Weekly Memo

March 11, 2013

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

Once again I have an opportunity to extol the talents of our faculty -- and believe me, it is an opportunity I never tire of! For example, James Fienup, the Robert E. Hopkins Professor of Optics, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, professor in the Center for Visual Science, and senior scientist at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, will receive the Optical Society's Emmett N. Leith Medal for 2013. The award recognizes seminal contributions to the field of optical information processing. Jim is being recognized for the integration of optics and digital systems as demonstrated in pioneering contributions to phase retrieval, image restoration, wavefront sensing and computational imaging. He will receive his award at OSA's annual meeting in October. Well done, Jim!

Congratulations as well to our dean emeritus, Kevin Parker, William F. May Professor of Engineering, and professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, of Biomedical Engineering, and of Radiology, and to Diane Dalecki, associate professor of Biomedical Engineering and of Electrical & Computer Engineering, and director of the Rochester Center for Biomedical Ultrasound. Both have been inducted as fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Cheers for Laurel Carney, professor of Biomedical Engineering and of Neurobiology & Anatomy, and faculty member of the Center for Navigation and Communication Sciences, who has received a UR Researcher Mobility Travel grant to work with a collaborator in Malaya.

I'd like to thank Wayne Knox for serving the Hajim School so well as associate dean of education and new initiatives, and wish him all the best as he takes a year off, starting July 1. Wayne will pursue research on technology that could be as important to vision care as Lasik surgery. I'll miss Wayne, but I'm also confident that James Zavislan, associate professor of Optics, of Dermatology, of Ophthalmology and of Biomedical Engineering, will do a great job for us in Wayne's stead. Welcome aboard, Jim, and thanks for all you have been doing to ensure that the new Ronald Rettner Hall for Media Arts and Innovation will be both inviting and challenging for our students.

Riccardo Betti, the Helen F. and Fred H. Gowen Professor of Mechanical Engineering, professor of physics, director of the Fusion Science Center, and senior scientist at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, helped prepare a 237-page report on the prospects for generating power using inertial confinement fusion -- the approach being pursued by the LLE. Prepared by the Committee on the Prospects for Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) Energy Systems, the report concludes that the scientific and technological progress in ICF has been substantial during the past decade, and is well worth pursuing as part of the long-term U.S. energy R&D portfolio. The report, which was prepared for the Research Council of the National Academies, can be viewed online; engineering students may be especially interested in the 4-page Appendix 1 "The basic science of Inertial Fusion Energy," which presents both the basic physics as well as the operation of a power plant driven by inertial confinement fusion. Thanks, Riccardo, for representing us on this all-important committee.

Think about this: By 2020 there will be one million more computer science jobs than the number of students to fill them. That's a $500 billion opportunity going to waste, according to code.org, a nonprofit organization pushing for more computer programming and coding classes in our schools. And if you're still not convinced this is a great field to look into, take a look at this video -- and by all means pass it along!

Seniors in the ABET-accredited majors (biomedical, chemical, electrical & computer and mechanical engineering) who would like to be inducted into the Order of the Engineer have until March 29 to order their rings and pay a modest $10 fee. I strongly encourage seniors to consider this; the induction ceremony, at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 18, on Wilson Commons grounds, is a great way for engineering graduates to identify with other engineers in an honor society that doesn’t charge dues and never holds meetings except the induction. Each inductee recites the “Obligation of the Engineer,” a code of conduct by which new engineers promise to abide. Parents have been mailed a letter inviting them to attend the ceremony; parents who have a degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program can join you in this induction. Please see your Undergraduate Program Coordinator if you would like to participate.

Tuesday's announcement that I am to serve the next five years as the University's senior vice president for research, in addition to continuing as dean of the Hajim School, would not have been possible without the first-rate help and backing I've received from my staff, from the faculty and students of the Hajim School, and from our friends and alumni. I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. But, as I mentioned to my staff, that doesn't let us "off the hook" for the next five years! Let's keep working hard to make the Hajim School, and our University, ever better. Meliora!

As always, keep me updated and have a great week.


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean