November 2014/Muharram 1436 Volume 5, Issue No. 3 جامعة الملك عبداهلل للعلوم والتقنية
المملكة العربية السعودية،ثول
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Thuwal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
الحفاظ على الشعاب المرجانية في المملكة من أجل المستقبل Sustaining Saudi Arabia’s reefs for the future Page 4 Turning today’s composite materials innovations into tomorrow’s reality Page 6
Graduate student council works for the benefit of all Page 12
FEP lecture introduces ornithology to KAUST Page 8
Nurturing young scholars, expanding the academic community Page 13
A chirpy resolution to a shocking problem Page 10
New faces on campus Page 11
Fall Enrichment visits The KAUST School Page 11
Flash flood sensing technology developed in collaboration with KACST Page 15
In brief KAUST is the first university in the region to adopt an open access policy. To explore potential benefits and concerns about this, the University Library hosted a discussion on October 26. The discussion was led by Library Director Molly Tamarkin and featured Associate Dean and Professor of Electrical Engineering Mohamed-Salim Alouini, Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics David Ketcheson and Director of the Office of Research Evaluation and Awards Thibaut Lery. The IEEE Student Branch and the IET Student Group held the 4th KAUST IEEE & IET Workshop Week in early November. Activities included a COMSOL with Arpys Arevalo, a PowerPoint 3D Figures session with Mohammed Ghoneim, a session on Solidworks with Enrique Vilanova, and a Scientific Photo Competition. The KAUST Solar Future 2014 workshop – was held from November 7-11 – gathered some of the main contributors in PV research to focus on emerging PV: low-cost and disruptive thin film PV technologies that may transform the landscape of solar energy conversion. The meeting included three days of presentations and poster sessions, with
The Beacon Volume 5, Issue 3 PUBLISHED BY THE COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
The Beacon Staff Managing Editors: Michelle D’Antoni, Salah Sindi Editor: Nicholas Demille Arabic Editor: Saad Al Husainan Writers: Caitlin Clark, David Murphy, Michelle Ponto, Meres Weche Translator: Adel Alrefaie Photographers: Andrea Bachofen-Echt Designer: Hazim Alradadi Email: firstname.lastname@example.org The Beacon is published monthly. © King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
THE BEACON | NOV 2014
contributions from Stanford University, Imperial College London, Cambridge, UC Santa Barbara, EPFL, University of Toronto, Georgia Tech, Princeton and other well-established hubs of PV and flexible electronics research. The workshop for High-End Microscopy Techniques in Life Science – November 18 and 19 – will be held to help researchers enhance their microscopy knowledge and capabilities. There are hands-on sessions led by specialists from Olympus and lectures that relate to life science imaging and other topics. Register now for the SRI UQ Annual meeting – January 6-9 – titled: Advances in Unvertainty Quantification Methods, Algorithms and Applications (UAQW 2015). The meeting will cover a range of topics, including verification and validation, experimental design and applications to problems in computational science, engineering, networks and the environment. Find registration information and more at sri-uq.kaust.edu.sa
Accolades Dean Magistretti awarded honorary CAPS membership
1 Breaking the wall to Berlin: Falling Walls Lab 2014 By David Murphy Doctoral student Aftab Hussain who represented KAUST at the 2014 Falling Walls Lab finale in Berlin Germany on November 8. Hussain, a member of the Integrated Nanotechnology Laboratory, was the best of 22 contestants in a campus-wide competition. He had three minutes to present his winning concept—a smart thermal therapy patch. The KAUST Falling Walls Lab, hosted recently by Graduate Affairs, featured 22 finalists who presented product and venture ideas to a panel of judges. The presentations are the result of a process that started in March, when KAUST was chosen as one of only 100 universities worldwide to compete in the Falling Walls Lab Finale in Berlin, Germany, on November 8. Twenty-two students competed from an original pool of 46 applicants. A wide range of ideas were presented in three minutes or less, with each contestant seeking to demonstrate the actual science behind his concept, as well as the practicality in producing it. From its origins in Berlin in 2001, the Falling Walls Lab has grown to be a truly international event. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, was a guest of honor at this year’s event, which will hosted 100 of the world’s top universities.
Cover: A Red Sea reef alive with coral species and marine wildlife. (Photo by Tane Sinclair-Taylor)
By Michelle Ponto Dean Pierre Magistretti, of KAUST's Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division, was awarded an honorary membership for the Chinese Association for Physiological Sciences (CAPS). The association is part of the China Association for Science and Technology, whose purpose is to promote the scientific and technological progress, economic revitalization and social development of China. Only 15 honorary memberships have been awarded since the founding of the association in 1926. Magistretti was one of three chosen at this year's 24th National Congress and Conference held in Shanghai from October 24 -27. The other 2014 awardees were Professors Tomas Hokfelt from Karolinska Institute and Denis Noble from Oxford University. Not only are these memberships rare, but three of the previous awardees were recipients of the Nobel Prize, making this truly an honor.
Postdoctoral fellow brings home runner-up prize By Nicholas Demille Dr. Yousef Alshammari, a Saudi postdoctoral fellow at KAUST, brought home the runner-up prize at a recent meeting of the Future Energy Leaders’ Summit in Cartagena, Colombia. He was recognized by the Colombian National Committee of the World Energy Council for his innovative concept: fuel vending machines that could more closely match consumer needs with a range of locally-sourced energy products. Alshammari is arguing for increased use of a diverse array of alternative fuels, particularly in the consumer transportation sector. “Diversification is a path to commercial success, and it could help reduce the environmental impact of carbon emissions while reducing dependence on petroleum products in developing countries,” Alshammari said. Alshammari was selected to join the Future Energy Leaders Summit as a representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the World Energy Congress in 2013. His current research focuses on fuel design, combustion and applied systems analysis of modern energy technologies that aim to create more sustainable, science-oriented policies for the energy and climate change sector. He earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Imperial College in London and has worked as a research intern at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.
1. Twenty-two finalists presented their product or venture idea to a high-profile panel of judges for the Falling Walls Lab.
Sustaining Saudi Arabia’s reefs for the future 1
By Meres J. Weche Marine ecological environments, where all kinds of sea creatures, corals, fish and algae evolve, require healthy interactions between the natural habitat and influences from human environments in order to thrive. “What we’ve learned over the past few years is that the reef systems around the Saudi coast are not immune to the global stressors that are affecting reefs all over the planet,” said Dr. Michael Berumen, associate professor of Marine Science at KAUST.
kilometers we were stopping and surveying a reef. It really was within about three or four dives that we all started saying that something was missing here. The reefs looked great but we were missing those top predators. They were just not there.”
As highlighted in a recent KAUST article focusing on surveying work from the Director of the Red Sea Research Center Xabier Irigoien, a major human-induced stressor is pollution—mainly from plastics making their way into the oceans. Another factor is global temperature increases and the resulting problems from decreasing ocean pH and ocean acidification. In addition to global problems affecting the coral reef systems, there are also locally specific challenges to be tackled.
Through KAUST’s partnership with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a team began a project to look into fishing pressures. They sought to understand why it was that directly across the Red Sea on the Sudanese coast, other expeditions observed the presence of far more big fish.
