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Penn Engineering CONTENT From the Dean


Professor Researches Neck Pain


Whitaker Transforms Penn Bioengineering


Artisanal Architecture: Skirkanich Crafts A New Gateway to Penn Engineering


SEAS Overseer Turning Possibility into Reality


Biomedical Service Learning Goes Global


Inspired Design


School News


In Memoriam


Pop Quiz with Sid Deliwala


PENN ENGINEERING NEWS FALL 2006 THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND APPLIED SCIENCE 123 TOWNE BUILDING 220 SOUTH 33RD STREET PHILADELPHIA, PA 19104-6391 EMAIL PHONE 215-898-6564 FAX 215-573-2131 EDUARDO D. GLANDT Dean GEORGE W. HAIN III Executive Director Development and Alumni Relations JOAN S. GOCKE Director, Special Projects and Communications, Editor CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jane Brooks Derek Davis Jessica Stein Diamond Michael J. Schwager

DESIGN Kelsh Wilson Design

Cover Photo: Michael Moran

PHOTOGRAPHY Kelsh Wilson Design Felice Macera Michael Moran Alison Agres


Eduardo D. Glandt / Dean

Going East with Gusto In this issue we report on a transformational event, the dedication of Skirkanich Hall, the new home for Bioengineering. Look at the cover of this issue, read the articles inside, and you will understand why our excitement is running extremely high. So are our ambitions. Skirkanich Hall is a milestone in the 30-year history of Penn Bioengineering, already one of the country’s top programs. Bioengineering takes full advantage of the campus geography, of the fortunate proximity of Engineering and Medicine at Penn. Bioengineering enrolls the largest fraction of students in our School, who are motivated in their studies by the palpable role of technology in contemporary biomedicine. Skirkanich Hall accomplishes several things for Bioengineering and for the entire School. First and foremost, it provides us with much needed “wet” lab space for teaching and for advanced research at the molecular level. A total of 15 state-of-the-art laboratories delight its occupants and dazzle its many visitors. Skirkanich also unifies the Engineering complex, which can now boast of extraordinary circulation: bumping into colleagues is unavoidable. Such accidents are actually a great asset to modern technology, so intrinsically interdisciplinary. Skirkanich is a spectacular facility, hailed as the best building in Philadelphia—and thus on campus—in many years. The beautiful Quain Courtyard at the center of our complex boasts of an infinity fountain, a waterfall and a secret garden planted with river birches. Yes, it is a different Engineering School. For the first time the School has a main door, a grand entrance on a Philadelphia street. With Penn ready to acquire 24 acres of land from the U.S. Postal Service, the whole campus is poised to expand eastward towards Center City.

There is no rest for the weary. The completion of Skirkanich Hall launches the next phase of the strategic plan of our School. It is no secret that nanoscience, all that happens at the submicron level, is at the core of many of the technologies of the future. We take pride that this year the magazine Small Times has ranked us as No. 1 in the country in nanotechnology research. Professors and students from all departments are busily working in this exciting area. Predictably, they too have run into a limitation, the lack of sufficient “clean laboratory” space, an indispensable resource for such delicate systems. Given the minuscule size of the objects being handled, “clean labs” must be free of dust, of vibrations and of any electromagnetic fields, and are as important for teaching as for research. We often refer to them as “the machine shops of the 21st century,” places for not just the fabrication but the micro- and nanofabrication of devices. Our ambitious goals now call for a nanoscale research facility on the 3200 block of Walnut, at the site of a parking lot adjacent to the LRSM building and across the street from the David Rittenhouse Laboratory. This new lab will be a joint undertaking with the School of Arts and Sciences and will serve not only Engineering but also the Departments of

A total of 15 state-of-the-art laboratories delight its occupants and dazzle its many visitors. Skirkanich also unifies the Engineering complex, which can now boast of extraordinary circulation: bumping into colleagues is unavoidable. Such accidents are actually a great asset to modern technology, so intrinsically interdisciplinary. Chemistry and Physics, the Health Schools and the Philadelphia community. The promise of this high-tech gateway to the campus is already allowing us to recruit brilliant and charismatic new faculty. I hope you’ll read about some of our new arrivals, including Dr. Christopher Murray, another transformational event. Plan to visit the Penn campus, tour exquisite Skirkanich Hall and witness all that’s happening. We warn you, however: our enthusiasm can be infectious!


The adult human spine consists of 23 vertebrae: 7 in the neck area, called cervical vertebrae; 11 in the chest area, thoracic; and 5 in the lower back, lumbar. Winkelstein’s work focuses on compression injury to the cervical nerve root and tensile injury to the facet capsule ligament. Both structures are located at each cervical spinal joint. Mechanical injury to either structure may cause neck pain.

Professor Researches Dr. Beth Winkelstein’s research is a pain in the neck. Really. Winkelstein—reflective, enthusiastic, and an award-winning assistant professor of bioengineering—scrutinizes the causes, prevention, and treatment of chronic neck pain.


Using a combination of biomechanical and immunologic techniques, Winkelstein and her team of researchers investigate the two common types of injuries to the cervical spine to determine how those injuries produce pain. Among the questions they’re striving to answer: What mechanisms are involved in whiplash and other painful injuries? Why do people with the same injury experience pain differently? The adult human spine consists of 23 vertebrae: 7 in the neck area, called cervical vertebrae; 11 in the chest area, thoracic; and 5 in the lower back, lumbar. Winkelstein’s work focuses on compression injury to the cervical nerve root and tensile injury to the facet capsule ligament. Both structures are located at each cervical spinal joint. Mechanical injury to either structure may cause neck pain. Her research aims to understand how mechanical loading translates into the physiological processes involved in neck pain. The mechanical loading mimics the clinically relevant conditions of pain in the spine and its tissues: ligaments and neural elements. The loading includes vertebral motions that can (1) compress the nerve roots that exit the spinal canal and (2) stretch the facet capsule ligament, which encloses the joints in the posterior part of the spinal column. In addition, Winkelstein says, she has models that mimic a disc herniation, which load the nerve root. It’s known, she says, that the compression of the cervical nerve root causes a cascade of pain events. But among the many aspects of persistent neck pain that are not known is why some people who experience whiplash have pain for 10 years and some have pain for only days or weeks. It’s also unclear why women have a higher incidence of whiplash than men.

