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Harvard SEAS, Newsletter, Fall 2007

Harvard SEAS, Newsletter, Fall 2007

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Biannual newsletter of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Biannual newsletter of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

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Published by: Harvard School of Enginering and A on Jan 11, 2010
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01/15/2012

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D ean’  sM e s sa g e
...in challenge lies opportunity. SEASintends to lead the way as a model of engineering research and educationfor the 21st century and the way anengineering school should connect toand serve the wider world.
Fall/Winter 2007
Moving Forward
Transcript from Sept. 20, 2007 
L
et me tell you, today has proven to mebeyond any possible doubt that youare never too old to be excited by the rstday of school. It’s a unique kind of energy,isn’t it? If we couldbottle it we’d solve ourenergy crisis and manyof the world’s otherproblems, too.But I imagine we areall feeling some varia-tion of the same mix of emotions that studentsof all ages feel acrosscampuses everywhereeach September. We feel pride in our pastaccomplishments that helped bring us tothis moment, and we feel gratitude to thosewho helped us achieve them.Of course, we feel excitement for all thepromising possibilities that lie ahead, andwe feel trepidation about both our abilityto meet the tests we know are coming andto ready ourselves for the unknown—thoseinevitable pop quizzes.We feel a sense of belonging—to an institu-tion and tradition that is much bigger thanwe are and that compels us to expect moreof ourselves. Veritas unites and elevates us.Engineering joins the other great schoolsof Harvard in the pursuit of truth, denedhere by what works—what can be designedfrom the truth of science and crafted withinthe truth of culture, laws, and marketplaceto serve the true needs of society.We feel humility at the realization that theinstitution is counting on us to carry it on,to reinvent it and continually bestow itwith meaning in the midst of change. Thecreation of the Lawrence Scientic Schoolat Harvard in 1847 at the early stages of the Industrial Age marked and catalyzeda change in the perception of an engineer:from tinkerer to educated professional.With the development since of elds, stan-dards, societies, awards, and much else,the professionalization of engineering waswell accomplished and the professional en-gineer gained status as a provider of excel-lent technical service.In 2007, we nd ourselves in the midst of another marked shift with the advent of the Digital Age and a knowledge revolu-tion. Now engineers and applied scientistsoften are leaders and shapers of societies.The present age also underscores theengineer’s role in the advancement of knowledge, which stands to benet globaleco-human welfare infundamental and oftenunpredictable ways.At the same time, solv-ing complex real-worldproblems is a direct ser-vice to society and willalways be central to theengineering enterprise;technologies developedby engineers have con-tributed immeasurably to human well-be-ing, although humanity still is faced withenormous challenges.The hyperspecialization of elds, whichhelps us add to, and sort through, theabundance of knowledge, also demandsthat we go beyond a stovepiped world. Wemust collaborate, integrate, and synthesizeto solve problems that transcend narrowknowledge domains.This changing context in turn demandsthat we prepare our students for thisshift—from professionals to leaders, fromproviders of service to creators of value,from expert guides and master buildersto explorers, discoverers, synthesizers, andinnovators.But as they say, in challenge lies opportuni-ty. SEAS intends to lead the way as a modelof engineering research and education forthe 21st century and the way an engineer-ing school should connect to and serve thewider world.As we do all this, one of our great challeng-es is that neither the education of studentsnor the advancement of research nor theapplication of knowledge through entre-preneurial endeavors can possibly be donein isolation. We each have a role to play,and to play together.
J
 
For complete transcripts from the launch, see: www.seas.harvard.edu/highlights/celebration.html 
Thanks to the support of countless indi- viduals, the celebration and launch of  the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences—nearly 160 years in the making—went off without a hitch.In the days following the event, the entire planning team told me how much they would miss the weekly meetings, the fran- tic phone calls, the countless emails, and the early mornings and late nights. It’s like the strange regret students have when they bind their theses or the silent sadness a researcher experiences when a paper goes to press or a patent nally gets led.In the spaces between big events or proj- ects we are faced with the inevitable question: Now what? As a newly chris- tened School we face that same question.As an answer, I am presenting an abbre- viated version of the dinner speech I gave on the evening of the launch. The wheel has indeed come full circle; the trick now is to keep it—and us—moving forward.
Venkatesh “Venky” NarayanamurtiDean, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied SciencesJohn A. and Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor of Engineeringand Applied Sciences, Professor of Physics
 