Where have all the big fish gone? Saudi Arabia is fortunate to have a huge coastline with healthy reefs. Moreover, the relatively low population level along the Red Sea coast, apart from a few large urban areas would, generally speaking, minimize negative human impacts on the marine ecology. Also, the fact that there are no big river systems flowing into the Red Sea makes this maritime environment very unique.
If the level of pollution is not controlled or treated the Kingdom will soon have to import fish and shrimp to meet its demands,” warned Dr. Ahmad Ashour In many places where lands are transformed by farming, intensive agricultural practices introduce all kinds of chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers that change the composition of the land. When there’s a big rainstorm or wet season, all the altered soil gets dumped into the sea. This is not a problem in Saudi Arabia. This is why when Berumen and a team of reef experts from Australia and the US-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution first started diving in the Red Sea along the Saudi coast about seven years ago, they were surprised with what they observed. As Berumen recalls: “On our very first trip we cruised southwards and every few
The combined effect of nets, lines and traps
“There are sharks on almost all the dives in the Sudan; there are big groupers, big jacks and big snappers. There are all these big top predator fish, which we notably don’t have here. It’s indeed very rare to see sharks and big groupers or big snappers on the Saudi reefs,” Berumen explained. What the Woods Hole surveying team found, partially using data from the fisheries department within the Saudi Ministry of Agriculture, was that “most species of fish have more or less collapsed as a fishery even as many as two or three decades ago.” “About 150 kilometers of Jeddah’s coastline has become useless for sea creatures. If the level of pollution is not controlled or treated the Kingdom will soon have to import fish and shrimp to meet its demands,” warned Dr. Ahmad Ashour from the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment Protection, when speaking to local Saudi media in the past year. Estimates put the number between 8,000 and 10,000 fishing boats operating along the Saudi coast. And while this doesn’t involve big industrial fishing fleets, the sheer numbers exert as much pressure on the fisheries as industrial fishing. “I don’t think there are any reefs in this region—even on the furthest offshore reefs that we’ve gone to here—where we didn’t regularly see fishing boats. So I think fishing pressure all through here is fairly homogenous,” said Berumen.
The role of education for conservation efforts In addition to overfishing, the other major stressor is widespread pollution. “When you drive to Thuwal from Jeddah, what do you see? A forest of plastic bags; and so much of that plastic ends up in the sea,” said Berumen. The problem isn’t just limited to the vicinities of large urban agglomerations. In fact, plastic remnants can be found across the Saudi coast. “Plastic is going to be a major challenge for us for decades and decades to come.” Even in remote areas such as between the Farasan Islands and Al-Lith, which Berumen calls “Saudi Arabia’s
continued on page 7
THE BEACON | NOV 2014
1. A red grouper enjoys the protection of a coral reef system in the )Red Sea. (Photo by Tane Sinclair-Taylor 2. Red Sea reefs support a dazzling array of marine life including )coral and fish species. (Photo by Tane Sinclair-Taylor
الحفاظ على الشعاب المرجانية في المملكة من أجل المستقبل أكد البروفيسور مايكل بيرومين األستاذ المشارك في قسم علوم البحار في جامعة الملك عبداهلل للعلوم والتقنية " :أن جميع البيئات البحرية تحتاج إلى التفاعل الصحي بين جميع المخلوقات البحرية والشعاب المرجانية واألسماك والطحالب والمؤثرات البيئة البشرية المحيطة. وما تعلمناه على مدى السنوات القليلة الماضية هو أن نظم الشعاب المرجانية على امتداد سواحل المملكة ليست بمنأى عن المؤثرات البيئية العالمية التي تؤثر على الشعاب المرجانية في جميع أنحاء العالم".
قائال" :كانت رحلتنا األولى على متن قارب انتقل بنا من ينبع إلى جدة ً ً جنوبا وكنا نتوقف مرورا بالشعاب المتواجدة هنا في ثول .وقد أبحرنا كل عدة كيلومترات لفحص الشعاب المرجانية .وقد استغرق األمر ما ً شيئا بين ثالثة إلى أربعة مرات من الغوص .إال أننا الحظنا أن هنالك ً ً تماما مفقودا ،فبالرغم من جمال الشعاب المرجانية إال أنها كانت خالية
وقد تم تسليط الضوء في المقالة األخيرة في موقع الجامعة اإللكتروني على جهود المسح التي قام بها مدير مركز أبحاث البحر االحمر الدكتور اكزابيير ايريغوين والتي تشير إلى أحد المؤثرات الرئيسية التي يسببها اإلنسان وهي التلوث الناتج عن إنتشار البالستيك في محيطات العالم .باإلضافة إلى ارتفاع درجات الحرارة على مستوى العالم وما يسببه ذلك اإلرتفاع من خلل في درجة حموضة المحيطات .فضال عن وجود بعض التحديات المحددة التي يجب معالجتها.
ومن خالل الشراكة بين الجامعة ومعهد وودز هول لعلوم المحيطات ،بدأ الفريق البحثي مشروعه لدراسة المؤثرات التي تتعرض لها مصايد األسماك، ً سعيا لفهم أسباب رؤية فرق بحثية أخرى ألسماك أكبر حجما على الضفة االخرى المقابلة للبحر األحمر ،تحديدا على السواحل السودانية.
ويرى البروفيسور بيرومين أن هناك عامل رئيسي مؤثر آخر يجب التركيز عليه وهو الصيد الجائر .حيث يقول " :إن عدد األسماك في األسواق المحلية يفوق عددها في الشعاب ،وهذه مشكلة كبيرة تتطلب نظرة فاحصة لضبط ممارسات الصيد".
أين ذهبت جميع األسماك الكبيرة؟ المملكة العربية السعودية محظوظة بامتالكها شواطئ بحرية طويلة ممتدة وزاخرة بالشعاب المرجانية السليمة التي تشكل مساكن طبيعية للكائنات البحرية .كما أن الكثافة السكانية على طول سواحلها باستثناء عدد قليل من المناطق الحضرية الكبيرة – تعتبر منخفضة نسبياً،األمر الذي من شأنه أن يحد من التأثيرات البشرية السلبية على البيئة البحرية .كما ان عدم وجود نظم نهرية كبيرة تصب في البحر األحمر يجعل هذه البيئة البحرية بيئة فريدة من نوعها. ويحدث في كثير من مناطق العالم تحول لتركيبة التربة بفعل استخدام المواد الكيميائية والمبيدات الحشرية واألسمدة في الزراعة بكثافة .ثم تأتي العواصف الممطرة الشديدة وتجرف هذه التربة الملوثة وتدفعها في اتجاه البحر .ولحسن الحظ ،ال توجد هذه المشكلة في المملكة، وهذا لفت إنتباه الدكتور برومين وفريق خبراء الشعاب المرجانية األسترالي وفريق معهد وودز هول لعلوم المحيطات عند الغوص ألول مرة في البحر األحمر على طول سواحل المملكة منذ حوالي سبع سنوات حيث تفاجؤوا بما شاهدوه .ويتذكر البروفيسور بيرومين ذلك
من األسماك المفترسة وتساءلنا عندها :أين هذه االسماك وأين جميع أسماك القرش التي كان من المفترض أن نراها؟".
