05/13/10 Bloomberg — U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu signaled his lack of confidence in the industry experts trying to control BP's leaking oil well by hand-picking a team of scientists with reputations for creative problem solving. BP has described conditions around its leaking offshore well as resembling those in outer space. Chu selected one scientist with experience operating on Mars, George Cooper, a civil engineering professor at UC Berkeley. Cooper once worked with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to modify mining techniques on earth for use on Mars.
05/12/10 Los Angeles Times — Robert Bea, a UC Berkeley engineering professor who is conducting an informal assessment of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead blast, said Tuesday that BP documents leaked to him indicate that contaminants in cement encasing the well were the initial cause of the explosion that led to the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
05/10/10 The New York Times — As hopes dim for containing the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico anytime soon, more people are asking why the industry was not better prepared to react. "They [oil industry engineers] have horribly underestimated the likelihood of a spill and therefore horribly underestimated the consequences of something going wrong," said Robert G. Bea, a professor at UC Berkeley who studies offshore drilling. "So what we have now is some equivalent of a fire drill with paper towels and buckets for cleanup."
05/07/10 Science Friday — The oil continues to gush from the sunken Deepwater Horizon oil platform in the Gulf -- and the official solution for stopping the flow, which involves finding the borehole and drilling into it at an angle -- could take weeks. But are there other options? Some people, such as UC Berkeley professor of civil and environmental engineering Robert Bea, are looking outside the box for engineering solutions
05/05/10 True/Slant — The effectiveness of the cleanup of the massive oil slick from the explosion of BP's oil rig Deep Horizon in the Gulf Mexico will be both a matter of speed and technology. And on both fronts, we may lose. Nearly impossible to clean up will be whatever is below the surface. UC Berkeley engineering professor Robert Bea, who serves on a National Academy of Engineering panel on oil pipeline safety, says, "There's an equal amount that could be subsurface too." And that oil below the surface "is damn near impossible to track."
05/05/10 — Whenever you see a headline about a new threat to our health, safety or well-being, rest assured that a Berkeley engineer is thinking of ways to mitigate that threat in the future. Civil engineer Robert Bea, for example, has spent 55 years thinking about offshore oil drilling platforms and how to make them more reliable. So, when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20 and began gushing 5,000 barrels a day into the Gulf of Mexico, Bea was one of the first experts contacted and interviewed by the press.
05/05/10 — UC Berkeley assistant professor of bioengineering Mohammad Mofrad has been busy uncovering the mysteries of how human cells behave when physical force is applied to them, working at the exact intersection of engineering and biology. Mofrad and a handful of fellow researchers are in the vanguard of a subspecialty called cellular mechanobiology, or cellular biomechanics, where they're stirring up the entire field of biology by adding physics to the mix. The ramifications of their work may one day bring about better treatments for cancer and cardiovascular disease as well as HIV/AIDS and the common flu.
05/05/10 — About every 10 days, falling rock shatters the tranquility of Yosemite National Park. "It's a dynamic place," says park geologist Greg Stock. "Rockfall is the most powerful geologic force acting on the park today. The goal is to eventually predict rockfalls and better constrain the hazard." Enter Valerie Zimmer, a Berkeley geoengineering Ph.D. student who launched her doctoral work studying rockfall in mines using tiny acoustic sensors to document the rock mechanics and geophysical forces underground.
05/05/10 — Picture this: The security of computers worldwide hangs in the balance. Cult-like followers of the Greek philosopher Pythagoras are suspected of a nefarious plot to crack the cryptographic code protecting virtually everyone's digital data. Who ya gonna call? In his debut thriller, Tetraktys, Ari Juels (Ph.D'96 EECS) crafted a stereotype-shattering sleuth to take on the bad guys. His fictional hero: an intrepid young doctoral candidate schooled in the classics and studying computer science at-you guessed it-UC Berkeley's College of Engineering.
04/30/10 EcoEasy Challenge — Four mechanical engineering undergraduates from UC Berkeley, all women and representing the only U.S. team that reached the finals in the inaugural Staples Global EcoEasy Challenge, have placed as runners-up for first prize for designing the EcoStapler, a mini-stapler made from environmentally preferable materials. Cynthia Bayley, Griselda Cardona, Maha Haji, and Sarah Stern, calling their team the Explosi-Divas, took home a $5,000 prize.
