It was spring, and the calendar hanging on the wall above Allison Simi’s cluttered desk was stuck on January. The image for January was a protein structure that Simi, a graduate student in Princeton’s chemical and biological engineering department, hadn’t noticed until one day, frustrated by a roadblock in her research, she idly glanced at it and had a breakthrough.
Professor of Computer Science Ben Raphael first applied his computational muscle to the fight against cancer by accident. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego, he studied genomes. One day, during a routine research meeting, his advisor mentioned that he had gotten an email out of the blue from cancer biologists who needed help making sense of their data. He asked the lab group if anyone was interested in helping them out. Raphael volunteered, thinking it would be a one-off project. Fifteen years later, he’s still studying what drives cancer.
Three projects with the potential for broad impacts in science and technology have been selected to receive support from the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund. The projects include a technology for improving ultrasound's grainy images, a system for boosting biofuel production, and a facility for designing and testing new wind power technologies.
Engineers at Princeton are working to solve some of our most critical challenges, from reducing dependence on fossil fuels to making the Internet more secure to working at the intersection of biology and technology to combat disease.
Computer science powers the work of many disciplines. If a molecular biologist needs to match up millions of pairs of genes, or a humanist wants to mine databases to understand the evolution of English prose, computers make it possible. Princeton’s computer science department, part of the University’s renowned engineering school, is distinguished by its deep expertise in both the theoretical foundations of computing and the many applications of computing in modern life.
This month, the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council (PEC) launched "TigerTalks in the City," a quarterly series designed to bring Princeton research with an entrepreneurship focus to New York. The topic of the inaugural panel discussion was "Big Data and Little Privacy?" and featured faculty from a range of disciplines.
In 2008, Andrew Appel ’81 tampered with an electronic voting machine, changing 20 percent of the votes it had registered from one candidate to the other. His “crime”—court-ordered in his role as an expert witness in a New Jersey lawsuit—captured the attention of the media and voters. Politico called him “part of a diligent corps of so-called cyber-academics—professors who have spent the past decade serving their country by relentlessly hacking it,” in a story that focused on several Princeton computer scientists.
Princeton’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving resources is more than academic; over the last year the University has continued to create a campus climate that promotes sustainable practices—striving to make green initiatives as natural as wearing orange and black.
Inspired by the desire to help broaden boundaries for vision-impaired people, three Princeton University students created an armband device that allows a wearer without the ability to see to interpret color. The project emerged from a new class offered for the first time this spring, "Transformations in Engineering and the Arts," and lived up to the name of the course.
Alumni, friends, and members of the University community celebrated the new home of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment on May 18. The center has an urgent goal: to help transition the world away from fossil fuels through research and education that will produce the solutions essential to preserving the planet for future generations. It was made possible by a $100 million gift from Gerhard Andlinger '52. The center's primary lecture and gathering space, Maeder Hall, made possible by a gift from Paul Maeder ’75, was also dedicated during the celebration.