ويوضح البروفيسور برومين قائال" :إن أسماك القرش موجودة في (القشريات ،وأسماك جميع أماكن الغوص في السودان ،باإلضافة إلى ُ الهامور والبياض الكبير ،والحمرا الكبير) .فهذه األسماك المفترسة الكبيرة متوفرة على سواحل السودان ولكن ال تتواجد بكثرة في شواطىء المملكة .ومن النادر ً جدا رؤية أسماك القرش وأسماك الهامور الكبيرة أو أسماك الحمرا في الشعاب السعودية". ً مستخدما بيانات قطاع شؤون الثروة كما اكتشف فريق معهد وودز هول السمكية في وزارة الزراعة السعودية بشكل جزئي أن تناقص أعداد كثيرة من األسماك نتيجة الصيد الجائر منذ عقدين أو ثالثة عقود .ويقدر البروفيسور بيرومين عدد قوارب الصيد ما بين 10000 – 8000قارب تعمل على طول سواحل المملكة ،تمارس ما وصفه "بالصيد الحرفي". وفي حين أن هذه القوارب ال تشمل قوارب الصيد التجارية الكبيرة كما قد يعتقد البعض عند دراسة حجم الصيد التجاري ،غير أن هؤالء الصيادين ً ً كبيرا على مصايد األسماك بقدر ما تحدثه قوارب الصيد تأثيرا يحدثون التجاري الكبيرة حتى مع استخدامهم ألدوات بدائية في عملية الصيد ".
دور التعليم في جهود المحافظة على الحياة البحرية ويقول البروفيسور بيرومين" :باإلضافة إلى الصيد الجائر ،يؤثر التلوث بصورة واسعة على العديد من الشعاب الساحلية والبيئات البحرية ً قادما من جدة فإنك ترى كم في البحر األحمر .فعندما تتجه إلى ثول هائل من أكياس البالستيك؛ والكثير منها ينتهي به المطاف في البحر. والمشكلة ال تقتصر فقط على المناطق المجاورة للتكتالت الحضرية الكبيرة ،ولكن يمكن مالحظتها على امتداد شواطئ المملكة .كما أن ً ً كبيرا بالنسبة لنا لعقود قادمة". تحديا التخلص من البالستيك سيكون
التتمة في صفحة ٧
Turning today’s composite materials innovations into tomorrow’s reality By Meres J. Weche As sustainability has increasingly become a central focus in many sectors of the global economy, manufacturers are constantly striving to increase efficiency in terms of energy, weight, emissions and their environmental footprint. Such requirements are the drivers behind the adoption of composite materials. Composite materials are created when two or more different materials are arranged together according to a microstructure (i.e., the way these materials are arranged together in space). Researchers start with the same raw materials but engineer different microstructures that result in materials with completely different attributes. This makes for a field full of opportunity for optimizing and tailoring materials. Materials can now be engineered to obtain the complex behaviors needed for achieving multifunctional structures. One great example is in composites. Composites are found in sports equipment, buildings, aircraft manufacturing and the energy sector, to name a few. The latest generation of composite aircraft, for example, have seen 25% efficiency gains over comparable metallic designs. And composite pipes can be used to make water or oil transportation infrastructures that do not corrode, reducing pollution in the conveyed product. As most common composites make use of carbon, they are often referred as “black metal.” They have, of course, nothing to do with more classical metallic materials, but the materials have become extremely popular in large-scale engineering. “Today we are very good at making composite structures— the main problem is how they are going to evolve over time,” says Gilles Lubineau, associate professor of mechanical engineering at KAUST and principal investigator of the Composite and Heterogeneous Materials Analysis and Simulation Laboratory (COHMAS). Lubineau and his group’s research focuses on computational modeling and experimental developments to tackle problems related to composite engineering. New materials are developed to meet new operational conditions. Techniques are being developed to understand their behavior and monitor their integrity. And computational approaches are being put in place to tease out the relationship between microstructure, functionality and durability.
Optimizing the microstructure to achieve the best performance Lubineau’s team brings together people with very different backgrounds, ranging from mechanical engineering, applied mathematics and theoretical
THE BEACON | NOV 2014
mechanics to material science and chemical engineering. “This wide variety of backgrounds makes the team able to tackle real composite problems that are necessarily multiphysics and multiscale problems. This also makes the team capable of theoretically designing the microstructure to reach the best performance, and then to synthesize it and explore it from the experimental point of view; this ability is quite rare in a single group,” Lubineau said. For illustration purposes, Lubineau takes the example of an aircraft: “The stresses, strains and everything is very heterogeneous. So it becomes necessary to accommodate the gradients in order to optimize materials at the critical locations in the aircraft’s structure.” Lubineau’s group also works on composite materials destined for large industrial pipes five or six meters in diameter, which are used for oil or water transportation. Particularly in arid regions like in Saudi Arabia, these pipes can experience high levels of degradation and specific aging conditions due to the extreme environmental conditions. Here again, understanding how the microstructure drives the final performance is key to process and design optimization.
Predicting and monitoring integrity “You need to be able to predict what will happen in thirty years based on experiments that cannot last for more than a few weeks or a few months. What we want to achieve is more than a classical phenomenological model. We need models that can be used for making predictions with trust, models that can be used for design and exploration of new solutions,” Lubineau said. Predictive science, with a physics based description of experimental observations later formalized in rigorous models, is then essential to Lubineau’s group. They have been en-
The objective of predictive testing is first, to design relevant accelerated testing conditions that are actually representative of what will happen long term, and to understand the physics well enough to develop techniques for structural health monitoring,” said Lubineau.
Great Barrier Reef” and where there are hundreds of really nice reefs, the problem can be observed. “It’s far away from big cities but it doesn’t matter. The islands in that region have got lots of trash and plastics,” explained Berumen. The presence of KAUST and its Red Sea Research Center over the past few years has been instrumental in conducting important surveying and research work to tackle those twin problems of pollution and overfishing that are having a devastating effect on the Red Sea’s marine ecology environment. But Berumen is quick to point out that it’s out of KAUST’s scope, or mission, to advocate for the enforcement of fishing regulations. The valuable research and surveying work being done on the Red Sea’s marine life by KAUST marine scientists can nonetheless serve as a valuable benchmark in the event that relevant authorities sought to institute such regulations. Examples would be restrictions on maximum or minimum fish size, daily catch amount limits, seasonal closures and restricted fishing locations.
2 gaged in designing models for many advanced structures while at KAUST, ranging from composite fuselage integrity to pipes integrity in sour environment. “The objective of predictive testing is first, to design relevant accelerated testing conditions that are actually representative of what will happen long term, and to understand the physics well enough to develop techniques for structural health monitoring,” said Lubineau. “Monitoring composites is a real challenge today. Practical technologies are investigated to provide the most efficient and reliable real time monitoring such as optical fiber sensing (with Fiber Bragg Gratings) or electrical impedance/ resistivity tomography (EIT/ERT). Thanks to these detection methods more challenging engineering may be envisaged through the design of preventive maintenance strategies.” His team is then investigating how such reliable models can be used for better SHM techniques. Successes have already been met for impedance based monitoring for example.
Collaborations with Industry Most of Lubineau’s research at COHMAS is done in close collaboration with major industrial partners such as Boeing, SABIC, Saudi Aramco or Saudi Arabian Amiantit. The applied research and advanced theoretical concepts are directly tested and applied to concrete problems.
