Monday, November 23, 2015

Tar Creek Superfund Site Clean Up- One Gallon of Clear Water at a Time

New life is being brought to the Tar Creek Superfund Site in far northeastern Oklahoma. It's the nation's worst toxic waste site. Plans are now underway to build a second water treatment site. Funding has been requested for a third.  

View the video. about Dr. Robert Nairn and team's great work to bring new life to the Tar Creek Superfund Site, one gallon of clear water at a time.

By Charles Ely, Channel 8, ABC Tulsa

Friday, October 23, 2015

OU Engineering Professor Leads NSF Grant on Infrastructure Resilience


Whether it is malicious or an act of Mother Nature, an infrastructure attack could cripple the nation as more people depend on the interconnected services such as water, electricity, communication, transportation and health care.

University of Oklahoma School of Industrial and Systems Engineering researcher Kash Barker is leading a team to evaluate how analytics from multiple sources can increase network resilience. The National Science Foundation project, titled “Resilience Analytics: A Data-Driven Approach for Enhanced Interdependent Network Resilience,” is a cooperative research effort between OU Gallogly College of Engineering colleague Charles Nicholson and researchers at the University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Stevens Institute of Technology, Penn State University, Virginia Tech and the University of North Texas.

“Resilience is broadly defined as the ability of a system to withstand the effects of a disruption and then recover rapidly and efficiently,” Barker said. “As disruptions become more frequent – even inevitable – designing resilience into our infrastructure systems, such as the transportation and electric power networks, is becoming more important.”

For example, when a large-scale tornado hits, debris may be strewn across roads, power lines disabled and citizens injured. The related systems – transportation, power grid and emergency care – all rely on each other. Hospitals require electricity to serve an influx of patients, but roads free of debris to repair downed power lines also are required. Understanding how all such systems work together throughout a disruptive event helps decision-makers make better decisions regarding allocation and scheduling of resources.

Barker’s project is part of the first round of funding for the National Science Foundation activity known as CRISP: Critical Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Systems and Processes. These three- and four-year projects, each with funding up to $2.5 million, are part of a multiyear initiative on risk and resilience.

The National Science Foundation’s fiscal year 2015 investment in CRISP is a multidisciplinary collaboration between the Directorates for Engineering, Computer and Information Science and Engineering and Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences. As a result, Barker’s project is a multi-disciplinary approach to evaluating and planning for resilience. The systems engineering perspective analyzes how these networks behave together and can be optimized. Computer and data sciences are addressing how to turn large amounts of data into something meaningful to improve interdependent resilience, and the social sciences evaluate how the resilience of the society depends on the resilience of the physical infrastructure.

 “Analyzing data from a variety of sources is important,” Barker said. “We emphasize the role of the community in providing data about not only their experience, but what is happening in the underlying physical infrastructure to give us a better idea of the behavior of interdependent networks before, during and after a disruption.”

Knowledge from these will lead to innovations in critical infrastructure, strengthening community support functions and in delivering even a broader range of goods and services.

Pramod Khargonekar, National Science Foundation assistant director for engineering, predicts the new understanding of infrastructure, combined with advances in modeling and smart technologies, will offer important, groundbreaking discoveries to improve resilience. “These research investments will help support national security, economy and people for decades to come,” Khargonekar said.

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ABOUT:
The Gallogly College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma challenges students to solve the world’s toughest problems through a powerful combination of education, entrepreneurship, research, and community service and student competitions. Research is focused on both basic and applied topics of societal significance, including biomedical engineering, energy, engineering education, civil infrastructure, nanotechnology and weather technology.

The programs within the college’s eight areas of study are consistently ranked in the top third of engineering programs in the United States. The college faculty has achieved research expenditures of more than $22 million and created 12 start-up companies.

