Select Page
Since the founding of the school in 1945, UCLA Samueli Engineering faculty and researchers have undertaken cutting-edge research projects in a wide variety of areas. In the last century, engineering recorded its greatest achievements with the widespread development and distribution of electricity and clean water, automobiles and airplanes, radio and television, antibiotics and medical imaging, and computers and the Internet. Many of the discoveries at UCLA Engineering contributed to these modern day advancements. This section highlights some of the most interesting and innovative projects. Consider this just a snapshot of the school’s rich research history.

UCLA Engineering Deans

UCLA Samueli Engineering has enjoyed a history of strong and innovative leadership since its inception.
• Llewellyn M.K. Boelter: 1944-1965
• Chauncey Starr: 1967-1973
• Russell R. O’Neill: 1974-1983
• George L. Turin: 1983-1986
• A.R. Frank Wazzan: 1986-2001
• Vijay K. Dhir: 2003 – 2015
• Jayathi Murthy: 2016 – 2022
• Alissa Park: 2023 – present

UCLA Engineering Milestones:



Regents Give OK

On January 10, 1941, the Regents authorize instruction in engineering on the Los Angeles campus.


Funding Approved

On June 8, 1943, Governor Earl Warren approves Assembly Bill 1140, appropriating $300,000 (a reduction from the requested $650,000) for “instruction in engineering with emphasis on the major disciplines fundamental to aeronautical science and engineering.”


Boelter Named Dean

On Friday afternoon of Sept. 22, 1944, following a meeting of the Regents in San Francisco, University President Robert Gordon Sproul announces the appointment of Llewellyn Michael Kraus Boelter to be Dean of the College of Engineering on the Los Angeles campus.


College Opens

In the fall of 1945, the College of Engineering opens with an enrollment of 379 students.


Torpedo Bomber

In August of 1946, a single-engine Japanese Navy torpedo bomber known as a “Jill” is delivered to the College of Engineering for use in instruction. The plane had been taken aboard the USS Lexington in the South Pacific, was stored briefly at Roosevelt Air Station, then offered to Capt. G.G. Crissman, USN, professor of naval science and tactics.

Differential Analyzer

On Nov. 16, 1946, the College of Engineering receives a General Electric Mechanical Differential Analyzer, a “mechanical brain” capable of solving in a few days mathematical problems which would take several years of work by conventional methods. This was only the sixth instrument of its kind in the United States.


Network Analyzer

On Sept. 30, 1947, the College of Engineering receives an A-C Network Analyzer from General Electric. Somewhat resembling a telephone switchboard with dials, the analyzer initially was developed by GE to study problems associated with power system design and operation. It is the second “mechanical brain” machine to be obtained by the college.

Modern Furniture

In the fall of 1947, furniture designer Charles Eames enlists the cooperation of faculty to develop a chair to be entered in the New York Museum of Modern Art’s 1948 International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture Design. The design wins a shared second prize in competition with 250 entries from the United States and nearly 500 from European countries.


First Woman Graduate

In June of 1948, Barbara Wynn of Cheviot Hills becomes the first woman to graduate from the College of Engineering.


Space Survivable

In July of 1952, Conrad J.K. Buettner and Heinz Haber from the College of Engineering suggest that conquest of space is not far off. Examining the fringes of space, which they name “aeropause,” their research determines that men in flight suits, who have already attained this near-space altitude in balloons, could expect little more danger from travel through space.

Electron Orbits

In September of 1952, professor W.D. Hershberger observes the “gyroscopic” path that electrons travel around an atom by using microwave radar to examine samples placed in the field of a 3,500 pound electromagnet.

Cargo Handling

In September of 1952, a team of professors led by Russell R. O’Neill is conducting a wide study of cargo handling to find ways to lower costs of shipping by water and increase the ability to handle greater quantities of goods.

Frost-Damaged Fruit

In September of 1952, William L. Martin and Richard E. George report development of a device that automatically rejects frost-damaged and granulated citrus fruit from fruit inspection lines. They report that frost-damaged and granulated fruits present a spotty appearance under X-ray fluorescence, and suggest a device with a mechanical or electric eye might be used to detect such spottiness and reject unwanted fruit automatically.

Shear Meter

In September of 1952, it is announced an instrument has been developed that can measure a shear force of 1/100,000th of a pound per square foot. The instrument, a shear meter, was developed by junior engineer John E. Vehrencamp to study the drag effect of air currents on the Earth’s surface and its influence on wind velocities and the transfer of heat into the air.

Space Station

In October of 1952, engineering professors Joseph Kaplan and Heinz Haber publish “Across the Space Frontier,” a book that is labeled an accurate blueprint for the establishment of a space station 1,075 miles above the Earth.

Air Pollution

The same month, assistant professor Albert Bush begins examination of particles in the atmosphere that contribute to pollution.

Muscle Control

In October of 1952, John Lyman and Donald Skilling embark on a study of kinesthesis, the muscle sense, in a program that will help in the design of controls for jet planes, where sudden forces occurring at high speeds may cause pilots to lose control of the plane. It is also related to artificial limbs research where compensation for loss of muscle sense must be developed.

Fresh Water Aquifer Dikes

In November of 1952, assistant professor Albert Bush seeks to solve problems associated with using man-made freshwater dikes to form barriers to the intrusion of sea water into coastal fresh-water aquifers. At some point, the fresh water will penetrate no deeper to complete the barrier, and Bush is examining use of chemical treatments to remove the flow impediment.

Press-Stressing Metals

In December of 1952, using principles of diffraction, Daniel Rosenthal, George Sines, and Murray Kaufman measure minute spacing of atoms of different materials by means of X-ray. Their research shows that by pre-stressing certain aluminum alloys, their strength can be doubled, which is directly applicable to the design and construction of advanced aircraft.


Early Circuit Analysis

In March 1953, Louis Pines uses mathematical methods developed by 19th Century French astronomer Henri Poincare to predict the performance of compact mineral units known as the transistor and dielectric amplifier, which are destined to revolutionize the electronics field.

Mechanical Brains Put To Work

In September of 1953, mechanical brains, whose wire nerves carry electrical impulses at rates up to 186,000 miles per second, are used to solve such knotty and diverse problems as traffic jams, manufacturing bottlenecks, rapid translation of scientific Russian, earthquake effects on buildings and the icing of airplane wings.

Burping Irrigation Pipes

In November of 1953, Arthur Pillsbury and Edward Taylor look for a cause and solution to the problem of surging in open-pipe type irrigation systems. Surging has been an increasing problem in irrigation systems. The research discovers that vents placed adjacent to overflow stands along the pipes will allow the “burping” of the buildup of air in the pipes, which was found to be the cause of the problem.


Mechanical Brains Networked

In May of 1954, engineers first connect two mechanical brains, the differential analyzer and the network analyzer, to solve the problem of accidental grounding or short circuits in large power lines, which often results in “brown outs” or power failure. The analyzers, located in separate rooms and connected by 100 feet of cable, solve the complex problem in 10 minutes.

Sea Water Conversion

In May of 1954, it is reported that Gerald Hassler has constructed a device which extracts fresh water from sea water using the selective action of an osmotic oil membrane. Hassler’s membrane is an extremely thin oil layer supported by capillary action. It has no holes as such but water molecules can diffuse through it while salt molecules are blocked.

Supersonic Cabin Heat

In June of 1954, Vincent Blockley reports that results of experiments with a heated cockpit and pilots in flight suits determined that pilots can perform effectively for about an hour in air temperatures near the boiling point of water at a cabin altitude of 24,000 feet.

Grounding Outlets And Appliances

In September of 1954, senior electrical engineer Ralph Crump suggests grounding all home appliances and using grounded three wire outlets, which are available but not yet widely used. He announces that a program is under way to equip all campus buildings with 3-wire outlets and to see that all equipment is grounded.



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.



Computer Self-Test

In May of 1965, Algirdas Avizienis reports to the International Federation for Information Processing Congress his development of a method for programming computers to diagnose themselves for errors. He will initially test this method on a NASA research project in spacecraft guidance. The method could allow replacement of multiple back-up computers now used.

World’s First Reverse Osmosis Plant

In June of 1965, the world’s first reverse osmosis plant begins operation in Coalinga, a farming community near Fresno. The plant, designed and constructed by UCLA engineers, uses the new method of water desalination called reverse osmosis, first demonstrated by UCLA’s Sidney Loeb and Srinivasa Sourarijan in 1959. The plant will turn brackish well water into drinkable water for the community, producing 6,000 gallons of water per day. The reverse osmosis process reduces the water’s salt content from 2,500 parts per million to under 500 parts per million, the recommended standard for drinking water.

Car For Youth Amputee

In June of 1965, UCLA engineers working at the UCLA Child Amputee Project modify an automobile so that an 18-year-old youth, born without arms and only rudimentary legs and feet, can drive. The steering and acceleration are controlled by a U-shaped device attached to the modified accelerator and linked by a power system to the steering wheels. Ignition and transmission are controlled by the right foot also, and braking, and control of light switches, window controls, and windshield wipers are controlled by the left foot. Using this vehicle, the youth is able to successfully pass his road test, and the state issues him a driver’s license.

Underwater Labor

In June of 1965, assistant professor Gershon Weltman and Glen H. Egstrom, director of the UCLA Performance Physiology Laboratory, are investigating some of the basic problems man faces working underwater. As its first project, a research group has developed an underwater restraining device to hold a diver in place while testing his field of vision through different face masks or while measuring the force of his kicking thrust. The group plans to develop instrumentation for freely-moving divers that will measure the human energy required in undersea work, and analyze the changes which occur in the body in deep water.


Gadjah Mada Project Complete

On January 12, 1966, faculty members who participated in the Gadjah Mada University project have a final meeting to wrap up the 10 year effort to establish university training in engineering in Indonesia. More than 100 graduates a year are now turned out at the university and nearly 100 students and faculty members from Gadjah completed coursework and training at UCLA.

Shaker Tests

In April of 1966, R. B. Matthiesen schedules a seismic test of the new Math Sciences Building under construction using a shaker device. The device consists of two counter-rotating buckets, each filled with 700 pounds of lead, which vibrate the structure slightly when the shaker is bolted to the foundation flooring. The “baby earthquake” provides data for engineers to determine the stability of the building.

First Alumnus Of The Year

In June of 1966, the first UCLA College of Engineering Alumnus of the Year award is presented during commencement ceremonies to Raymond M. Hill, newly appointed chief of the Los Angeles City Fire Department. Hill earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1955, specializing in chemical engineering and math.

Starr Named Dean

On Friday, August 26, 1966 it is announced by University President Clark Kerr and Chancellor Franklin D. Murphy that Chauncey Starr is named new Dean of the UCLA College of Engineering. Starr will assume his new duties on January 1, 1967.

High-Speed Atoms And Space Vehicles

In October of 1966, Eldon L. Knuth reports findings on scattering of atoms off of materials that simulate spacecraft during flight. To replicate a spacecraft orbiting Earth at 25,000 miles per hour, Knuth produces a molecular beam with which he blasts particles at a variety of materials. The results will help in the design of spacecraft for high-speed flight as well as for the high heat of reentry.

Lyman Meets Walter Cronkite

In November of 1966, professor John Lyman is interviewed by Walter Cronkite for a CBS-TV documentary series on “The 21st Century.” Lyman foresees many breakthroughs triggered by advances in materials, molecular biology, and integrated circuits, including artificial kidneys and hearts that work better than original organs, and artificial brains, perhaps coupled directly to man’s brain. By the 22nd Century, he says, man will control weather, fully exploit the ocean’s and the earth’s interior, and move even further into space. Humans may even be whisked across vast distances through teleportation, Lyman speculates, in which a person’s entire genetic code would be fed to a computer, and flashed to a receiving computer on the moon or another planet, where it would be instantly reconstructed into the person who stood on earth a few seconds earlier.

Computerized Building Design

In December of 1966, professor Moshe F. Rubinstein publishes a book titled “Matrix Computer Analysis of Structures,” which explains a way to analyze the earthquake-safety of a building on the computer, before a drop of cement is ever poured. By feeding the computer information on the shape of the structure, its separate parts, and types of material, the computer can predict the stresses and strains on the building when subjected to earthquakes, strong winds or other forces of nature, as well as the normal loads of equipment and people, Rubinstein says.


Hybrid Automobile

In April of 1967, George A. Hoffman from the Institute of Transportation and Traffic Engineering suggests a hybrid gas-electric vehicle that would utilize electric motors at each wheel. The vehicle, Hoffman says, would consist of an internal combustion engine of a rating much reduced from the conventional motor that it supplants, and would drive, at its optimal speed, a generator. The generated electric power goes to the traction motors (integral with all the wheels) and to a sizable secondary battery, also connected with the four electric motors. Depending on speed and terrain, computer controls would determine the combinations of engine power and electric power to serve the greatest utility.

Trade Routes

In July of 1967, responding to the explosion of worldwide transportation (from cargo jets to barge-carrying ships and high-speed trains), faculty are creating computer systems to give a helping hand in finding the most efficient and cost-effective route. Using the TRANsportation SIMulator or TRANSIM, thousands of decisions and factors that go into moving commodities from one place to another are run through a computer to come up with an accurate analysis of cost, time, and operational problems for a planned route. The project is under the direction of associate dean Russell R. O’Neill and Alfred M. Feiler.

Dry Lands

In August of 1967, assistant professor John A. Dracup is heading to the arid stretch of Coahuila in north central Mexico as part of a long range project by the University’s Dry-Lands Institute to help solve the basic problems plaguing the world’s water-starved areas. By coordinating damming activities near watersheds and a planting program, Dracup hopes to increase the amount of run-off water available for agriculture use.


Ancient Coins

In May of 1968, George Hoffman uses an electron microscope to probe the makeup of ancient coins and detect forgeries. Using the microscope, an electron beam is focused on a tiny spot of the coin, which reflects the X-rays. After the data is run through a computer, an analysis of the angles and intensities of the X-rays shows the metallic composition of the coin. Because many ancient coins contain faint traces of gold, lead or other metals, depending on when and where they were struck, Hoffman has been able to use these “metallurgical signatures” to detect forgeries.



In February of 1969, a small group of professors from the College of Engineering and the School of Medicine is expanding its specialty of cybernetics through courses and research. The researchers are examining the possibility of connecting a device that detects brain waves and can transmit signals to paralyzed limbs. This by-pass system would, for example, send a “clench fist” signal to the muscle of the paralyzed limb. Engineers accomplishing the research include professors Edwin B. Stear and Jacques Vidal, psychiatrist John Shanley, and engineering student Lloyd Nirenberg.

College Becomes A School

On Feb. 21, 1969, upon recommendation of UC president Charles J. Hitch and UCLA Chancellor Charles E. Young, the Regents approve changing the existing College of Engineering to the School of Engineering and Applied Science, effective fall quarter 1969. The aims and programs of the new School will put into practice the chief recommendations proposed in two studies on engineering education. Both reports call for an upward shift in the educational level of engineers in the face of the accelerating knowledge explosion and the crucial social role of the engineer.

La Jolla Sea Water Plant

In April of 1969, a reverse osmosis plant for purifying sea water into drinking water goes on line in La Jolla. The plant, designed and constructed by UCLA engineers using membranes for reverse osmosis first demonstrated by UCLA in 1959, can purify the sea-water in one pass through the system. Using tubes filled with membrane liners, the salt content of the water is reduced from 35,000 parts per million to a level of 500 ppm required for drinking water. The project team includes professors Joseph McCutchan and Douglas Bennion, research engineer Stephen Johnson and Edward K. Selover.

First On The ‘Net

On July 3, 1969, it is announced that UCLA will become the first station in a nationwide computer network which, for the first time, will link together computers of different makes and using different machine languages into one time-sharing system. Professor Leonard Kleinrock, who heads the UCLA project, says creation of the network represents a major forward step in computer technology and may serve as the forerunner of large computer networks of the future. The ambitious project is supported by the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Seven New Departments

On September 25, 1969, formation of seven departments within UCLA’s newly established School of Engineering and Applied Science is announced by Dean Chauncey Starr. Starr says the departments have been organized by “broad areas of learning and research rather than by the end use to which a graduate will put his academic background on his first job.

Expedience Means Bad Drivers

In November of 1969, a study by Edward Levonian of the Institute for Transportation and Traffic Engineering, says that the personality trait of “expedience” in youngsters is often related to a record of driving violations. The research psychologist defines expediency as “orientation toward self-benefit at the expense of others, or, less formally, as looking out for number one, even if it means hurting someone else.” The results are based on a 220 item questionnaire given to 1,080 15-year-old students enrolled in driver’s education classes in City of Los Angeles high schools.


Minority Engineers

In February of 1970, the success of a two-year effort to implement the Engineering Special Education Program to help high school seniors from minority groups meet the academic qualifications to enroll at UCLA is reported. The program was begun by UCLA engineering seniors Jim Murray and Ronald Fountain, and then supported by professor Morris Asimow. Under the program, 32 students from Compton, Centennial, and Dominguez high schools serve six months as engineering aides at UCLA, with some of them developing a design for improved housing in Compton.

Smog Hurts Plants

In August of 1970, Ruth Ann Bobrov Glater determines by examining plant damage in Los Angeles that the levels of nitrogen oxides in smog are increasing. Whereas an excess of hydrocarbons in smog had been causing leaf damage on some vegetable crops (such as lettuce, spinach and beets) and ornamental flowers (dahlias, petunias and fuchsias) between 1940 and 1960, thereafter a different type of damage, that causes plants’ lower leaves to drop off, was occurring. This type of damage, Glater says, signals an increase in concentrations of nitrogen oxides resulting from auto and aircraft engine emissions.


Particles In Smog

In May of 1971, professor Albert Bush warns of possible health hazards from the breathing of thousands of tiny particles invisible to the eye that exist in polluted air. Bush says that the particles are small enough to slip past nasal passages and be deposited in the respiratory system or lungs and that gaseous irritants may adhere to the surfaces of tiny particles and be carried by them to the eyes and respiratory system.

Teeth That Hear

In May of 1971, Fred Allen from the School of Engineering and Earl Collard of the School of Dentistry have developed an electronic device that allows a person to hear through the teeth. A wristwatch receiver-transmitter receives either radio frequency or audio signals and translates them into vibrations of the teeth through a device fitted inside a dental bridge. The vibrations are transmitted through the tooth, jaw and cranial bones to the inner ear, allowing a person to hear.

Cow Chips And Glass

In July of 1971, professor John D. Mackenzie responds to the needs of an Imperial Valley rancher and develops a method of mixing cow dung and waste glass to produce a lightweight, building material that doesn’t burn, is waterproof, an excellent thermal and noise insulator, can be painted, nailed, drilled, sawed and glued together, and is cheap and easy to produce. Mackenzie notes that the material is also odorless.


Hydrogen Car

In July of 1972, five engineering students have modified a 1972 American Motors Gremlin with a Ford “Boss” 351 engine to run on hydrogen gas and are preparing to enter it in the Urban Vehicle Design Competition scheduled in August. Lab tests indicate that the car will not only beat the scheduled 1976 pollution control standards but will actually emit slightly cleaner air than it takes in. Student designers of the vehicle include Frank Lynch, Joe Finegold, Ned Baker, Bob Takahashi, and Johnny Lu. Their faculty sponsor is Albert Bush.

Women In Engineering

In August of 1972, the results of a study on women in engineering led by associate dean Alfred Ingersoll concludes that more women are being attracted to the engineering profession, but the lack of role models and the “executive suite barrier” prevents them from moving into upper level jobs in engineering management. Practicing women engineers make up less than one percent of the engineering work force, Ingersoll notes, while women represent half of the nation’s technical talent pool.

Hydrogen Car Wins

In September of 1972, the UCLA team has won the 1972 Urban Vehicle Design Competition with their hydrogen-powered Gremlin. The team would like to now develop solid hydrogen storage methods which could eliminate weight and storage problems of using hydrogen gas to power the vehicle.


Diamond Hard Coatings

In April of 1974, it is announced that professor Rointan F. Bunshah has developed a new material called titanium carbide, second only in hardness to diamond. Described by a colleague as “easily the most startling material development in many years,” titanium carbide promises to have a wide range of uses, especially as a super-hard coating for cutting, drilling, and grinding tools.

Copper Recovery

In May of 1974, professors Douglas N. Bennion of UCLA and John Newman of UC Berkeley announce development of a low cost, non-polluting process for recovering copper from ores and scrap metal. Using a concentrating cell, the electrochemical process yields high concentrations of copper, and can also be used to recover mercury, lead, cadmium, silver, and gold.



Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

In January of 1975, a UCLA space experiment to investigate the formation of optical fibers is being prepared for launch to orbit as part of the joint Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission. Aboard the spacecraft, a small electrical furnace will use elements to fuse together optical fibers into a matrix, providing qualities that cannot be obtained using earth-bound laboratories. Professors Alfred S. Yue and Cavour W. Yeh predict that these light-transmitting fibers could vastly improve telephone and television communications.

Nationwide Networks

In June of 1975, wide ranging research into computer networks is led by professor Leonard Kleinrock and funded primarily through grants from the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). On-going ARPA-funded research has expanded to include performance evaluation of computer networks and the study of advanced packet switching in satellite and ground radio environment.

Engineers Join Doctors

In June of 1975, doctors and engineers are joining together to work on projects such as development of artificial joints and organs, electronic instrumentation for medial diagnosis and treatment, life support systems, and injury prevention in automobile accidents.


Analyzer Goes To Washington

In December of 1977, the world’s last working model of a mechanical differential analyzer is donated by UCLA to the Smithsonian Institution for their pioneering computing displays. The differential analyzer, first used at UCLA in 1947, introduced much of Southern California industry to automatic computing.



In May of 1978, professor T.H. Lin is developing improved stress-strain relations for metals subject to multiaxial stress. Lin is devoted to developing a physical theory of creep of metals, which has particular importance when designing structures that are subjected to mechanical loading at elevated temperatures.

Engine And Fuel Lab

In June of 1978, the Engine and Fuels Laboratory under the direction of professor William D. Van Vorst has been upgraded and now permits on-line sampling of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide and monoxide, oxygen, and nitric oxides in auto exhaust. Efforts are directed at investigation of fuel additives and their effect on performance and emissions, with the results applied to the development of engines and fuels that will maximize fuel economy and produce minimum air pollution.

Aerosols And Pollution

In July of 1978, professor Sheldon K. Friedlander has developed a laboratory for the study of aerosol behavior, including use of optical particle counters capable of measurements in the .1 to 5 micron range. Friedlander is examining new theories on nucleation in a reacting gas, and suggests classic nucleation theory may have to be modified as applied to smoggy atmospheres and process gases.


O’Neill Tours China

In January of 1979, Dean Russell R. O’Neill journeys to the People’s Republic of China with a UCLA delegation to explore future academic relations and possible exchanges between the two nations. UCLA was selected as one of six U.S. universities to be linked with a major Chinese institution.

Solid State

In May of 1979, students are working on projects in the field of solid state electronics with faculty direction: professor Fred G. Allen is studying the energy loss of hot electrons on thin semiconducting films; Oscar M. Stafsudd is studying low temperature deposition techniques to make low-cost silicon material for solar cell applications.


In September of 1979, under the direction of professor Gary Hart, the Full Scale Earthquake and Wind Laboratory is gathering data on the response of existing structures to earthquakes. At Century City, Santa Barbara, and other locations in the state, instruments have been placed in buildings to measure motion. Should the ground move, the building moves the instruments and the information is transmitted over telephone lines to a central recorder on campus.

Space Arrays

In October of 1979, professor D. Lewis Mingori and students are involved in studies related to controlling the orientation of and the shape of large flexible spacecraft. The research is directed at understanding how best to locate actuators and sensors for controlling the orientation of large space arrays.


Rubber Band Auto Engergy

In August of 1980, professor Andrew F. Charwat is expanding on a reversible energy storage technique for automobiles that involves the use of rubber bands as “collectors.” By connecting the wheels to the movement of the pistons using a series of rubber bands, energy could be stored during braking and then released during acceleration, saving on fuel consumption, Charwat says.

Crump Institute

On October 9, 1980, the Crump Institute for Medical Engineering is established and F. Eugene Yates is named director. The institute is an expansion of the research involvement between engineers and medical professionals that began with formation of the Institute for Medical Engineering in 1976. Much of the impetus and most of the funding comes from Ralph and Marjorie Crump. Ralph E. Crump is a 1950 graduate of the UCLA College of Engineering and president of Frigitronics of Bridgeport, Conn. The company specializes in the development and manufacture of medical instruments, many invented by Crump himself, particularly for use in cryogenic (low temperature) surgery.

Methane From Waste

In November of 1980, professor Michael K. Stenstrom is using roof-top digesting machines to research ways to boost methane production during a sewage sludge process. By feeding the process with the right type of micro-organic nutrients, Stenstrom has been able to produce an end product that is 65 percent methane. The project is sponsored by Southern California Edison, which sees methane as a clean, low sulphur fuel for power plants.

Computer Research

In November of 1980, the computer science department receives more than $5 million in grants from the National Science Foundation and the Advanced Research Projects Agency to conduct a program of research on advanced distributed computing systems and their applications using a local area network containing a few powerful computers and a large number of flexible mini-computers. The title of the funded proposal is “An Advanced Network Environment for Distributed Systems Research.”


Dip-Slip Faults

In June of 1981, professor Poul Lade is focused on the mechanisms that determine ground-surface offsets above a dip slip earthquake fault. By using mathematical formulas based on laboratory results in which faults were identically simulated, researchers arrive at an accurate prediction as to how the soil above the fault will react when it begins to move.

Plastic Finger Joints

In August of 1981, professor Bruce Dunn is involved in a variety of research areas in materials science, including researching possibilities for synthesis of solid state batteries and sensors, and, in the biomedical area, examining use of polymers for the replacement of finger joints to aid patients suffering from severe arthritis.


Molecular Beam Epitaxy

In May of 1982, pioneering research is carried out in the field of molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), one of the major advances expected to have a large impact on the electronic devices of the 1980s. MBE is a process by which layers of one single crystal material are grown on top of another single crystal material. The minute layering process enables construction of smaller and faster semiconductor circuits.

Modeling Aqueducts

In June of 1982, faculty at the School’s Water Resources Center have completed modeling work on the Central Arizona Project, which represents the first application of mathematical programming to the optimal operation of an aqueduct system. The CAP is a modern aqueduct system scheduled to deliver Colorado River water entitlements to urban, agricultural and industrial users in Central Arizona. The UCLA model determines the best flow necessary to meet water demand by analysis of water management using the capabilities of the system’s open channel aqueducts, tunnels, check gate structures, inverted siphons, pipes, and relift pumping stations.

Better Teeth

In July of 1982, faculty in the materials department are investigating a class of composites based on a new principle called “transformation toughening.” The process reduces the propagation of cracks in such materials, increasing “flexural strength” by 60 percent. Such toughened ceramics will have applications as cutting tools, hip-joint replacements, and improved artificial teeth.

Breathing Teddy Bear

On November 15, 1982, doctors and engineers at the Crump Institute hold a press conference to feature new research into infant sleep patterns and a solution to the abnormal patterns that may cause sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). By putting sensors beneath an infant’s crib, researchers determine the movements of an infant. A teddy bear that “breathes” by having its chest expand is placed in the crib. Researchers determined that when the teddy bear is made to breathe, the infant goes to it and sometimes cuddles it. By helping regulate infant breathing patterns, the incidence of premature disease or death can be avoided. Research has shown that infants who sleep fitfully in the first six weeks of infancy are prone to early health problems, whereas infants with stable breathing patterns typically lead normal lives.


Minority Engineering

In February of 1983, the Minority Engineering Education Center is opened and dedicated to serve as a focal point for the School’s efforts to enroll and retain an increasing number of students from underrepresented minority groups. The center is an outgrowth of a long-standing program for introducing select high school students from minority groups to the study of engineering.

Self-Testing Computer

In December of 1983, professor Algirdas Avizienis is refining techniques for fault tolerant computers, a technique he developed at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1967 when he designed the STAR (Self Testing and Repairing) computer. In addition to refining the error-catching mechanisms in the computer hardware, he has extended his efforts so that the system will also diagnose and neutralize human mistakes in both software programming and circuit design.


Invention Into Smithsonian

In February of 1984, a photo-electric mixing tube, the heart of an eight-year-long experiment at UCLA that gave birth to the field of quantum optics, was given to the Smithsonian Institution. The device, invented by professor A. Theodore Forrester, is the second of Forrester’s inventions to be included in the Smithsonian collection, the other being his ion propulsion engine put on display in 1964.

Hydrogen Car Sold To Museum

In May of 1984, UCLA’s first hydrogen-powered car, a 1972 Gremlin, is sold for one dollar to Harrah’s Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada, where it went on display.

Reactor To Be Decommissioned

In June of 1984, it is announced that UCLA will decommission its training and research reactor and that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been notified that UCLA will withdraw its application to renew the operating license for the reactor. The reactor operated safely from startup in 1960 through shutdown on Feb. 3, 1984.

Bridge-Tester Helps Retrofit

In December of 1984, in order to test the feasibility of a CalTrans program to retrofit freeway bridges to reinforce them against earthquakes, professor Larry G. Selna and students construct a massive bridge-tester capable of exerting 1.5 million pounds of pull. Using the device, the UCLA team constructs bridge joints utilizing the “pinning” method” suggested by CalTrans, and then evaluates the design using the bridge-tester. The UCLA team determines during the first nine tests that the method of tying bridge spans together with cables is insufficient.




In May of 1985, UCLA joins an international team to solve the technological challenges for creating nuclear fusion, seen as the power source for the next century. Using UCLA’s Plasma Interaction Surfaces Components Experimental Simulator, the UCLA team, led by professor Robert W. Conn, tests different materials for use inside the superhot fusion reactor of the future.


In October of 1985, a group of five professors has been awarded a three-year contract as part of a Strategic Defense Initiative project looking toward the design of large, innovative nuclear power reactors for use in space. The UCLA team pursues the project in conjunction with two other universities and four private companies. Their unclassified research seeks to design reactors applicable to missile defense in space, as well as to manned space stations and deep space exploration.


Microtremors Mapped

In February of 1986, a team of student and visiting Japanese engineers assist professor Ajit K. Mal in mapping microtremors in the San Fernando Valley. The Valley is divided into 50 observation sites two miles apart, each at which the team uses portable instruments to take microtremor readings. Using the readings, the team hopes to determine the potential for earthquake damage by examining the resonance of various soil types.


In April of 1986, 14-year-old Revital Elitzur has enrolled as an engineering student under the University’s gifted student program. The girl is one of a number of superachievers admitted to UCLA’s program from the past seven years. As a high school student she tutored college students in calculus to help earn the money to enroll at UCLA.


In May of 1986, a new fusion generator called a “tokamak” built at UCLA begins operation. It is the world’s first continuous current tokamak (from Russian TOroid KAmera MAgnit Katuchka), and will be used in the development of nuclear fusion, a limitless and “clean” source of energy, by imitating and harnessing on earth the same processes that make the sun shine. The 16 1/2 foot doughnut-shaped device stands eight feet high and has viewing portals that also allow a person’s entrance into the inner chamber of the device for repairs and maintenance. The project is led by professor Robert J. Taylor under a grant from the Department of Energy.

Artificial Intelligence

In June of 1986, Hewlett-Packard donates $2.5 million worth of computer workstations to the computer science department to advance teaching in artificial intelligence. Each workstation has a computer using the Motorola 68020 processor with seven megabytes of RAM and 110 megabytes of hard disc storage.

Mexico Quake Survey

In June of 1986, under a grant from the National Science Foundation, assistant professor Guy Felio performs field tests in Mexico City to probe the causes of building collapse during the 8.1 Richter scale earthquake that struck the city Sept. 19, 1985. Many of the structures rested on heavy piles driven deep into the ground, and it is this aspect of structural failures that Felio is investigating.

Better Semiconductor

In June of 1986, professors Rointan F. Bunshah and Oscar M. Stafsudd report development of a major advancement in semiconductors. The semiconductor is made of thin layers of beta silicon carbide and promises a “significant breakthrough in the size, power, speed, operating temperature and radiation resistance of solid state semiconductor devices and integrated circuits,” the researchers say.

Enzymes Eat Pollution

In September of 1986, professor Vincent L. Vilker has overturned commonly held beliefs on the removable of solvents contaminating groundwater. It was thought that no natural mechanism could destroy the solvents, but Vilker creates a biological recipe for a class of enzymes that “chew right through” the polluting toxins, called low molecular halocarbons (LMH). Vilker was pointed to the discovery by realizing that ether is an LMH, and that patients anesthetized with ether obviously recovered so must metabolize the gas in some manner. Vilker’s clue was discovered in the enzymes of the liver, which he replicated and modified in the laboratory to digest solvents.


Tiger Toothache

In February of 1987, veterinarians at the Wildlife Waystation in Little Tujunga Canyon are preparing to perform dental surgery on a 500-pound Siberian tiger named Reesha. The tooth repair is enabled by a heated, multi-position surgery table built by faculty, students and staff at the School of Engineering. Professor Alexander Samson, and staff members Joe Becker and Helen Hill manage the project from start to finish in building the unique operating table, which can support animals up to 1,600 pounds.

Hazardous Substances

On March 23, 1987, establishment of an $18 million center at the School of Engineering and Applied Science for research on toxic and other hazardous wastes and byproducts is announced by the National Science Foundation. The center, named the Engineering Research Center for Hazardous Substances Control, is the first of its kind at any American university. Professor Sheldon K. Friedlander is appointed director and principal investigator for the center. Friedlander notes that the cost of managing hazardous waste is approaching $10 billion annually for industry.


Campus Network

In October of 1988, UCLA and IBM announce a $5 million study to connect separate IBM and other network computer systems at UCLA into one large network. The task will be to get users of networks based on IBM Systems Network Architecture (SNA) to “talk” easily with those based on the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and vice versa.


Lion Toothache

In April of 1989, volunteers from the School of Engineering are preparing to use a device they constructed to transport a 14-year-old African lion to a nearby operating room for tooth surgery. Professor Alexander Samson, staff members Helen Hill and Joseph Becker, and a team of seven students built the motorized gurney, which successfully moves the anesthetized lion from its quarters at the Wildlife Waystation across the grounds to the nearby operating room. The Half Track Limp Animal Transporter, the only one of its kind, enables two people to move a large animal such as a cougar or bear, where before 12 to 14 people grunted and sweated to do the job.

Global Warming

In May of 1989, professor John Dracup testifies before a U.S. Senate Committee on the likely impact of climatic changes on water resources for agricultural, industrial and residential use. If the current trend toward global warming continues, Dracup says, it may threaten seasonal water balance in the American West, raise the cost of water to consumers and require additional construction of large dams and aqueducts. If snow lines and freezing elevations on mountains climb higher, winter precipitation will fall as rain rather than snow, consequently changing runoff patterns and triggering heavy winter floods and a corresponding decrease in streamflow during late spring and summer.



Water Reclamation Membranes

In March of 1996, new research at UCLA devoted to refinements in reverse-osmosis technology could help solve problems of irrigation drainage water in the agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley.

Image Compression Technique Doubles Efficiency

In March of 1996, researchers report the development of a new image data compression technique that is one-and-a-half to three times more efficient than the widely used JPEG standard. Such an advance could speed image communications for applications ranging from the Internet to direct broadcast satellite television.

Accurate El Nino Prediction Tool

In July of 1996, UCLA researchers demonstrate a prediction tool with a significant level of accuracy in predicting droughts and floods caused by El Nino up to one or two years in advance.

Ultralight Robotic Aircraft

In November of 1996, a crew of Rockwell engineers successfully launched and flew the UCLA-Rockwell Unmanned Air Vehicle during tests at El Mirage Dry Lake in the Mojave Desert. The battery powered, 40-foot-wing-span craft flew perfectly, while jubilant engineers chased the aircraft across the dry lake in a convertible.


Artificial Intelligence Program Solves Rubik’s Cube

In May of 1997, computer science professor Richard Korf finds the first optimal solutions to Rubik’s Cube. The median optimal solution appears to be 18 moves, and it is believed any cube can be solved in no more than 20 moves.

Better Aneurysm Treatments

In July of 1997, a team of UCLA computer scientists develops a computer simulation system that can create highly accurate simulation and images of blood flow and correctly map its dynamics to aid doctors in treating brain aneurysms.

Novel Polymer Membranes

In September of 1997, new ceramic supported polymer membranes could have a large impact on a variety of organic-organic separation applications, including refinery processes in the petrochemical industry, solvent recovery from various semiconductor manufacturing operations, purification of contaminated water supplies and use in the food and beverage industry, such as wine clarification.


Revolutionary Polymer Semiconductor Fabrication

In February of 1998, using a common inkjet printer, materials science and engineering professor Yang Yang’s group prints polymer coatings directly onto glass substrates.

Hindenburg Disaster Reassessed

In May of 1998, UCLA chemical engineering professor discovers that it was not hydrogen but the material used to coat the “skin” of the airship that caused the disastrous fire aboard the famous Hindenburg zeppelin.


Improved Inkjet Printers

In February of 1999, recent graduate Fan-Gang “Kevin” Tseng applied microelectromechanical systems technology to the design of inkjet printers to achieve exceptional resolution, solving a problem that has plagued the printing industry for more than 10 years.

New Antenna Designs

In September of 1999, when electrical engineering professor Yahya Rahmat-Samii looks for new antenna designs, he just puts a few together so they can mate and reproduce. This decidedly unromantic activity, which takes place inside a computer, is an application of genetic algorithms — the Darwinian notion of natural selection and evolution.

Samueli Family Foundation Gives $30 Million to UCLA

In December of 1999, Dr. Henry Samueli and his wife, Susan, donate $30 million to UCLA School of Engineering to establish endowments for graduate fellowships, teaching awards and term chairs, and for capital construction and other high-priority projects.


Better Military Decisions

In June of 2001, UCLA researchers develop information technology that could one day help military leaders make rapid, informed decisions in a variety of hostile situations. The program would provide military leaders with fast, easy to understand information to assist them in managing military operations, from elaborate humanitarian missions to large-scale border defense.

Improving Building Safety

In September of 2001, The George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) brings together 11 institutions in a cooperative network that will allow them to share data and equipment. The field-testing and monitoring equipment being designed at UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science will provide researchers with real-time information on what happens to structures such as buildings, dams and bridges during simulated earthquakes.


Institute for Cell Mimetic Space Exploration

In February of 2002, by mimicking the remarkable self-organizing capabilities of biological systems, researchers in the NASA-sponsored Institute for Cell Mimetic Space Exploration (CMISE) hope to create the next generation of technologies for exploring space. CMISE is one of five University Research, Engineering and Technology Institutes that represent NASA’s grand vision for enabling the promise of 21st century technologies.

Center for Embedded Networked Sensing

In April of 2002, just as UCLA was the first node on the ARPANET, a computer network that was the precursor to the Internet, researchers say the next incarnation of the Internet — a total communications system permeating the physical world — will be developed at the newly established UCLA Center for Embedded Networked Sensing. The center is led by computer science professor Deborah Estrin.

Bioengineering Department

In September of 2002, the interface between biology and the physical sciences represents fertile ground for new and exciting discoveries in the 21st century. The faculty in the newly formed Bioengineering Department at UCLA have embraced this opportunity to make an impact in this field with a revolutionary curriculum.

Center for Nanoscale Innovation for Defense

In December of 2002, the Center for Nanoscience Innovation for Defense is created to facilitate the rapid transition of research innovation in the nanosciences into applications for the defense sector. Research at UCLA will focus on: quantum tele-communication nanodevices, development of a single-electron-spin microscope, photonic crystal nano-optical structures and circuits, and molecular level electronic and mechanical devices.


Vijay Dhir Appointed Dean

In March of 2003, Vijay Dhir, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, is named dean of the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. Dhir, who served as the School’s interim dean since February 2002, plans to focus on increasing interdisciplinary research, aggressive faculty recruitment, greater engagement with alumni and creating a higher national profile.

Functional Engineered Nano Architectonics Focus Center

In August of 2003, the Functional Engineered Nano Architectonics Focus Center (FENA) will expand semiconductor research at universities. The term “architectonics” is derived from a Greek word meaning “master builder,” which aptly describes the center’s researchers as they build a new generation of nanoscale materials, structures and devices for the electronics industry.

Center for Scalable and Integrated Nano-Manufacturing

In October of 2003, the Center for Scalable and Integrated Nanomanufacturing (SINAM) will combine fundamental science and technology in nanomanufacturing, transforming laboratory science into industrial applications in nanoelectronics and biomedicine. SINAM’s integrated research and education platform will have wide and profound impacts on our lives through applications in computing, telecommunication, photonics, biotechnology, health care and national security.



First Elusive Lightning-Quick Waveforms Captured

In March of 2005, researchers have for the first time been able to capture and digitize electrical signals at the rate of one trillion times per second, a discovery that may help scientists develop defenses against high-powered microwave weapons attacks and allow physicists to peer into the fundamental building blocks of nature. Research led by: Professor Bahram Jalali and Graduate Researcher Yan Han.

New Method for Generating Human Bone

In April of 2005, researchers discovered and isolated a natural molecule that can be used to heal fractures and generate new bone growth in patients who lack it, the most significant advancement in bone regeneration since the 1960’s. The research was led by professor Ben Wu.

Institute for Cell Mimetic Space Exploration

In June of 2005, UCLA Engineering is awarded a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop an automated, chip-based metabolic analysis tool to aid in more easily extracting and measuring metabolites in cells.

Water Technology Research Center

In June of 2005, UCLA Engineering forms a new Water Technology Research Center that will develop technologies to turn seawater into fresh water and to study methods that will minimize environmental impacts associated with desalination — the removal of salt and other pollutants from water — and will seek to lower the cost of desalination by integrating it with innovative energy generation.

Affordable Alternative Energy Resource

In October of 2005, researchers led by professor Yang Yang hope to meet the growing demand with a new and more affordable way to harness the sun’s rays: using solar cell panels made out of everyday plastics. An innovative new plastic solar cell they hope eventually can be produced at a mere 10 to 20 percent of the current cost of traditional cells, making the technology more widely available.


Terrorism vs. Privacy

In January of 2006, landmark software developed by researchers led by Professor Rafail Ostrovsky and graduate researcher William Skeith may ease some privacy concerns by making the tracking of terrorist communications over the Internet more efficient, and more targeted, than ever before.

New Heart Valve for Children Developed

In February of 2006, Children with congenital heart defects may soon have an alternative to invasive open heart surgery that will mean less time in the hospital, a quicker recovery and no need to break open the breastbone. Using a super-elastic, shape-memory metal alloy called “thin film nitinol,” engineers are developing a collapsible heart valve for children that can be loaded into a catheter, inserted into a vein in the groin area, guided into place and then deployed in a precise location within the heart. As the valve is released from the catheter, it springs back to its original shape and begins to function. The research is led by professor Gregory Carman and researcher Lenka Stepan.

Western Institute of Nanoelectronics

In March of 2006, UCLA, along with the UCB, UCSB and Stanford have teamed up to launch what will be one of the world’s largest joint research programs focusing on the pioneering technology of “spintronics” with its primary headquarters located at UCLA Engineering. The institute’s purpose is to explore and develop advanced research devices (circuits and nanosystems with performance beyond conventional devices, which are based on the current industry standard) complementary metal oxide semiconductors  with the help of the best interdisciplinary talents in the field of nanoelectronics in the world.

Three Highly Interconnected Nanoscale Architectures Using Spin-Wave Technology

In May of 2006, UCLA Engineering researchers announce a critical new breakthrough in semiconductor spin-wave research by creating three novel nanoscale computational architectures using a technology they pioneered called “spin-wave buses” as the mechanism for interconnection. The three nanoscale architectures are not only power efficient, but also possess a high degree of interconnectivity. The research is led by professors Mary Mehrnoosh and Kang Wang and researcher Alexander Khitun.

Unhealthy Bacteria Found in L.A. Area Beaches

In May of 2006, a new study by UCLA Engineering researchers led by professor Jennifer Jay and graduate researcher Christine Lee shows that bacteria known as Escerichia coli and enterococci are prevalent in the top layer of sand at some of the area’s most popular beaches, even when the surrounding ocean water tests may test clean.

Silicon Photonics Devices

In June of 2006, professor Bahram Jalali and researchers Sasan Fathpour and Kevin Tsia develop a novel approach to silicon devices that combines light amplification with a photovoltaic — or solar panel — effect, which can be achieved with zero power consumption, while power is generated in the process.

Earthquake Safety Research

In August of 2006, civil and environmental engineering professors Jonathan Stewart and John Wallace and their team of researchers plan to laterally load a full-scale $1 million bridge foundation near Los Angeles International Airport to the point of failure in a quest to improve engineers’ knowledge about how bridges react in earthquakes.

New Online Master’s Degree Program

In September of 2006, a new self-supporting master’s degree program at the UCLA School of Engineering is established to allow top-notch engineers to earn an advanced degree while pursuing their careers. The Master of Science in Engineering Online (MSOL) professional-degree program will enable engineers and computer scientists the needed flexibility to enhance their skills — and they won’t have to quit their jobs to do it.

Revolutionary Nanotech Water Desalination Membrane

In November of 2006, researchers led by assistant professor Eric Hoek announced they have developed a new reverse osmosis (RO) membrane that promises to reduce the amount of energy used and the cost of seawater desalination and wastewater reclamation by using a uniquely cross-linked matrix of polymers and engineered nanoparticles designed to draw in water ions but repel nearly all contaminants compared to the current class of commercial RO membranes that simply filter water through a dense polymer film and clog up over time.


Master’s of Science in Engineering Online Program

In fall of 2007, the inaugural class of 57 students starts instruction in the new Master’s of Science in Engineering Online Program (MSOL).

Cyber Round-the-Clock Care

In February of 2007, a new CustoMed medical monitoring device, developed by a UCLA engineering professor in conjunction with UCLA neuroscientist, promises patients experiencing neuromotor impairment as a result of traumatic injury or chronic disease the ease and affordability of substantially shortened therapy and recovery times and the ability to complete their therapy at home while still under the watchful supervision of their doctor avoiding unnecessary and costly trips to the doctor or therapist. The research is led by professor Majid Sarrafzadeh.

Quantum Electronic Systems

In February of 2007, UCLA Engineering teams up with the leading researchers of five other universities on a $6 million award from the U.S. Defense Department to exploit precise biological assembly for the study of quantum mechanics in nanoparticle arrays. By utilizing biology to precisely control size, spacing, composition and coupling in the arrays, the researchers will be able to examine the effects of electronic, magnetic and optical interactions at much smaller dimensions that will open a wide range of potential novel fabrication techniques, physical structures and architectures for electronics than the past. The research is led by professor Kang Wang.

High-Frequency Submillimeter Waves

In April of 2007,  professor M.C. Frank Chang achieves a new world record in high-frequency submillimeter waves at a 324-gigahertz frequency that was accomplished by using a voltage-controlled oscillator in a 90-nanometer complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) integrated circuit. The signal generator, which produces frequencies nearly 70 percent faster than other CMOS oscillators, paves the way for a new generation of submillimeter devices that could someday be used in high-resolution sensors on spacecraft, and here on Earth in a new class of highly integrated and lightweight imagers that could literally cut through fog and see through clothing fabrics.

Next Generation of LED Panels

In May of 2007, professor Yang Yang and graduate researcher Jinsong Huang have achieved the highest lumens per watt ever recorded for a red phosphorescent LED using a new combination of plastic, or polymer, infused liquid – and at half the current cost. This means that visually, an LED soon will be lighter, thinner, and have a higher quality display.

Alternative-Fuel Vehicles

In October of 2007, associate professor Vidvuds Ozolins and postdoctoral researcher Alireza Akbarzade develop a model that could help engineers and scientists speed up the development of hydrogen-fueled vehicles by identifying promising hydrogen-storage materials and predicting favored thermodynamic chemical reactions through which hydrogen can be reversibly stored and extracted.

Rogue Waves

In December of 2007, professor Bahram Jalali and grad student Daniel Solli succeeds in creating and capturing oceanic rogue waves traveling in the open ocean by discovering similar optical rogue waves propagating through optical fiber. Both waves obey similar mathematics allowing researchers to study maritime waves in a laboratory environment by using this newly developed novel detection method.


More Efficient Biofuels

In January of 2008, professor James C. Liao and postdoctoral researcher Shota Atsumi develop a new method for producing next-generation biofuels by genetically modifying Escherichia coli bacteria to be an efficient biofuel synthesizer. The method could lead to mass production of these biofuels.

Plastic Solar Cell Fabrication

In February of 2008, professor Yang Yang and researchers Jinsong Huang and Gang Li announce  the invention of a new method for the fabrication of organic polymer solar cells by using an electronic-glue-based lamination process, combined with interface modification, to create a one-step method for semi-transparent polymer solar cell fabrication. The method eliminates the need for the expensive and time-consuming high-vacuum process used in fabrication, and the resulting device has the advantage of being low-cost and achieving high transparency for various applications.

New Method for Protecting Private Data

In April of 2008, associate computer science professor Amit Sahai and his colleagues have devised a new data-protection method they hope will put Internet criminals out of business by using a mathematical system, known as functional encryption, that will not only help to simplify the encryption of data in servers but will also allow access to the data in an intuitive way, making it much harder for hackers to gain access to sensitive information but much easier for programmers to secure it.

World’s Fastest Barcode Reader

In September of 2008, engineers led by professor Bahram Jalali and postdoctoral researcher Keisuke Goda design a barcode reader that is nearly a thousand times faster than any device currently in use. The new imaging technique enables the detection of ultrafast, non-repetitive transient phenomena in real time and can produce one-dimensional bar codes with a frame rate on the order of 25 million frames per second.

Polymer Solar Cells with Higher Efficiency Levels

In November of 2008, professor Yang Yang describes the design and synthesis of a new polymer for use in solar cells that has significantly greater sunlight absorption and conversion capabilities than previous polymers.

Higher-Density Biofuels

In December of 2008, professor James Liao successfully modifies Escherichia coli, a bacterium often associated with food poisoning, to produce unusually long-chain alcohols essential in the creation of biofuels that pack more energy into a smaller space and are easier to separate from water, making them less volatile and corrosive than the commercially available biofuel ethanol.

Cell Phones Improving Health Monitoring

In December of 2008, a prototype cell phone has been constructed that is capable of monitoring the condition of HIV and malaria patients, as well as testing water quality in undeveloped areas or disaster sites. The research is led by professor Aydogan Ozcan.

Antibiotic and Anticancer Drugs

In December of 2008, associate professor Yi Tang and graduate students Wenjun Zhang and Yanran Li successfully use the bacterium Escherichia coli to synthesize a class of natural products known as bacterial aromatic polyketides, which include important antibiotic and anticancer drugs. Research led by: Associate Professor Yi Tang and graduate students Wenjun Zhang and Yanran Li.


World’s Fastest Camera

camera banner-smallIn April of 2009, professor Bahram Jalali and researchers Keisuke Goda and Kevin Tsia develop a novel, continuously running camera that captures images roughly a thousand times faster than any existing conventional camera at 6 million frames per second that may, for instance, allow one to detect the presence of very rare cells that, although few in number, signify the early stages of a disease.

