Engineering

An electronic chip based on nanometer scale pores designed to study the properties of single biomolecules Image credit: Jacob Rosenstein and Prof. Kenneth Shepard

The word “nanos” is Greek for dwarf, and over time “nano” has come to refer to anything small, like the iPod nano. In science, however, it has a very precise definition: 10-9, or a billionth.

A digital microarray from the lab of Ken Shepard, a professor of electrical engineering, can measure individual DNA molecules, which are shown in this image. The new technology dramatically improves and simplifies genetic analysis.

Ken Shepard, a professor of electrical engineering, believes there is nowhere else in the world where he could do what he does. “Imagine a convergence of semiconductor technology and biotechnology. There is no company out there that has expertise in both,” he says.

Parallel application profiles, such as the ones above, indicate that applications do not consume energy uniformly, motivating the fine-grained energy management techniques to be developed as part of the CAREER project.

Computer Science Assistant Professor Martha Kim has won a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award to develop energy tracking and monitoring techniques to audit and control software energy consumption.

Dillon Liu, SEAS ’13, just found out that not only has he won a prestigious Marshall Scholarship—he is also the first Columbia Engineering student ever to receive one.

Joseph Traub (GSAS'59) was honored for his contributions to computer science.

When Joseph Traub joined Columbia’s Engineering School in 1979, it had a single computer, only three tenured faculty members teaching computer science and huge demand for the classes—but no computer science department.

Professor Cathy Popkin discovered Russian literature in the 1970s. Bored with her data entry job, she went shopping for books—the fatter the better—to keep herself entertained at work. What she found was Dostoevsky.

The figure above is of the weather-in-a-tank apparatus, which Tiffany Shaw (pictured at right) uses to demonstrate atmospheric phenomena such as fronts, convection, the general circulation of the atmosphere, flow over a barrier and the flow in a hurricane. In the experiment illustrated here, Shaw has combined the two main ingredients that control the general circulation of the atmosphere, namely Earth’s rotation and differential heating (warm equator, cold pole). The ice-water bath at the center mimics Earth's 'pole' and the water outside is at room temperature with the outermost region mimicking the warm 'equator.’ The tank is slowly rotating creating a laboratory analog of the circulation in the tropical atmosphere. The purple dye shows the movement of water at the bottom of the tank in a southwest direction toward the ‘equator,’ which is consistent with the earth's trade winds. The green dye illustrates the movement of water in the interior, which forms an annular pattern. The dots on the surface show the movement of surface water, which rotates in a counter-clockwise direction and moves faster toward the pole.

Tiffany Shaw, assistant professor of applied mathematics, has been awarded a Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, a prestigious honor given to a group of the most promising and innovative researchers who are at the beginning stages of their careers.

Alvin E. Roth, who graduated from Columbia Engineering in 1971 and is currently the George Gund Professor of Economics and Business Administration at Harvard, was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Economics for his pioneering work in the practical design of market institutions.

Research on volcanic eruptions and on the structure of abstract graphs have resulted in two Columbia professors being named MacArthur Fellows, the “genius” awards given to individuals who have shown “extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits.”

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