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Civil and Environmental Engineering
Department e-Newsletter

Vol. 2, Issue 1
CEE NEWS IN REVIEW

New CEE Faculty and Promotions


Jasper Vrugt
Jasper Vrugt Ph.D., joins UC Irvine from Los Alamos National Laboratories, and began at The Henry Samueli School of Engineering in January 2010 as a civil and environmental engineering assistant professor. He is the first hire at UC Irvine for the new Environmental Institute initiative. 

 

Vrugt specializes in environmental systems modeling, and develops optimization and uncertainty analysis methods that analyze the discrepancy between model predictions and actual observations to improve the theory, understanding, and predictability of environmental systems. Much of his work is within the context of surface hydrology and soil physics, but also spans the fields of ecology, hydrogeophysics, hydrometeorology, and geophysics. Vrugt earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees (cum laude, 1999 and 2004, respectively) from the University of Amsterdam.


Brett SandersBrett Sanders, Ph.D., and Lizhi Sun, Ph.D., were each promoted to full professors of civil and environmental engineering in July 2009. Sanders conducts research on water quality and quantity problems found in urban coastal waterways. Specific topics include flood mitigation in urbanized watersheds and the pollutant flushing properties of urban estuaries.


Lizhi SunSun's main area of research interest is the micro/nano-mechanics of heterogeneous materials with various applications, including multiscale modeling and simulation of nanocomposites, development of smart materials for sensors and actuators, mechanical performance of semiconductor thin films, CT/MRI-based elastography and optical imaging for cancer diagnosis, and elastodynamic biomarkers for heart diseases.







Recap of CEE Affiliates Fall Quarterly Meeting

CEE Affiliates Logo

The UC Irvine CEE Affiliates held its fall quarterly meeting at the UC Irvine University Club on October 23, 2009, with the program theme, "Advances in 3-Dimensional Design - Demystifying the Fourth and Fifth Dimensions."  Three associated presenters included Doug Eberhard, senior director of infrastructure, autodesk, Tom Lazear, consultant to Bentley Systems, Inc., and Larry Serafini, deputy airport director facilities, John Wayne Airport.






Successful CEE Student Field Trip to John Wayne Airport

CEE Field TripLast October, a group of civil and environmental engineering students visited Orange County's John Wayne Airport to view the ongoing construction of the new Terminal C, Parking Structure C, and Central Plant. The event was organized by Sam Ali, the CEE affiliates chair of student affairs.

Larry Serafini, deputy airport director facilities, hosted the students during the field trip. He presented the expansion drawings and progress in grading the site, digging the foundation, and drilling the concrete piles in addition to other construction activities.
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U.S. News & World Report Ranks UC Irvine Among Top 50 Universities Nationwide


School Arch

UC Irvine maintained its status among the nation's top 50 colleges and universities in the U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges" ranking released last fall. The annual report ranks 262 public and private universities based on 15 academic and financial criteria. UC Irvine ranked 46th among all universities and 14th among public universities. Undergraduate research opportunities at UC Irvine were lauded as worth watching, and the campus was cited in the "Best Values" section. The Henry Samueli School of Engineering's undergraduate engineering program jumped into the country's top 50 this year, ranking 45th.


RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS


The E-Waste Dilemma - UCI Researchers Shed Light on the Toxic Implications of Discarded Electronics


E-Waste

As America's reliance on cell phones, computers and digital cameras grows, so too do concerns that toxic metals in these devices could create significant environmental and health problems after they are thrown away.

An estimated 2.3 million tons of discarded electronic products, or e-waste, are sent to U.S. landfills and incinerators annually, contaminating groundwater and air with compounds like mercury, lead, zinc and cadmium that can cause birth defects, illnesses and death. And the e-waste dilemma is only getting worse - not just in this country but worldwide.

As Kermit the Frog says, "It's not easy being green," but UC Irvine researchers, including Jean-Daniel Saphores, Ph.D., associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, are working with engineers, manufacturers and public health officials to find solutions.