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2015, its budget is $7.3 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 48,000 competitive proposals for funding, and makes about 11,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

OU Researchers Work to Provide Safe Water for Rural Ethiopians

University of Oklahoma researchers Jim Chamberlain, center, and David Sabatini, right, are a part of a project that seeks to correct elevated fluoride levels in water in Ethiopia's Great Rift Valley.
BY SILAS ALLEN Staff Writer sallen@oklahoman.com | July 26, 2015
After six years and several trips to the east African nation, a University of Oklahoma project that seeks to improve water quality in a region of Ethiopia is beginning to take shape.

Researchers from OU’s WaTER Center visited the country this summer as a part of the center’s effort to help rural communities in Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley deal with elevated levels of fluoride in the area’s water.

Read more.

Monday, May 18, 2015

CBME professor, Roger Harrison, publishes new edition bioseparations book


The demand for highly purified biological products for commercial and consumer use has increased significantly over the past decade, leaving a widening gap between the application and engineers trained in the process. To respond to the growing need to separate and purify these bioproducts, Roger Harrison, University of Oklahoma College of Engineering professor in the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering and also in the Biomedical Engineering Center, has released a revised edition of the book “Biosepartions Science and Engineering” along with co-authors Paul Todd, Scott Rudge and Demetri Petrides.

New to the second edition are updated descriptions of the important chromatography separation method, which is required for the purification of bioproducts that must be injected into the bloodstream. As in the first edition, the various operations in bioseparation processes are explained by first developing the scientific basis and mathematical theory and then describing the applications of the theory in engineering practice with an emphasis on design and scale-up. Aimed at students and industry practitioners, the book also includes updated cost information and expansion of the chapter on bioprocess design for the integration of various bioseparation operations to develop economically optimal processes.

More than 60 universities worldwide teach courses using the “Bioseparations Science and Engineering” textbook, a powerful testament to the growing necessity of biotechnology development and implementation throughout the world.

“As the world relies more on the development of new biotechnology products in the pharmaceutical, agricultural and specialty chemical industries, science and engineering will depend on efficient bioseparation processes to meet the demand,” Harrison said. “This revised edition addresses today’s growing need to educate a new generation of scientists and engineers requiring up-to-date capabilities for developing new bioseparations processes.”  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

OU President David L. Boren Announces $30 Million in Gifts to Benefit OU Students in Engineering and Related Fields

President Boren announces historic $30 million in gifts to the College of Engineering
University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren today announced more than $30 million in new resources to benefit OU students in engineering and related fields on the Norman campus, including construction of a new academic building in the Engineering Quadrangle, creation of a School of Biomedical Engineering, establishment of 12 new endowed positions and formation of a $3.5 million endowment for graduate fellowships.

The resources are being made possible through major gifts from Jim Gallogly of Houston and Peggy and Charles Stephenson of Tulsa.

A New Academic Building
In addition to serving the full College of Engineering community, the new academic building to be constructed will house the new School of Biomedical Engineering, which will integrate engineering and medicine and will further develop three areas of existing strength in the College of Engineering: biomedical imaging, nanomedicine and neuroengineering.

A New School
The School of Biomedical Engineering is being created to respond to the increase in biomedical engineering jobs anticipated as the world population continues to grow and age. Two years ago, CNNMoney cited biomedical engineering as the top jobs field for the period 2010 to 2020 with median pay of $87,000 and 10-year growth of almost 62 percent in employment opportunities.
To help create the school, Peggy and Charles Stephenson have pledged a major gift from the Stephenson Family Foundation.

A New Name
In appreciation of the gifts, Boren said he will recommend to the OU Board of Regents that they recognize the donors by naming the College of Engineering and the new academic building in Gallogly's honor and that the new school be named in the Stephenson's honor.

Thank you, Jim Gallogly
Gallogly, who serves on the Board of Visitors for the OU College of Engineering, worked for Phillips and later Chevron Phillips Chemical and ConocoPhillips in a career spanning nearly 30 years. Upon joining Phillips in 1980, he held various roles in exploration and production, refining, chemicals, legal and finance, including international assignments. He rose to senior vice president of chemicals and plastics, vice president of olefins and polyolefins and vice president for North America production. He joined Chevron Phillips Chemical as president and chief executive officer in 2000. Six years later, he joined ConocoPhillips, serving first as executive vice president of refining, marketing and transportation. In 2008 he was named executive vice president of exploration and production.

