neatly into                       Varied layer composition prevents electrons from
the molds. Fabricated on standard                       escaping the laser structure, a process called carrier
                                                                                                                                                Botez and Mawst
silicon microcantilivers, the ultrasharp                leakage. The result will be continuous-wave lasers that
tips in wear tests were 3,000 times                     the researchers expect to achieve at least 20 percent
more wear-resistant than silicon tips.                  wall-plug efficiency (the electrical-to-optical power
    The team, which included researchers                efficiency of a laser system), which would be roughly
from the University of Pennsylvania and                 double the current world record for practical, continuous-
IBM Research-Zurich, published its work                 wave quantum cascade lasers. Botez and Mawst are
                                                        interested in commercializing the technology, which is
January 31 in the advance online edition
                                                        covered by two issued and one pending U.S. patents.
of Nature Nanotechnology.
                                                        For a more detailed story about the structure Botez
                                                        and Mawst have created, visit
                                                        news/headlines/ 2009/Dec07.html.

From the Lab

                            research news

                                                   he National Science Foundation recognized these five promising
                                                   young faculty members with prestigious CAREER awards. Funding
                                                   from the awards supports their leading-edge research in hydro-
                                                ecology, biomedicine, computing technology, and decision theory.

                                                Low-power computers could benefit
                                                environment and U.S. economy
    Chemical & biological
                                                                    Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor
    engineer elected to                                             Nam Sung Kim is designing low-power computing
    national academy                                                systems that, if implemented on a broad
                                                                    scale, could have significant environ-
    In February, the National Academy of                            mental and economic benefits. He is
    Engineering included Milton J. and                              developing algorithms to program
    A. Maude Shoemaker Professor of             machines to process computations more efficiently
    Chemical and Biological Engineering         and reduce wasted energy during computations. His
    Tom Kuech among its 68 newest               work includes trying to identify which circuit blocks can be
    members. Election to the academy            turned off during certain functions to reduce the overall power
    is among the highest professional           consumption of the processor. “We have to perform computations
    distinctions for engineers. The academy     for almost every aspect of our lives now, and by reducing the cost for
    recognized Kuech for his contributions      doing these computations, our national economy could gain a competitive edge,” Kim says.
    in developing and characterizing
    compound semiconductors.
        In particular, Kuech and his students
    study methods for forming these nano-                                         Reconfigurable hardware for
    scale structures, which drive high-power                                      boosting computer performance
    devices such as those used for wireless
    and optical telecommunications. He                                            Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant
    has made fundamental contributions                                            Professor Katherine Compton is studying how
    to the understanding of chemical vapor                                        to use reconfigurable hardware, which is a form
    deposition, a method for developing                                           of special-purpose hardware, to implement a
    semiconductors with controlled                                                wide range of computer accelerators that boost
    electronic and optical properties.                                            performance and increase energy efficiency.
        In addition, Kuech and his students                                       The hardware is flexible enough to allow developers to customize the
    are developing ways to increase the func-                                     accelerators to execute multiple applications. The CAREER award will
    tionality of compound semiconductors                                          allow Compton to expand to study the entire computer system and
    for use in applications ranging from                                          schedule multiple computing resources to work in tandem with the
    solar cells to biological sensors.                                            reconfigurable hardware. She is working to demonstrate to hardware
        A fellow of the American Physical                                         companies that reconfigurable hardware provides enough of a boost
    Society, he came to UW-Madison in 1990.                                       to warrant adding it to everyday computing devices. “We’re looking at
    He earned his PhD in applied physics from                                     having potentially the same or faster processing speed, but with lower
    the California Institute of Technology.                                       energy consumption,” she says.

        Exploring how estrogen-mimics affect cells
                               In everything from children’s toys and plastic bottles to food, agricultural land
                               and our own lawns, humans daily encounter hundreds of natural and synthetic
                               chemicals. Some of these compounds can interfere with the endocrine system
                               and contribute to such adverse health effects as reproductive problems,
                               hormonal changes, brain and behavior problems, impaired immune functions,
                               and various cancers, among others. Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor
        Pam Kreeger is developing methods for testing how endocrine disrupters affect cells. In particular,
        Kreeger is interested in endocrine-disrupting chemicals that mimic estrogen, the primary female
        sex hormone. These chemicals act like estrogen, bind to the estrogen receptors in normal cells,
        and trigger some—but not necessarily all—of the functions in cells that true estrogen initiates.
        Cellular responses to the mimics vary. “Our interest is in how they differ,” says Kreeger. “Can we pre-
        dict a little better what parts of the cellular network will be affected by these different chemicals?”

River provides scientific basis                                                       Models for making good decisions
for future restoration projects                                                       Current computational approaches to
                    Environmental groups annually spend more than                     decision-making suggest solutions for
                    $1 billion on projects aimed at restoring streams and             the best outcome on average. For ex-
                    former wetland ecosystems to their native states. Yet,            ample, standard tools could produce
                    says Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant                a call center workforce schedule that
                    Professor Steven Loheide, there is little solid science           results in a small number of unhappy
                    to guide these efforts. Loheide and graduate students             customers on an average day. However, the
Eric Booth and Arlen Striegl are developing and implementing a new                    schedule may not help the center be equipped
technology for monitoring soil moisture in a restored site along the East             to deal with days that have an abnormally high
Branch Pecatonica River in southwestern Wisconsin. They also are creating             number of calls, and therefore an abnormally
a modeling framework through which they can study groundwater and                     high number of unhappy customers. This may
soil moisture changes and how they relate to vegetation composition and               be an unacceptable risk for the manager.
patterns. “We would like to be able to improve the practice of restoration by            Industrial and Systems Engineering
allowing people who are designing restoration projects to be able to predict          Assistant Professor James Luedtke is working
what the hydrologic change will be and how that will affect the distribution          to develop new algorithms in a field known as
of vegetation across the flood plain,” says Loheide.                                  stochastic programming to specifically address
                                                                                      uncertainty in decision-making settings, while allowing for
                                                                                      individual preferences for risk. These new algorithms, which will
                                                                                      address constraints that limit the probability of bad outcomes,
                                                                                      will offer alternative solutions to the best-on-average solutions
                                                                                      produced by current models. “When you aren’t making a decision
                                                                                      thousands of times, being best on average doesn’t matter to you,”
                                                                                      explains Luedtke. “If a decision-maker has just one shot, she may
                                                                                      be willing to give up making a choice that is best on average to
  Restoration in progress at the                                                      reduce the risk of being one of the bad outcomes.”
  East Branch Pecatonica River.                                                          Luedtke’s methods could have a broad range of applications in
                                                                                      fields such as medicine, business and finance.

From the Lab

                      research news

                         Back in circulation: Why certain                               could lead to some level of control over other stem cell behaviors,
                         polymers improve blood flow                                    such as new tissue formation.
                                                                                           “The long-term culture of mesenchymal stem cells on well-defined,
                           With funding from the National Science Foundation,           controllable substrates may enable us to optimize stem cell growth and
                           Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Chemical and Biological      differentiation,” says Murphy. “In turn, these studies could lead to clinical
         Engineering Michael Graham is using computational and theoretical              strategies for optimal stem cell expansion and differentiation, and
         tools to study whether “drag-reducing” polymer molecules enhance               could have a significant impact on regenerative medicine strategies.”
         flow through some of the tiniest blood vessels in the human body.
            Smaller than the diameter of a human hair, capillaries are embedded
                                                                                        How to polish a nano part
         within the body’s organs and are important for distributing blood
         throughout the tissues. Drag-reducing polymers show particular promise       Polishing the parts of a micro-device isn’t as simple as, for example,
         for improving circulation in situations that involve blood loss. “One of the polishing a shoe or sanding a piece of wood. Technicians maybe could
         issues is making sure that, under situations where there’s a disease or      polish a micro-part by hand—if they had a big enough
         injury, blood is still able to get to where it needs to be,” says Graham.    magnifying glass—but it is impossible to selectively polish par-
                                                                                                                                    ticular areas of the tiny
         ‘Magnet’ materials to                                                                                                      components. In addition,

                                                                                                                                    tiny parts can’t handle as
         attract growth factors
                                                                                                                                    much heat as can their
                           Within the body,                                                                                         macro-sized counterparts,
                           growth factors                                                                                           meaning that too much

                           are important                                                                                            friction could actually
                           molecules in a                                                                                           melt the part.
                           wide range of                                                                                                These barriers to
         cellular processes. They can pro-                                                                                          micro polishing, which
         mote cell survival, proliferation,           In 2009, the American Recovery & Reinvestment (Stimulus) Act                  likely will become more
          and differentiation. Sequestering           provided UW-Madison researchers 294 awards totalling nearly                   important as nanotech-
         these growth factors on a surface            $120 million. Among them, more than 30 engineers received                     nology advances push
         enables researchers to locally               funding for their research. Here, we highlight a few projects.                the development of
         modulate the processes.                                                                                                    ever-smaller components,
            With a portion of his $2 million                                                                                        are the subject of a new
         grant from the National Institutes                                                                                         partnership between a
         of Health, Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor Bill Murphy,           team of mechanical engineering professors and a Minnesota-based
         and grad students, including Greg Hudalla, are designing materials           laser processing company.
         that act like magnets for growth factors. These “smart” materials can           The partnership has received funding from the
         deliver signals that affect cell behavior. “So, it’s possible to use the ma- National Science Foundation to identify an effective,
         terial as an active platform to affect cell behavior,” he says. “You could   laser-based micro polishing system. The NSF award,
         envision designing implant surfaces that are capable of doing this, or       formally called a Grant Opportunity for Academic
         designing custom cell culture substrates that are capable of doing this.”    Liaison with Industry, comes with a three-year grant
                                                                                      of almost $500,000.
                                                                                         Mechanical Engineering Professors Neil Duffie
                           A scaffold for stem cells
                                                                                      (top) and Xiaochun Li (middle) and Associate
                           Materials Science and Engineering Assistant Professor      Professor Frank Pfefferkorn (bottom) are collabo-
                           Padma Gopalan and Biomedical Engineering Assistant         rating with William Dinauer (MSMSE ’90)and other
                           Professor Bill Murphy have received a three-year,          engineers at LasX Industries Inc., a company in
         $325,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a             St. Paul, Minnesota, that provides high-performance
         biomaterial platform for studying human mesenchymal stem cells,              industrial laser systems and contract laser materials
         which are stem cells derived from adult human bone marrow. These             processing services. The team is working to identify
         cells can differentiate into several mature cell types, including bone,      a laser-based system that can polish three-dimensional, metal
         cartilage, fat and muscle cells.                                             parts measuring approximately .16 inches or less. The system could
            Most stem cell types need to adhere to their surrounding “matrix”         also polish select areas of those parts or the metallic molds used to
         in order to survive, grow and form tissues, and Gopalan and Murphy           fabricate plastic microcomponents, and the new system could apply to
         are developing engineered materials to control this adhesion. This also      the electromechanical and medical device industries.