“What we should be and are doing is to collect the data. When and if we’re ever asked for it we are ready to provide scientifically sound reasoning for specific policies or changes in practices. We won’t need to ask the regulators to come back in five years for results,” Berumen explained. ويوضح الدكتور مايكل برومين أنه يمكن مالحظة هذه المشكلة حتى في المناطق التي يطلق عليها اسم "الحاجز،النائية مثل المنطقة الواقعة بين جزر فرسان والليث فبالرغم من. حيث يوجد مئات من الشعاب المرجانية الجميلة،" المرجاني العظيم للمملكة ،بعدها عن المدن الكبيرة إال أن الجزر في هذه المنطقة بها الكثير من النفايات والبالستيك ."ويبدو أن األسماك الصغيرة المهاجرة في هذه المنطقة تتناول الكثير من هذا البالستيك وعلى مدى السنوات القليلة الماضية كان لوجود جامعة الملك عبداهلل للعلوم والتقنية ً ً أساسيا في إجراء األبحاث وعمليات المسح الهامة لمعالجة دورا ومركز أبحاث البحر األحمر .مشكلتي التلوث والصيد الجائر ذات التأثير المدمر على البيئة البحرية للبحر األحمر كما أشار البروفيسور بيرومين إلى أن جامعة الملك عبداهلل ملتزمة بنشر الوعي العام حول أهمية الحفاظ على البيئة البحرية عن طريق األبحاث وعمليات المسح التي يقوم ً كثيرا على تنظيم قواعد الصيد مثل تحديد بها علماء البحار في الجامعة والتي تساعد مواسم منع، تحديد كمية الصيد اليومية،الحد األقصى أو الحد األدنى لحجم األسماك ومواقع الصيد المحظورة ومساعدة الجهات الحكومية المعنية في صياغة،الصيد وتحدث بيرومين عن االفتتاح الناجح لفقيه.استراتيجيات الحفاظ على البيئة البحرية ً ً إيجابيا في مجال التوعية مؤشرا أكواريوم المطل على كورنيش جدة والذي يمثل ويشجع على المحافظة على، حيث يعد األكواريوم األول من نوعه في المملكة.البيئية لذا أنا متفائل بأن هناك خطوات،البيئة عن طريق نشر الوعي من خالل التعليم بالترفيه وفي نهاية المطاف سوف يكون هناك تغيير جذري في السلوك،في االتجاه الصحيح .العام تجاه المحافظة على البيئة
Despite the variety of these projects, they are all related to the application of advanced composite material to some real application such as composite fuselage, composite pipes, composites for civil engineering or the automotive industry. The team helps in bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and the real application of these materials. Saudi Arabia is already a major player as a provider of the raw products. But Lubineau foresees an expanded future role for the Kingdom where, instead of just selling the raw material, Saudi Arabia could directly sell technologies with the more advanced derived material at a much higher added value. “This can really play a role in developing the local economy.”
1. Left to right: Prof. Gilles Lubineau, Ali Moussawi (Ph.D. student), Lakshmi Selvakumaran (Ph.D. student), and Khaled Almuhammadi (engineer sponsored by Saudi Aramco for Ph.D. degree at KAUST) (Photo by Meres J. Weche) 2. Dr. Gilles Lubineau. (Photo by Nicholas Demille) 3. A Red Sea reef photographed with an assortment of marine
wildlife species. (Photo by Tane Sinclair-Taylor)
FEP lecture introduces ornithology to KAUST By Caitlin Clark
You might believe that mammals are the most diverse, intelligent and interesting organisms on the planet, but learning about the birds—phylum Chordata, class Aves, with 40 extant orders—could change your mind. During a lecture held for the first Enrichment in Fall Program, visiting biologist Professor Kimberly Smith from the University of Arkansas treated a KAUST audience to an engaging look into the life of birds, those ubiquitous—often overlooked—animals in our backyard. “There are approximately 10,500 species of birds in 250 families,” said Smith, “and although we thought most were discovered, new species are still being added through molecular analyses.” Evolution has provided birds with many unique features, including feathers, bills (or beaks), a flexible upper jaw and egg laying during reproduction. Birds also come in a staggering range of sizes and weights. The bee hummingbird of Cuba, for example, weighs only 1.6 grams, while the ostrich weighs over 130 kilograms and is 2.8 meters high. Birds also come in a variety of colors, some dull, some vibrant, and some with iridescent feathers, but all feathers are made of keratin, the same material that makes our hair and nails. “Feathers are vital to the biology of birds,” explained Smith.
The modern view is that bird brains are as complex as mammal brains,” said Smith. Although we might see them as pretty adornments, feathers enable birds to fly, and also keep warm through homeothermy, the maintenance of a stable internal body temperature. And feathers are not all the same. Different types of feathers serve different functions, such as the remiges, or flight feathers of the wing, and the down and semi-down feathers that help keep birds warm. Birds may not be able to use hands and fingers to eat, but their bills carry out that function spectacularly. Smith highlighted the bill of the flamingo, which, like the mouth of a baleen whale, can sift or filter food from the water. Other birds such as the macaw, have hooked beaks that allow for the cracking of seeds and nuts. And there is a crossbill finch whose bill is perfectly designed to remove seeds from pinecones in the high northern hemisphere. And then there is flight—the most wondorous of all bird traits. Most bird bodies are engineered for flight, with light
THE BEACON | NOV 2014
feathers, a streamlined form, and pneumatic bones with many hollow, honeycombed spaces. They also feature fused bones, which helps enable them to withstand the stresses of flying and landing. Birds’ muscles and internal organs are also centralized, enabling them to keep most of their mass near their center of gravity. “You may have heard of the expression ‘he has a bird brain’ to describe someone who is not very smart,” said Smith, “but I’m here to tell you that birds do not actually have bird brains—in fact, they are quite intelligent.” Smith noted the research work of Dr. Irene Pepperberg, an animal psychologist who studied the African Grey parrot Alex from 1977-2007. Perhaps one of the most famous birds in history, at the time of his death Alex had a 150-word vocabulary, could identify 50 shapes and objects, and could count object sets up to the number six. But parrots are not the only “smart” birds: the corvids, members of the Corvidae family, have shown memory problem solving and tool use. For example, New Caledonia crows design specially sized tools to extract their insect dinners from trees, and Clark’s nutcracker, also a corvid, stores and then re-locates later in the year 5,000 caches of up to 30,000 pine nuts to feed its young. “The modern view is that bird brains are as complex as mammal brains,” said Smith. Although some birds like Alex can learn human words, birds have their own complex vocalizations and calls. “These enable them to communicate with flock members, mates, neighbors, and family members,” explained Smith. If humans think child-rearing is complicated, they had best examine bird breeding and think again. “In Saudi Arabia, the African grey hornbill is a bird that has a unique reproductive strategy,” noted Smith. “The male bird seals the female and her eggs into a hollow with mud until the chicks are reared. He passes food to her through a hole in the mud, and once the chicks are ready to emerge, he and the female break down the mud wall together.” Smith was delighted to visit KAUST, he said, because “the whole region of Saudi Arabia is very important in bird migration. Many birds migrate through the area in the spring and fall. This migration takes the birds from Africa to Asia and Europe in the spring, and they return in the fall.” He noted that 500 million birds are estimated to pass through the Middle East twice a year.
