Dean’s note: Engineering new frontiers
We’re celebrating the inaugural year of the aerospace engineering program, our first new undergraduate major in 25 years.
Spring is the season of new beginnings, bringing with it a spirit of celebration. It is fitting, then, that we just celebrated the groundbreaking for our new Engineering Center, which will create welcoming and inclusive new spaces for our students to study, collaborate and innovate together. This facility will open in early 2025 and will no doubt have a transformative impact on future generations of engineering students.
This spring we’re also celebrating the success of the inaugural year of our aerospace engineering baccalaureate program, our college’s first new undergraduate major in 25 years. The Class of 2026 arrived this past fall, and the students’ enthusiasm has been contagious. At a recent campus event, Berkeley Engineering alumnus Eugene Tu (B.S.’88 ME), director of the NASA Ames Research Center, and Victoria Coleman, chief scientist of the U.S. Air Force, joined Berkeley Engineering professors Panos Papadopoulos and Adam Arkin for a vibrant panel discussion on the future of aerospace technology and its impact on society.
Hundreds of students and researchers across the Berkeley campus are now actively engaged in aerospace-related activities, including numerous clubs and student organizations. Many of them witnessed the installation of our new wind tunnel; its state-of-the-art closed-loop design is capable of generating air flow speeds up to 140 miles per hour. Our students will be able to put their 3D-printed airfoil and aircraft models to the test in this tunnel, and then refine their designs with the aid of modern software tools to achieve targeted performance characteristics, such as stability and fuel efficiency.
The multidisciplinary nature of our aerospace engineering program distinguishes it from other programs across the nation and around the world. The field is rapidly transforming, thanks to advances in computing, manufacturing, composite materials, human-machine interfaces, bioengineering, clean energy and more. Berkeley Engineering excels across all these areas of specialty, enabling our students to develop the multidisciplinary competency needed to become leaders in a resurgent field.
Some Berkeley engineers already have taken to the skies and beyond, as Warren “Woody” Hoburg (M.S.’11, Ph.D.’13 EECS) did when he piloted the SpaceX Crew-6 mission to the International Space Station this March. We look forward to welcoming him back to Earth when this six-month mission is over.
I hope you’ll continue to follow us as we explore new frontiers in engineering and in our universe.
Tsu-Jae King Liu
Dean and Roy W. Carlson Professor of Engineering