Purdue News

April 2006

A monthly letter from President Martin C. Jischke

Dear Purdue Partners,

Some significant national and international honors came to Purdue faculty members during April, and I'm especially pleased that the recognition included not only people with long and distinguished careers, but also some young professors with very promising futures ahead of them.

Gavriel Salvendy, a professor of industrial engineering who has been at Purdue for 35 years, was named one of the three top researchers in the world in ergonomic and human factors, a field that deals with all aspects of people at work.

Dr. Salvendy's work was recognized as being among the best in the world for scientific, technical and engineering contributions to ergonomics in a survey of the members of national ergonomics societies from 42 countries.

The survey was conducted by editors of Ergonomia, an international scientific publication based in Poland. Human factors and ergonomics concern the design, operation and management of work environments in industries including information technology, automotive, aircraft, communication and consumer products, as well as in service-sector organizations.

Dr. Salvendy, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, has written more than 430 scientific publications in industrial engineering, human factors and ergonomics. His work has significantly improved the work environment and enhanced the efficiency of people throughout the world.

Three Purdue professors who are at the beginning of their careers have won the National Science Foundation's most prestigious honor for outstanding young researchers. Purdue's recipients are among about 110 researchers being recognized this year with the NSF's Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. The awards include research grants ranging between $400,000 and $500,000. Purdue's winners are:

• Deborah Follman, an assistant professor of engineering education whose research focuses on the self-confidence of undergraduate engineering students. She seeks to contribute to the number, capability and diversity of future members of the engineering community.

• Cristina Nita-Rotaru, an assistant professor of computer science and a member of Purdue's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security, or CERIAS, and the university's Center for Wireless Systems and Applications, also known as CWSA. She established and leads the Distributed and Secure Distributed Systems Laboratory where graduate and undergraduate students work together on building dependable and secure computer services. She will use her grant to focus on designing survivable services for wireless mesh networks, or creating systems that continue to work even in the presence of server or network failures.

• Dongyan Xu, also an assistant professor of computer science and a member of CERIAS, concentrates research in the areas of distributed computing, computer security and virtualization technologies. Virtual distributed environments can help organizations customize their information technology infrastructures, improve application performance and contain the negative impact of worms and viruses. Research prototypes are being developed and deployed in physical computer clusters at Purdue.

One of America's most prestigious prizes in medicine went to Seymour Benzer, a Purdue alumnus and former associate professor and professor of physics. Dr. Benzer received the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research. This award ranks with the Nobel Prize in medicine.

Dr. Benzer earned his master's degree and his doctoral degree in physics from Purdue and served on the faculty from 1947 to 1965. He was a member of a group at Purdue during World War II whose work on a military radar project aided in the development of the transistor. He is a physicist, microbiologist and a neuroscientist. His work is considered revolutionary in the field of biology and led to major advancements in the field of neurobiology. Dr. Benzer's research also has aided in the exploration of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

These wide-ranging honors speak well of the past, present and future of Purdue's efforts to discover new knowledge. They are a cause for celebration by our university!

• • •

Senator Dick Lugar has asked Purdue to partner with him to convene a national summit on our West Lafayette campus to explore solutions to energy-related national security issues.

The Richard G. Lugar-Purdue Summit on Energy Security will take place August 29 and will focus on the national security and economic policies facing future American energy demands. This will be one of the most significant events of the year for Purdue, and I am very pleased that the senator has recognized the role Purdue can play in meeting our nation's energy-related challenges. I will be writing more on this summit in the months ahead.


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