محاضرة عن علم الطيور ضمن فعاليات برنامج االثراء في الخريف ألقى البروفيسور كيمبرلي سميث ،استاذ علوم األحياء الزائر بجامعة اركنساس محاضرة شيقة خالل الدورة األولى لبرنامج االثراء في الخريف الذي اقيم في رحاب جامعة الملك عبداهلل للعلوم والتقنية ،رسم خاللها صورة جذابة ومثيرة لالهتمام عن حياة وسلوك الطيور المنتشرة حولنا في كل مكان ،والتي غالبا ما يتم تجاهلها.
1. Swift Terns and lesser crested terns, Karan Island, Arabian Gulf. (Photo by Brock Stanaland, Saudi )Aramco World/SAUDIA 2. Flacon, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
(Photo by Lawrence Curtis, Saudi )Aramco World/SAUDIA
ً نوعا من الطيور وقال البروفيسور سميث "هناك ما يقرب من 10.500 من 250أسرة ،وعلى الرغم من اعتقادنا بأننا قد اكتشفنا أكثر أنواع الطيور ،إال إنه ال يزال هناك أنواع جديدة يتم اضافتها من خالل التحليالت الجزيئية" .وتتنوع الطيور من حيث األحجام واألوزان فعلى سبيل المثال: يبلغ وزن طائر الطنان 1.6كجم فقط ،بينما يبلغ وزن النعامة ما يزيد عن 130كجم .كما أنها تأتي بألوان مختلفة ومتنوعة.
ويقول البروفيسور سميث "إن الطيور في واقع االمر ،تتمتع بذكاء حاد". ثم أشار إلى الجهود البحثية للدكتور ايرين بيبربيرغ ،عالم نفس الحيوانات، الذي قام بدراسة طائر الببغاء األفريقي الرمادي أليكس خالل المدة من عام 1977م حتى عام 2007م .وربما يكون أليكس أحد أكثر الطيور شهرة في التاريخ ،حيث بلغت مفردات أليكس وقت وفاته 150كلمة، كما كان يستطيع تحديد 50شكال وشيئا ،وأن يحصي عدد مجموعات األشياء حتى ستة مجموعات. ولكن الببغاوات ليست هي الطيور (الذكية) الوحيدة .فإن الغراب لديه ذاكرة تستطيع حل المشكالت وقدرة على استخدام األدوات .فعلى سبيل المثال :غراب كاليدونيا الجديدة يستطيع تصميم أدوات بأحجام مختلفة الحجم الستخراج الطعام من الحشرات الكامنة باألشجار .كسارة البندق ،هو أيضا غراب يستطيع تخزين ما بين 5000إلى 30000من حبات الصنوبر والجوز في مخابئ يقوم باستخدامها على مدار العام إلطعام صغاره .ويوضح د .سميث " أن المفهوم الحديث يفيد بأن عقول الطيور معقدة مثل عقول الثدييات .وعلى الرغم من أن بعض الطيور مثل أليكس يمكنها أن تتعلم الكلمات البشرية ،إال أن الطيور أيضا لها صيحاتها واأللفاظ المركبة الخاصة بها التي تمكنها من التواصل مع الطيور األخرى ،فعندما تستمع لطير ما يغرد فال تظن أن هذا مجرد تغريد بسيط دون معنى ،بل أنه وسيلة مهمة للتواصل والترابط بين مجموعات الطيور".
ويتألف ريش جميع الطيور من الكيراتين ،وهي نفس المادة المكونة لشعر وأظافر االنسان .وتحدث البروفيسور سميث عن أهمية الريش للطيور ،فعلى الرغم من أننا قد نرى هذا الريش كزينة جميلة للطيور ولكنه يساعدها على الطيران ،ويحافظ على ثبات الحرارة الداخلية لجسم الطائر ،وهو مختلف وغير متشابه ،فهناك أنواع مختلفة من الريش تقوم بوظائف معينة ،مثل ريش الطيران على األجنحة ،والريش الموجود بأسفل الطيور والذي يساعد على بقاء الطيور دافئة.
بيئة المملكة تلعب دورا في ظاهرة هجرة الطيور..... د .سميث
وتستخدم الطيور مناقيرها ،التي تأتي في أحجام وأشكال مختلفة، في العثور على الطعام وتناوله .وقد استعرض البروفيسور سميث منقار طائر الفالمنغو ،الذي يشبه فك الحوت ،مما يمكنه من ترشيح وتصفية الطعام من المياه .بينما بعض الطيور األخرى مثل الماكاو على سبيل المثال لديها مناقير معكوفة تسمح بتكسير البذور والمكسرات، واستخالص لب الفاكهة .بالمقارنة ،فإن عصفور الشرشور لديه منقار متصالب يستخدمه إلزالة البذور من أكواز الصنوبر الموجودة بوفرة في نصف الكرة الشمالي.
قال البروفيسور سميث بقوله " :أن بيئة المملكة العربية السعودية دورا هامة ً ً جدا في ظاهرة هجرة الطيور ،فالكثير من الطيور تلعب تهاجر عبر المنطقة في الربيع والخريف حيث تأخذ هذه الهجرة الطيور من أفريقيا إلى آسيا وأوروبا في فصل الربيع ،ثم تعود في الخريف .كما أشار البروفيسور سميث إلى أن ما يقدر من 500مليون طائر تمر عبر منطقة الشرق األوسط مرتين سنويا.
وتطرق البروفيسور سميث الى أهم سمة لدى الطيور وهي الطيران، هذا الحدث المدهش الذي أبهر االنسان منذ قديم الزمان .حيث وهبها اهلل تركيبة تمكنها من القيام بذلك ،مثل ريش خفيف وبنية مبسطة، وهيكل عظمي أجوف وخفيف ،وصلب كفاية بما يمكنها من الصمود في وجه ضغوط الطيران والهبوط .كما تتميز عضالت الطيور وأعضائها الداخلية بمركزيتها ،مما يساعد على تمركز وزنها بالقرب من مركز الجاذبية بأجسامهم.
وأعرب البروفيسور سميث عن سعادته بزيارة جامعة الملك عبداهلل ضمن فعاليات برنامج االثراء في الخريف .ويقول د .سميث" إن ملعب الجولف ً كثيرا من األنواع العديدة التي رأيناها هناك يعج بالطيور ،وقد تعجبت حيث شاهدنا ستة أنواع على االقل من طيور مالك الحزين باالضافة الي مجموعة متنوعة من الطيور الساحلية .كما اكتشفنا مستعمرة من عشش طيور الحباك ُّ الش ُ ورية النادرة والتي ال توجد اال في شبه رش َّ الجزيرة العربية".