04/29/10 Chronicle of Higher Education (*requires registration) — With an estimated 1,000 to 5,000 barrels of oil spilling each day into the Gulf of Mexico after a drilling rig exploded and caught fire on April 20, the Chronicle spoke on Thursday with Robert Bea, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Berkeley, to gain an understanding of the situation, its challenges, and the role university researchers could play in preventing and responding to such accidents. Mr. Bea has more than 55 years of engineering experience with offshore platforms.
04/21/10 Ho-Am Foundation — Lee was recognized for his seminal contributions to bionanoscience, including leadership in bionanophotonics, the discovery of Plasmon Resonance Energy Transfer (PRET) imaging of living cells, gene regulation by nanoplasmonic optical antenna, and label-free molecular diagnostics.
04/19/10 The Daily Californian — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week appointed a UC Berkeley professor to serve as a new type of adviser on clean energy issues for countries in the Western Hemisphere. Daniel Kammen, a professor in the campus's Energy and Resources Group, the Goldman School of Public Policy and the Department of Nuclear Engineering, will serve as one of three senior fellows for the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas
04/18/10 San Francisco Chronicle — The UC Berkeley campus was flooded Saturday with thousands of students and their families attending Cal Day, the university's annual open house. It seemed like just about every campus department held some kind of event - robot car races at one of the engineering buildings, sing-alongs in the music department, live insect analysis in front of the biology building. Visitors were greeted by an enthusiastic, and highly diverse, crew of volunteers.
04/07/10 — The health care reform bill enacted last month is the most far-reaching domestic policy the nation has seen in decades. Only time will tell us all the ramifications of this historic legislation. As the acting dean of the College of Engineering I ask, how can engineers help patients, physicians and providers make the best use of the changes ahead?
04/07/10 — What's the first thing you think of when you hear the word nuclear? Mushroom clouds? Three Mile Island's reactor towers surrounded by swirling steam? Think again. Nuclear is back, big time. With climate change concerns escalating, fossil fuel supplies diminishing and electricity consumption expected to double in 10 years, nuclear has regained some of its lost luster. According to Brian Wirth, associate professor of nuclear engineering, “The 104 nuclear plants now in operation represent the largest source of carbon-free electricity in the country.”
04/07/10 — Clean and green technologies are on the rise in Silicon Valley. Electric car startups like Tesla Motors and solar cell and biofuel innovators are snapping up commercial space, while established companies like Applied Materials are growing their clean energy divisions. “Over the past six years, clean tech's portion of venture [capital] investments has grown from merely 3 percent to more than 25 percent,” reported the San Jose Mercury News in January. The newspaper went on to pronounce clean and green technologies the next great wave of innovation in Silicon Valley. It's no surprise to five Berkeley Engineering alumni who work in the up-and-coming sector.
04/07/10 — At UC Berkeley's Recreational Sports Facility, where Berkeley mechanical engineering students Kimberly Lau and Maha Haji work out, they noticed all those people burning calories on exercise machines. Racing on treadmills. Striding on ellipticals. Churning on stationary bikes. What if that energy could be harnessed? Could workouts be more energy wise? In this video, they explore these questions and learn how you can make greener choices at the gym.
04/06/10 National Science Foundation — Berkeley Engineering professor Jose Carmena has been selected to receive one the NSF's most prestigious awards in support of early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education and build a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education.
Team of Berkeley Engineering undergraduate women reaches finals in Staples green office product competition
03/31/10 Yahoo Finance News — Taking environmental consciousness to a global level, Staples, Inc., the world's largest office products company, today announced the universities with finalist concepts for the inaugural Staples Global EcoEasy Challenge. Four mechanical engineering undergraduates from UC Berkeley, all women, represent the only U.S. team that has reached the finals. Cynthia Bayley, Griselda Cardona, Maha Haji, and Sarah Stern, calling their team the Explosi-Divas, have designed the EcoStapler