Further, Winkelstein says, some patients walk into a doctor’s office suffering excruciating pain, yet no signs of injury appear on their imaging studies, such as MRI. Often in those cases, she says, “we still don’t know the fundamental problem of what’s going on.” The work now taking place at Winkelstein’s Spine Pain Research Laboratory, however, is expanding what had been a relatively limited knowledge of those crucial areas. “Many people are looking at pain from a clinical standpoint,” Winkelstein says. “What makes us unique is the different inputs that we apply.” Thus, for example, what happens in the laboratory when researchers alter the magnitude of the tissue compression? As compression increases, tissue displacement increases as well. Eventually the tissue fails completely—it breaks. “You have pain as the tissue is compressed,” Winkelstein says. “Our data show that pain occurs not only when the tissue fails; subfailure tissue injuries also produce pain.” In vivo models form the core of Winkelstein’s research because computer modeling and research on cadavers have limitations. “Computer and cadaver modeling,” she says, “can only suggest and conjecture. Until we translate the research into physical and chemical responses, we won’t know exactly what’s going on. You can’t treat a cadaver.” Two likely factors in neck pain, Winkelstein says, are plasticity in the central nervous system and the production of an immune response in the cervical spinal cord. Painful injury activates spinal glial cells, which transmit signals in the spinal cord. The production of a variety of cytokines—proteins that are part of the immune response— can be initiated by spinal neurons and is increased. Along with neuronal sensitization, immune cells become activated. Together with those cellular responses, pain mediators, such as substance P, are directly or indirectly released.


“Recent findings,” she says, “point to a potent immune response in the central nervous system, together with neuronal activity. This chain of neuroimmune events can produce changes—often permanent changes—in spinal plasticity, which in turn can cause chronic pain.” Winkelstein earned a bachelor of science in engineering from Penn in 1993 and a PhD from Duke in 1999. She embarked on her injury biomechanics studies as an undergraduate. “I was working with the brain injury group,” she says. “I wanted to pursue biomechanics that would help people. I asked David Meaney, Professor of Bioengineering for a suggestion, and he recommended the area of neck injury biomechanics. It was a research area starting to take off.” Taking off at the same time was significant progress in car safety. “The automobile industry had done so much to save lives,” Winkelstein says. “They had developed air bags. Two remaining areas of concern were pediatric injury and a group of injuries that no one could solve—whiplash.” Now the territory is more charted, thanks to extensive research over the past 15 years. Traditionally, Winkelstein says, “the pain field concentrated on how neurons responded. Today we know that glial cells, which support and protect neurons, play a role as well. Fifteen years ago, we did not know glial cells were important in pain. In recent years, we’ve begun to understand that they are, and we understand much more about these injuries.”

More than a decade after receiving her Penn diploma, Winkelstein is back on the campus. Her thoughts about teaching at her alma mater? “I’m sentimental about it. Many of my professors have retired, but others are still here. It is great working with them. I have fond memories of my student days, and it’s an honor to be back here teaching.” Both undergraduate and graduate courses occupy Winkelstein’s schedule. “Teaching and interacting with an undergraduate population in engineering was very important to me in coming back to Penn.” Her undergraduate class is a required lab course for sophomores and the only bioengineering course that students take in the spring. This fall, Winkelstein is teaching Technology and Engineering in Medicine, a Ben Franklin Scholars course in bioengineering that she developed. “There was much interest in it,” she says, “which reflects the caliber of our students.” Winkelstein’s own caliber has been acknowledged in recent years. In 2006 alone, Winkelstein shared the Ford Motor Company Award for Outstanding Faculty Advising with Dr. Steven Nicoll, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering. Winkelstein was also awarded the Y. C. Fung Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and a Career Award from the National Science Foundation. The Fung award, established in 1985, honors a young investigator under age 36 who, as the organization states, “is committed to

In vivo models form the core of Winkelstein’s research, because computer modeling and research on cadavers have limitations. “Computer and cadaver modeling,” she says, “can only suggest and conjecture. Until we translate the research into physical and chemical responses, we won’t know exactly what’s going on. You can’t treat a cadaver.”

“When I started in 1993, we didn’t know whether neck pain was a true pathology. Now we know it is. For most people, the longterm problem is pain and disability.” Winkelstein’s research will have impact on two broad aspects of neck pain: prevention and treatment. In the next five years, she says, her work can affect treatment more. “Once we understand the many factors involved, we can tailor-make treatments—surgical and pharmacologic—to an individual’s presentation of pain.”

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pursuing research in bioengineering and has demonstrated significant potential to make substantial contributions to the field of bioengineering.” Winkelstein was recognized “for outstanding bioengineering research, particularly current efforts to identify biomechanical determinants for prolonged painful responses.” The Career Award is a $400,000, five-year grant to study the biomechanics of neck pain. “It means they believe in my work,” she says. “The ASME award indicates that the advances we are making—from engineering to interdisciplinary study—are recognized as the right next steps.”


Whitaker Transforms Penn Bioengineering As a graduate student at Penn in the early 1980s, Daniel A. Hammer never imagined he would become the driving force behind not just a major transformation of Penn’s Bioengineering Department but also its


architecturally stunning new home.

r that the primary responsibility for obtaining the $14 million grant that would set this all in motion would fall on his shoulders at age 39, in a race-the-clock scenario with a foundation that was on the brink of spending itself out of existence. One remarkable aspect of academia is how a professor’s impact can reverberate—influencing generations of scientific researchers, even altering a university’s physical footprint. Hammer never intended to join the Penn faculty after obtaining his PhD here in Chemical Engineering. But his research gravitated inexorably toward biomedical topics during his next eight years on Cornell University’s engineering school faculty. That’s when Penn Engineering’s unique proximity to a world-class medical school just a few minute’s walk down 34th Street, became irresistible. Hammer joined the Penn Engineering faculty in 1996 and was appointed full professor in 1998. Writing a Whitaker Foundation Leadership Development Award grant became Hammer’s top priority the day he joined the Bioengineering department as chair in early 2000. He had just three months to submit the proposal that would ultimately reshape Bioengineering’s infrastructure, faculty and curriculum— competing against universities nationwide for Whitaker dollars.