Who Knew?
                   Five questions
                five questions with Nicola Ferrier

                                                                                                                                                  Bryce Richter
    Professor teaches mechanical devices how to ‘see’

     In her Robotics and Intelligent Systems                 What about your field do you think surprises people the most?
     Laboratory, Mechanical Engineering                     Most people have a “Hollywood” perspective on robots and the reality is not yet on
     Associate Professor Nicola Ferrier is                  par with these dreams. I think people are often surprised (more likely disappointed)
     helping design the next generation        when they see the reality of my work on robot manipulators. Everyone envisions more “sexy”
     of robots. They may not look like the     research—little mobile robots running around—instead of industrial manipulators.

     anthropomorphic machines depicted

     in the movies, but these mechanical                     How did you first get interested in robotics?
     arms and manipulators are learning                      I found robotics when I was looking for a research project that combined math,
     how to “see.”                                           computer science and engineering. There was something exciting about working at a
        Working at the interface between       computer, solving mathematics and seeing a robot move as a result of my calculations and program.

     robotics and computer-aided vision,

     Ferrier trains robots to extract the                    What’s the research question most on your mind right now?
     most important information from a
                                                              It isn’t really a research question, but I spend a lot of time contemplating what is
     visual scene with the goal of using                      the bottleneck or hindrance that limits the application of much of robotics research.
     images to control the devices.            I keep asking, “What still needs to be done to take this work outside the lab?”
        Her focus on computational image

     analysis has also led her into several                  What outcomes do you see from your work for society?
     projects on machine vision, with
                                                              Images are everywhere now—for example, microscopes, electron tomograms,
     applications ranging from medicine
                                                              scanning electron microscopes and various medical imaging techniques—and
     to manufacturing, navigation and          their uses for scientific discovery, medical intervention, and more traditional robotic settings
     even traffic control.                     such as manufacturing will be huge.

                                                             What inspires you in your work?
                                                             It is an adventure. I sometimes feel scientific and engineering research is the
                                                             modern-day version of being an explorer.
                                                                                                                                      —Jill Sakai

     An institution
       for innovation
          By Renee Meiller • Photography by David Nevala

                                          Over the last decade, UW-Madison has built a
                                          suite of opportunities for students to develop
                                          their creativity and expand their business savvy.

                                                         “ want to be independent, work on major problems, and have
                                                             more meaningful work,” says Sean Kelly.
                                                                A freshman biomedical engineering student, Kelly calls himself a
                                                          “big-ideas person.” In less than a year on campus, he has pitched an idea to
                                                          a group of angel investors, built a breathalyzer lamp for a 100-hour campus
                                                          challenge, and entered ideas in two UW-Madison invention competitions.
                                                          Kelly lives in a university dorm for entrepreneurs and daily seeks to rub
                                          elbows with like-minded innovative faculty, staff and students.
                                             He’s not alone. Many of today’s students aim to be
                                          entrepreneurs, to start their own companies, and to solve
                                          problems that are both personally relevant and socially
                                          important. “They recognize that maybe careers aren’t as
                                                                                                                  “You’re going to see more
                                          steady as they used to be in a lot of the disciplines, and that         job creation come out of new
                                          they may need to make their own way,” says John Surdyk,                 companies, small companies
                                          a faculty associate in the Wisconsin School of Business.
                                             At UW-Madison, this trend has not gone unnoticed.
                                                                                                                  and growing companies.
                                          Beginning more than a decade ago, university leaders began              We will also see economic
                                          establishing a vast array of classroom and extracurricular              benefits and improvements
                                          opportunities that feed students’ desire to immerse
                                          themselves in innovation and entrepreneurship.
                                                                                                                  in the quality of life come
                                             There are entrepreneurial student organizations, chat                from new, creative ideas.”
                                          groups, peer-mentoring networks, lecture series, and small-             —College of Engineering Dean Paul Peercy
                                          business and patenting advice resources. Undergraduates
                                          can major in entrepreneurship, while graduate students can
                                          choose it as a minor. In the works are cross-campus certificate
                                          programs in both technology innovation and entrepreneurship. More than a dozen campus
                                          departments offer courses on topics as diverse as product design and development,
                                          intellectual property, marketing, entrepreneurial finance, managing startup ventures, and
                                          e-commerce, among others. In Sellery Hall, there is an entrepreneurial residential learning
Nate Cira and Alex Rio invented the       community for undergraduates, while grad students can participate in a weeklong, high-
PolyForm Pack, which combines a           intensity entrepreneurial boot camp.
sleeping pad, backpack, sleeping             Myriad competitions reward students at all levels for creative ideas, outstanding proto-
shelter and chair into a waterproof       types, innovative product designs, best business plans, environmental solutions, computer
pack that weighs less than five pounds.   software, and novel arts ventures.

 More than 430 students
 have entered ideas in the                    The first such competition at UW-             founded in 2008 to develop Parallel Kingdom. People play the mas-
 Schoofs Prize for Creativity             Madison is the Schoofs Prize for Creativity.      sively multiplayer role-playing game via GPS-enabled mobile phones.
 since the competition began              Sixteen years ago, chemical engineering           In February 2010, it logged more than 100,000 user accounts.
                                          alumnus Richard Schoofs funded the com-               Beck credits Innovation Days for informing his role as PerBlue CEO. “I
 in 1994.                                 petition, which provides substantial cash         don’t think I would have had the experience and the exposure to business
                                          prizes to novel, marketable student ideas.        and innovation necessary to start PerBlue without the Innovation Days
                                          A few years later, electrical engineering         competition,” he says.
               alumnus Peter Tong and the Tong Family Foundation established the                Mechanical engi-
               Tong Prototype Prize to encourage students to build their ideas. Now         neering and business
               both are part of Innovation Days, held annually in mid-February.             alum Chad Sorenson                 Wisconsin School of
                  “The competitions are a great way to challenge your creativity            is among several                   Business Faculty Associate
               in ways you don’t do with your schoolwork, and push your ideas               Innovation Days                    John Surdyk maintains an
               forward to production,” says electrical and                                  participants to found
               computer engineering senior Jason Lohr.                                      companies based on                 extensive list of campus
                  Lohr is a two-time, award-winning                                         their winning inven-               entrepreneurship resources
               Innovation Days participant, and the kind of                                 tions. “It was really              at
               student who’s not necessarily into creativity                                my start to pursuing
               for the money. In 2010, he and mechanical                                    an entrepreneurial
               engineering senior Eyleen Chou and                                            career,” he says.
               biomedical engineering senior Tyler                                                   Sorenson eventually sold his company, Fluent Systems LLC, and
               Lark entered—and earned cash                                                        with a couple of partners, founded Sologear Corp., which counts
               prizes for—a cooking stove                                                           among its products the FlameDisk, an environmentally friendly
               that burns plant oils, rather than                                                   alternative to charcoal grilling.
               wood charcoal, for use in devas-                                                        Now, with wealth of business experience under his belt,
               tated or developing countries.                                                                  Sorenson also serves as a mentor for UW-Madison
               Their business plan includes                                                                       students who want to try entrepreneurship. In fall
               sharing the idea with residents of                                                                 2009, his weekly seminar series for Innovation Days
               rural Haiti, who can manufacture,                                                                  participants covered everything it takes to transform
               generate income, and cook with                                                                   a creative idea into a commercially viable product. The
               the coconut-based stove.                                                               series was so successful that Sorenson transformed it into a for-
                  CEO of his own company, three-year                                             credit course, now offered in fall.
               Innovation Days participant Justin                                                      Serial entrepreneur Matt Ogle says business knowledge helps
               Beck says the competition gave him                                                   scientists gain credibility in the business world. He should know:
               a venue to pursue his passion for                                                  An engineer by training, Ogle worked in the medical device
               inventing things. “We were always                                                   industry before founding Lumen Biomedical in 2002. His latest
               thinking, ‘Could we use this for                                                     startup is Vatrix Medical, a company that develops technology to
               Innovation Days?’” says Beck, who                                                  diagnose and treat aneurisms.
               earned BS degrees in computer engi-                                                    On campus, Ogle teaches Business for Engineers, a course for
               neering and computer sciences in 2009.                                             undergraduate and grad students from multiple engineering
                  He and teammate Daniel Gartenberg                                              disciplines that debuted in fall 2008. From Ogle and guest lecturers,
               earned $10,000 in the 2009 competition                                            students learn everything from how to generate, protect and
               for their iPhone application, Proactive                                           market their ideas to how to structure a company and navigate
               Sleep Alarm Clock, now available for                                               regulatory hurdles. “There has to be a marriage of understanding
               download via the Apple App Store.                                                    the technology and understanding the business,” he says.
                  These days, however, Beck and fellow                                                    Based on a real technological idea, student teams ultimately
               computer engineering and computer                                                            write a business plan and present it to venture investors.
               sciences alum Andrew Hanson spend their                                                       One group from the inaugural course turned its business
               time growing PerBlue, the company they                         Justin Beck                    plan into Respicure, a startup company.

