May 12, 2003
Engineering school celebrates progress in research
By Tim Stephens
In an unusual groundbreaking ceremony last week for the Engineering
2 Building, campus administrators wielded the symbolic shovels while
construction crews worked in the background, erecting the first steel
girders for the $62 million building.
Taking part in the groundbreaking ceremony are, from left,
Martin Chemers, social sciences dean; Steve Kang, engineering
dean; Peggy Downes Baskin, a senior lecturer in women's studies;
Jack Baskin, UCSC Foundation trustee; Chancellor Greenwood; and
John Simpson, executive vice chancellor and campus provost.
Photo: Don Harris
As Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood explained in her remarks, there was
no time for a groundbreaking ceremony before construction began last
"In seizing an incredible opportunity to fast-track a publicly
funded building, the ceremonial aspects of the project had
to be placed
on the back burner in favor of actually starting construction,"
The groundbreaking ceremony, followed by a hard-hat tour
of the construction
site, was part of a Research Review Day at the Baskin
School of Engineering.
Engineering faculty and researchers described their latest research
projects to a crowd that included representatives of
companies in Silicon Valley.
The research presentations covered a broad range of topics, among them
computer storage systems, wireless communications, nanoscale devices
for direct thermal to electric energy conversion, and the Human Genome
Project. Wentai Liu, who joined the faculty this year as a professor
of electrical engineering, described his work on a retinal prosthesis
that promises to enable the blind to see.
"This is a very exciting time to be an
engineer," said dean
of engineering Steve Kang. "Engineers today are applying their
talents to create innovations and make discoveries that
impact society and improve the quality of our life."
While the Engineering 2 Building is primarily an
the Economics Department will also have a major presence in
fostering interdisciplinary collaborations between
economics and engineering.
|Steve Kang, Chancellor Greenwood, and Jack Baskin tour the
construction site. Photo: Don Harris
"The intersection of these two academic disciplines holds significant
promise for collaboration that will greatly benefit industry and, ultimately,
society," Greenwood said.
The top floor of the new building will be devoted to research space
for two of the California Institutes for Science and Innovation, multicampus
research centers established in 2000 by Governor Gray Davis. UCSC's
David Haussler, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator who holds
a UC Presidential Chair in Computer Science, is codirector of the Institute
for Quantitative Biomedical Research (QB3), based at UC San Francisco.
UCSC's component of the Berkeley-based Center for Information Technology
Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) is led by Patrick Mantey,
the Baskin Professor of Computer Engineering.
"Having an entire floor of the building set aside exclusively
for research will be extremely valuable," Mantey said.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Chancellor Greenwood emphasized the
importance of the continued support the engineering school
from UCSC Foundation trustee Jack Baskin and his wife, Peggy Downes
Baskin, a senior lecturer in women's studies. "That we have come
so far in such a short amount of time is due in large part
to the tremendous
boost Jack Baskin's original gift has provided us,"
The Baskins' latest gift of $1 million provides support for the new
building and will fund an endowed chair in biomolecular engineering
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