What ultimately prompted Whitaker to fund that grant, says Peter Katona, then the President and CEO of Whitaker and now a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at George Mason University, was that “We liked that the university has had a long history of education in biomedical engineering. The university wanted to revitalize their department. We thought the way it was going to be done was really excellent for Penn. It was very interesting that the department was going to offer laboratory experience at all levels of undergraduate education. That a researchoriented faculty was willing to commit to a model of education that takes up a lot of faculty time is very commendable.” That $14 million Whitaker Leadership Development Award was one of the six largest grants made by Whitaker during the 30 years the foundation cumulatively gave away $700 million. While this funding was the impetus for building Skirkanich Hall, its true purpose was to revitalize Bioengineering education at Penn. Ultimately, Whitaker’s legacy at Penn will be revealed in the collective future scientific impact of the eight new faculty members recruited into Bioengineering for this undertaking: Christopher Chen, Jason Burdick, Steven Nicoll, Ravi Radhakrishnan, Casim Sarkar, John Schotland, Andrew Tsourkas and Beth Winkelstein. Their research programs have already PENN ENGINEERING I 5

widened Bioengineering’s scientific scope to include molecular, cellular and tissue engineering, and have bolstered the department’s areas of established clinical strength in neuroengineering as well as injury, cardiovascular and orthopedic bioengineering. “This takes us from an old style Bioengineering department with great strengths in dry bioengineering—people doing computational neuroscience and making silicon chips to mimic vision— to a department with great strengths in molecular and cellular engineering,” says Hammer. This paradigm shift can even be seen in the department’s evolving approach to injury mechanics. “Fifteen years ago, researchers would worry about how force puts stress on a spinal column and brain tissue during an impact,” says Hammer. “Now our department thinks about how to regenerate tissue across neural injuries in the spinal cord. We’ve gone from how do you prevent and monitor macroscopic injury to how do you engineer repair at the level of the cell.” Since 2000, Bioengineering’s mean faculty age has shifted down 20 years (with an even distribution of assistant, associate and full professors). “The pace of discovery in Bioengineering is so fast you need young faculty to bring new technologies into the department and to teach state-of-the-art techniques,” says Hammer. And Bioengineering’s curriculum has swelled with new

“The pace of discovery in Bioengineering is so fast you need young faculty to bring new technologies into the department and to teach state-of-the-art techniques,” says Hammer. And Bioengineering’s curriculum has swelled with new courses taught by young faculty in topics such as molecular imaging, biomaterials, optical imaging, biomedical imaging, and molecular and cellular engineering.

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courses taught by young faculty in topics such as molecular imaging, biomaterials, optical imaging, biomedical imaging, and molecular and cellular engineering. Tsourkas, an assistant professor, says: “Each of the new faculty members are working in these new, exciting areas in close proximity to each other. We’re using the best tools of the discipline and working collaboratively to push the boundaries of bioengineering discovery even further.” A simultaneous cultural shift occurred in Bioengineering’s approach to undergraduate education. The Bioengineering Department pioneered discovery-based learning in 1990. A decade later, it was time for an update: Whitaker funding was used to transform lab modules with scientific ‘to do’ lists into a more experimental approach. Using the specially designed teaching laboratories in Skirkanich, students learn by collaboratively testing hypotheses, analyzing and debugging data, and reshaping experiments to generate meaningful data. “From the time an undergraduate arrives at Penn to the time they graduate, they’ll spend every semester in the laboratory or in a team project solving some complex problem in Bioengineering,” says Hammer. “Penn was way ahead of the curve on discovery-based learning,” says Winkelstein, Bioengineering assistant professor. “We did it before it was fashionable. But in the new model we’ve taken it to another level. With Whitaker funding we’ve really coordinated

the lab experience to complement and reinforce the didactics from the lecture courses. The lab experience puts a real-world spin on what the students are learning. We don’t do experiments for them. Our approach forces students to work independently with support if they need it.” According to Hammer, “Traditional classroom teaching tends to presents problems and solutions. There’s no understanding of all the failures that went into that process of discovering that answer which implies that answers are easy to obtain. Experiments teach students how to deal with failure, reevaluate techniques and goals, and reformulate new experiments to answer the questions you’re trying to ask.” That laboratory experience “empowers our students,” says Glandt. “When they walk into the next step of their lives—be that a job, graduate school or medical school—they will be shining that very first day. They will know their way around a lab and their way around data and measurements. They’ll know how to criticize their own work, how to judge the results of experimentation, and how seriously to take their work and the work of others. We can no longer treat undergraduates like children, especially when they are this bright, and tell them ‘study science in the classroom for two years, trust us this is good for you.’ Bioengineering’s experience with discovery-based learning has led the whole engineering profession to rethink the importance of handson experience.”

Another Whitaker-funded addition to the Bioengineering curriculum is the clinical preceptorship that is required for all Bioengineering juniors. This programmatic initiative allows students to participate in clinical research with faculty at Penn’s medical school. “This course was an important impetus for Whitaker funding,” says Katona. “Undergraduates were able to gain first-hand knowledge of what goes on in the clinical environment, which again shows that education is an important mission for Bioengineering.” Cumulatively, Bioengineering’s expanded faculty, revamped approach to undergraduate education, and new facilities appear to be paying off. The department’s national ranking according to US News & World Report jumped up from 9th in the nation in 2001 to 5th in 2006. Undergraduate Bioengineering enrollment climbed from 45 students in the class of 2003 to 108 students in the class of 2009. And graduate applications leaped from 188 in 2001 to 236 in 2005 (with a parallel increase in GRE scores from 1312 to 1416). Though in retrospect, the path might seem smooth to building Skirkanich and transforming Bioengineering, at the time it was a nail-biter. The department needed a lead donor for the building because the first Whitaker payment was contingent on getting a building out of the ground.


A $10 million gift from Penn Overseer Peter Skirkanich (W’65) and his wife Geri had the catalytic effect of inspiring other major donors to contribute to the new building so that construction could begin in 2003 and major construction milestone payments would be complete before Whitaker vanished in 2006. [Editor’s note: Actually, the cumulative support from the Skirkanich family may have just as lasting an impact as Whitaker on future generations of scientists at SEAS. They had previously funded the Skirkanich Professorships of Innovation to hire young faculty and created Skirkanich Endowed Scholarships for engineering undergraduates.] Whitaker-related suspense continued through mid-2006. Continuing stewardship of Bioengineering’s parallel academic and physical transformation was critical through the day the foundation closed. “There was a lot of pressure to keep the ball rolling,” recalls Hammer. “The Whitaker Foundation was known for suspending payments if progress was unsatisfactory. I’m pleased to report that we did receive every last dime of the grant. We delivered on all of our objectives and goals, and the full $14 million was paid.”

That laboratory experience “empowers our students,” says Glandt. “When they walk into the next step of their lives— be that a job, graduate school or medical school—they will be shining that very first day. They will know their way around a lab and their way around data and measurements. They’ll know how to criticize their own work, how to judge the results of experimentation, and how seriously to take their work and the work of others.”