He then worked for LyondellBasell, one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies, serving as CEO from 2009 until his retirement in 2015.

Gallogly has served on the boards of directors of the American Chemistry Council and the Society of Chemical Industry. He also has served on the board of directors and executive committee of Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas. An OU law alumnus, he is a member of the Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado bar associations. For his leadership in his profession, OU awarded Gallogly an Honorary Degree in 2012.

Thank You, Peggy and Charles Stephenson
Peggy Stephenson is executive director of the Stephenson Family Foundation. Charles Stephenson is a 1959 OU petroleum engineering graduate and retired chairman of the board, president and CEO of Vintage Petroleum Inc., which was sold in 2006 to Occidental.

The Stephensons, who grew up in the southeastern Oklahoma community of Antlers, are longtime partners in philanthropy, parenting and life. Their gifts have helped fuel OU's rapidly growing Research Campus in Norman benefitting research progress and economic development in the state of Oklahoma. In 2002, their gift to OU helped build a Research and Technology Center, which transformed an empty field into OU's now-burgeoning Research Campus. Four years later, they made a lead gift to help build a Life Sciences Research Center, and in 2010, the Stephensons presented OU with a major gift to benefit cancer programs for all of Oklahoma and to create the Stephenson Cancer Center.

Monday, April 13, 2015

OU Engineering Researcher Reshapes Military Communications

Jessica Ruyle, electrical and computer engineering professor in the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering, is improving communication abilities for soldiers in the field by literally reshaping how they transmit communications. With a nearly $500,000 grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Ruyle will design and develop a thin, flat antenna that can be placed conformably on anything from vehicles to uniforms – making the antennas both less conspicuous and more rugged for field use.

“The design is similar to a sticker that is flexible and can conform to a variety of surfaces and shapes,” Ruyle explained. “What makes it radical is that it is a completely different antenna than what is currently being used in our nation’s defense.”

Invented in the late 1800s, whip antennae have been a staple in military communications. Inexpensive production cost and easy installation has kept the metal antenna in military use for more than 80 years with little design updates. However, the antennae make identification of communications vehicles and soldiers obvious and are easily damaged in rough terrain; a simple bend of the antenna can significantly reduce performance. Ruyle’s new thin, flat antenna design allows communications systems to operate uninterrupted in the field.

While Ruyle’s technology is for military use, her design won’t be limited to military applications. Police forces, firefighting teams and commercial airplanes are some of the areas where the new design can improve efficiency. Police and firefighters can incorporate the antennas into their uniforms and vehicles to replace cumbersome, traditional whip antennae. Aircraft that hang large antennae can improve aerodynamics with the smooth, flat antenna sticker.

“DARPA allows researchers like me to push the envelope with design and application,” Ruyle said. “I’m excited that my work also will help spur innovation for industrial and commercial uses.”
As an educator as well as researcher, Ruyle looks forward to further educating the graduate students who will join her to develop the new antenna design. The grant funds a student team to assist Ruyle while they also use the project to support their thesis or dissertation.

“The work we do has a very real impact on the world,” Ruyle said. “This is a great example I can show students of how as engineers we solve fundamental, everyday problems.”


ABOUT:
The University of Oklahoma College of Engineering challenges students to solve the world’s toughest problems through a powerful combination of education, entrepreneurship, research, and community service and student competitions. Research is focused on both basic and applied topics of societal significance, including biomedical engineering, energy, engineering education, civil infrastructure, nanotechnology and weather technology. The programs within the college’s eight areas of study are consistently ranked in the top third of engineering programs in the United States, with research expenditures of more than $22 million and the formation of 12 start-up companies.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Texas Instruments Names Patrice Tompkins-Everidge Vice President

DALLAS (March 4, 2015) – Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) today announced that Patrice Tompkins-Everidge has been elected vice president of the company. Tompkins-Everidge serves as worldwide Environmental Safety and Health (ESH) director and is responsible for ensuring the safety and health of TIers working in over 250 sites worldwide while also ensuring that TI complies with environmental laws in the countries in which it does business.