Chirpy resolution to a shocking problem By Caitlin Clark Dr. Robin Chrystie, a postdoctoral fellow in Assistant Professor Aamir Farooq’s Chemical Kinetics and Laser Sensors Laboratory in KAUST’s Clean Combustion Research Center (CCRC), works to exploit “chirp,” an ultra-rapid scan phenomenon that occurs in semiconductor lasers, to produce a cutting-edge laser-based sensor. The sensor is able to “surmount past limitations in measuring gas temperature accurately in combustion systems,” explained Chrystie. “We were genuinely shocked to discover that few researchers had exploited the chirping of semiconductor lasers. Chirp has been viewed as a parasitic problem with such lasers, but we decided to pursue the phenomenon to accurately and sensitively measure temperature in combustion systems.” Chirp occurs when step-changes are applied to the input current of the laser. The abrupt change in input to the laser causes the laser to respond, and the color of the light emitted scans through very rapidly, or “chirps.” The chirp effect is a transient response to the abrupt input change. Chrystie, Farooq, and KAUST Ph.D. student Ehson Nasir, who also works in the Chemical Kinetics and Laser Sensors Laboratory, were able to resolve and record what occurs while the laser chirps. They used the chirp phenomenon to conduct spectroscopic measurements at very fast rates (1.0 MHz), demonstrating that their simultaneously time-resolved and calibration-free sensor concept could measure temperature at the nanosecond timescale at repetition rates of thousands of kilohertz (kHz). Their results were recently published in Proceedings of the Combustion Institute (DOI: 10.1016/j.proci.2014.06.069). “For the first time, we were able to measure temperature of the gases in a shock tube with less uncertainty and, at the same time, very rapidly,” said Chrystie. Rapidity is an important aspect, he explained, because shock tube experiments are transient and rapid by nature. “Temperature measurements are particularly useful to help elucidate chemical kinetic mechanisms in complex multifaceted combustion processes. However, temperature is difficult to measure accurately,” Chrystie continued. “Our sensor benefits from relying on a single laser only, is intuitive, non-invasive, accurate, and is straightforward to implement. The system is rendered possible through the exploitation of chirp in a compact quantum cascade laser, or a QCL, in combination with using ultrafast photodetectors.” The researchers note that establishing insight into the mechanisms of combustion is key to ensuring that energy-intensive technologies—such as engines—function optimally, efficiently, and cleanly. The novel sensor can be applied to systems that exhibit highly time-varying behavior, including internal combustion engines, shock tubes, and gas turbine engines.
THE BEACON | NOV 2014
“Chirp enables full-spectral measurements to be taken in real time, and renders the ability to monitor temperature without recourse to calibration. This suppresses the uncertainties lurking in traditional approaches,” said Farooq. “Using our invention, researchers in the field of combustion will be better able to measure temperature at rates upward of 1 million times a second, or 1.0 MHz.” Through the exploitation of an originally unwanted phenomenon observed in semiconductor lasers, the researchers have “turned the problem on its head,” said Chrystie, “and demonstrated successfully ultra-fast and calibration-free measurements founded on a simple yet innovative sensor concept employing only a single laser and detector.”
1. Dr. Robin Chrystie’s cutting-edge laser-based sensor, developed in-house at KAUST, features compact packaging, including a fast photodetector and a quantum cascade laser (QCL). 2. Postdoctoral fellow Dr. Robin Chrystie (L) and Professor Aamir Farooq (R) exhibit the quantum cascade laser (QCL) in KAUST’s Chemical Kinetics and Laser Sensors Laboratory.
3. The Amici String Quartet performs in the GSS Flag Pavilion for TKS students. (Photo courtesty of Chuck Brooker)
استخدام ظاهرة ()Chirp لقياس درجة الحرارة في أنظمة االحتراق
Fall Enrichment Visits TKS By Chuck Brooker, Secondary Music Teacher During the first annual Enrichment in the Fall program, The KAUST School had a visit from the Amici String Quartet. The musicians performed in the GSS Flag Pavilion as part of an on-going special Music Department ”series entitled “Munch and Music. Students from both the Gardens Elementary School and the Gardens Secondary School experienced enthusiastic and vibrant classical music. The performance tied-in with the Grade 6 music unit entitled “Strings and Things” where students learn to read music and play the violin. The Amici String Quartet, a small group of musicians from the United States, have several accomplished members, including one member from the Yale School of Music. During the Much and Music performance, the Amici String Quartet were joined by Wendy Keyes from the KAUST Arts Office, who played the viola.
ُ حديثا نشر ورقة بحثية في مجلة Proceedings of the Combustion Institute تم العلمية حول دراسة الدكتور روبن كريستي ،زميل ما بعد الدكتوراه في مختبر الحركية الكيميائية ومستشعرات الليزر والدكتور عامر فاروق ،األستاذ المساعد بمركز أبحاث االحتراق النظيف بجامعة الملك عبداهلل للعلوم والتقنية ،لظاهرة تتكون بفعل ليزر أشباه الموصالت تسمى ( .)Chirpحيث تمكن العالمان وبمساعدة طالب الدكتوراه بجامعة الملك عبد اهلل احسن ناصر -الذي يعمل أيضا في مختبر الحركية الكيميائية ومستشعرات الليزر -من دراسة وتسجيل مالحظاتهم عن ما يحدث خالل هذه الظاهرة بهدف تطوير جهاز استشعار ليزري متطور ً جدا قادر علي قياس درجة حرارة الغاز في أنظمة االحتراق بدقة متناهية تضاهي المستشعرات االخرى. ويقول الدكتور كريستي " :إن قليل من الباحثين استفاد من ظاهرة ( )Chirpفي ليزر أشباه الموصالت حيث كان ينظر على أنها مشكلة عرضية تصاحب هذا النوع من الليزر ،ولكننا قررنا التعمق في دراستها هذه الظاهرة واستخدامها لقياس درجة الحرارة في أنظمة االحتراق ". وتحدث هذه الظاهرة بصورة عابرة عند التغيير المفاجئ لقيمة التيار المدخل في جهاز الليزر .حيث يستجيب الليزر إلى هذا التغيير عبر تسريع عملية المسح الضوئي للضوء الملون المنبعث منه. وأضاف الدكتور كريستي " لقد تمكنا للمرة األولي من قياس درجة حرارة الغازات في أنبوب اختبار الصدمات بسرعة كبيرة ،حيث تعتبر السرعة هنا عامال مهما ،بسبب طبيعة تجارب أنابيب اختبار الصدمات والتي تكون عادة لحظية وسريعة" .ويستفاد من قياسات الحرارة بصورة خاصة في توضيح آليات الكيمياء الحركية في عمليات االحتراق المعقدة والمتعددة المراحل .وبالرغم من ذلك ،فإنه من الصعب قياس درجة الحرارة بدقة كبيرة .ولكن جهاز االستشعار الذي طوره باحثوا جامعة الملك عبداهلل يعتمد علي ليزر واحد مما ً يجعله سهل االستخدام ودقيق ً أيضا من ظاهرة جدا .ويستفيد الجهاز ( )Chirpفي أجهزة الليزر الكمية المدمجة ،أو أجهزة الليزر الكمية المقترنة بإستخدام أجهزة اإلستشعار البصرية فائقة السرعة. ويشير الباحثون الي أن دراسة آليات االحتراق هو المفتاح لتطوير وتحسين التقنيات التي تستهلك طاقة كبيرة كالمحركات ،وجعلها صديقة للبيئة وأكثر كفاءة في استهالك الطاقة .ويمكن تطبيق جهاز اإلستشعار الجديد على األنظمة التي تتأثر بصورة كبيرة بعامل الزمن، بما في ذلك محركات اإلحتراق الداخلي ،وأنابيب إختبار الصدمات، ومحركات توربينات الغاز. ويقول الدكتور فاروق " تتيح ظاهرة ( )Chirpرصد القياسات الطيفية الكاملة في الوقت الحقيقي كما تتيح إمكانية رصد درجات الحرارة دون الحاجة لعملية المعايرة المعقدة .وسيتمكن الباحثون في مجال عملية األحتراق -بإستخدام إختراعنا – من قياس درجة الحرارة بمعدالت أعلى من 1مليون مرة في الثانية ،أو 1.0ميغاهيرتز ".