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Artisanal Architecture: Skirkanich Crafts A New Gateway to Penn Engineering

sk Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron what she thinks of Skirkanich Hall, Penn’s new 58,400 square foot home for Bioengineering research and education, and you’ll hear superlatives that are completely out of character.

“Skirkanich is the best building and the best-made building in Philadelphia in at least a decade,” says Saffron, who more typically offers trenchant analyses of Philadelphia’s newest buildings’ flaws in design, workmanship and urban planning. In an interview with Penn Engineering, Saffron describes Skirkanich as a “beautiful, ambitious, contemporary design that’s exquisitely crafted, and that’s respectful of Philadelphia and of the University of Pennsylvania. It feels like something handmade, something artisanal and textured, like a hand-knit sweater. You feel the hand of the architects on this building and the hand of the construction workers which makes it very human and warm.” The colors and composition of Skirkanich are a bold departure from standard Penn red brick construction. Its 33rd Street façade

is composed of a vertical wall of glass rectangles and steel squares adjacent to a broad vertical rectangle of green-glazed brick with subtle color shifts evocative of the natural serpentine stone of College Hall. Hovering over the streetscape, Skirkanich creates a subliminal front porch for Penn Engineering and a natural entranceway to the closed Quain Courtyard formed by the Moore School and Towne Buildings on either side and Levine Hall, opposite. “Most architects would have imitated what’s next door, but they didn’t fall for that,” says Saffron. “The magic and brilliance of the design is that it unifies two completely different buildings and provides them with a clearly demarcated entry point.” Pedestrians walking west toward Penn’s campus center enter the engineering complex at Skirkanich’s 210 South 33rd Street

“Skirkanich is the best building and the best-made building in Philadelphia in at least a decade,” says Saffron, who more typically offers trenchant analysis of Philadelphia’s newest buildings’ flaws in design, workmanship and urban planning.

M O T I VAT E address, pass through an outdoor street-level castle gate-like tunnel, walk through a birch-lined passageway, beyond a bamboo grove, across an outdoor patio where a Zen-like waterfall slips into a secluded fern and birch garden, and cross through the ground floor doors of Levine Hall directly out to Chancellor Walk toward 34th Street. “Visually, Skirkanich communicates the aesthetics of the applied sciences to the university and the community at large, and expresses the highly focused creative energy of our engineering school’s faculty and students,” says Dean Eduardo Glandt. Walk inside Skirkanich and you’ll find core functions of graduate research and laboratory-based undergraduate education in a memorable milieu: an acoustically ideal auditorium on the lower level; undergraduate teaching labs and Bioengineering Department offices on the second and third floors; graduate and faculty research in cutting-edge laboratory facilities on floors four and five. Faculty laboratories in Skirkanich feature open alcoves for chemistry, cell biology, wet lab benches, and shared cold rooms, and autoclave and microscope rooms.

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• Interior Escher-like compositions of staircases aesthetically solve a Rubik’s cube of connection points between adjacent buildings—creating elegant, handicap-accessible links between the adjacent Towne and Moore buildings. • Interior wall murals of hand-crafted apple yellow tiles feature different composition of horizontal and vertical bands on each floor that combined with a gradually sloping vertical interior atrium wall provide visual subliminal clues to what floor you’re on. • A striking top floor conference room appears to float in mid-air with spectacular views of the Penn campus and downtown Philadelphia.

Forty-five percent of the building’s $42 million construction cost is for HVAC and mechanicals for sterile hoods, gas and compressed air. “The fact that they can get in these beautiful social spaces and gorgeous light plus the refuge of a garden and still have efficient HVAC is an amazing combination,” says Saffron. Financial momentum for Skirkanich came from a generous $10 million gift from Penn Overseer and Trustee Peter Skirkanich, W’65, and his wife Geri. Their donation was part of the financial match required for a $14 million Leadership Development Award from the now defunct Whitaker Foundation. The remainder came from individual donors. “Once a building is so right programmatically, people want to be a part of that project,” says Dean Glandt. “We were surprised at how generous alumni were in making this possible. The fact that we succeeded in raising the money and built something so beautiful gives us credibility and traction for the nanotechnology building planned for Penn Engineering.”

Designed by the husband and wife team of Tod Williams/Billie Tsien of New York, award-winning designers of the Neurosciences Institute at La Jolla, California, and New York’s American Folk Art Museum, Skirkanich opened to the public in October. The architects were selected by the Penn Engineering Dean in consultation with the University President, the Dean of the School of Design, the Vice President for Facilities and Real Estate, and the University Architect. Skirkanich is located on the Southwest quadrant of Walnut and 33rd Streets.


Dr. John Davis

Turning Possibility into Reality A news release once referred to him as “one of the visionary technologists of the telecommunications revolution.” John H. Davis, GrE ‘70, Co-founder and Principal, Technology Advisors Group, says “it was one of the greatest things anyone could say about me.” Then, with the drive that marks a true visionary, he adds, “But the ideal compliment would read, ‘He knows how to make things happen.’” With more than 40 years of experience in both management and consulting for technology-related companies, ranging from earlystage private entities to the Fortune Fifty, Davis is an invaluable member of the Board of Overseers for the School of Engineering and Applied Science. His unique contribution, however, may be his talent for turning possibility into reality. Davis began his career at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, NJ in 1962. He earned a doctorate in electrical engineering, commuting to Penn with a carpool of fellow Bell Lab employees. Although Davis did not experience much campus life, he does recall the turbulent atmosphere of the late sixties. Despite a demanding schedule, he played trombone (a passion briefly considered as a career) in a company-sponsored jazz band. Reconnection with Penn came as Davis worked his way up the company ranks. As an AT&T Campus Executive for Penn, he coordinated activities among the various AT&T groups who had an interest in the University. Under his watch, the company donated computers and financed the refurbishment of a lab to accommodate them, thus developing one of the Engineering School’s first modern computer labs. After several company moves in the Midwest, Davis ultimately returned to New Jersey where he became CTO of AT&T Communications Services. He is credited with having conceived the architecture and managed the initial development of the No. 5 Electronic Switching System, the core of today’s public switched telephone system. A strong desire to give back to the University motivated Davis’s alumni affiliation. “One factor that affected my desire to become more active is that both my daughter and my nephew had great