 Lnk sandn od e s
Sandia National Laboratories has entered into a relationship withuniversities, including Harvard, and industries around the country toestablish the National Institute for Nano-Engineering (NINE).The beautiful beams and skylights of the Gordon McKay Librarywere uncovered during the renovation.
Celebrating past, present,and future
On September 20, Harvard’s Schoolof Engineering and Applied Scienceshosted “Engineering a Renaissance: ACelebration of the Past, Present, andFuture and the Launch of the HarvardSchool of Engineering and Applied Sci-ences.” Over 600 students, staff, alumni,and faculty gathered on the Pierce Halllawn to usher in the rst new school atHarvard in seven decades.In addition to lunch under the big top(the huge white tent seated more than500 guests), attendees heard remarksfrom two past presidents of the HarvardBoard of Overseers—Thomas E. Everhart’53, former president of the CaliforniaInstitute of Technology and Professorof Electrical Engineering and AppliedPhysics, Emeritus, and Susan Graham’64, Pehong Chen Distinguished Pro-fessor of Electrical Engineering andComputer Science at the University of California, Berkeley—as well as DeanVenky and President and Lincoln Profes-sor Drew Faust. After two banners withthe new SEAS seal were unfurled, PeterGomes, Plummer Professor of Chris-tian Morals and Pusey Minister in theMemorial Church, conveyed a blessingupon the school.The launch was followed by symposiaheld in Sanders Theatre. Charles Vest,former President of MIT and Presidentof the National Academy of Engineer-ing; H. Vincent Poor, Dean, PrincetonSchool of Engineering and AppliedScience; and Subra Suresh, Dean of theSchool of Engineering, MIT, all offereda mix of practical advice for managingthe newly christened school as well asa broader perspective on the state of engineering and applied sciences acrossthe globe.Harvey Fineberg ’67, ’71, ’72, ’74, ’80,President of the Institute of Medicineand former Harvard Provost; Paul M.Horn, Senior Vice President and Direc-tor of Research, IBM; and John Hol-dren, Teresa and John Heinz Professorof Environmental Policy at the JohnF Kennedy School of Gov’t; Professorof Environmental Science and PublicPolicy, tackled the “big three” topics: us-ing advances in engineering to make ameaningful impact on medicine, busi-ness, and energy and the environment.At the evening gala dinner, where muchof the talk was “where did you get thathandsome SEAS tie” (ties along withcustom-made scarves were later givento many of the guests), a video, “Engi-neering a Renaissance,” which traces thehistory of engineering and highlightsthose instrumental in the creation of the SEAS, made its debut. In the video,Steve Hyman summed things up beau-tifully: “Having an engineering schoolis absolutely critical to any vision for asuccessful Harvard in the 21st century.”
Engineering is everywhereat Harvard
In keeping with SEAS’s mission to be a“connector and integrator,” faculty andadministrators with roots in engineer-ing and applied sciences have playedan increasingly strong role in llinghighly visible and inuential positionsthroughout the University.One, Michael Smith, Gordon McKayProfessor of Computer Science andEngineering and former AssociateDean at SEAS, has settled into his newrole as the Dean of the Faculty of Artsand Sciences. In a
Boston Globe 
article,Harry Lewis, Gordon McKay Professorof Computer Sciences, was quoted assaying, “Faust’s choice is a sign that Har-vard is willing to take engineering andcomputer science as seriously as moreesoteric subjects.”Despite his new ofce in the whitemarble-clad University Hall, Smith hasremained close to SEAS; he still parkshis car in the Pierce lot each morning.Succeeding Smith, Greg Morrisett, Al-len B. Cutting Professor of ComputerScience, was appointed as AssociateDean for Computer Science and Engi-neering in July.Barbara Grosz, Higgins Professor of Natural Sciences, also settled into a new
Dean Venky, whom President Faust called a “rock star”, takes insome applause. (Photo by Tom Fitzsimmons.)Former Associate Dean for Computer Science and Engineering,Michael D. Smith, acclimates to his new University Hall environs androle as Dean of FAS. (Photo by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard News Ofce.)
2ISEAS – Fall/Winter 2007
Life On & Around Oxford Street
 