Tompkins-Everidge joined TI in 1997 as an ESH manager for TI’s non-manufacturing sites. She has since held a number of positions within ESH, including worldwide facilities project engineer and ESH manager for TI’s DMOS5 manufacturing facility. Tompkins-Everidge most recently served as worldwide ESH risk & compliance manager.

Tompkins-Everidge earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from The University of Oklahoma.

About Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) is a global semiconductor design and manufacturing company that develops analog ICs and embedded processors. By employing the world's brightest minds, TI creates innovations that shape the future of technology. TI is helping more than 100,000 customers transform the future, today. Learn more at www.ti.com.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Civil Engineering and Meteorology Student Ben Toms Named Goldwater Scholar


University of Oklahoma honors student Ben Toms had been named one of two 2015 Goldwater Scholars, placing OU in the top ranks of universities nationally with 48 Goldwater Scholars since the competition began in 1991. The prestigious scholarships are awarded on the basis of potential and intent to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering.

“The University is extremely proud of Brandon Curd and Ben Toms,” said OU President David L. Boren. “They are continuing OU’s winning tradition nationally in the competition for Goldwater Scholars.”

Toms, a junior from Aurora, Colorado, maintains a 4.0 grade-point average and is pursuing degrees in civil engineering and meteorology. He has extensive research experience, including a project detecting black ice on Oklahoma roads with Jeffrey Basara, OU associate professor of meteorology and director of research for the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, and Yang Hong, professor of civil engineering and environmental sciences; test cases for fire flow with Randall J. McDermott, National Institute of Standards and Technology; the effects of a flood at the Colorado Front Range with Basara; an ongoing project at the National Severe Storms Laboratory, where he works with its director, Steven Koch, and David Turner of its Forecast Research and Development Division; and a mobile X-radar system for mountainous areas in Colorado with Pierre Kirstetter, research scientist with the National Weather Center Advanced Radar Research Center. His summer plans include two projects, one with Turner researching the environment of convective precipitation during the nighttime, and another with Kirstetter to place a mobile X-band radar within the Rio Grande National Forest in southern Colorado. His future plans include obtaining a Ph.D. in hydrometeorology and conducting research on terrestrial hydrometeorology while teaching at the university level.

Among his awards and honors are the OU School of Meteorology Non-Resident Award of Academic Excellence, Best Undergraduate Oral Presentation Award at the National Weather Association 39th Annual Meeting, OU College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences Excellence in Academia Award, Wylie Barbour Hamilton Excellence in Engineering Award, OU School of Meteorology Junior Academic Achievement Award, National Institute of Standards and Technology Summer Fellowship and NASA Student Airborne Research Program Summer Fellowship.

The national scholarship competition is conducted by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. This year, 1,206 college sophomores and juniors across the country competed for the 260 scholarships. The one- and two-year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Friday, April 3, 2015

OU-Tulsa Telecommunications Professor Honored with National Award

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The Information and Telecommunications Education and Research Association  (ITERA) honored Pramode Verma, Ph.D., Director of Telecommunications Engineering at  the University of Oklahoma – Tulsa, with its 2015 Distinguished Service Award for lifetime contributions to education and research. Dr. Verma received the award at ITERA’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., on March 28. 

ITERA is a non-profit academic association representing colleges and universities with degree programs focused on telecommunications, networking, information and computer science.  


“ITERA is excited to recognize Dr. Verma,” said Michael Bowman, Ph.D., Chairman of the ITERA Board of Directors. “For more than 40 years, he’s made significant contributions to the telecommunications industry and the education of young women and men in the U.S. and Canada. We’re especially happy to acknowledge and commemorate his service with this award.”