Read More>>
Story: Tom Vasich, University Communications
Photo: Steve Zylius, University Communications


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Watching over the Water System - UCI Engineers Design Sensors to Monitor Pipes After Earthquakes and Other Disasters

Pipe Monitoring SystemAfter a big earthquake, it's key to keep the water system afloat. Water is necessary for life, and it fights the fires that often accompany such disasters.

UC Irvine engineers plan to outfit the local water system with sensors that will alert officials when and where pipes crack or break, hastening repair - thanks to nearly $5.7 million over three years from the National Institute of Standards & Technology and several local water groups.

"When an earthquake occurs and infrastructure systems fail, continued service of the water network is most critical," says Masanobu Shinozuka, Ph.D., lead project investigator and civil and environmental engineering distinguished professor and chair.

Read More>>
Story: Jennifer Fitzenberger, University Communications
Photo: Daniel A. Anderson, University Communications

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Water Watching

Jay FamigliettiThe Center for Hydrologic Modeling, which was awarded $2.4 million by the University of California (UC) Office of the President, links researchers at eight UC campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos national laboratories. As the state confronts ongoing drought and water supply problems, the center will use satellites and field research to more accurately determine how much water exists in California and where it's located. The results will be shared with water agencies throughout the state to help them develop their policies and allocation plans.

"There's been too large of a gap between decision-makers and scientists over the water situation in California," said Jay Famiglietti, Ph.D., director of the center and professor of earth system science and civil and environmental engineering at UC Irvine.

Read More>>
Story: Andy Evangelista, University of California Office of the President's Integrated Communications
 


UC Teams Attack Urgent State Issues

Steve RitchieThe UC Office of the President awarded $68 million in competitive grants to 37 Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives - innovative collaborations that, over the next five years, will assemble statewide teams of UC experts from a broad range of fields to focus their efforts around specific research areas important to California.

One of the initiatives will team UC researchers from more than 30 disciplines on six UC campuses to work on reducing congestion, oil use, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

"Transportation is central to economic and social life in California," said Stephen Ritchie, Ph.D., professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Irvine and co-director of the new sustainable transportation research program, which was awarded $6.25 million over five years.

Read More>>
Story: Andy Evangelista, University of California Office of the President's Integrated Communications


 
FACULTY NOTES
 

ITS Researchers Win Pyke Johnson Outstanding Paper Award


Transportation

A team of Institute of Transportation Studies researchers has won the prestigious Pyke Johnson Outstanding Paper Award from the U.S. Transportation Research Board (TRB). The award is given annually for the best paper presented at the TRB annual meeting in the area of planning and environment, and is subsequently published in the TRB Transportation Research Record. The 2009 winning paper was "Environmental Impacts of a Major Freight Corridor: A Study of I-710 in California," co-authored by Gunwoo Lee, Soyoung (Iris) You, Stephen Ritchie, Jean-Daniel Saphores, Mana Sangkapichai and R. Jayakrishnan. The award was presented at the TRB 89th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., in January.



Professor William Cooper Recognized for Contributions to Education

Bill CooperWilliam Cooper, Ph.D., professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Urban Water Research Center at UC Irvine, received the Outstanding Contributions to Education Award from the Orange County Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools. Cooper was nominated for his work on the Water Innovation Now (WIN) project, which charged Orange County school children to come up with innovative ways to solve water use and availability concerns. Winning entries were presented by students to international delegates at the UCI-United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) water conference, "Water Unifies," on December 3, 2008. WIN is also supported by the Orange County Department of Education, UNESCO, the Ocean Institute, Disney's Environmentality Challenge, the Wyland Foundation, and Inside the Outdoors.

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California Governor Appoints CEE Professor to Western States Water Council

Betty OlsenBetty H. Olson, Ph.D., professor of civil and environmental engineering, was appointed by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve on the Western States Water Council, an organization designed to advance the cooperation of regional water resource management and conservation policies of 18 western states. Olson is also a member of the Santa Margarita Water District board of directors.

The Western States Water Council was established in 1965 to foster cooperation among western states in the conservation, management and development of water resources. California currently has six members on the council.