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experiences at Penn. My goal was to pay back, to bring some of my experience to the challenges that Penn, like so many universities, is facing.” Davis is enthusiastic about membership on the Board of Overseers, “It’s an opportunity to collaborate with a world-class group, not to mention working with Dean Eduardo Glandt, who is so inspirational. Everyone takes his assignment seriously and expects actions as a result of debate. The Board has a huge diversity of viewpoint, which is very healthy. I feel that I bring a unique experience, having come from a house of pure science into the business world and into the creation of technology by much smaller, technology-driven enterprises. “ After a 35-year career, Davis took early retirement in 1997. In 2001, he co-founded Technology Advisors Group, working with investors, boards and management teams of high tech companies. Davis recently made a significant financial contribution to revitalize a laboratory in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering. This facility has been named the John H. Davis Laboratory. Active in his community, Davis is a member of the local firefighters and the emergency medical service. He and wife Beverly spend leisure time traveling and cruising on their boat, and enjoying their grandchild, whose Dad Rob, not surprisingly, has been an executive in some very large corporate firms—AT&T, NCR, Siebel Systems, Oracle, etc., but has also been instrumental in the early stages of development of very small entrepreneurial firms—Quixi, Socratek and others. Davis proudly notes the recent publication of Forth A Raven, a collection of poetry by daughter Christina Davis, C ‘93, G’93. When asked if he still plays the trombone, Davis laughs, “I certainly enjoy music but there’s only so much time. It becomes a question of peeling away the unimportant and retaining the things that are near and dear to me—family and seeing the world.” Editor’s Note: As the magazine prepared to go to press, we learned the very sad news that our good friend and colleague John H. Davis had passed away after a brief illness. We will sorely miss his indomitable spirit and gentle nature. Our hearts go out to his family and many friends.






for Talented High School Students

for Global Undergraduates

3 weeks, July 8th—27th 2007

4 weeks, July—August 2007 • A unique opportunity for highly motivated and globally-minded undergraduates

• An exceptional opportunity for a selective group of highly motivated and talented high school students (rising 10th—12th graders) • Rigorous, challenging college-level coursework in engineering at Penn

• Rigorous and collaborative coursework in engineering entrepreneurship and business (Wharton) through two courses for credit • Case studies, presentations, teamwork and corporate site visits focused on “Technopreneurship in the 21st century”

• Sophisticated theory and hands-on practical experiences in cutting edge technologies • Six programs are offered: Computer Graphics, Computer Programming, Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Robotics, and Technology and Democracy

• Coaching available for oral and written communication and presentation skills

• Three weeks long, intensive, exhilarating, and lots of fun and camaraderie!

For more information and on-line application:

• Exceptional faculty, intensive and rewarding coursework, cultural outings, the Penn campus experience, and friends from all over the world!

For more information and on-line application:

Share Your Insights Mentor an Engineering Student Do you want to make a real difference in an undergraduate’s life? The Sophomore Mentoring Program seeks alumni who are interested in mentoring second-year engineering students to— • Provide them with firsthand exposure to the engineering profession. • Expand their knowledge of career opportunities in engineering. • Offer personal and career guidance. OTHER WAYS TO GET INVOLVED

The Engineering Alumni Society offers alumni many other great opportunities for getting involved with the School and the University at large. For more information, visit our Web site at

The time commitment is minimal, but the rewards can be enormous. For more information and to register, visit PENN ENGINEERING I 13

Biomedical Service

Learning Goes Global I BY JANE BROOKS

f learning is doing, then a diverse group of Penn students was fortunate to have had the ultimate service-learning experience this summer. They traveled to Hong Kong and subsequently to Guangzhou, China to participate in a crosscultural program, paired with students from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). Together, the group spent two weeks making prosthetic limbs for six Chinese men, all with below-the-knee amputations. The inaugural Penn Engineering 2006 Global Biomedical Service (GBS) Program included five weeks of class preparation

prior to the trip. The team-taught course spanned both technical and cultural arenas. Daniel K. Bogen, Associate Professor of Bioengineering, who accompanied the students, covered rehabilitation engineering, rehabilitation medicine, and prosthetics. Bogen describes the selection process for GBS participants, “We were looking for ambassadors and good workers who really wanted to use their knowledge and skills to make the world a


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Photos: Alison Agres

better place. Of twelve students who went on the trip, nine were bioengineering students, one studied electrical engineering, and two students were science majors, who were mentored by our engineering students.” The eighteen PolyU participants were undergraduates in the Biomedical Engineering Program of the Department of Health Technology and Informatics where Dr. Arthur F.T. Mak, who formerly taught bioengineering at Penn, is the Chair Professor of Rehabilitation Engineering & Head of Department. While the PolyU students had some training in prosthetics and orthotics, they had not worked with actual cases. Penn students had no experience with rehabilitation engineering or prosthetics, but they were stronger in biomechanics and, according to Bogen, “were incredibly fast learners.” Dr. Aaron Leung, Assistant Professor, Jockey Club Rehabilitation Engineering Centre at PolyU, supervised the students. A team, comprised of students from both participating schools, was assigned to each patient. Two PolyU instructors helped the students learn to fit, measure, make molds and manufacture the limbs, which are fashioned from multiple pieces and materials. Bogen explains, “The manufacturing process is important but the fitting is an art. It can’t all be done by machine.” For Osama Ahmed, BE ‘09, the sole freshman in the GBS program, the experience was invaluable. Osama relished the daily adventure of novelty—food, culture, and sights—and the cross-cultural relationships that were deepened by working, shopping, sightseeing, and playing Mah Jong together.

“The biggest challenge was that I had limited bioengineering experience. The great part was that I was allowed to take more time to learn different techniques,” says Osama. For An M. Nguyen, BE ’07, WH ’07, the challenge was to work through the language barrier with PolyU teammates that she had known only for a few days and with her patients. An soon discovered that thumbs-up is a universal sign—seeing her patient use it was the highlight of her experience. “My patient was fifty-four with a decrepit prosthesis he received years ago after losing his leg in a work accident. The opportunity to provide him with a new, state-of-the-art prosthesis was wonderful. This program underscores the need for more clinical experience in our bioengineering program,” says An. Each student group had its share of frustrations. For example, An’s group completed the fitting but a ripped lining forced them to start over. A PolyU instructor, working on a new casting technique, fabricated a prosthetic limb for each of the patients. The patients were given a choice of prostheses, one made by the instructor and one by the students. Five of the six patients, who ranged from age thirty-six to seventy-one, walked out of the hospital with a student-made prosthetic limb. Reviewing the assigned student journals, Bogen identified a common theme, “Wow, we worked hard but we did it. We actually created something useful.” In any language, that translates to success.