“I’m deeply honored to be recognized by colleagues whose work I respect so much,” Dr. Verma said.  “I’m proud of the work ITERA does to advance research and study in the telecommunications field. My association with students and colleagues in this organization is enriching from a personal as well as a professional perspective. The award means a great deal to me.”   


Dr. Verma also holds the Williams Chair in Telecommunications Networking. Prior to joining the University of Oklahoma in 1999, he held a variety of professional and leadership positions in the telecommunications industry at AT&T Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies. He is the author/co-author of more than 150 journal articles and conference papers, and several books in telecommunications engineering. He is also the co-inventor of eight patents. He has been a keynote speaker at several international conferences and has lectured in several countries.
 

The University of Oklahoma Schusterman Center is home to all OU programs in Tulsa. Located on a 60 acre campus at 41st and Yale, it strengthens OU’s presence in northeast Oklahoma and expands educational, research and patient care programs in the Tulsa area. OU-Tulsa offers six bachelor’s degree completion programs; 14 master’s degree programs, including the physician assistant and nurse practitioner programs, doctoral programs in medicine, physical therapy, education, early childhood education, engineering, pharmacy and nursing, as well as nine residency programs in medicine. It is also home to the OU School of Community Medicine, the first of its kind in the nation, created with the explicit purpose of improving the health of all Oklahoma communities. For more information about OU-Tulsa, call 660-3318 or visit
http://tulsa.ou.edu.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

OU Research Team Receives NIH Grant to Facilitate Innovative Technique that Enhances Breast Cancer Detection


An innovative technique that enhances breast cancer detection while reducing radiation dose has been proposed by a University of Oklahoma research team.  In response, the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health has awarded a $3 million grant to the OU team to facilitate the technique, which includes building a patient imaging system and conducting preclinical evaluations and Phase I clinical trials.
The grant was awarded to a research team led by Hong Liu, professor of electrical and computer engineering in the OU College of Engineering, to translate a specific phase-sensitive X-ray technique to clinical practice to reduce radiation dose and imprliuove accuracy in breast cancer diagnosis.  Liu is also a member of the Stephenson Cancer Center, located at the OU Health Sciences Center.
“This technique can greatly enhance tissue contrast and significantly reduce radiation dose as compared to current methods,” says Liu.
 “The leadership, support and state-of-the-art facility at OU are essential to the success of our cancer imaging research.  We are grateful for the interdisciplinary environment and seamless collaboration in both research and education among the Norman and Health Sciences Center campuses,” Liu added. 
This interdisciplinary research involves close collaborations between academic and industry, engineers and clinicians in multiple institutions.  OU encourages and facilitates interdisciplinary research and education.
This research is supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01CA193378.  For more information about this research, contact Hong Liu at liu@ou.edu.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Where are they now? An interview with 2012 Engineering Physics alumus, Scott Lowe

Scott Lowe graduated from OU in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics.

Scott describes himself, according to his LinkedIn profile, as a recklessly idealistic, generally irreverent, student of life.

We caught up with Scott in Detroit and asked him a few questions.

How did your OU degree in engineering physics prepare you for your career?
Physics was always about finding solutions for me. My physics degree helped me hone my problem solving skills, and in my day-to-day as a software engineer, those skills come in handy.

How did your involvement in the CCEW (Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth) while a student at OU impact you?
CCEW taught me the value of a good team. It was my first real exposure to start-ups and business. In that way, CCEW started me down my current path.

Where have you been since OU? Where are you now?
Detroit

Describe your experience as a fellow with Venture For America.
My VFA fellowship provided me with the start-up training, connections and resources I needed to start a company. As a fellow, I worked for two years at start-ups in Detroit, first as a business analyst, then a software engineer.

Describe your experience as a software engineer with Chalfly.
My transition into software development resulted in a huge expansion of my responsibilities. By leveraging my problem solving talent, I skyrocketed my value-add to the company which earned me the latitude to contribute to nearly every arm of the business, from digital marketing to recruiting. Being in the trenches and working on the many problems that you inevitably encounter while building a start-up only fueled my passion for coding.