                                                                         N T O I N V E N TI O N


                                                              INNOVATION WINNERS 2010

                                                     • INSP

                                                     TH E U

                                                                                                  DIS O
    Chemical and biological engineering postdoc-              ER

                                                                   SIT                        N-
toral researcher Ankit Agarwal also aims to start                        Y O F WIS C O N SI                              First place Schoofs Prize for Creativity ($10,000) and second
a company. “Having witnessed many innovative                                                                             place Tong Prototype Prize ($1,250)—Automated Pest
technologies never flying out of the university                                                                          Elimination System (APEL), an automated, self-contained
patent offices, I decided to advocate my inven-                                                                          system to spray fruit trees while minimizing pesticide
tions all the way to commercialization,” he says.                                                                        overspraying. Invented by mechanical engineering junior
    Agarwal, whose goal is to translate bio-                                                                             Tom Gerold and finance sophomore Kara Anderson.
medical research from the lab to the clinic,
is one of 13 Kauffman Postdoctoral Fellows
nationwide who received the honor to help
                                                                        First place Tong Prototype Prize ($2,500) and second place
commercialize their scientific advances. A 2009
                                                                            Schoofs Prize for Creativity ($7,000 )—PolyForm Pack,
Wisconsin Entrepreneurial Bootcamp graduate,                           which combines a sleeping pad, backpack, sleeping shelter
Agarwal developed a unique method for using                          and chair into a lightweight, waterproof piece of backpacking
silver in antibacterial wound dressings that aid                             equipment. Invented by biomedical engineering junior
healing without damaging cells.                                                Nate Cira and chemical engineering senior Alex Rio.
    Translational research also is a theme in the
Department of Biomedical Engineering. The
department weaves design courses throughout
its undergraduate curriculum, enabling student                                                                           Third place Schoofs Prize for Creativity ($4,000)—
teams to collaborate with clinicians on solutions                                                                        TriCrimp, a lightweight, pneumatic crimping tool for steel
to real-world problems. From these solutions,                                                                            fastening that replaces tedious hand-crimping tools and
the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation has                                                                             bulky mechanical crimpers. Invented by mechanical
received more than 40 patent disclosures.                                                                                engineering junior Scott Johanek.
    Similarly, the college has enhanced design
opportunities for students in all departments,
says Dean Paul Peercy. “Even before I came,
                                                                     Fourth place Schoofs Prize for Creativity ($1,000) and Younkle
freshman design was put in place to help
                                                                      Best Presentation Award ($1,000)—Plant Oil Burning Stove,
students think about design,” he says. “But if
                                                                      an inexpensive cooking stove that burns plant oils, creating a
you look now at the level of sophistication of                       new industry in rural Haiti. Invented by electrical engineering
our capstone design courses, where we bring                               senior Jason Lohr, mechanical engineering senior Eyleen
together students from multiple disciplines to                                 Chou and biomedical engineering senior Tyler Lark.
come up with ideas for new products, design
those products, and build prototypes of those
products—that’s an area of increasing strength
in the college.”                                                                                                         Third place Tong Prototype Prize ($700 )—BreezeDry, a
    Peercy calls this college culture shift toward                                                                       specialized towel bar with fans designed to dry clothes via
entrepreneurship critically important in today’s                                                                         efficient air flow. Invented by chemical engineering senior
high-tech, highly competitive global economy.                                                                            Andrew Burton.
“You’re going to see more job creation come out
of new companies, small companies and growing
companies,” he says. “We will also see economic
benefits and improvements in the quality of life
come from new, creative ideas. And this will be                        Sorenson Design Notebook Award ($1,000 )—Solar Panel
innovative and entrepreneurial, whether the                         Snow Removal System, a motor-powered system to “squeegee”
students who graduate and do this are working                        snow or debris off without damaging the panels. Invented by
in a big company or whether they’re working in                         mechanical engineering senior Adam Strutz and industrial
their own startup company, or whether they’re                              and systems engineering graduate Elizabeth Konkol.
working in a small company.”

                           The Chemistry
                            of Memory
     New strategies for battling brain disease

              t has taken more than a decade for Regina Murphy                   amyloid find each other, they bind into links called oligomers. These
              and her colleagues to determine that sometimes it’s                oligomers, or intermediates, grow as they find more and more beta
              actually better to rush things.                                    amyloid copies, eventually forming a clump called a fibril that can
                 At least that’s the case when those things are protein          measure around 1 micron long, which is visible in the brain tissue.
              processes in the brain that can lead to devastating
     neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s.                    Rethinking the disease process
        Murphy, the Smith-Bascom
     Professor of Chemical and                                                                                              Patients with Alzheimer’s have
     Biological Engineering, is study-                                                                                   these beta amyloid fibrils, and
     ing the kinetics of proteins and                                                                                    for years, researchers and drug
     peptides that aggregate in the                                                                                      companies assumed that the
     brain. Her work has helped to                                                                                       fibrils were causing cell death
     dramatically change the research                                                                                    and disease. However, in the late
     paradigms that guide neurologi-                                                                                     1990s, Murphy and UW-Madison
     cal drug development, creating                                                                                      Chemistry Professor Laura Kiessling
     new possibilities for therapies                                                                                     showed that in the case of
     that could treat not only the                                                                                       Alzheimer’s disease, the fibrils
     symptoms of these diseases,                                                                                         themselves aren’t the problem.
     but perhaps the actual causes.                                                                                      Rather oligomer “clumping” is
        Alzheimer’s, the most                                                                                            the toxic part of the process. And,
     common form of dementia, is                                                                                         speeding up this intermediate
     a progressive and fatal brain dis-                                                                                  aggregation into fully formed
     ease that currently has no cure.                                                                                    fibrils actually reduces overall
     Characterized by severe memory                                                                                      toxicity in the brain.
     loss and confusion, the disease                                                                                        Murphy, who has been a mem-
     affects as many as 5.3 million                                                                                      ber of the UW-Madison faculty for
     people in the United States, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.      more than 20 years, recalls visits to pharmaceutical companies where
     A new patient develops the disease every 70 seconds, and while the          she met researchers trying to develop drugs intended to prevent
     majority of patients are over age 65, as many as 200,000 people in          fibrils from forming. “They weren’t looking at whether they were just
     their 30s, 40s and 50s are living with the disease.                         pushing everything back to the intermediate phase, which would have
        Doctors do not fully understand the cause of Alzheimer’s, though         been worse since that’s the most toxic stage, because it just wasn’t
     age, family history, and serious head injuries appear to be risk factors.   accepted wisdom that the intermediates were bad,” she says.
     Similarly, scientists do not know exactly what causes Alzheimer’s              Murphy believes beta amyloid is still the main culprit in Alzheimer’s
     at the cellular level, but they have linked the disease to a particular     since the intermediates appear to have a physical effect on the cell
     protein in the brain.                                                       membrane of neurons, which is where the cell most actively transmits and
        Imagine the protein, called the beta amyloid precursor protein           receives signals. Neurons make up around 10 percent of all brain cells and
     (APP), as a chain. A few links of this chain make up an amino acid          are, says Murphy, the racehorses of our bodies. “They’re fast and great,
     called beta amyloid. Enzymes work like a saw to “cut out” the beta          but they’re touchy,” she says, adding that neurons appear to be particularly
     amyloid section from the rest of the protein. When cut pieces of beta       sensitive to changes in their physical properties, resulting in cell death.

                                                                 By Sandra Knisely
                                                            Photography by David Nevala
        While some scientists have yet to believe that fibrils are not “bad        Murphy and Johnson have received almost $413,000 in federal
     actors” in and of themselves, the Alzheimer’s research community has       stimulus funding from the National Institutes of Health to study how
     experienced what Murphy describes as a “sea change in how we think         exactly TTR affects beta amyloid and how researchers can induce this
     about the whole problem with these proteins.” The new emphasis on          interaction to perhaps prevent Alzheimer’s from ever developing in
     beta amyloid intermediates has led to research into alternatives to        brain tissue. “We want to find out how to turn a human into a mouse,
     therapies that prevent or target the fully formed fibrils.                 basically,” Johnson says.
                                                                                   While the experimental mice produced more TTR, human patients
     Turning humans into mice                                                   with Alzheimer’s have decreased levels of the protein. High levels
                                                                                of TTR can either force—or totally prevent—aggregation of beta
        One alternative Murphy is studying in collaboration with UW-Madison     amyloid. While Murphy and Johnson don’t understand fully why this
     Pharmacy Professor Jeffrey Johnson is another protein in the brain that    happens, they are working on strategies to increase TTR levels to
     could be used to protect neural cells from beta amyloid—and perhaps        learn more.
     even prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.                                Their many research questions include whether they can develop
        In 2002, Johnson’s lab published the results of experiments that        small molecules that can facilitate TTR and beta amyloid interaction
     injected mice with mutated forms of human APP. As in humans, the           and how much they should increase TTR levels to reduce beta amyloid
     transgenic mice produced the damaging beta amyloid deposits in their       toxicity. The answers to these questions could lead to the development
     brain tissues. Unlike in humans, the mice did not develop other signs of   of drug therapies to treat the actual Alzheimer’s disease process,
     Alzheimer’s, such as neurofibrillary tangles (aggregates of a different    instead of only alleviating symptoms.
     protein inside neurons) that lead to cell death. Instead, the mice pro-       This highly innovative Alzheimer’s disease research is likely to
     duced an excess amount of another protein, called transthyretin (TTR),     lead to an effective therapy for the disease, says Sanjay Asthana,
     which appears to interact with beta amyloid and reduce its toxicity.       the UW-Madison Duncan G. and Lottie H. Ballantine Chair in Geriatrics

and director of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute and Wisconsin
Comprehensive Memory Program. “Such a therapy will favorably alter
the basic pathology of Alzheimer’s, which could potentially slow the
progression of the disease and, hopefully, one day prevent the disease
from developing,” he says.
                                                                                        Age or Alzheimer’s?
   In research that has the potential to make such a significant difference,
Johnson says collaboration is key. “Combining expertise with those
outside of your area is going to be the nature of science in the future,”
he says. “We have to cross those disciplinary bridges in order to move                  TYPICAL AGE-RELATED CHANGES
forward faster than we have been. The whole of our research is going                    • Making a bad decision once in a while
to be greater than the sum of our individual parts.”
                                                                                        • Missing a monthly payment