Inspired Design BY DEREK DAVIS

How would you like to have a network

of intelligent trashcans around the house? Or a mechanical xylophone that plays

itself? A digital sundial might look nice out on the patio. FALL 2006 I 16

Professor Daniel Lee and Christine Roche, BE ’08, review lecture notes.


ll of these exotic—if somewhat unlikely—devices were developed by electrical and systems engineering (ESE) students. The projects reflect the school’s emphasis on linking rigorous academic training to “real-world” applications, combined with a spirit of innovative fun. The projects were developed by students in Dr. Daniel Lee’s ESE 350 class, “Embedded Systems and Microcontroller Laboratory.” The course presents an introduction to the fundamental concepts of embedded computing, which involves the kind of sensors and processors that you find in a microwave or cell phone.

Professor Daniel Lee “These devices are ubiquitous in the world, and the course details exactly what makes them work,” says Lee. “What goes on when you push a button on a cell phone to make a call is incredible. You have a microphone that takes your voice and transduces it into an electrical signal, the touchpad then takes the number you need to dial and displays what’s happening on the LCD screen, then transmits that call to a base station that goes to the communications network.”



Intellitrash Adding network functionality to trash cans, Intellitrash has “motion controlled” automatic lid openers that will stop opening when the trash can is full.


Remote Control Sports Car

You can control acceleration, steering, headlights, flashers and even honk the horn of this remote controlled “Nissan Sportster”.

Balancing lectures and labs Lee’s course balances lectures against lab work, with the grade depending on both written tests and a final, original project—a working device. Questions on the written tests are based on a deeper understanding of what the students learned in the lab. The thrust of the course is to understand the kind of computation involved, how sensors work, how to make a user display and interface, and how to produce something small and compact. “I try to make it as much real-world as possible, because that’s what gets students excited,” Lee explains. “It ties the classroom to what they’ll do when they get a job in industry or start their own company.” There are no stated prerequisites for the course. In theory, a freshman could take the course, but in practice, students at least need to be familiar with a programming language. The typical ESE 350 student is a junior, but not necessarily an ESE student: “The course had students from bioengineering and computer science—actually, across the whole school,” says Lee. FALL 2006 I 18

The lectures cover subjects such as programming theory, interfaces, and how circuits work. All lectures are tied closely to the lab work. For example, as Lee describes how he covers motor interfacing, “I’ll explain the physics of how motors work, what’s involved in making them run, how you get them to be controlled by a processor. It’s not just like a car motor with only an accelerator pedal. At that point, the students go into the lab and build. In the lab they have to make something work. That’s the underlying idea of engineering—you have to make something work. And that’s the rigorous part of the lab component.” The first lab is devoted to getting a small processor to respond to input. Later, the students move on to controlling DC motor speed, hooking up a microphone to respond to the human voice, and using infrared communication. Finally, they integrate all the knowledge they have accumulated to create an original project. “That’s the fun part,” says Lee, “they come up with their own projects.”


March Madness A basketball game designed to be played at home! Unique features include a backboard that can rotate 30 degrees and a system to keep score. To view these and other Senior Design projects, please visit

A CAPSTONE TO ENGINEERING Senior Design is the “capstone” course for all students pursuing the B.S.E. degree, the ultimate test in turning theoretical knowledge into practical function. The first semester focuses on feasibility, strategies, and a detailed proposal for a project, including a budget. During the second semester, the students implement

The team of Zhan Chen, Albert Ip, and Kejia Wu took first place in Senior Design last spring, with “IntelliCam: An Intelligent Visual Tracking System” The IntelliCam system uses a webcam and processors to track motion and send a command to a microcontroller, which in turn controls the servo-motor angle. By default, the system follows the largest moving object; fine-timing parameters handle multiple moving objects. This way, it can operate as a surveillance camera in a household setting or keep tracking a teacher in a classroom—even if a student crosses the

the proposal, make a prototype where feasible, and

field of vision.

give a professional, final presentation and report.

The sophisticated report on the project would be impressive in any corporate boardroom. It can be viewed at

According to Sampath Kannan, associate dean of Penn Engineering, “The students work closely with a faculty advisor in

In the Electrical and Systems Engineering Department, instruc-

small teams to integrate knowledge from across the curriculum

tors David Magerman and Philip Farnum, along with lab

in a substantial project—often with real-world impact—and to

manager Siddarth Deliwala, supervise Senior Design this year.

produce innovative solutions that build on existing solutions.

Daniel Lee advises some of the students. “Senior Design can be anything,” notes Lee, “a large software programming

“Their design is critiqued both by themselves and their faculty

project, putting together a new robot, or a new electronic-com-

advisor. In many instances, an industry ‘client’ is involved. The

merce system. My ESE 350 course helps prepare our students

senior project also provides a forum for them to develop their

for it. In a miniature way, they have already done a project and

written and oral communication skills.” Intermediate and final

seen how to use microcontrollers to control different things,

student reports are evaluated for content, clarity, and style. At

so they don’t see Senior Design as something huge and hard

the end, following their demonstrations, faculty members and

to comprehend.”

industry judges evaluate the projects and award prizes.


Dan Lee and PhD student Paul Vernaza, EE ’04, enable the robotic “Little Dog” to navigate rough terrain in the GRASP (General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception) Laboratory.

Games, locks, and elevators The ESE 350 projects have included hardware video games, an interactive digital door-locking mechanism, and an erector-set like elevator controlled by a keypad. The mechanical xylophone was set up to read a score, and then play it by actuating motors that move the mallets to strike the xylophone keys. Lee particularly likes having the students take older ideas and update them: the digital solar clock, for example, reads the position of the sun like an old-fashioned sundial, and then uses sensors and computer circuitry to display the time digitally. In one of the most practical (future) applications, three women students developed the intelligent trashcan. It opens automatically by having the waste-hauler’s foot break an electrical eye set at foot level—except when it’s full. Then the trashcan refuses to open, but instead sends a signal to a human trash collector saying that it needs to be emptied. Better yet, a network of cans can even tell the sanitation engineer in which order the cans should be emptied for maximum efficiency (a variant of the well-known traveling salesman problem).

Research applications Some of Lee’s students from ESE 350 go on to doing summer research with him in the GRASP Laboratory, where he likes to employ those who have both theoretical and practical knowledge. “At Penn, we have a good mixture,” he notes. In his research, as noted on his website, Lee also stresses realworld applications: “Why is it that if computers have gotten so much faster and cheaper, they have not become any better at understanding what we want them to do? … To us, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but to a machine both are just seemingly random jumbles of numbers. … My research focuses on applying knowledge about biological information processing systems to building better artificial sensorimotor systems that can adapt and learn from experience.” On the fun side of things, Lee leads the Penn robot soccer team, the UPennalizers, which includes some of his students. An annual international Robocup competition among universities presents a “grand challenge” problem in artificial intelligence and robotics. Lee’s students may be designing smarter trash cans, but they aren’t talking trash. In courses like his, students use academic rigor to forge a broad range of ideas and elements, both practical and theoretical, into solid, useful realities. That, as Lee notes, is the core of engineering.

