Thursday, October 1, 2009

OU Racing produces its best season in team history

Wednesday, July 08, 2009
By Jay C. Upchurch

In Norman, the University of Oklahoma has forged a football tradition steeped in history, filled with more than a century’s worth of colorful characters, unforgettable moments and unparalleled success.

Across campus at the OU College of Engineering, the fan base pales in comparison. Saturday crowds are practically nonexistent and the roster of talent contains nary a single household name.

Still, the Sooner racing team has managed to build a fairly respectable name for itself in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) over the last few years. In fact, the 19-member crew — all mechanical engineering majors — recently finished off the most successful racing season in the program’s 15-year history.

OU closed the 2009 season with consecutive top-5 finishes, including a fifth-place finish at the Formula-SAE West competition in Fontana, Calif. That field included 80 teams representing 10 countries and 24 states.

And yes, Oklahoma beat Texas.

“It was a great year,” said David Collins, team president and junior-to-be. “We did well basically everywhere we went with this car, including a second-place finish at Virginia. This season’s results definitely put us among the top teams in the Formula-SAE competition.”


An international competition devised of student-based engineering teams that design, build and drive small-scale Formula One and Indy-style race cars, Formula-SAE has grown to more than 400 teams in 30 different countries over the past decade.

OU launched its racing team back in 1994 to help promote “creativity, management, budgeting, goal-setting, testing and promote competition,” according to its Web site.

The Sooner crew took a major step forward last season with its first-ever top-5 finish. The momentum of that performance undoubtedly carried over to 2009 and the redesigned car that promoted both fuel economy and higher safety standards.

“The primary focus of the team is engineering design. We come up with a new design every year, and the car we put out there this year was much different than last year’s design,” Collins said.

The ’09 model tipped the scales at just under 400 pounds, almost 100 pounds lighter than last year’s model. And in order to be even more fuel-efficient, the new design included a 550-cc, two-cylinder (55-horsepower) engine — compared to the 600-cc, 4-cylinder utilized in 2008.

“We sacrificed some power for better fuel efficiency, but it was well worth it in the long run,” he said.

Collins described the basic objective of the project as “designing a car for the weekend autocross racer.” Autocross racing is a type of motor-sport event emphasizing safety and low-budget competition on a challenging course marked by traffic cones.

“We’ve got a great relationship with the Lloyd Noble Center, where we do all of our practicing,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate to receive the support we have from the university.”

Engineering appoints new director to the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

DATE: July 6, 2009

Farrokh Mistree, most recently a professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, has been named the L.A. Comp Chair and Director in the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering’s School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. He follows Professor and Lesch Centennial Chair Subramanyam Gollahalli who is stepping down as Director after having led the School for eight highly progressive years. Gollahalli is a leading authority in combustion science and technology, and is looking forward to devoting more time and creative activity to teaching, research and service.

Mistree comes to OU with more than 30 years of experience in academia, beginning as a lecturer at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He also served as associate professor and professor at the University of Houston and as professor of the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. He worked with Professor Ward O. Winer, chairman of the Woodruff School from(1988 to 2007, to start the Woodruff School Savannah and served as the associate chairman for the Woodruff School from 2005 to 2008.

Mistree’s design experience spans mechanical, aeronautical, structural and industrial engineering. He has taught courses in engineering design, naval architecture, solid mechanics, operations research, computer science and professional development. Mistree’s research accomplishments are embodied in the scholarship of integration and the scholarship of education. His current interests include strategic engineering; distributed, collaborative, robust design multi-scale systems and simulation-based systems realization; and engineering education.

Mistree has co-authored two textbooks, one monograph and more than 325 technical publications. His distinctions consist of recognition for research and teaching in 1999 and 2001, namely, the ASME Design Automation Design Award in 1999 and the Jack M. Zeigler Woodruff School Outstanding Educator Award in 2001. He has served as an ABET reviewer and the national secretary-treasurer for Pi Tau Sigma mechanical engineering honor society for 13 years. He is a Fellow of ASME, an associate fellow of the AIAA, a Life Member of Phi Kappa Phi, and a member of ASEE and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.

Mistree earned his bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur in 1967. He received his master of science degree in engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1970, followed by his doctoral degree in 1974.

Mistree said he looks forward to working with his colleagues and others in the OU community to realize the strategic plan of the College of Engineering and to help create opportunities for highly motivated and talented people to learn how to define and achieve their dreams.

Cerato to receive Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

Jana Smith, Director of Strategic Communications for R&D
July 9, 2009

Norman, Okla.--Amy Cerato, assistant professor in the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science within the College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma, is among 100 beginning researchers nationwide named by President Obama as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers starting their independent careers.

“These extraordinarily gifted young scientists and engineers represent the best in our country,” President Obama said. “With their talent, creativity, and dedication, I am confident that they will lead their fields in new breakthroughs and discoveries and help us use science and technology to lift up our nation and our world.”

Cerato is studying how to design and build robust foundations for critical infrastructures, particularly in marginal soils. She says the U.S. spends $15 billion a year repairing infrastructure built on expansive soil, which exceeds what is spent annually on damage caused by floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornados combined. Expansive soils are frequently overlooked as a major problem because they often take years to cause extensive damage.

“Receiving the PECASE Award is the highlight of my career,” said Cerato. “I am ecstatic.”

John P. Holdren, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and assistant to the President for Science and Technology says, “Cerato’s accomplishments early in her career highlight her extraordinary potential to catalyze the kinds of scientific and technological advances that have long been at the core of this nation’s strength. Her promise as a leader stands out among her peers and places her in a position of great opportunity and responsibility—a position I am confident she will fully embrace.”

Holdren said in his letter of notification to Cerato, “America is counting on you to elevate its place in the world, both directly through your accomplishments and by inspiring others. I applaud your energy and ambition and look forward to your achieving even greater goals in the years to come.”

According to Thomas L. Landers, dean, OU College of Engineering, “Amy Cerato is highly regarded by her students and faculty peers. National recognition was sure to follow suit. We are very proud of her accomplishments and grateful for the recognition she brings to our engineering college.”

Robert Knox, director, OU School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, acknowledged Cerato for her early career accomplishments and as the recipient of the prestigious PECASE Award. “I knew when we were recruiting her that we had someone special. She has worked very hard over the past four years and is most deserving of this recognition.”