Going beyond Alzheimer’s                                                                • Forgetting which day it is and remembering later
                                                                                        • Sometimes forgetting which word to use
   In addition to her work with Johnson, Murphy has received almost
$300,000 from the National Science Foundation to study protein                          • Losing things from time to time
folding and aggregation in a set of rare neurological diseases, such
as Huntington’s disease. The Huntington’s Disease Society of America
                                                                                        SIGNS OF ALZHEIMER’S
estimates more than 250,000 people in the United States have it or
have a significant risk of inheriting the devastating genetic brain                     • Poor judgment and decision-making
disease, which gradually shuts down the neurons that control muscles
                                                                                        • Inability to manage a budget
and eventually destroys cognitive abilities as well.
                                                                                        • Losing track of the date or the season
                                                                                        • Difficulty having a conversation
                                                                                        • Misplacing things and being unable to retrace
                                                                                          steps to find them

                                                                                                   (Source: Alzheimer’s Association)

                                                                               challenges in her separate lines of research, Murphy approaches all of
                                                                               the proteins she studies like a chemist would approach any molecule
                                                                               or polymer. “These are biological problems, but some basic physical
                                                                               chemistry comes into play,” she says. “I think this perspective allows
                                                                               me to bring a different dimension than a classically trained biochemist
                                                                               brings to these questions.”
                                                                                  Ultimately, Murphy is driven by the fact that the basic behaviors
                                                                               of proteins have a direct, widespread effect on human health. “We’re
  Like Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s and related diseases are              dealing with the fundamental physical chemistry of how these
caused by sections of proteins in the brain that misbehave. The                proteins—these molecules—behave, and why,” she says. “And the
specific proteins and amino acids at work are different—the protein is         biological consequences of these behaviors—disease—give us
huntingtin and the amino acid is glutamine—but despite the distinct            reasons to investigate beyond pure curiosity.”

      The Next
                         student news

                                                                                                                                                                          Master Sgt. Jeremy Lock, USAF
       Hacking for Haitian relief

                  “I have this bumper sticker that says, ‘Python will                            Hacker members tackled a request management system that
                  save the world. I don’t know how, but it will,’”                            adds pleas for aid, as well as the locations of those requests, to a
                  says postdoctoral researcher Nicholas Preston.                              database so that aid organizations can respond.
                                                                                                 Programmers worldwide contributed Python code to eight

                  O       n January 14, 2010, Preston got his chance to use the powerful
                          programming language to help earthquake victims in Haiti. He
                  and fellow members of student computing organization The Hacker
                                                                                              Sahana modules. In Madison, about seven students worked virtually
                                                                                              around the clock for a week to finish writing the majority of the
                                                                                              request management system.
                  Within, and staff of the UW-Madison                                                                              The students used real-time
                  Healthscapes project, worked day and                                                                         Internet text messaging, called
                  night to help convert Sahana, an estab-                                                                      Internet Relay Chat, or IRC, to guide
                  lished web-based disaster management                               Students use                              their work. “Because of the open-
                  tool, from the web scripting language                            computing skills                            source nature of this, we went on IRC
                  PHP into Python.                                                      to hasten                              and we were instantly in contact with
                                                                                   Haiti aid efforts                           the lead developer of Sahana and the
                                                                                                                               president of the Sahana Foundation,”
                     Sahana launched in response to the                                                                        says Milad Fatenejad, an engineering
                  December 2004 Asian tsunami. Now                                                                             physics PhD student who co-founded
                  the free, open-source system enables aid                                                                     The Hacker Within. “We were chatting
                  organizations to coordinate the logistics                                                                    with them on IRC, and it was only
                  of disaster response and management,                                                                         because of this process and these
                  including tracking missing people, managing                                                                  open-source tools that we were
                  volunteers, mapping, and communicating among various groups.                within two days actually contributing code into Sahana. And that
                     When the Haiti earthquake occurred, Sahana developers were in the for me was really amazing.”
                  midst of converting the tool from PHP into Python. Since text messages         Even though Haiti earthquake rescue efforts have become
                  pleading for assistance were pouring in from Haiti, Sahana developers       long-term relief initiatives, the UW-Madison students are still
                  needed help—fast—so that earthquake victims and aid organizations           writing code for Sahana—an endeavor they find both personally
                  could use the tool in rescue and recovery efforts. “We were able to         and professionally rewarding.
                  add this functionality that was specific to this disaster,” says Preston,      “At one point, I was on the chat room, and I commented to some-
                  who works as a programmer for Healthscapes under Jonathan Patz,             one, ‘I’m learning so much, I feel like I should be paying you tuition,’”
                  a professor in the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies       says Fatenejad. “I got an education, and we got to help people.”
                  and Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment.

                                                                            UW-Madison chapter of
F      or much of the year, the Saint-Cyr River in northern Haiti is a
       docile trickle 1 foot deep. Yet when the late spring rains bear
down on the Saint-Cyr, the river swells in some points to be more
                                                                            Engineers Without Borders
than 30 feet across and 10 feet deep. This volatility left a sinking
feeling in the student members of the UW-Madison chapter of
                                                                            wins United Nations award
Engineers Without Borders when they realized the extent of the
flooding during a June 2009 trip to Haiti: The site for the hydroelectric
power generator they planned to start building was in one of the
areas where the water raised the most.
   The students rallied and found a safer site to continue their work
on a mini-hydroelectric power generator that will provide 3 to 5
kilowatt hours of electricity to a school, library and church in
Bayonnais, Haiti. The generator will serve as a pilot project for a
larger, 15 to 25 kilowatt generator the group may build for a
community clinic currently in design.
   A bridge project in Haiti was one of the earliest initiatives started
by the group of University of Colorado-Boulder students who founded
the first chapter of Engineers
Without Borders in 2000.                                                    governmental organization in Haiti, and a church in North Carolina. In
Graduate student Scott Hamel            This is the second                  addition to finishing and repairing the bridge after Hurricane Hannah,
was with the project from               time the Engineers                  the EWB-UW group is repairing a 10-mile pipe that carries fresh water
the beginning, and when he              Without Borders                     through Bayonnais.
came to UW-Madison in 2002                                                     The project attracted international attention when it was awarded
                                        UW group has won
to pursue a PhD in civil and                                                $22,400 and a gold medal Mondialogo Engineering Award in November
environmental engineering,              a Mondialogo award.                 2009. The award is part of a UNESCO (United Nations Educational,
he encouraged the new EWB-              In 2005, the Rwanda                 Scientific and Cultural Organization) and Daimler initiative to recognize
UW group to get involved.               project won a bronze                intercultural engineering achievements related to development.
    “It’s the poorest country           award and $7,000.                   Civil and environmental engineering student Kyle Ankenbauer and
in the western hemisphere,”                                                 mechanical engineering student Eyleen Chou traveled to Stuttgart,
Hamel says. “I feel a sense of                                              Germany, to receive the award, which the UW-Madison group shares
responsibility toward people who haven’t had the same opportunities         with Quisqueya University in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
I’ve had, and the people I’ve met in Haiti are now my friends.”                “This is a huge honor, and it feels really good to have the project
   In 2006, EWB-UW did get involved. Members continued work                 recognized at such a high level,” says Ankenbauer. “The award will help
on the bridge project in collaboration with the EWB San Francisco           generate a lot of momentum behind this project.”
professional chapter (which currently is designing the clinic), a non-

      The Next
                                student news

                           Students strive to improve medical care around the world

                           H      oping to convey a more positive impression of
                                  healthcare, biomedical engineering student
                           members of the UW-Madison Engineering World
                                                                                                                        calibrate it, and write a user-friendly operations manual that
                                                                                                                            travels with the equipment to remote areas of the world.
                                                                                                                              Others serve on medical missions trips or design simple,
                           Health chapter spearhead initiatives that could                                                     low-cost medical equipment for developing nations.
                           benefit residents in countries around the world,                                                        Amit Nimunkar (PhD ‘09), who is among the
                           yet inspire students and teachers in Wisconsin.                                                      UW-Madison chapter founding members, stresses
                              The group offers workshops for middle- and high-                                                 that global engineering starts with developing interest
                           school students that help them relate math and science                                            in and raising awareness of global medical needs at
                           to careers in medicine and engineering. Several biomedical                                     home. “It is work at all these different levels,” he says.
                           engineering students fix broken medical equipment, test and                             “It‘s more like a ‘drop by drop makes a whole ocean’ effort.”

Inspiring elementary students
UW-Madison engineering students at all levels participate in many
outreach opportunities. Recently, student members of the engineering
fraternity Triangle shared their passion for engineering with third- through
sixth-grade students at Rusch Elementary School in Portage, Wisconsin.
In addition, they helped fourth-graders build “capsules” they hoped would
cushion raw eggs dropped from the gym balcony. “Having these engineer-
ing students come in, explain what engineering is, tell students how they
can do it and have fun with it was the ‘hook’ my students needed to get
motivated,” said a fifth-grade teacher. “The seed was planted. Awesome!”