FALL 2006 I 20

School NEWS From “Excellence to Eminence” in Nanotechnology Christopher B. Murray Appointed as University Professor The School of Engineering and Applied Science is pleased to

ment.” Both the School of Engineering and the School of Arts and

announce the appointment of Dr. Christopher B. Murray as the

Sciences have identified nano-scale research as a high priority area.

Richard Perry University Professor. As a “Penn Integrates Knowledge”

Dr. Murray will complement existing strengths and position Penn at

Professor, Dr. Murray will hold joint appointments in the Department of

the forefront of nanoscale research. It comes as no surprise that the

Materials Science and Engineering and in the Department of Chemistry

University has prioritized the building of a new nanotechnology facility,

in the School of Arts and Sciences.

“customized to support nanotech’s specific needs and worthy of our

“Penn Integrates Knowledge” is a University-wide initiative to recruit exceptional faculty members to Penn whose research, teaching and service exemplify the integration of knowledge across disciplines.

top-ranked program,” says Dr. Gutmann. Just last year, Penn was ranked No. 1 in the United States for nanotech research by the industry’s Small Times magazine.

Integrating knowledge is one of the leading initiatives of the Penn Compact, President Gutmann’s three-point plan to propel Penn from “Excellence to Eminence” and to provide the University with the resources to address some of the most complex and urgent questions facing the world today. Integrating knowledge is one of the leading initiatives of the Penn

The Engineering and Arts and Sciences collaboration emphasizes

Compact, President Gutmann’s three-point plan to propel Penn from

the promise of limitless connections between the Schools and

“Excellence to Eminence” and to provide the University with the

Departments, and opportunities to catapult these intellectual strengths

resources to address some of the most complex and urgent questions

into major University initiatives. Praised by Department Chairs Marsha

facing the world today.

Lester and Peter K. Davies, “Dr. Murray’s work bridges the boundaries

Dr. Murray joins Penn on January 1, 2007 from IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, a leading industrial research center, where he headed the Nanoscale Materials and Devices Department. His research career

between our fundamental disciplines of chemistry and materials science and will transform the visibility of Penn’s programs in nanotechnology.”

began at MIT where his graduate work on the synthesis and characteri-

Dean Rebecca Bushnell of the School of Arts and Sciences, enthused,

zation of semiconductor quantum dots led to a series of seminal publi-

“We confidently expect that Murray will play a leadership role in the

cations that rank amongst the highest cited works in nanotechnology

development of a strong and growing program of research in

research. Dr. Murray is a world-leader in the emerging field of nan-

nanoscale science and engineering at Penn.” And Dean Glandt ebul-

otechnology—the driver of the next technological wave. As stated by

liently summed up their thoughts, “Chris Murray is a dream hire!”

Dean Eduardo Glandt, “nanotechnology is the equivalent to the arrival of the Information Age in the 50’s. Just as IT marked the transition from the Industrial Age to the Information Age, nanotechnology propels us forward to the next era of economic and scientific develop-


School NEWS

New Faculty

André DeHon, Associate Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT; post doc at UC Berkeley and faculty position at CalTech André’s research addresses how we efficiently engineer systems which implement computations. His recent areas of focus include reconfigurable computer architectures, nanoscale computation including molecular electronicsbased programmable logic, and interconnect design and optimization. His work in computer systems spans from transistors to applications including computer architecture, VLSI, parallel computation, compilation and mapping technology and operating and run-time systems. Broadly, he works to understand and characterize the computational requirements of tasks, the cost landscape for physical implementations, and the design space for mapping logical computations efficiently and robustly into physical realizations.

Robert W. Carpick, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics PhD in Physics from UC Berkeley Rob will join Penn Engineering in January 2007 from a position as Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Rob’s research is at the intersection of mechanics and materials. He is an expert in experimental nanomechanics and nanotribology (friction, adhesion, elasticity, wear). His lab has developed novel advanced scanning probe microscopy tools to investigate the interactions that take place at contacting, sliding interfaces. He has done seminal work on nano-scale characterization of friction in many important materials including ultra-thin organic films, solid single crystal and thin film surfaces, biomaterial interfaces, and ultra-tough ceramic nano-composites.

FALL 2006 I 22

Cherie R. Kagan, Associate Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering PhD in Materials Science and Engineering, and Electronic Materials from MIT Cherie will join Penn Engineering in January 2007 from IBM T.J. Watson Research Center where she was a staff researcher and manager of the Molecular Assemblies and Devices Group. Cherie’s research is in the area of molecular electronics. Her work has demonstrated that organic-inorganic hybrid materials can be utilized as an alternative class of semiconducting channel materials for thin-film transistors.

Boon Thau Loo, Assistant Professor of Computer and Information Science PhD in Computer Science from UC Berkeley Boon will join Penn Engineering in January 2007 after completing a postdoctoral assignment at Microsoft. Boon’s research is in the broad area of systems, with particular emphasis in networking and databases. He utilizes declarative languages and optimization techniques from the database world and applies them to the problem of statement management in routers, allowing seamless transitions between different routing protocols.

Ben Taskar, Assistant Professor of Computer and Information Science PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University Ben joins Penn Engineering in January 2007 after a postdoctoral fellowship at the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the University of California at Berkeley. Ben’s research is in the area of machine learning, artificial intelligence, large-scale convex optimization, natural language processing, computer vision, and computational biology. His work in large-margin classification and whether it can be extended to structured learning problems has contributed significantly to advances in the machine learning field.

In Memoriam William H. Boghosian, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, died July 10, 2005, in Drexel Hill, PA, at the age of 91.

Awards and Honors

Lecture Notes

The Biomedical Engineering Society has selected Daniel A. Hammer, Ennis Professor and Chair of Bioengineering, as the Society’s Distinguished Lecturer of 2006 for his outstanding achievements and leadership in the science and practice of biomedical engineering.