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CEE Professor Appointed Honorary Professor at Misr University of Science in Technology

A.MosallamCivil and Environmental Engineering Professor Ayman Mosallam, Ph.D., was appointed an honorary professor at the Misr University of Science in Technology (MUST) in recognition for his research and academic accomplishments in the field of advanced composites and green construction. MUST is a well-recognized university focusing on science and technology in Egypt.









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CEE Distinguished Professor and Chair Shinozuka Honored for Career  Accomplishments

Prof. ShinozukaMasanobu Shinozuka, Ph.D., civil and environmental engineering distinguished professor and chair, was prominently featured in The Times of India, a major newspaper in India, in the August 19, 2009 edition, and was also invited to speak at the National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering in Taipei, Taiwan, presenting "A Sensor Network for Real-Time Damage Location and Assessment," last October.  Shinozuka, who is also the executive vice president of the International Association for Structural Safety and Reliability, was one of the three coordinators for the International Conference on Structural Safety and Reliability (ICOSSAR 2009) held in Osaka, Japan, last September. He also presented a keynote lecture on performance reliability of port facilities.


Peter the Anteater (Left)
STUDENT HONORS               

Three exceptional civil and environmental engineering undergraduate students are the recipients of prestigious CEE 2009-10 Emeriti Scholarships:

Hassan Ahmed, CEE sophomore, Jan Scherfig Scholarship ($2,000)
Henry Tong, CEE senior, Robin Shepherd Scholarship ($2,000)
Eric Walker, CEE junior, Gary Guymon Scholarship ($2,000)

In addition, the 2009-10 Thomas Miles Memorial Scholarship ($2,500) was given to CEE senior Chris Cobb.


The Orange County Engineering Council selected Mohamed Salama, a Ph.D. student under the advisement of Ayman Mosallam, Ph.D., to receive the Outstanding Student Award for developing an innovative diagnostic/prognostic system for smart military bridges.


ALUMNI NOTESGateway and Arch

 

Hun-Kyun Bae, who graduated from civil and environmental engineering with a Ph.D. in 2007, under the supervision of Soroosh Sorooshian, Ph.D., distinguished professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Kuo-lin Hsu, Ph.D., associate adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering, and the Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing (CHRS), as well as a postdoctoral researcher under Betty H. Olsen, Ph.D., was appointed an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Conservation at Keimyung University (KMU), South Korea.


Ali Behrangi, who graduated from civil and environmental engineering with a Ph.D. in 2009 under the supervision of Soroosh Sorooshian, Ph.D., distinguished professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Kuo-lin Hsu, Ph.D., associate adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering, and the Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing (CHRS), became a Caltech postdoctoral researcher at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.

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Wei Chu, who graduated from civil and environmental engineering with a Ph.D. in 2009 under the supervision of Soroosh Sorooshian, Ph.D., distinguished professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Xiaogang Gao, Ph.D., adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering, and the Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing (CHRS), recently became a postdoctoral researcher at the CHRS.

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Gi-hyeon Park, who graduated from civil and environmental engineering with a Ph.D. in 2006 under the supervision of Soroosh Sorooshian, Ph.D. and Xiaogang Gao, Ph.D., adjunct professor in civil and environmental engineering, and the Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing (CHRS), was appointed an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering at Wyoming State University.

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Samit Ray Chaudhuri, Ph.D., a postdoctoral scholar working under the advisement of Masanobu Shinozuka, Ph.D., has been appointed an assistant professor of civil engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology - Kanpur, India, beginning last fall. Chaudhuri received a Ph.D. degree from UC Irvine in December 2005 under the supervision of Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Emeritus Roberto Villaverde, Ph.D.

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Serdar Soyoz
, who graduated from civil and environmental engineering with a Ph.D. in 2008 under the supervision of Maria Feng, Ph.D., became an assistant professor in the Civil Engineering Department at Bogazici University. Bogazici University is one of the most prestigious universities in Turkey.


CONTACT US

                Gateway
University of California, Irvine
The Henry Samueli School of Engineering
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
E4130 Engineering Gateway
Irvine, CA 92697-2175

Phone: (949) 824-5333
Fax:    (949) 824-2117