UW-Madison and Beloit partnership produce water-run scooter
UW-Madison and Beloit partnership produces water-run scooter

A     t first glance, a 50-cc Vespa scooter
      and a squad car may not appear
to have much in common; however,
                                                                                                                                      alternator, funneled the hydrogen directly to
                                                                                                                                      the engine via a stainless steel tube. This year,
                                                                                                                                      the class altered the system to be a dry-cell
the two connected in a partnership                                                                                                    system. Unlike a wet-cell design, which sub-
between a class of UW-Madison fresh-                                                                                                  merges the electrical components in water, the
man engineering students and officials                                                                                                dry-cell system keeps the electrical connections
from Beloit, Wisconsin. The partnership                                                                                               above water. This combined with Lutz’s unique
made progress toward technologies                                                                                                     designs has created an efficient system that
that could eventually run a variety of                                                                                                powers the scooter with hydrogen and oxygen,
vehicles on nothing but water.                                                                                                        which are produced on demand in the fuel cell.
   During the fall 2009 semester, a section of                                                                                           Future classes may be able to run the scooter
InterEGR 160: Introduction to Engineering,                       The electrolyzer “splits” water into hydrogen and oxygen.            entirely on water by using the battery to start
led by Civil and Environmental Engineering                                                                                            the electrolyzer. Anderson also anticipates
Professor Marc Anderson and Beloit Public              speeds. Since hydrogen creates more complete engine combustion,                students will work on a system that works with
Works fleet manager Dan Lutz, demonstrated             the class scooter produced fewer emissions than factory Vespas.                tap water, rather than the distilled water with
a new hydrogen-assisted system that can run               In spring 2009, Anderson’s freshman engineering class developed             sodium hydroxide used in the current system.
a Vespa on a hydrogen-gasoline fuel mix. The            a wet-cell system that ran water through a container called an                   “It’s exciting to be working with hydrogen-
students were able to run the Vespa entirely           electrolyzer, which contained fuel cells to split water via electrolysis       based technologies, and I really want to see
on hydrogen both at idling and high-throttle           into oxygen and hydrogen. The fuel cells, powered by the scooter’s             this go further,” says Lutz. “We’ve got a long

                             Tight-knit steel bridge team

                                                                                                                                                Jeff Miller
                                   aims for the top
                                                                                                        Purdue University), having hovered among
   N      early as long as a football field, the expansive Engineering Centers Building atrium offers
          ample space for many university events and expositions held throughout the year.
      On spring Saturdays, it also serves as a training ground for a unique athletic endeavor that
                                                                                                        the nation’s best steel bridge builders for a
                                                                                                        decade. The team has earned second-, third-,
   marries basic civil engineering with agility, speed, precision—and of course, teamwork.              fourth-, sixth- and 12th-place finishes in six
      The challenge? Build a strong steel bridge across a pretend river using hundreds of parts         of the last seven years.
   and pieces set up in delivery “yards” on either end. Time is of the essence, as is accuracy.             An offshoot of the student chapter of the
   Construction team members—and the bridge itself—must hold up well under pressure.                    American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE),
      In 2010, there’s an added layer of complexity—one that members of the UW-Madison Steel            the Steel Bridge Team generally boasts a
   Bridge Team have imposed upon themselves. “If we’re going to do it, we’re going to go all the        couple of dozen members. About five students
   way. We’re going to try to win nationals,” says civil and environmental engineering student          make up the competition construction team,
                                                     Tyler Hoehn, who co-chairs the team with fellow    while other members help shape the bridge
                                                     students Ed Sippel and Edson Rosenberg.            design, spearhead fund-raising efforts (the
                                                        Team members are hungry for a national          team has many sponsors), fabricate key parts,
                                                     championship (nationals are May 28-29 at           mentor new members, or serve as crew for
                                                                                                        the construction team.
                                                                                                            Bridge design begins in September when
                                                                                                        major competition sponsors ASCE and the
                                                                                                        American Institute of Steel Construction
                                                                                                        release rules for the upcoming competition.
                                                    plating with a proprietary surface coating          For a week during the university winter break,
                                                    developed by Anderson that improves                 the students work with professional welders
way to go, but by running a Vespa entirely on       performance and efficiency. A U.S. patent           and machinists, whom Waunakee, Wisconsin-
hydrogen, we’ve proved it can be done.”             on this coating is pending through the              based Endres Manufacturing Co. supplies to
   Lutz hopes to eventually implement a             Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.               help fabricate major portions of the bridge.
fine-tuned version of the system in a variety of        The partnership between UW-Madison                  Then there are the spring-semester
Beloit vehicles, including squad cars and city      and Beloit Public Works was mutually                construction practices, which are a mixture
pick-up trucks. Beloit Public Works has been        beneficial. Lutz was able to leverage               of silly and serious. “Even if they’re not the
testing hydrogen-based systems in city fleet        university resources, including laboratories        people doing the run, there’ll be a couple of
vehicles since the spring of 2008, and Lutz,        and faculty expertise, to advance hydrogen          people standing around, helping take the
who oversees the more than 300-vehicle fleet,       technologies and eventually enable                  bridge apart in between,” says Sippel. “And
has worked to meet the city’s sustainability        suppliers to build systems for him to               it gets to be a lot of fun, just joking around,
goals by testing hydrogen-on-demand systems         implement in the Beloit fleet vehicles.             being together for a while, taking a break
to save fuel and help the environment.                  The engineering students also benefited         from homework.”
   Lutz was put in contact with Anderson            from Lutz’s presence on campus, says                    And, says Hoehn, membership on the Steel
through various public works and UW-Madison         Anderson, and took full advantage of their          Bridge Team is a good time with a reasonable
contacts. Throughout the semester, Lutz             opportunity to learn from both instructors.         time commitment: “I haven’t had a sleepless
traveled to Madison every Wednesday evening             “We cancelled class the Wednesday               night yet,” he says.
to help teach the students about hydrogen-          before Thanksgiving, and several students
based technologies. During class, the students      still came into the lab because they didn’t
tested fuel cell designs and coated the fuel cell   want to miss a week,” says Lutz.

                     education innovation

              Intergrating engineering and biology
                    or students studying a discipline strongly rooted in the physical        In each of the modules, students apply what they’ve learned
                    sciences, it might seem contradictory that biology could appear       about biology and engineering as participants on interdisciplinary
                    alongside math, chemistry and physics as a course most                teams. They also share their knowledge, in “lay” language, through
              engineering undergraduates should take.                                     a community outreach project of their choosing. Keenan and Beebe
                 Yet, says Tom Keenan, as multidisciplinary teams seek to solve           added the outreach component to the four-credit course to encourage
              global challenges in health, medicine and the environment, this             students to think about how to communicate science and technology
              natural science is integral to many engineering disciplines. As a           to public audiences. “You can’t say, ‘It’s really complicated,’ because
              postdoctoral researcher in Biomedical Engineering Professor David           that’s dismissive,” says Keenan. “You have to make it uncomplicated,
              Beebe’s lab, Keenan began brainstorming ideas for a biology course          and that’s your job.”
              that would appeal to all College of Engineering undergraduates. In             Students in the class have given talks to groups ranging from
              2007, he and Beebe received funding through the college Engineering         elementary and high school students to visitors at a senior center.
              Beyond Boundaries (EB2) initiative to                                                                  One recent outreach presentation had ties to
              develop InterEGR 301: Engineering and                University of Wisconsin-Madison                   computing: Students explored silicon-based
              Biology: Technological Symbiosis.                                                                      memory and processors and how they might
                  “There was a lot of interest from our                                                              integrate such technologies with the human
              students in community-level engineering,                                                               brain to improve their ability to think and store
              as well as global engineering,” says Keenan,                                                           information. “That’s the kind of ‘out-there’
              who now is an assistant scientist in neurology
              in the UW-Madison School of Medicine and
                                                                  ENGINEERING                                        thinking we’re hoping they’ll do,” says Keenan.

              Public Health.
                 Keenan and Beebe crafted three modules
              that are both meaningful to students and demonstrate the connection            As part of the outreach effort, student teams research their topic and
              between biology and engineering. (Now, the course counts as an              give an in-class presentation that solidifies their technical knowledge
              elective in most College of Engineering departments.) “We introduce         of the subject. Then, they redevelop their talk for a general audience,
              them to biology, with a specific application in mind—and in a way           also considering such factors as ethics and context.
              that employs their engineering training,” says Keenan.                         Former student Emily Maslonkowski and her group presented a
                 In the superhuman bionics module, students in the class study how        talk about stem cells to about 25 senior center residents. “I think that
              to make prosthetic devices that exceed human function. A module that getting the students at the university to share their knowledge with
              debuted initially as an exercise in using personal waste to generate        the surrounding community is a great way to thank them for their
              electricity now engages students in discussions about how to manage support,” she says.
              agricultural and municipal solid waste and use it for energy. For the third    The students discussed what stem cells are, how they are made,
              module, students learn how to adapt “Western” HIV/AIDS diagnostic           what political issues surround stem cell research, and how stem cells
              tools for use in countries with limited access to electricity or water.     could replace damaged cardiac tissue. “We got so many questions from
                 Keenan and Beebe deliver Engineering and Biology online, and EB2 the people there that you could really tell that they were interested
              funding in 2009 enabled them to improve their content. They have            and wanted to learn,” says Maslonkowski, who earned her bachelor’s
              coupled their own web-based narrated PowerPoints with multimedia degree in biomedical engineering in May 2009 and now works for GE
              content in the public domain. For example, students better understand Healthcare in its operations management leadership program. “It was
              the limitations of prosthetic devices after they watch YouTube videos       also really great to see how they didn’t just want the ‘watered-down’
              created by people who use prosthetics. In addition to viewing the           version of science that they see on the news, but they wanted to know
              lectures, students also take required web-based quizzes.                    how it really worked and what it meant for them.”
                 Students like the format and flexibility of the online lectures and,        The course is open to any engineering undergraduate. “They can
              when they come to class, they’re prepared to tackle the challenge           come together with a project that really makes sense from all the
              at hand, says Keenan. “They’ve watched those presentations and the          engineering disciplines—and work on a team that probably is a lot
              professor who’s leading that module—or the special lecturers, which like what they’ll work on when they go to industry,” Keenan says.
              we have a series of for each module—can then sit down and have                 Former student Kenny Kearney agrees. “I think the most important
              a really in-depth discussion or analysis,” he says. “We take them far       thing that I learned from the class was how different fields of engineer-
              beyond the course material they’ve learned and really maximize the          ing can be combined to help solve problems that would be difficult for
              efficiency of the learning process.”                                        the individual fields to solve on their own,” he says.
                                                                                                                                                   —Renee Meiller

As multidisciplinary teams seek to solve global challenges
in health, medicine and the environment, biology is integral
to many engineering disciplines.

   Wisconsin Ideas

                              at work in the world

                                        very weeknight when the lights came
                                        up on the set of “The Tonight Show
                                        with Conan O’Brien,” the staff at
                              Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC) could point
                              to the television screen and say, “We did that.”
                                 As a global company, ETC produces lighting
                              fixtures for many countries, each with different
                              voltage and connector standards. To find a
                              way to efficiently produce a variety of fixtures,
                              the company turned to the UW-Madison
                              Center for Quick Response Manufacturing
                              (QRM). The center is a partnership between
                              UW-Madison and more than 50 member
                              companies dedicated to researching and
                              implementing quick-response manufacturing
                              (QRM) principles, methods and tools.
                                 The QRM philosophy was originally
                              developed by Industrial and Systems
                              Engineering Professor Emeritus Rajan Suri.
                              QRM focuses on reducing lead time (the
                              amount of time needed to develop and
                              deliver a product) by evaluating the entire
                              manufacturing process. This includes order
                              processing, purchasing, design, the shop
                              floor, shipping and after-market service.
                              Faculty and students at the center work with
                              manufacturers to develop new principles to
                              create tailored solutions for businesses that
                              help them dramatically reduce lead times.
                                 Industrial and Systems Engineering
                                                                                        Custom solutions keep
                              Professor Ananth Krishnamurthy took over as
                              director of the QRM center in January 2008                       manufacturers
                              when Suri retired.
                                 Krishnamurthy completed his PhD in industrial engineering under           the center helps transfer university research to industry, resulting in
                              Suri’s mentorship and has been affiliated with the center for more than      tangible benefits to their bottom lines. In the 16 years since its founding,
                                   a decade. He supervised industry projects, led research activities      the center has completed more than 400 projects with more than 200
                                         and spoke at numerous QRM workshops and conferences.              company partners, most of which are based in the Midwest and range
Connecting with the                          Krishnamurthy is also the director of the UW-Madison          from small, local manufacturers to large, national corporations.
                                                  Manufacturing Systems Engineering (MSE) program,             An example is P&H Mining of Milwaukee, which manufactures
College of Engineering                              an interdisciplinary master’s program that             custom mining equipment, including shovels, draglines and drilling
The college welcomes inquiries from                    combines engineering and business courses.          products. The company designs and engineers each product to meet
business and industry about solving                       The QRM center provides extensive support        its customers’ specific needs. As a result, each P&H customer order
technical problems, tapping into specialized                to the MSE program.                            varies in quantity and manufacturing complexity; QRM offers specific
expertise or serving professional training needs.                 The center conducts cutting-edge         principles to address this complexity.
                                                               research on strategies to improve manu-         “We were visiting lean manufacturing factories, but the philosophy
• Lawrence Casper, assistant dean
                                                                facturing competitiveness and works        wasn’t the best match,” says P&H plant manager Bob Mueller. Lean
   for research and technology transfer,
                                                                 in partnership with several businesses    manufacturing is a traditional approach that establishes production flow
                                                                  operating in low-volume, high-mix        in high-volume, low-variety environments. Mueller and project manager
• Philip O’Leary, chair, Department of                            manufacturing environments. Through      Kathy Pelto led the efforts to implement QRM principles at P&H Mining,
   Engineering Professional Development,                          graduate student-led projects, confer-   while QRM center faculty conducted employee-training sessions. When
   608/262-2061,                            ences and employee training sessions,     the company purchased new shop equipment, the P&H team ensured

Ananth Krishnamurthy (wearing tie) and three
of his students tour the production facility of the    producer of energy-efficient ventilation systems. RenewAire became         customer what they want, when they want it.
RenewAire factory in Madison with company              a QRM partner in 2002, when the company was experiencing rapid             This gives U.S. companies an advantage.”
representative Chuck Gates (right).                    growth. Like P&H Mining, RenewAire didn’t find lean manufacturing              The partnerships between manufacturers
                                                       to be a good fit for its variable environment.                             and the QRM center are mutually beneficial.
                                                          “We struggled mightily with variable customer demand, and it            Several partners have hired QRM students,
                                                       was a huge relief to find a central methodology we could build plans       including P&H Mining, which has hired two
                                                       around,” says RenewAire president Chuck Gates. “QRM allowed us to          graduates full time and others as interns to
                                                       move from bunker mentality to a mindset of empowerment.”                   continue their academic-year projects into
                                                          With help from the QRM center, RenewAire established two                the summer. “Every year the students are
                                                       focused target markets: residential and commercial customers. The          really high caliber,” says Mueller.
                                                       company then created teams to directly serve both customer groups              ETC hired Alex Stoltz 11 years ago after he
                                                       from order to delivery, so instead of specializing in one production       graduated from the MSE program and worked
                                                       task, employees specialized on their particular customer.                  on a QRM center student project.
                                                          The results were tremendous. “Between 2003 and 2008, revenue                “I really understood the philosophy of lead
                                                       has increased 130 percent,” says Gates. “Lead time for residential         time reduction, and ETC was just getting into it
                                                       products has been reduced from 10 days to one. Lead time for               when I started here,” he says. “We’ve hired an-
                                                       commercial sector products was 25 days and now is 10 days.”                other engineer from the program and another
                                                          Such results challenge the misconception that manufacturing is          is currently enrolled. It’s really been a win-win
                                                       too expensive in the United States and must be outsourced to other         relationship for ETC, MSE and the QRM center.”
                                                       countries. According to Krishnamurthy, labor costs generally make up           ETC regularly participates in student proj-
                                                       only 10 to 20 percent of total manufacturing costs,                        ects. After each one, the company implements
                                                       so reducing labor costs by outsourcing                                          some of the project recommendations.
                                                       overseas may save only 5 or 6 percent                                                 Overall, ETC has reduced lead times
                                                      Bryce Richter

                                                       of total costs. These meager savings                                                      by more than 30 percent and has
                                                       also come at a price: time.                          “QRM methodology                        seen cost savings by reducing
                                                          “When you ship from                           makes it possible to offer a                  scrap, handling and rework.
                                                       overseas, the products sit                  wide variety of products delivered                     In addition to the student
                                                       on a boat for three to four                                                                      projects, the QRM center
                                                                                                 in a short amount of time—in effect
                                                       months, so you have to                                                                           hosts international
                                                       machine months worth of                   giving the customer what they want,                    conferences and seminars
competitive                                            inventory ahead of time,
                                                       which may be obsolete by
                                                                                                   when they want it. This gives U.S.
                                                                                                        companies an advantage.”
                                                                                                                                                        to introduce a wide range
                                                                                                                                                       of businesses to the benefits
                                                       the time it gets here,” says                                                                  and possibilities of QRM.
    the equipment was set up according to a QRM Krishnamurthy. “Sourcing from                                  —Chuck Gates                        Krishnamurthy is looking
    workflow, which groups employees working on overseas also limits your ability to                                                            forward to expanding the center’s
    a particular product into a cluster, or cell.      adapt to demand changes and introduce                                               national presence as he and his team
       QRM principles helped reduce P&H Mining the latest designs into your product. This                                          continue to help businesses embrace QRM.
    lead times by 66 percent, resulting in significant could lead to loss of potential business opportunities.”                   “We recognize that in the future, more and
    cost savings. According to Mueller and Pelto,         These are valuable openings for manufacturers that would like           more manufacturers will be required to offer
    key to this success is how well P&H Mining         to compete based on their ability to manufacture custom products           a high variety of customized products at short
    employees embraced QRM.                            quickly —the QRM center is helping companies take advantage of             lead times,” Krishnamurthy says.
       “Workers plan their own work, which             these opportunities.                                                           “At the QRM center, we are at the forefront
    leads to more fulfillment after a day on the          “The strength of American manufacturing is in small- and medium- of identifying theories that would define
    job,” Mueller says. Pelto adds that the shop       sized manufacturers. That’s where the innovation really takes place,       manufacturing competitiveness in the
    workers, who are unionized, feel a sense of        and by supporting these companies we provide a valuable service,”          future and helping businesses implement
    ownership for the products since they are          says Krishnamurthy.                                                        these theories. As we pull out of these tough
    part of the process almost from start to finish,      Gates appreciates the help. “Small to medium manufacturers              economic times, companies that are well
    rather than seeing a product only at one point make up the majority of manufacturing output in the United States,”            equipped to meet these challenges will
    in the production process.                         He says. “So this sector is absolutely vital to our economic health as     succeed and the QRM center is proud to help
       QRM principles also are making a difference a nation. QRM methodology makes it possible to offer a wide variety            them chart their success.”
    for Madison-based RenewAire, a leading             of products delivered in a short amount of time—in effect giving the                                    —Sandra Knisely

