UW News

October 20, 2005

Responding to disaster is lecture series topic

The 2005 Engineering Lecture Series, “Engineering the Unexpected,” focuses on how UW engineers are taking the lead in designing ways to respond when disaster strikes.

All lectures are free for faculty, staff and students who have valid UW Husky Cards. Registration is not required.

All the lectures begin at 7 p.m. in 110 Kane. Cost for the public is $8 for UW Alumni Association members, $12 for non-members. Tickets for the entire series are also available. Topics and dates are:

Nov. 1: Engineering Disaster Relief

In the first few days following the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia, the huge influx of disaster relief efforts actually fed the chaos instead of reducing it. It’s a common problem, one that Professor Mark Haselkorn is working to solve as leader of team studying such scenarios. He and former engineering student Kate Hulpke will take listeners on a recent journey to Africa where UW students are not only helping distribute aid, but are learning critical logistical coordination and communications skills as part of a new certificate program. They will also discuss Hurricane Katrina and the storm’s aftermath as it relates to relief efforts there.

Nov. 8: Engineering Detectives: Uncovering the Causes of Catastrophe

When catastrophe strikes, UW alum Larry Anderson’s team is often called to the scene to determine why something failed and how to engineer solutions. When the World Trade Center collapsed and when the Bellingham pipeline exploded, officials turned to his company, Exponent, to look for answers. Anderson will give an insider’s view of the detective work that goes into failure analaysis and how engineers use information gleaned to make the world safer.

Nov. 15: Saving Soldiers: Robots to the Rescue

On the battlefield of the future, medics won’t be on the front lines, dodging bullets and shrapnel as they try to reach fallen soldiers. Instead, tough, high-tech robotic pods will do the job. That’s the vision of biorobotics Professor Blake Hannaford and his team of UW researchers in surgery and engineering — a vision that’s quickly becoming reality. The first trial of a new surgical robot is scheduled for early next year on a mountainside in Hawaii.