Britton Chance Distinguished Lecture in Engineering & Medicine

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has selected Beth Winkelstein, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, as the 2006 winner of the prestigious Y.C. Fung Young Investigator Award for outstanding bioengineering research. The journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research has published a Festschrift in honor of Dean Eduardo Glandt on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday, citing his application of the “rigorous methods of modern statistical mechanics to the solution of practical chemical engineering problems” and for his visionary leadership of Penn Engineering. The University of Pennsylvania was awarded a $2.8 million grant as one of three national centers for Systems Biology by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The 3-year interdisciplinary project will focus on “Blood Systems Biology” and is headed by Scott L. Diamond, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Penn has also been selected to receive one of the first awarded NIH Training Grants in Computational Neuroscience. Leif Finkel, Professor of Bioengineering, will lead this interdisciplinary grant with 21 Penn faculty, spanning the Schools of Engineering, Medicine, and Arts & Sciences. The award will support a dedicated undergraduate program that combines training in neural computation with experimental neuroscience, a PhD predoctoral training program, and an annual intensive 12-week summer training program/course for undergraduates. The National Science Foundation has awarded a $2 million grant to a group of researchers led by Val Tannen, Professor of Computer and Information Science, to design a next-generation data integration system for evolutionary biologists working on the Assembling the Tree of Life (AToL) initiative. The system will support the work of biologists who need a single point of access to control scientific experiments, utilize large distributed collections of data, and apply computational resources. Collaborating in this project are researchers from Yale University and UC Davis.

Adam P. Arkin, Associate Professor of Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley, and Faculty Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was the honored speaker at the September 27, 2006 Britton Chance Distinguished Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the Institute for Medicine and Engineering. Dr. Arkin’s talk, “Adversity, Diversity and Design: Architectural Principles of Cellular Networks”, explored how these principles aid in the prediction, control and design of cellular behaviors. The Britton Chance Distinguished Lecture is named in honor of Dr. Britton Chance, the Eldridge Reeves Johnson University Professor Emeritus of Biophysics, Physical Chemistry and Radiologic Physics. The Technology, Business and Government Distinguished Lecture Series James C. Greenwood, President, Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), and Former Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives, presented a lecture on March 20, 2006 entitled “Living in the Biotechnology Century”. Mr. Greenwood currently represents biotechnology companies, academic institutions, and related organizations in the research and development of healthcare, agriculture, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. Grace Hopper Lecture Series Jessica Hodgins, Professor, Computer Science and Robotics, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, was the honored speaker at the Grace Hopper Lecture on October 26, 2006, sponsored by the Department of Computer and Information Science. Dr. Hodgins’s lecture entitled, “ Interfaces for Controlling Human Characters,” explored innovative technologies currently used in computer animations and virtual environments for natural human motion.

Dr. Boghosian received his bachelor, master, and doctorate degrees from Penn in 1934, 1935, and 1950 respectively. He began his 25 year career at the University’s Moore School in 1947 and held a number of positions there. Dr. Boghosian’s research was in the area of network theory and design, sensitivity minimization in active filters, and electrostatic sensor systems and technology. He was an active member of IEEE, ASEE, the Franklin Institute, and the Association of University Professors. He is survived by his sons, James and John, and a grandson, Matthew. His wife, Susan (nee Kabakjian), died in 1989.

N. Richard Friedman, EE’67, died February 28, 2006, in McLean, Virginia, after a long illness. Mr. Friedman received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Moore School and a Master of Engineering Administration from George Washington University. He was Founder, Chairman and CEO of Resource Dynamics Corporation in Vienna, Virginia, where he directed strategic business assessments and advised energy companies on customer marketing strategies. He is survived by his wife, Joan, and son, Andrew.

Raymond S. Berkowitz, whose career as a Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania spanned 36 years, died on April 20, 2006 in Philadelphia. He was 83. Dr. Berkowitz received his bachelor, master, and doctorate degrees from Penn in 1943, 1948, and 1951 respectively. While at the Moore School, Professor Berkowitz supervised 48 doctoral dissertations and 122 master’s theses, an exceptional contribution to the world’s knowledge base and its engineering workforce. As a specialist in complex mathematical signal analysis, Professor Berkowitz’s research in signal processing helped advance the development of radar. Dr. Berkowitz is survived by his wife, Gisha; sons David, Steven, and Alan; seven grandchildren and a brother, David.


with Sid Deliwala Sid Deliwala, Manager of the Electrical and Systems Laboratories, is a fixture in the ESE Department, and has long been recognized for creating the outstanding Electrical and Systems Engineering Laboratory. Can you tell me a bit about the ESE laboratories? I arrived at Penn in 1996 and initiated the revitalization of the ESE Labs. The improvements resulted in the creation of several new lab courses, better coordination of class and lab content, and web-based labs. Programming languages and robotics have become integral parts of the curriculum. ESE lab facilities have also expanded—we have labs for Senior Design, robotics, CAD/ computations and microcontroller/circuit building. How has the laboratory experience changed in the last several years? During the last ten years, the impact of globalization, offshore design and manufacturing has affected many areas that used to be traditional strengths of engineering schools. For example, the circuits are now “system on a chip” designs. While it may sound less hands-on, current software and prototyping tools allow students to build far more sophisticated projects in a shorter time. Introduction of low cost microcontroller boards make it a snap to design intelligent peripherals and sensor networks. ESE freshmen write Java code for world-class robotic platforms like Rhex, and sophomores will build circuits to mimic “biological circuits” representing neural stimulation. These changes have enhanced teamwork skills and created a demanding, real-world experience for ESE undergraduates. What do you consider to be the most pressing issues for educating engineering undergraduates? While technology and innovation have kept the U.S. in a leading position as an economic superpower, it will be a challenge to keep pace with our international peers. We need to keep students interested in pursuing engineering graduate schools. Undergraduate lab courses can have tremendous impact on a student’s perception of higher education in engineering. We also need to keep students excited about engineering and its applications to leadership careers in consulting and management. Well-rounded courses can bring “design opportunity” to students and encourage greater participation in both research and tech house facilities on campus. Can you tell us about the type of teaching you do in the lab? In the month of July, I co-teach the Management and Technology Summer Institute (MTSI) which is intended to give an introduction to engineering to rising seniors in high school who are potential applicants to Penn’s Management and Technology program. In August, I present similar material to pre-freshmen engineering students. During the fall semester, I assist Professor David Pope in EAS101, “Introduction to Engineering”. What changes do you see for future engineers? Engineering majors will have greater overlap and students will need greater interdisciplinary education. An undergraduate student in engineering will need to learn the tools to simulate, program and design complex systems. Cleverly crafted courses create a pedagogical structure for enhancing a student’s ability to understand design principles that are the foundation for sustaining our technological edge.

Models of Excellence Award winner (2000)

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Penn Engineering Magazine: Fall 2006  

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Penn Engineering Magazine: Fall 2006  

Skirkanich Hall