Badger Engineers

                               meet two alumni
                                                                                    Making a mark
                                                                                    on Miller Park

 W         hile your typical Milwaukee Brewers fan might have a favorite
           moment to share about a game at Miller Park, Mike Duckett
 can narrow it down to his favorite time of day.
                                                                                                                                    sports good for the local economy and worth
                                                                                                                                    the public investment? “I’ve always said,
                                                                                                                                    being a good Wisconsin boy, that it’s a good
     Duckett, the executive director of the Miller Park Stadium District,                                                           barstool argument,” he says. “You can argue
 says he is enamored with that intersection between the end of his                                                                  long and hard about the benefits and/or costs
 workday and the start of a night game, when he can watch thousands                                                                 of professional sports, with valid points
 of fans thread into the sprawling ballpark. “I’ll often wait until about                                                           supporting either side of the argument.”
 7 p.m. to leave work, and just watch the building load with people,”                                                                  From a numbers perspective, economists
 he says. “My favorite time is when you see the families bringing kids                                                              often fall on both sides of the question. But
 in, some for the very first time, and they’re holding their mom or dad’s                                                           in the case on the Milwaukee Brewers, the
 hand, looking up and just going, ‘Wow.’ That’s really fun to see them                                                              economic benefits to Milwaukee are measur-
 soaking it all in.”                                                                                                                able, with more than 50 percent of all ticket
     This inside-looking-out perspective perfectly suits Duckett, a 1974                                                            sales coming from outside the five-county
 bachelor’s and 1975 master’s degree graduate of the Department                                                                     region, Duckett says. The fact that Miller Park
 of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Since Miller Park opened
                                                                                       M            D
                                                                                            ike uckett
                                                                                                                                    attracts millions of visitors each year to south-
 in 2001, Duckett has served as Executive Director of the Southeast                                                                 eastern Wisconsin is an indisputable economic
 Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District and represents the                                                                   benefit of the ballpark.
 interests of southeastern Wisconsin taxpayers, who own 70 percent of Miller Park. The open concourse design—                          Then there’s the less measurable quality-
 the stadium. He oversees about $2 million per year in capital projects allowing a 360-degree ring of unobstructed                  of-life perspective. “We are a major league city
 and improvements.                                                                             views from the concourse—            thanks to the Brewers,” Duckett says. “Every
     But the satisfaction with helping       “My favorite time is when you was a first and is now one of the                        night, in every city in America, you can turn
 create a great major league experi-                                                           hottest trends in professional       on the evening news and hear reports about
 ence in Milwaukee goes deeper for
                                             see the families bringing kids stadium design.                                         the Brewers, or the Milwaukee Bucks or the
 Duckett, who was associated with            in, some for the very first time,                    He pointed to ways the park       Green Bay Packers. This puts Milwaukee and
 Miller Park before a single blueprint and they’re holding their mom continues to offer a fresh experi-                             Wisconsin on a more respected major league
 was drafted. As an engineer with                                                              ence. At the right field foul pole   level nationally.”
 HNTB Associates in the mid-1980s,
                                             or dad’s hand, looking up and is the new AirTran Landing                                  If there is a common theme to Duckett’s
 he participated in a study on the           just going, ‘Wow.’ ”                              Zone, an enclosed bullpen            engineering career, it would be, simply put,
 future of the former County Stadium.                                                          sports bar that seats 75 people.     “big-league construction.” His work with Miller
 That pivotal report concluded it would cost nearly as much to give the And next to the sausage race entrance, a new                Park led to him being tapped as a construction
 deteriorating County Stadium a modern facelift as it would to build a         kids’ play area includes batting cages, speed        consultant for the Lambeau Field renovation
 new one.                                                                      pitching, photo booths and a bicycle-powered         project five years ago, and most recently,
     He remained a key consultant with the stadium development                 sausage race. Miller Park has also added             he provided assistance on the massive new
 through the 1990s, a time of political strife for the project. Things         several group and party areas, including new         stadium project for the Minnesota Twins. He
 looked rosy in 1994, when state polls showed 70-percent support for           party skyboxes and the Gehl Club, a unique,          has also served as an engineering manage-
 a new stadium and the Legislature was poised to create a new sports           upscale group area on the club level with            ment consultant on the recently completed
 lottery for its construction. Only one problem: The summer of 1994            seating for 240 people.                              Marquette Interchange ($810 million), and
 brought the major league baseball strike, and with it the fury of fans.          In 2005, Sports Illustrated named Miller          the current Highway 41 ($1.5 billion) and
     “The referendum went down in flames,” he recalls. “There was so much Park the No. 1 baseball stadium in America in             Interstate 94 ($1.9 billion) artery overhauls.
 animosity over the strike and the rich millionaires who can’t get along.” terms of value for the money. Duckett says it’s             Still, the Miller Park work is easily
     Following a rocky political road, stadium backers ultimately              no accident. “The Milwaukee market is a little       classified as a “dream job,” Duckett says.
 succeeded in creating a 0.1 percent sales tax in the five adjacent            different,” he says. “The old joke was that out of   “There’s something special about baseball.
 counties to build Miller Park. Duckett was hired in late 1996, prior          30 major league baseball markets, Milwaukee          Parents and grandparents teach their
 to the groundbreaking for Miller Park, to manage the complex                  ranks No. 32 in market size. They tried to create    youngsters how to play the game, and usually
 construction project on behalf of the Southeast Wisconsin Professional a more level playing field for fans, so they                enjoy taking them to their first game,” he
 Baseball Park District as its executive director, the position he still fills don’t need a lot of money to come to Miller          says. “In the 1940s, the top three spectator
 today. Miller Park is now one of the great iconic sights while driving        Park and have a good time.” During the 2009          sports in America were baseball, boxing and
 into Milwaukee, with its trademark retractable dome roof arcing like          season, 60 of the 81 home games had some             horse racing. Today it’s baseball, basketball
 wings over the red brick structure.                                           sort of special discount or promotion.               and football. Something about baseball has
     Over a club sandwich lunch at Friday’s, the in-stadium restaurant            Duckett still encounters the million-dollar       consistently transcended generations.”
 overlooking the field, Duckett pointed out some his favorite features of question about Miller Park: Are professional                                         —Brian Mattmiller

                                                         Building a
                                                       wireless world

D      riving through San Diego’s Sorrento
       Valley, where rolling hills are populated
with dozens of gleaming buildings bearing
                                                                                                       “I feel so lucky to be part of this industry, starting at Qualcomm
                                                                                                   when I did,” Thompson says. “We started out with a relatively small
                                                                                                   group of people working on this new technology. We felt like we were
the Qualcomm Inc. logo, it’s hard to imagine                                                       going to change the world with it, and I think we did. The dramatic
a time when Qualcomm would have been                                                               growth of the company forced young guys like me—who were barely
considered a corporate underdog.                                                                   shaving—to take on big leadership roles.”
   But that time was just two decades ago,                                                             The big-picture impact of the cellular industry also inspires Thompson.
when the era of digital cellular technology                                                        “Four billion people now own a cell phone. And close to a billion people
was beginning to take shape. Jim Thompson,                                                         use a 3G phone, a very data-capable device. When you think about
a three-degree graduate of the Department                                                          Internet access today,” he adds, “more of it will come through cell
of Electrical and Computer Engineering,                                                            phones than through a desktop or laptop computer.”
joined Qualcomm during those pivotal early                                                             As the head of engineering, Thompson now works with a new
days, when a high-stakes technology gamble                                                         generation of engineers and a new set of challenges. Foremost is
fueled the company’s meteoric rise.                                                                reducing power consumption in cellular phones, he says. With a tiny
   Thompson, vice president of Qualcomm
                                                           J TiM hoMpson
                                                                                                   battery and little surface area to dissipate heat, the growth of cell
CDMA Technology (QCT), today leads                                                                 phone capability rests with packing more and better features into a
engineering efforts in the Qualcomm chipset                                                        day’s supply of battery power.
division. CDMA—short for code division             the cellular network using CDMA by a factor         One way Qualcomm is answering the challenge to increase battery
multiple access—is the heart and soul of           of 40,” Thompson says. “TDMA was expected life is with mirasol display technology. Qualcomm has developed a
Qualcomm, and the platform technology              to improve it by a factor of three. That’s when reflective color display that doesn’t require power-hungry backlighting.
that enabled the explosion in “smart phone”        you could say that we really bet the company Thompson says a display pixel made from thin-film optics using
capability that the world enjoys today.            on this technology.”                            interferometric modulation reflects color in natural light. He likens it
   But CDMA was viewed as a longshot in               Facing industry skepticism, Qualcomm         to the physical phenomenon that produces vivid colors found in multi-
those early days, Thompson says. At the time,      forged on with CDMA development, using          layered butterfly wings.
the cellular phone industry was searching for      profits from a satellite tracking system it had     Thompson earned a bachelor’s (1985), master’s (1987) and PhD
the best answer to moving from “the scratchy       developed in the                                                                                       (1991) in electrical
analog days” of wireless (Remember the             1980s for the truck-                                                                                   and computer engi-
2-pound brick phone?) into the tremendous          ing industry. When           “We started out with a relatively small group of neering, and studied
promise of digital wireless. The core question:    the company started people working on this new technology. We felt                                     under ECE Professor
Which technology will support the broadest         demonstrating                like we were going to change the world with it,                           Jim Beyer. He credits
consumer usage and the fastest and most            success, Thompson                                                                                      his success to getting
dependable cellular transmission?                  says the competition and I think we did. The dramatic growth of the                                    a mix of engineering
   This is a tale of two competing approaches.     became fierce.               company forced young guys like me—who were fundamentals and
The majority of the industry backed a system          “Things got really barely shaving—to take on big leadership roles.” a broad education
known as TDMA—time division multiple               heated over time,”                                                                                     outside the field.
access—as the best solution, Thompson says.        Thompson says.                                                                                         (His father, Howard
Both CDMA and TDMA aim to accomplish the           “There were stories about how CDMA couldn’t Thompson, is a professor emeritus of business at UW-Madison.)
same thing—essentially, to enable multiple         possibly work because it defied the laws of         Says Thompson: “Graduate school was about developing an
users to share the same frequency or channel       physics. There were big technical and legal     independence—being able to think for myself, manage my own time,
on the radio spectrum—but with fundamen-           battles over CDMA, as well as battles in the    pursue my own ideas and gain the confidence that you can actually
tally different approaches.                        press. In the end, we prevailed simply because accomplish something without a professor assigning you homework.”
   One metaphor about the technologies             the technology was so much better.”                 Thompson says he remembers stumbling across a Forbes magazine
imagines conversations at a cocktail party.           The rewards of that risk have been great.    article in graduate school titled “Over the Hill at Forty,” and at the time
The TDMA approach would require having             As the largest fabless semiconductor producer the concept seemed ridiculous. But after 20 years in the technology
each person at a party take turns speaking         in the world, Qualcomm sells more than a        business, he says it now makes perfect sense.
in a round-robin fashion to complete a             billion chips a year, all for the cellular          “The only way to avoid becoming obsolete in the technology world
conversation. CDMA, on the other hand,             industry. Fortune magazine this year ranked     is to keep learning and relearning,” he says. “What’s important is always
would have all conversations taking place          Qualcomm No. 9 in the list of the top-100       changing. The broad education I received at Wisconsin is instrumental
at once, but each one in a different language.     companies to work for.                          in allowing me to keep up with changes and branch into areas outside
   “One of our lead engineers did a study and         For Thompson, it has been an incredibly      my expertise.”
found that he could improve the capacity of        rewarding ride.                                                                                           —Brian Mattmiller

