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University of Iowa News Release

May 7, 2003

Five Engineering Faculty, Staff Receive Excellence Awards

Five University of Iowa faculty and staff recently received College of Engineering Excellence Awards for their individual contributions to research, teaching, service, and research staff excellence.

The five, recognized April 30 by Dean P. Barry Butler at the College's annual faculty/staff awards luncheon, are: Christoph Beckermann, Faculty Excellence Award for Service; K. K. Choi, Faculty Excellence Award for Research; John Lee and H. S. Udaykumar, Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching; and Anton Kruger, Research Staff Excellence Award.

Beckermann, who joined the UI faculty in 1987, is UI Foundation Distinguished Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and director of the UI Solidification Laboratory. In addition to his internationally recognized research in solidification phenomena and materials processing, Beckermann has helped lead development of the new engineering curriculum.

He also chaired the college curriculum committee in 2002, helping lead the College in the final development of the new core curriculum. In past years, he has served on the departmental undergraduate committee and graduate committee. He also has chaired a search committee each year since 1997 and served on the dean's advisory promotion and tenure committee, curriculum committee, promotion and tenure committee, engineering computations committee, research and graduate studies committee, graduate program development committee, and Engineering Faculty Council. At the university, he has served on the advisory committee for the physical and natural sciences of the vice president for research, as departmental affirmative action representative, and on committees for the department of energy computational science graduate fellowship and the Presidential Faculty Fellowship nomination.

Beckermann is a member of six professional societies and has served on four national technical committees. He has served on the editorial board of five major journals and as an organizer of 19 symposia at national or international conferences, as well as a member of six NSF review panels and one DOE review panel in the thermal sciences area. He has been invited as a member of the U.S. delegation for international workshops on thermal science.

Choi is professor of mechanical and industrial engineering and director of the Center for Computer-Aided Design (CCAD). He joined the engineering faculty in 1981 after receiving his doctorate in applied mathematics from the University of Iowa. Having attracted nearly $11 million of external funding, he is a nationally recognized researcher in design sensitivity analysis, mathematical theory of optimization and its application to mechanical systems, mechanical systems analysis, and reliability-based design optimization.

In addition, he has advised 25 doctoral students and three master's degree students to completion of their degrees, and has one of the strongest research records in the College of Engineering. He has published, or has had accepted for publication, 91 articles in leading engineering journals. He is associate editor for four professional publications. He has been a co-author of two research texts and has served as editor of another book. He recently received an offer for publication of a third research text, for which he is the main author.

Choi is a Fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In 2002, he received the Maurice Simpson Technical Editors Award for Design, Test, and Evaluation from the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology. Later this year, he will be honored as a recipient of the Regents Faculty Excellence Award.

Lee, who joined the faculty in 1998, is associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering and researcher at CCAD. While holding joint appointments in the UI departments of neurology and occupational and environmental health, he teaches such courses as Human Factors, Engineering Economy, and Modeling Operator Performance. He recently was named a Donald E. Bently Fellow of Engineering.

Over the past several years, Lee has become known for his work involving driver response to in-vehicle technology. Mercedes Benz recently selected him as one of the top 10 driver distraction researchers in the world. One of Lee's former undergraduate students, currently a departmental fellow at the University of Michigan, credits Lee with preparing the student for graduate school "by challenging and trusting me in the laboratory and in the classroom, providing me with two top-notch internship experiences, and enabling me to attend and present at conferences as an undergraduate."

Udaykumar, assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering and assistant research engineer at IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, joined the college in 1999 and teaches Interfacial Flows and Transport Processes, Heat Transfer, and Thermodynamics. He recently received the Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Udaykumar's special fields of knowledge include computational fluid dynamics, moving boundary problems in fluid mechanics, biofluid mechanics and materials processing. His research interests have application to such problems as the dynamics of white blood cells in human circulation, freezing of human cells and whole organs in cryopreservation, manufacture of lightweight and fatigue-resistant metal-matrix composite materials, fluid mechanics of the human intestine and the impact of high-velocity munitions on targets.

An undergraduate student wrote, "Dr. Udaykumar is the very definition of what a professor should be. His enthusiasm and passion not only for teaching, but for the subject matters themselves, have been an inspiration to me and to my fellow students."

Kruger, associate research engineer at IIHR, in the words of his nominator, Professor and IIHR Director V. C. Patel, is the "ultimate team player." He supports and enhances cross-disciplinary research with his expert knowledge and also uses vision and skill to successfully maintain his own, independent research focus. He is a member of the highly successful Water and Air Resources research group within IIHR, an internationally recognized hydrometeorological research program.

His help in developing Tresh-R, a GIS-based flood and flash-flood warning software system, resulted in the federal government's decision to use the system nationwide at all National Weather Service River Forecast Centers. He is involved in the integration of information technology at IIHR, and he is the sole principal investigator on a National Science Foundation project that develops new paradigms of building databases for remote sensing observation; developing exploratory tools for knowledge extraction; and facilitating collaboration across campus and the world. He has a leading role in the recently established Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, where he is sought after as an IT technical expert and consultant.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Gary Galluzzo, University of Iowa News Services 319-384-0012,