The Johns Hopkins Gazette: November 15, 1999
November 15, 1999
VOL. 29, NO. 12


WSE Events to Mark 85/20 Anniversary

By Phil Sneiderman
Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

As part of its ongoing 85/20 double-anniversary celebration, The Whiting School of Engineering will salute present-day research efforts and examine the future of engineering during a series of special programs scheduled this weekend. The events will include presentations by prominent national engineering figures and by members of the Hopkins faculty who are working on leading-edge projects in computer science, environmental engineering, mathematical sciences and underwater robotics.

Hopkins researchers will talk about their work between 1:30 and 5 p.m. Friday in a program called "Whiting School Engineering Showcase." Nationally prominent engineering figures will share their perspectives from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday in a program called "The Future of Engineering." Both of these programs will take place in Bloomberg Center's Schafler Auditorium on the Homewood campus. Organizers are encouraging faculty members, students, staff members and interested members of the community to attend.

These two events are free of charge, but reservations are required. (For details, see box below.)

The engineering school's double-anniversary also will be celebrated Friday evening at a gala dinner dance called "A World of Innovation." This event, to be held at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore, will include a short program. (For ticket information, see box below.)

The 85/20 celebration is designed to call attention to the rich tradition of engineering education at Hopkins, dating back to the opening of Maryland Hall in 1914. The School of Engineering at Hopkins was founded five years later. In 1966, this school merged with the Faculty of Philosophy, creating the School of Arts and Sciences.

Soon, however, some alumni and faculty became concerned that engineering education appeared to diminish in importance under this arrangement. Their efforts led to the establishment in 1979 of a new university division, the G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering, supported in part by a gift from the estate of George William Carlyle Whiting, co-founder of the Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.

Ilene Busch-Vishniac, the school's current dean, said the double-anniversary milestone "finds us in very fine shape. Our student enrollment is at an all-time high, our research programs are continuing to grow and attract external support, and we have new facilities coming on line in support of our activities. Although we are a relatively young engineering school, it is clear that we are among the best in the country at what we do. We look forward to continued expansion of our activities over the next 20 years."

Charles R. O'Melia, who co-chaired the organizing committee for the anniversary events, said he was particularly pleased by the caliber of national speakers lined up for Saturday's gathering. They are Patrick R. Atkins, vice president of environmental control and engineering at Alcoa; G. Wayne Clough, president of the Georgia Institute of Technology; Richard Karp, professor of computer science and biotechnology at the University of California, Berkeley; and William A. Wulf, president of the National Academy of Engineering.

"The quality of the four speakers and the program is truly extraordinary," said O'Melia, who is the university's Abel Wolman Professor of Environmental Engineering. "We think a lot of people will enjoy listening to these speakers, so in addition to Hopkins folk, we have invited people from other engineering schools in the area, local high school students and their counselors to attend."

Whiting School of Engineering Anniversary Celebration

Seminar: Whiting School Engineering Showcase*
Friday, Nov. 19
Schafler Auditorium, Bloomberg Center
Ilene Busch-Vishniac, dean of the Whiting School of Engineering, presiding

1:30 p.m. Ilene Busch-Vishniac, dean: Introduction

1:40 p.m. Stuart W. Leslie, Department of History of Science, Medicine and Technology, "European Visions, American Realities: Finding a Place for Engineering at Johns Hopkins"

2:15 p.m. Grace S. Brush, Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering: "Land, Water and Humans: A Paleoecological Study of the Chesapeake Bay"

2:50 p.m. Louis L. Whitcomb, Department of Mechanical Engineering: "Underwater Robotics for Deep Ocean Exploration"

3:45 p.m. Yair Amir, Department of Computer Science: "On the Way to Ubiquitous Information Access"

4:20 p.m. Carey E. Priebe, Department of Mathematical Sciences: "Statistical Pattern Recognition for an Artificial Nose"

5:30 p.m. Buffet dinner

Anniversary Gala Dinner: A World of Innovation
Friday, Nov. 19
6:30 p.m. to midnight, Hyatt Regency Baltimore

The school's anniversary gala dinner will explore the past, present and future of engineering. The event, which includes a reception, dinner, short program and dancing, is open to all and costs $40 per person and $75 per couple. For more information, call 410-516-8723 or e-mail

Symposium: The Future of Engineering* Saturday, Nov. 20
Schafler Auditorium, Bloomberg Center
Michael Bloomberg, ('64, chairman of the university's board of trustees, presiding)

9 a.m. Continental breakfast

9:30 a.m. President William R. Brody: Introduction

9:40 a.m. William A. Wulf, president, National Academy of Engineering: "Challenges Facing Engineering"

10:15 a.m. Richard Karp, professor of computer science and biotechnology, University of California, Berkeley: "Biotechnology as an Information Science: The Emergence of a New Discipline"

11:10 a.m. Patrick R. Atkins, vice president, Environmental Control and Engineering, Alcoa: "An Engineer's Role in Sustainable Development"

11:45 a.m. G. Wayne Clough, president, Georgia Institute of Technology: "The Future of Engineering Education."

12:30 p.m. Buffet lunch

These events are free of charge, but seating is limited. To register, send a brief e-mail to by Monday, Nov. 15, noting if you will attend one or both events. Those coming from off campus on Friday should park in U lot, located across San Martin Drive from the Bloomberg Center. On Saturday morning, park in U lot; F lot, located adjacent to the Bloomberg Center; or C lot, behind the Hopkins Club.
   Call 410-516-5303 for more information.