Gadjah Mada

In June of 1955, it is announced that the College of Engineering will begin a cooperative engineering education program with Gadjah Mada University in Djogjakarta, Indonesia. Nine UCLA faculty members will help Gadjah Mada faculty in setting up modern engineering curriculum and laboratories, and advise on teaching methods.


Earthquakes And Shaking Structures

In May of 1956, C. Martin Duke and David J. Leeds take measurements from strain gauges installed in the engineering building during its construction to develop stronger structures. The gauges, networked to a central recording facility, which also houses a strong-motion seismograph, allow accurate recording of the building’s response to earthquake tremors.


Wings Of Clay…Graphite Better

In July of 1957, while examining the concept of “wings of clay” using pre-stressed ceramics for materials in supersonic aircraft, professors Francis R. Shanley, William J. Knapp and R. A. Needham suggest graphite is also a possible answer to the aircraft “heat barrier.” They report that the strength of graphite actually increases with temperature up to about 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Egg Candling

In September of 1957, research engineers James Howard and Philip O’Brien use laboratory instruments to examine the process of egg candling. Candlers traditionally hold an egg up to the light to determine whether the egg has been diseased. The engineers examine the egg’s light quality and map the depth of the egg’s air cell and albumen density to determine more effective lighting techniques to make the candling process more accurate and efficient.

Smog Filters For Offices

In October of 1957, UCLA engineers Neal A. Richardson and Wilbur Middleton use highly efficient particulate filters and charcoal filters to examine the existence of irritants in office air. Using sets of blind filters and questionnaires that solicit responses relating to the degree of eye smarting, and throat and nose irritation, the researchers determine that the irritants are in the form of gas, not particles.


Building Codes And Earthquakes

Professor C. Martin Duke reports in May of 1958 that cities which experience earthquakes could reduce future damage by establishing building codes based on soil conditions. He suggests development of zoning maps that show location of soft valley or seashore deposits, which he says amplify quake motions and therefore require stronger foundations.

Nuclear Reactor

In August of 1958, plans are completed for UCLA to receive an accident-proof nuclear reactor worth $203,350 from the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). UCLA is one of the first universities in the country to receive the 10-kilowatt Argonaut reactor, which will run for more than 10 years on three kilograms of Uranium-235 loaned to UCLA by the AEC, according to professor Thomas E. Hicks.

Eisenhower Calls For Sea-Water Conversion

In September of 1958, President Eisenhower points to development of methods for converting sea water into salt water as one of the key hopes for the peaceful developments of the Near East. His words are noted with interest by associate professor Joseph W. McCutchan, who is developing membranes for a reverse-osmosis water desalination system.

First Automatic Check Processing

In December of 1958, under the direction of professor Gerald Estrin, UCLA receives the only Telemeter Check Processing Machine from Telemeter Magnetics Co. for testing. The device produces a computer punch tape for attachment to bank checks that contains all of the information necessary for automatic bank routing.

First Gradaute Student Specializing in Astronautics

In 1958, the beginning of the space age, under the direction of professor Samuel Herrick, UCLA became the first U.S. university to graduate a Ph.D. specializing in astronautics, and was the first to offer a course in rocket navigation.


Early Fuel Injection

In October of 1959, research engineer Richard Kopa examines a mixing device for auto gasoline intended to reduce smog. Mounted on top of the carburetor, the device injects additives into the airstream before combustion, successfully eliminating 80 percent of the nitrogen oxide from the auto exhaust.

Ford Grant On Curriculum

In October of 1959, a $1.2 million grant is received from the Ford Foundation to conduct an extensive, five-year study of the School’s curriculum. The grant, one of 10 awarded nationwide, is intended to help strengthen engineering curricula in the face of an increasing demand for engineers. UCLA’s College of Engineering is the only one in the country with a unified undergraduate curriculum, which emphasizes the fundamentals common to all engineers rather than the specialized techniques of the various engineering branches.

X-7 Missle

In October of 1959, a Lockheed supersonic X-7 guided missile is delivered to the College of Engineering for use in teaching and research. The 38-foot, air breathing, short-wing missile will be used to test new developments in ramjet engines and other components for the Air Force.


In November of 1959, a revolutionary new book on prosthetics is published, titled “Clinical Prosthetics.” The book, an outgrowth of five years of research and experience in UCLA’s Prosthetic Education Project, is referred to as the “amputation Bible.” For five years, more than 2,300 members of clinical prosthetics teams from all over the U.S. and several foreign nations received training through the project.

Drag On Spacecraft

In November of 1959, Eldon Knuth uses a supersonic nozzle to blast highly heated molecules at various solid materials, such as metal and glass, to examine how much heat and drag are exerted on a spacecraft moving 25,000 feet per second through space.


Reverse Osmosis

In August of 1960, the development of the first practical membranes for a water desalting process called reverse osmosis is announced by UCLA engineers. In research initiated by the late professor Samuel T. Yuster, engineers Sidney Loeb and Srinivasa Sourirajan successfully test a special membrane, or film, with a large number of tiny pores, which in effect separates the salt from saltwater leaving potable (fresh) water behind. Loeb and Sourirajan believe their process holds promise for large scale commercial use, and will now embark on a project to build a pilot plant that can yield 25,000 gallons a day.