   A New

               BY EYLEEN CHOU
               Senior, mechanical engineering; president,                         From helpers
                                                                                  to helpless
               UW-Madison Engineers Without Borders

                       he January 2010 Engineers Without Borders
                       Haiti Project trip was supposed to be a simple
                       assessment trip. However, it happened to be
               scheduled from January 8-14, 2010. The catastrophic
               earthquake occurred during our trip and it was a
                                                                                  What it was like to be in Haiti
               life-changing event.                                               when the earthquake struck
                   There were six travelers from UW-Madison who
               went on this trip: five engineering students, and one
               professional mentor. We had prepared all semester
               for a final assessment on a waterpipeline that served Bayonnais, a               After dinner, I checked my E-mail and the subject lines and
               community of 10,000 people, clean drinking water. One section of              message previews screamed at me:
               pipe had been destroyed in June 2009 by flood damage. Our job was                          Are you ok?
               to design and build a new pipe crossing that would stretch the pipe                    HAITI EARTHQUAKE
               across a small river.                                                                      Status
                   The first few days of our trip were quite normal for an EWB Haiti trip.            Hope you’re safe
               We had an smooth, stress-free pick-up at the Port-au-Prince airport on                     You are OK, right??
               Saturday with Moses driving the bright yellow ICB school bus, church                   Are you alive?
               on Sunday, scouting and surveying on the first two work days, and                I quickly Googled “earthquake Haiti.” At the next moment,
               continual meetings with community members and community leaders.              John came striding through the common room with his laptop open.
                   However, Tuesday, January 12 is a day all of us will remember             An article from the New York Times showing a map of Haiti: “Haitian
               vividly. It was particularly windy. Very late in the afternoon, John          earthquake causes hospital collapse.” The words seemed to glare
               Lee, Tyler Lark and I sat on a concrete retaining wall and watched as         with the black, powerful font. We all fell silent and could do nothing
               Michael Hoeger, Randi Schieber and Alysen Kohlnhofer finished                 but keep reading.
               surveying the area. Theanaud, a student teacher at the local school,             The rest of the trip progressed much faster than we could have ever
               had joined us that afternoon; he was done teaching his seventh-               anticipated. The 7.0-magnitude earthquake had brutally severed the
               graders at the school for the day. We were talking about what kind            main artery of Haiti. Port-au-Prince was flattened. Actionnel Fleurisma,
               of math he had been teaching.                                                 the main community leader, kept coming in and out of the guesthouse
                   All of a sudden, there was a strong gust of wind, but it felt mightier    with reports from the radio that was playing in his truck outside. “The
               than the other ones that day. The retaining wall felt like it was reso-       National Palace collapsed.” “Government buildings collapsed.” “Schools
               nating from the force of the wind. It felt like how little ball bearings      collapsed.” “Hospitals collapsed.” We Americans searched the internet
               look on a manufacturing line, vibrating along the conveyor, shifting,         for stories, each one seeming more horrific than the last.
               bouncing and trembling. It was only for a few seconds. The kids                  On Wednesday, we decided the best thing to do was to continue
               nearby seemed to scream with delight. “Tremble terre! Tremble terre!”         with our project work. We were 70 miles away from Port-au-Prince;
                   Michael had fallen over from his perch with the graduated rod.            there was nothing we could do. None of us had any experience in aid
               Alysen and Randi were yelling back and forth. For the four of us on           work; we were only engineering students. On the way to our surveying
               the retaining wall, all of our eyes seemed to widen with curiosity.           site, we saw that the temporarily repaired pipe crossing had broken
               Theanaud said with a grin, “C’est un tremblement de terre. Vous avez          due to the earthquake.
               jamais senti les tremblements de terre?”                                         After the post-earthquake pipe break, we and the Haitian sub-
                   Of course we’d never felt an earthquake before! It was exhilarat-         contractors decided that we would work together to fix the pipe that
               ing. We come from one of the most stable areas on a tectonic plate. I         day. From noon to 5 p.m., a fantastic collaboration occurred, Haitians
               quickly asked him in French if there are earthquakes regularly in Haiti.      and Americans working side by side: We discussed possible solutions,
               He said that they probably occur once a year, but never this strong.          took measurements, lined up the steel pipe, removed the cemented
                   We hopped off our once subtly trembling retaining wall and joined         threads from the broken pieces, lifted the 20-foot length of pipe into
               the others surveying. Everyone was still talking excitedly. It seemed our     the support brackets, cut the 4-inch pipe with only a hack saw,
               work was done for the day, as the bubble in the level of the theodolite       adjusted the coupling to the new steel pipe, attached the pieces of
               was still moving back and forth in the same rhythm as the vibrations.         pipe, tightened the gaskets on coupling, and waited anxiously to hear
               We had no choice but to pack up and head back to the guesthouse.              the air flow through the air release valve.

   We, Haitians and Americans alike, were elated when we saw the           or li vene. That word “pa” was the difference in “they came back” or
project come together. Bayonnais would be getting fresh drinking           “they did not come back.” Then, it was clear: A woman had collapsed,
water from the spring source once again. Everyone was congratulating       sprawled across the church steps, screaming and sobbing. It was as
each other. Warm, energetic handshakes were being shared; we               if all of her muscles had failed her. The students had not returned
couldn’t help but smile.                                                   from Port-au-Prince.
   Our success, exhaustion and hunger from not having lunch created            Perhaps the most difficult thing about the trip to Haiti was leaving.
an interesting exhilaration. How quickly that feeling would fade.          It was not all that difficult to physically leave the country—but
   We walked back to the OFCB Ministries church and school grounds         rather, it was heartbreaking to leave so quickly and helplessly. All
and soon saw that Actionnel’s white truck had returned. Actionnel          of us wished we could have helped in the relief process. All of us
had left early that morning with three other OFCB representatives to       wanted to stay. But it was best for us to leave and not be a burden
go to Port-au-Prince to find students from Bayonnais who had been          on the community.
studying at the university-level in the capital city. Everyone had heard       Our role and contribution will be for years to come. Engineers
the night before of the extent of the damage to the buildings in           Without Borders strives to create long-term, sustainable projects. Our
Port-au-Prince; these students’ lives had never been so uncertain.         future projects for Bayonnais, Haiti, will help the community recover
   Three of us saw the truck pull up and decided it was best to let        long-term. It may be a clinic that provides jobs and healthcare for
the community have its time to hear the news that Actionnel had            people in the community, it may be a small-scale hydroelectric
to bring. We rounded the corner of the guesthouse and distracted           generator that provides electricity to students who need light to study,
ourselves with checking the spigots fed by the water main we had           it may be a drastic reforestation project to restore nutrients to the soil.
fixed earlier that day. Night was slowly falling. We continued to walk         We have many projects coming up, but no matter which ones we
the loop to the driveway leading to the church. All of a sudden, we        work on, we will always be working to improve the quality of life
were hearing cries. We could not tell whether they were cries of joy       in Bayonnais.
or of severe sorrow. As we walked up to the church, the confusion              Contact Chou at for more information
and chaos only grew. I could not tell if people were saying li pa vene     about the Haiti project or about Engineers Without Borders.

     College of Engineering

     1415 Engineering Dr., Madison, WI 53706

                                                                                                                         David Nevala

              Thanks to recent funding from government and industry, UW-Madison is emerging as a powerhouse
              in wind-energy research, technology transfer, and education. In spring 2009, the College of Engineering
              began a partnership with world-leading wind-turbine manufacturer Vestas that will support initiatives in
              education, research and development. And, grants from the U.S. Department of Energy have enabled faculty
              in three engineering departments to add to the existing curriculum several new wind-energy courses,
              including a suite of courses for professionals working in the industry.


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