ويضيف الدكتور كريستي " :تمكنا من حل المشكلة عبر دراستنا المستفيضة لظاهرة غير مرغوب فيها أصال تم مالحظتها في ليزر أشباه الموصالت ،وأظهرت بنجاح قياسات فائقة السرعة لم نكن نتوقعها وال تحتاج ألي معايرة وذلك باستخدام جهاز ليزر ومستكشف فقط" .
Graduate student council works for the benefit of all By Caitlin Clark KAUST’s Graduate Student Council (GSC) has been in existence since 2009. It was established by a few of the founding class students who wanted to give a voice to students in the newly formed institution. The Student Council works closely with, and is advised by, Graduate Affairs. “In September 2009 it became clear we needed some kind of a structure for the students,” says Damian San Roman, current GSC President, KAUST Ph.D. student, and a founding class student who has been involved with the council since its inception. “We gathered in one of the lecture halls and began to establish the council’s constitution and bylaws. Those were our first steps.” Justine Mink, a founding class student who graduated in December 2013 with her Ph.D. and served as Vice President of the council during her studies, explains: “We initially had a team of 22 people on the council. We chose 11 from the original 11 graduate program tracks, and 11 more were elected by popular vote.” “We wanted to represent all the students,” says San Roman. “Something nice about the council is that even today we still have people from every possible background. We know KAUST is made of up of a varied community, and we want to hear all those voices.” He notes that the council has evolved in different ways since it began in 2009, but still retains the original four committee positions of Academic and Research, linking KAUST students, faculty and research scientists; Graduate Life, overseeing all aspects of non-academic student life; International Business Relations, networking students with industry for potential job opportunities and research collaborations; and University Relations, linking the University’s administration to the students. Each committee is chaired by a student who is assisted by four additional student representatives. In addition to the committee chairs and representatives, the GSC President and Vice President oversee two officers, one representing the Saudi Initiatives organization, and a public rela-
THE BEACON | NOV 2014
I think new students often come here and see things as established, but the University is an ever-changing place, and we try to evolve with it.” Damian San Roman – GSC President tions officer, who is responsible for liaising with KAUST’s Communications Department and coordinating coverage relating to the council’s activities. “We depend heavily on the personalities and energies of our members to get new activities started and to make progress in our student community,” San Roman says. “I think new students often come here and see things as established, but the University is an ever-changing place, and we try to evolve with it. We believe everyone has the chance to make positive changes, and we look for commitment from the entire community to make those changes.” The Graduate Student Council will hold a town meeting on Wednesday, November 12 at 12:00 p.m. for a panel discussion. GSC officers and KAUST leadership will discuss the role of the GSC, upcoming elections and more.
Nurturing young scholars, expanding the academic community By Hannah Poole This This November, the Saudi Research Science Institute (SRSI) is honoring all of its faculty mentors at a special gala event. Following opening remarks by Dr. Najah Ashry, KAUST President Jean-Lou Chameau will give a brief talk about the importance of KAUST faculty participation in SRSI and the value SRSI brings to KAUST’s scientific community, as it provides opportunities for postdocs and others to gain valuable teaching skills and further develops a strong pipeline of talented students prepared for study at KAUST. The work of the 2014 young scholars will be on display in the university library for the scientific community to view. From June 10 to July 24, 2014, SRSI summer program hosted 45 outstanding 11th graders from throughout the Kingdom. During this six-week intensive immersion program, the promising young scholars participated in a series of SRSI academic activities and conducted their mini research projects in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) under the mentorship of professors at KAUST in the University’s state-of-the-art laboratories. SRSI inspires the next generation of Saudis to pursue careers in STEM to benefit the Kingdom and the world. This goal is accomplished by introducing talented young students to the transformative potential of these fields through intensive hands-on research and insight from distinguished academics at KAUST and around the world. SRSI provides the intellectual stimulation, academic support and development and social interactions needed to foster a life-long interest in the STEM fields. Fully administrated by KAUST, SRSI is overseen by the Saudi Initiatives organization under the auspices of Dr. Najah Ashry, Vice President of Saudi Initiatives, as part of a family of programs designed to identify, develop, and challenge talented and brilliant Saudi youth.
1. The 2015/2014 Graduate Student Council. Standing left to right, Academic & Research Committee Chair, Mitchell Morton; International Business Relations Committee Chair, Michael Margineanu; Graduate Life Committee Chair, Yasmeen Najm. Sitting left to right, Public Relations Officer Maria Mosqueira, University Relations Committee Chair, Mustafa Mousa; Vice-President, Evgeniya Predybaylo; President, Damian San Roman; and Saudi Initiatives Officer, Nadia Al-tamimi. (Photo by Tunde Gaspar)
2. SRSI students take a class photo with KAUST President Jean-Lou Chameau, Executive Vice-President for Administration and Finance Nadhmi al Nasr and VPSI Dr. Ashry. 3. Prof. Mani Sarathy and Dr. Nadim Hourani worked closely with Khalid Al Turki on clean combustion research—a wonderful teaching opportunity for KAUST postdocs. 4. Front left to right, Dr. Michael Berumen, Dr. David Keyes
and Dr. Sigudur Thoroddsen pose with SRSI student scientists
This year, eight professors, 12 associate professors, 18 assistant professors, and one research scientists worked as mentors, supervising, collaborating, and working with students on their research. Sixty-one assistant mentors and 12 tutors also worked closely with the students during the six- week immersion program.
New faces on campus By Nicholas Demille
Dr. Hossein Fariborzi The The Electrical Engineering Department of the Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering Division recently hired Assistant Professor Hossein Fariborzi—an expert in the field of microelectronics and integrated systems design. Fariborzi is the winner of multiple distinguished academic awards, including IEEE ISSCC Best Paper Award for technology direction (2010) and ISSCC/SRP Best Student Research Award (2013). Fariborzi received a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013 and an M.Sc. from the University of Malaya, Malaysia, in 2008. Before joining KAUST, Fariborzi was a member of technical staff at Oracle/Sun Microsystems labs. Fariborzi is interested in a fusion of the mainstream switching devices (CMOS) and a range of novel solutions, such as MEMS-based micro and nanorelays. He’s also exploring the application of such devices and systems in the field of biomedical instrumentation and wireless, wearable healthcare.
Dr. Robert Hoehndorf Assistant Professor Robert Hoehndorf recently joined KAUST as a faculty member by the Computational Bioscience Research Center. He is interested in biomedical ontology, knowledge representation, semantic integration, semantic interoperability and phenotype informatics. Hoehndorf earned a Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology before working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Eurpoean Molecular Biology Laboratory. He also worked as a research associate at the University of Cambridge and then as a research fellow at Aberystwyth University before joining KAUST in 2014.
Moran was a senior researcher at the Instituto Español de Oceanografía in Gijón/Xixón, Spain, from 2001 to 2014. Moran earned a Ph.D. at the Universidad de Oviedo/Uviéu, Spain in 1999.