 Lnk sandn od e s
Sticky situations
Our grads do it all, from circuit to dessert design. Joanne Chang ’91 (Applied Math-ematics), owner of Flour Bakery, bested celebrity chef Bobby Flay in a sticky bunthrow-down. For those who are not Food Network junkies, a “throw-down” is ahead-to-head cooking challenge centered around a single item. With about 90 hun-gry Harvard students bussed in for the taping, the judges included Dan Andelman ofBoston’s “Phantom Gourmet” and Larry Kessel, Executive Chef for Residential Din-ing, Harvard University Dining Services. If you want to make some sticky goodness ofyour own, Chang’s famous (and amazing) recipe is available at the Food Network site:www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_37125,00.html
Good society
The original Harvard Engineering Society debuted in 1893 and lasted until 1967. Takenfrom the
Crimson
archives: “About sixty men interested in the new engineering societymet last night in L.S.S.1. Professor Hollis presided. It is not intended to displace theElectric Club, but hopes to encourage it and to be the cause of the growth of other clubsin different departments of engineering. The new society is to be more general and isintended: 1. To promote general knowledge and discussion of engineering subjects, and2. To promote intercourse and acquaintance between members of the society and profes-sional men.” The society was reinvigorated in 2004 and is now called the Harvard CollegeEngineering Society.
J
Random Bits
Upon being asked about the potential for engineering and applied sciences to make an impact,Harvard University President Drew Faust remarked, “To study technology in an environmentwhere you reach beyond the simple implications or complicated implications of the technologyitself into the even more complex social, political, and ethical questions is, I think, essentialto our advance as a human race and to our advance as learners, and retrievers, and dissemi-nators of information.”
Overheard
NINE for Nano
Harvard is among the participantsof the National Institute for Nano-En-gineering (NINE), a partnership amongindustry, the federal government, andU.S. universities, spearheaded by SandiaNational Laboratories. The partnershipis driven by concerns over the health of America’s science and engineering edu-cation and innovation engine, as high-lighted in the 2005 report
Rising Above the Gathering Storm 
from the NationalAcademies.In addition to Harvard, the initial NINEmembers include Intel Corp., Exxon Mo-bil Corp., IBM, Lockheed Martin Corp.,Corning Inc., Goodyear Tire and Rubber,Proctor and Gamble, University of Wis-consin, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,University of California at Davis, Univer-sity of Florida, Yale University, Universityof Texas at Austin, University of Illinois,Rice, Notre Dame, University of NewMexico, and Harvey Mudd College.
Gordon McKay Librarysees the light
The light streaming in through the Gor-don McKay Library’s skylights (coveredover in the 1970s) tells only half thestory. Glancing down from the beauti-fully restored support girders, visitorsare greeted with a granite-topped circu-lation area, soft yellow bamboo oors,new shelving units, and retro-modernchairs and tables. The hallway leadingto the library also underwent a dra-matic makeover during the past year.In addition to new faculty ofces and aconference room, a student lounge withcozy couches and chairs is now tuckedinto a sweeping corner.
J
role as the Interim Dean of the RadcliffeInstitute. The t was a natural one; Gro-sz has long been connected with Radc-liffe, serving as its rst dean of science.Former Radcliffe Dean and now HarvardPresident Faust commented, “Barbarahas played a critical role in almost everyaspect of the evolution of the RadcliffeInstitute. She has been enormously ef-fective as the architect of the scienceprograms, building a highly successfulmodel for science fellowships that in-corporates laboratory research, fostersengagement with the broader scienticcommunities at Harvard and in Bos-ton, and encompasses a wide range of scientic elds.”Finally, kudos to NASA astronaut Steph-anie Wilson ’88 (S.B., Engineering Sci-ences) who was elected to the HarvardBoard of Overseers.
(above and left) Joanna Chang ’91once a nancial analyst, tradedher life in the nancial district forone in the kitchen. (below) Whiletoday’s Engineering Society hasits roots in the 19th century, ac-tivities (such as building robots)have kept up with the times.
 SEAS – Fall/Winter 2007I3

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