Jet Noise

In October of 1960, Professor Alan Powell investigates aerodynamic noise in a special laboratory in Engineering I. When the building was erected, a large exhaust stack the full height of the building was installed to make possible experimentation with aircraft jet engines. Prof. Powell’s research focuses on the incidence of sound-induced vibrations, which cause acoustic fatigue resulting in cracks in the airplane skin and loosening of rivets. Powell suggests that the acoustic fatigue problem could be limited with the development of engines having larger but slower jet streams, which could give the same thrust with less noise.


Dressing For Space

In February of 1961, what the well-dressed space explorer might wear on the moon is modeled using an integrated space suit. Designed by Allyn B. Hazard, the suit is a rather awesome 8-feet high with twin antennas sticking from the helmet, rubber encased arms and legs, a hefty circular midriff, and identification and ground lights. The researchers say that like a skin diver, the moon explorer will have to carry his earth environment with him, including food and liquid, a communication system, and power supply.

First CNC Machining

In September of 1961, it is announced the College of Engineering will receive a tape-controlled machine tool system from General Dynamics. The computer, officially called the Prototype Digimatic Director (one of only four in the country), prepares magnetic tapes for numerical control of a milling machine. Together with a previously donated data entry unit, keyboard and power supply, the Director completes a system which will be a basic part of tomorrow’s automated factory.


Students Launch Rocket

In April of 1962, nine engineering students launch the Syrius II hybrid-fuel rocket from a test site at China Lake Naval Ordnance Test Station. The liquid/solid fuel rocket, designed and built solely by the nine students, reaches an altitude of 1,200 feet and lands 4,000 feet downrange of the launch site.


Gadja Mada Reports To Regents

In a report to the Regents in January of 1963 on the six-year Gadjah Mada project to train engineers and establish an engineering education infrastructure in that country, success was the overwhelming result. The number of graduates increasingly grew and in 1962, 150 engineers are graduating per year.

Auto Pollution Control

In July of 1963, professor Richard D. Kopa has developed and is testing on automobiles a device that returns exhaust gases to the combustion chamber, thereby reducing nitrogen oxide in auto exhausts by 80 percent.

Prosthetic Engineering

In September of 1963, professor John Lyman is examining how amputees might be able to control artificial limbs, with more skill and less effort than they can with existing prosthetic devices, by using various chest and back muscles. By this method, amputees could be grasping something with the artificial limb, while rotating the wrist simultaneously, since current prosthetics do not allow such multiple function.

First Indonesian Rocket Launch

In September of 1963, with the help of UCLA engineers assigned to the Gadjah Mada project, Indonesia launches its first rocket. Students from the Gadjah Mada Rocket Club, with the assistance of UCLA professor Alex Petroff, designed and built the 40″ x 1 1/2″ black powder-powered rocket.

Fuel Injection

In December of 1963, Richard D. Kopa has developed a fuel atomizing carburetor that sprays fuel into the engine. The device works in conjunction with his exhaust gas recycling controller to reduce pollution in auto exhaust.


Infrared Detector For Smog

In January of 1964, professors Albert F. Bush and Herbert B. Nottage prepare to field test an infrared detector that can determine levels of carbon dioxide concentration in the air. The researchers plan to have a detector that will be carried throughout California in a mobile unit, measuring smog concentrations above parks, traffic intersections, industrial plants and residential areas.

Research Funding

In January of 1964, it is reported that the College of Engineering spent $2 million on approximately 100 research projects in fiscal year 1962-63. The heaviest research concentration is in the area of water resources and sea water conversion, followed by air pollution and traffic studies. Other areas of research include cargo handling, earthquake effects, fluid motion and sound, metal stress, plasma properties, solar energy, structural design, and artificial limbs.

Smog Check Equipment

In February of 1964, an automatic control system coupled to a dynamometer has been developed at the College of Engineering to simulate actual road trips and test the effectiveness of anti-smog devices. With the dynamometer system connected to a treadmill placed under the rear tires of a car, exact speeds can be maintained, or a simulated trip can be repeated accurately time and time again. Looking forward to a time when California will require periodic checks on smog control devices on all cars, the researchers suggest that controlled dynamometer systems may become essential equipment in test stations and service stations.

Retargeting Ballistic Missles

In July of 1964, professors Cornelius T. Leondes and Allen R. Stubberud are developing a system to feed retargeting commands to a missile at the launch site, rather than the current system of routing commands through computers at SAC headquarters. The research, sponsored by the Ballistic Systems Division of the Air Force Systems Command, is also applicable to development of computer systems to control industrial processes, guide and control space vehicles, and automatically navigate ocean freighters.

Distributed Computing

In October of 1964, professor Gerald Estrin has successfully linked a computer to multiple processors to create a “Fixed Plus Variable Structure Computer.” The computer controls the operation of the other processors, and is able to correct the human programmer when a poor selection is made. The “Fixed Plus” computer can do problems hundreds of times faster than conventional computers, and can even design other computers from start to finish.