Moran's research in biological oceanography and microbial ecology is focused on small-sized plankton and their role in biogeochemical cycles. His interests include phytoplankton-bacterioplankton interactions, variability of photosynthesis and primary production, and picoplankton longterm dynamics and metabolic ecology, all of which are aimed at understanding the structure and function of microbial food webs and their response to global change.
Dr. Jeff Shamma
Professor Jeff Shamma, an expert in feedback control and systems theory, recently joined the Electrical Engineering Department. He comes to KAUST from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he is the Julian T. Hightower Chair in Systems & Control in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Shamma received the American Automatic Control Council Donald P. Eckman Award in 1996 and the Mohammed Dahleh Award in 2013, and he was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in 2006. Shamma is known for his early work in robust control systems, particularly on gain-scheduled nonlinear control design and linear parameter varying systems. His most recent research has been in the area of game theory and decision making in distributed architecture engineered and societal systems. Shamma is a Senior Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems and an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics.
Dr. Xelu Moran Associate Professor of Marine Science Dr. Xelu Moran and his family came to KAUST in August 2014. Moran was brought on to work in the Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering division.
THE BEACON | NOV 2014
Flash flood sensing Technology developed in collaboration with KACST
By Mohammed Algarni KAUST and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) have joined efforts to develop autonomous sensing systems. The collaboration seeks to develop an unmanned-aerial-vehicle (UAV) based flash flood monitoring and forecasting system and to augment existing UAV navigation systems with vision to improve takeoff and landing performance through data fusion. Assistant Professors of Electrical Engineering Atif Shamim and Christian Claudel developed a monitoring system that uses a swarm of UAVs equipped with disposable Lagrangian microsensors to sense flooding conditions in real time. The UAVs drop microsensors and track their location and speed to indirectly monitor conditions on the ground. Data is then monitored in real time to help generate forecasts and coordinate alert systems. Claudel has developed a second project with KAUST Assistant Professor of Electical Engineering Ganesh Sundaramoorthi to augment UAV inertial navigation with vision systems. This helps to improve the performance of the UAV during critical takeoff and landing phases. The key here is a radically new computer vision algorithm, which is capable of detecting and recognizing the runway and then fusing the information with the onboard sensor feeds to improve positioning and attitude data. Recently, Prof. Khaled Al-Hussan, the director of the Aerospace and Aviation Institute at KACST disclosed that KACST has produced 38 UAVs. These UAVs have a wide range of capabilities, which are particularly suitable to monitoring applications that could play a critical role in preventing the deadly flood conditions experienced in Jeddah a number of years ago. According to the project team, "The partnership between KACST and KAUST addresses the importance of scientific collaboration to serve the Saudi need for drone technology as well as to build a new generations of qualified scientists and engineers capable of developing future autonomous vehicle technologies in Saudi Arabia.â€?
1. A photo captured by the KACST plane during landing stage. The blue lines show off the detection algorithm that helps detect the runway to improve the landing precision. (Photo by Mohammed Algarni) 2. KAUST doctoral student Mohammed Algarni prepares for a flight test in Riyadh to test flash flood microsensors. (Photo by Mohammed Algarni)
My University Angel Garcia Angel Garcia, a Ph.D. candidate in Chemical Science, was born in Torreon, Coahuila Mexico. He is interested in developing new catalysts to perform the challenging task of so-called artificial photosynthesis. Garcia’s studies are focused on the use of electrochemistry to understand fundamental aqueous redox reactions and then use this knowledge in a photocatalysis system to harvest solar energy in the form of chemical bonds. In 2008 Garcia graduated with honors from the Tecnologico de Monterrey with a B.S. in Mechatronics Engineering. “I received a KAUST Discovery scholarship and was able to participate in an international exchange program at The University of Manchester where I studied robotics, renewable energy systems and sustainable development,” he said. Garcia was part of the KAUST founding class and joined the university as a master’s student in Environmental Science and Engineering. In the summer of 2010, he was selected for a research internship in IRCELYON, a prestigious catalysis research center in Lyon, France. He returned to complete his master’s degree and was admitted as a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Prof. Kazuhiro Takanabe in the Photocatalysis Laboratories. Garcia’s studies focus on understanding fundamental aqueous reactions by electrochemistry and developing efficient catalysts to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. He loves to play basketball and guitar, and he is a member of a Latin-American folkloric music group. Garcia considers KAUST to be a huge opportunity. “In KAUST, I focus on my research and develop my career as independent researcher. It is as simple as designing my experiment and then just go to the lab and make it happen; basically all the resources are there.” And it’s not just KAUST he has come to love. “Saudis are the best hosts in the world. They always go the extra mile to make you feel welcome. I have always admired their family culture and values.”
Fadi Eleiwi Fadi Eleiwi is Jordanian but he lived the first years of his life in Jeddah. After the fourth grade, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he finished college before joining KAUST. Eleiwi earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from KAUST in control systems, and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. “My research interests are in modeling, control systems, observers and estimators, and due to the application I am working on, I have gained experience in water desalination techniques, especially in membrane distillation, he notes.” Eleiwi is energized by the work he is currently doing. He developed a mathematical model for a water desalination type called membrane distillation. “Based on this model we can design a control system to regulate the production and the quality of the clean water. The project is multi-disciplinary joint project between EMAN group (my group) and the water desalination and reuse center.” Eleiwi likes to write poems in formal Arabic and enjoys reading about the history of the Middle Ages. When asked about KAUST, he explained, “It’s the best place to start fulfilling an academic dream, I chose KAUST for many reasons, but surely the most important are because of the rich academic program and the community lifestyle.”
THE BEACON | NOV 2014
1 Community rallies together to deliver bottled water By Michelle D'Antoni On Tuesday, October 28, an unexpected water line break interrupted University classes and office work for three days. While repairs were being made to restore water supply to the campus and community, bottled water was delivered to individual homes, and an overwhelming volunteer response quickly became vital to this effort. What started as a delivery group with seven members quickly grew to over 250 volunteers through a Facebook post. Among the group were researchers, teachers from The KAUST School, staff members, graduate students, Boy Scouts, residents and even children. Quickly mobilized in a single effort, these teams of people helped deliver water throughout our entire community. The collective force was so great that in one day over 1.5 million liters were delivered! The community showed tremendous spirit and cooperation, and many expressed their feelings that this experience brought the community closer together.
Outstanding work by the volunteers and by our community service group. Thank you to all the wonderful people for your continuous effort to make KAUST a better place to live!” - Farah Sinha It's clear I live amongst outstanding people, doing good for their neighbors, community helpers and anyone needing precious water right here and now. I'm in awe of the spirit in my desert home! Thanks so much to everyone who helped organize and execute this act of kindness and caring.” -Jenn Crawford Many thank-yous to the entire team — volunteers, managers, staff and emergency planners — for safely returning the campus and community to full operational status. The experience was even educational, making me more mindful of water use, reuse, and waste. Thank you!” -Glendon Holst Thanks and appreciation to all those involved, the volunteers and to those who were volunteered, from senior management, residents and children. What an amazing community KAUST has, to see most people pulling together during this experience from which we will have all learnt something about caring for our environment! I am proud to be a part KAUST.” -Erica Gething 1. Volunteers help deliver water to KAUST community members during the recent interruption in water services. (Photo by AbdulRasid Stapic)
The Beacon newspaper