How did you become a co-founder of Rebirth Realty?
A few other Detroit fellows and I realized that the disparity between real estate prices and rental rates presented an economic opportunity, so we bought an abandoned mansion in the tax auction. The plan was to build a communal living and working space for Detroit fellows by restoring one of the many blighted properties that plague Detroit. Today, the rehab is nearly complete and the mansion currently houses six fellows who have started a combined four businesses in Detroit.

How did Castle come about? Tell me more about this start-up.
Castle is a real estate tech start-up that takes the work out of being a landlord. We provide the same services as property management companies much more efficiently through software, automation and on-demand labor. Check us out at entercastle.com

At the end of our fellowship, the Rebirth guys and I knew we wanted to build a new start-up, and Castle was born at the intersection of our tech skills and real estate experience. After a few months of research and experimenting with different ideas, we found a problem that we could solve: being a landlord comes with a stressful, part-time job!

Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I'd like to look back and be proud of what I've built. Also a sports car would be cool. :]

Randa Shehab Elected New Senior Vice President, Academics by Institute of Industrial Engineers

Institute of Industrial Engineers Elects New Officers: The new senior vice president, academics, is Randa Shehab. Shehab is the Nettie Vincent Boggs Professor of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. She holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees, all in industrial engineering, from the University of Oklahoma.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/02/prweb12523602.htm

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Charles W. Bert, 1929-2015

By Danielle Geier
 
The AME family lost one of its valuable members, Dr. Charles W. Bert, on February 3, 2015. Bert began his journey at the University of Oklahoma in 1963, where he served the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering as a Professor for 41 years before retiring in 2004. During this time, Bert served as Director from 1972-1978 and again in 1990-1995. He also held the Benjamin H. Perkinson Chair during his time at AME. In 1981, he was the recipient of the highest recognition for research at the University of Oklahoma—the George Lynn Cross Research Professorship. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 2011.

“I am deeply saddened to lose one of our best. Charlie was a giant in the broad field of mechanics and composite materials,” said M. Cengiz Altan, AME Director. “He has been such a positive influence on me since I started my career at OU. He has always been supportive and provided encouragement to many AME faculty, as well as to countless undergraduate and graduate students. I will miss him greatly as a mentor and a friend.”

Bert’s work in composite materials earned him an international reputation in the field; he authored and co-authored 205 papers in refereed journals, published one monograph, edited three books, produced 13 book chapters and 158 other papers. In connection with his research, he mentored 26 doctoral students and over 40 master’s students. He was a registered Professional Engineer, and consulted on numerous projects including the design of the propulsion clutch for the USS Nautilus (first nuclear submarine), first annular air-oil shock absorber, steel-belted radial tires and NASA Space Shuttle payload-bay doors. Charlie was elected as Fellow to seven technical organizations, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Society for Composites.

“Dr. Bert was a great mentor and guided me well throughout my career. His reputation and research accomplishments were spread worldwide. In international or national meetings I attended, there were always people who inquired about him when they saw my name tag mentioning OU,” said Subramanyam R. Gollahalli, AME Professor. “Above all, he was a great person. We miss him very much.”

The AME family would like to send its deepest condolences to the Bert family. Charlie’s kind heart, his encouraging words and supportive attitude along with his teaching, excellent research contributions and his friendship will be dearly missed by all.




Monday, January 5, 2015

Sooner Magazine features story about the AT&T Summer Bridge Camp


Joshua Tingle, of Sulphur, sets up one section of his team’s entry in the Rube Goldberg challenge portion of the Summer Bridge Program for incoming students who will be part of the College of Engineering’s freshman class. Photo credit: Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

Bridging the Gap 


By Sarah Lobban

Rube Goldberg would have loved the competition that tops off the summer program offered by the OU College of Engineering to its entering freshmen. By Sarah Lobban The main bay in the ExxonMobil Lawrence G. Rawl Engineering Practice Facility looks like a cross between a mad scientist’s lair and a modern art installation. A crowd of people watch from the balcony as the first of six bizarre and intricate contraptions is set in motion. Read more.