Year in Review 1999: Technology, Research Take off at Engineering and Mines

December 2, 1999

The College of Engineering and Mines (COEM) won a $16 million center, started a new Summer Engineering Academy, sent its first solar car to Sunrayce and funded its first distinguished professorship during 1999.
• New NSF Science and Technology Center (STC) - Professor Soroosh Sorooshian of hydrology and water resources directs this center, which is funded for $16 million over five years.

It includes researchers and students from several colleges at UA, as well as those from several other universities, government agencies, and private institutions.

The center will develop numerical models and decision-making tools that will allow users to optimally manage limited water supplies. In addition, the STC will develop educational programs for use in science education programs.

• Summer Engineering Academy - UA engineering has sponsored a summer workshop for middle school and high school students for the past 20 years. This year, Ray Umashankar, director of the COEM Multicultural Engineering Program, restructured the workshop into a new program called the Summer Engineering Academy (SEA).

Students attending the academy used 3-D modeling software to design aerodynamically efficient cars. Rapid prototyping machinery at Tucson's Advanced Ceramics Research (ACR) converted the designs into wind tunnel models directly from students' CAD files. Then the students tested the models in an Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering wind tunnel.

Through this SEA workshop and future ones, students will get involved in advanced technologies and learn how creative and exciting engineering can be.

• Daedalus Solar Car Team - A team of UA students built and raced a solar car in Sunrayce 99, a 1,425-mile race from Washington D.C. to Epcot Center.

Of the 12 rookie teams that attempted to qualify for the race, only four passed. So the UA team displayed outstanding organizational and engineering abilities just to earn the 6th seed starting spot during the initial qualifiers.

Eventually, the UA team finished 24th in this fifth biennial Sunrayce. Team members already are designing a car for the next race.

• Litton Industries John M. Leonis Distinguished Professorship in UA COEM - John M. Leonis, chairman of the board and former chief executive officer of Litton Industries, has funded a professorship designed to retain young faculty members in UA COEM.

This endowment is designed to help retain bright, young faculty members whose accomplishments are the envy of other academic institutions. The endowment also is designed to encourage faculty to build new collaborative programs with industry.