Energy Frontier Research Center

In May of 2009, the School of Engineering will be home to a multi-million dollar Energy Frontier Research Center that will focus on the creation and production of nanoscale materials for use in converting solar energy into electricity, electrical energy storage, and capturing and separating greenhouse gases, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Funding for Carbon Nanotube Research

In May of 2009, the School of Engineering receives a gift of $2 million from alumni, James L. Easton, CEO of sports equipment company Easton Inc., to fund research on advanced carbon materials for sports equipment and aerospace applications.

Major Breakthrough with Water Desalination System

In July of 2009, professor Yoram Cohen, postdoctoral researcher Andi Rahardianto and graduate student Alex Bartman are working hard to help alleviate the state’s water deficit with their new mini-mobile-modular, M3, “smart” water desalination and filtration system that cuts both cost and time in creating and testing pilot facilities.

40th Anniversary of the Internet

Internet40imageOctober 29, 2009 is the 40th anniversary of the birth of the internet at UCLA. On Oct. 29, 1969, a UCLA Engineering team led by distinguished professor of computer science Leonard Kleinrock sent the very first message over the ARPANET, the computer network that later became known as the Internet. That event, recognized today as the moment the Internet was born, ushered in a technological revolution that has transformed communications, education, culture, business and entertainment across the globe, leading to dramatic changes in our social, political and economic lives.

Bacteria to Turn Carbon Dioxide Into Liquid Fuel

In December of 2009, Chancellor’s Professor James C. Liao and postdoctoral scholar Wendy Higashide have genetically modified a cyanobacterium to consume carbon dioxide and produce the liquid fuel isobutanol, which holds great potential as a gasoline alternative.



In February of 2010, engineering assistant professor Yu Huang and her research team reveals the creation of a new graphene nanostructure called graphene nanomesh, or GNM. The new structure is able to open up a band gap in a large sheet of graphene to create a highly uniform, continuous semiconducting thin film that may be processed using standard planar semiconductor processing methods.

Detecting Bacterial Contamination

In March of 2010, associate Professor Jenny Jay and postdoctoral researcher Christine Lee have sped up the process of analyzing bacterial concentrations to under one hour, compared to a day, through the development of a new in-field, rapid-detection method that uses magnetic beads conjugated to specific antibodies that identify and bind fecal bacteria that are used as standards for determining the safety of recreational waters, such as E. coli and Enterococcus.

Next Generation of Microelectronics

In March of 2010, professor Kang L. Wang and researcher Faxian Xiu describe the creation of a new material incorporating spintronics that could help usher in the next generation of smaller, more affordable and more power-efficient devices.

New Desalination Membrane

In April of 2010, professor Yoram Cohen and researcher Nancy H. Lin unveil a new class of reverse-osmosis membranes for desalination that resist the clogging which typically occurs when seawater, brackish water and waste water are purified due to the membrane’s novel surface topography and chemistry.

World’s Smallest Telemedicine Microscope

In April of 2010, assistant professor Aydogan Ozcan creates a miniature microscope, the world’s smallest and lightest for telemedicine applications that instead of using a lens to magnify objects, generates holographic images of microparticles or cells by employing a light-emitting diode to illuminate the objects and a digital sensor array to capture their images.

Location-Based Security

In July of 2010, a research group led by professor Rafail Ostrovsky at UCLA Engineering proves that cryptography, the practice and study of hiding information, that is based solely on physical location is possible by using quantum mechanics.

High Speed Electronics Lab

In August of 2010, engineering professor M.C. Frank Chang’s advanced research on high-speed electronics has received a $1 million gift from alumni Hyley Huang to support his research on electronic displays and wireless integrated circuit designs at high data rates and high frequencies.

Firefighter Health

In September of 2010, UCLA Engineering is selected by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate to establish guidelines for the health and safety of firefighters in the field by using wireless health technologies to remotely monitor firefighters in action to measure and track their fitness and health status and to help develop key interventions to improve their health. The research is led by professor William J. Kaiser.

Internet for the 21st Century

In September of 2010, the National Science Foundation awards a team led by UCLA Engineering researchers $7.5 million to develop a more efficient and robust Internet that can meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

Western Institute of Nanotechnology on Green Engineering and Metrology

In October of 2010, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology awards UCLA Engineering $6 million to support the construction of the new state-of-the-art Western Institute of Nanotechnology on Green Engineering and Metrology. The new building will provide core research facilities that will advance energy conservation technologies for microelectronics and nanotechnology by supporting research on low-power, nonvolatile nanoelectronics; green manufacturing of novel nanomaterial-based energy technologies; and new materials for energy generation, storage and management.

Bacteria That Can Walk

bacteriaIn October of 2010, professor Gerard Wong finds that during the initial stages of biofilm formation, bacteria can actually stand upright and “walk” as part of their adaptation to a surface. This was observed in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a biofilm-forming pathogen partly responsible for the lethal infections in cystic fibrosis. By developing a series of search engines and computer programs that use particle-tracking algorithms to quantitatively analyze time-lapse microscopy movies of bacterial motion on surfaces they may advance better methods to treat such bacterial infections.

Male Fertility Testing

In October of 2010, the lens-free telemedicine microscope developed by a UCLA engineer is adapted by researchers to instantly count the number of sperm in a sample by comparing 20 holographic images taken over 10 seconds, allowing it to identify which are moving and which are immotile compared to the old method of manually counting sperm and tracking those that are moving by viewing semen samples with an optical microscope that could only be done in a lab setting. The research is led by assistant professor Aydogan Ozcan and graduate researchers Ting-Wei Su, Anthony Erlinger and Derek Tseng.


Space Shuttle Delivers First UCLA-led Experiment to International Space Station

space-station-dhir-2011In March of 2011, the International Space Station received its first UCLA-led research project when the Space Shuttle Discovery delivered a new scientific payload to the orbiting station. The project, led by Vijay K. Dhir, dean of the school and a distinguished professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, looked at the process of boiling under microgravity conditions.

Proteins as Raw Material for Biofuels, Biorefining

In March of 2011, UCLA engineers led by Professor James C. Liao, Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Chair in Chemical Engineering, have demonstrated for the first time the feasibility of using proteins — one of the most abundant biomolecules on earth — as a significant raw material for biorefining and biofuel production. The research utilized proteins produced by microorganisms as a carbon source for energy production.

Polymer Light-Emitting Devices That Can Be Stretched Like Rubber

nullIn August of 2011, UCLA engineers led by Qibing Pei, professor of materials science and engineering, demonstrate for the first time an intrinsically stretchable polymer light-emitting device. This has potential to be utilized in wearable electronics and in biomedical devices that can move with the body.

Researchers Help Develop Complete Map of Mouse Genetic Variation

In October of 2011, an international team of investigators, including UCLA Engineering computer science professor Eleazar Eskin, reports that it has sequenced the complete genomes of 17 strains of mice, including the most frequently used laboratory strains. The massive genetic catalog will provide scientists with unparalleled data for studying both how genetic variation affects phenotype and how mice evolved.


Café by the SEAS Expanded

In January of 2012, Café by the SEAS (later known as the SEAS Café) , which has served engineering students since 1949, relocated to a larger and brighter space on Boelter Hall’s fifth floor breezeway, just across from its previous location.

Judea Pearl Receives Turing Award

In April of 2012, Judea Pearl, professor of computer science, won the 2011 Association for Computing Machinery A.M. Turing Award. This accolade highlights advances in artificial intelligence and partnerships between humans and machines.

Pinpointing Geographic Origin By Genetic Variation

2012 GeneticIn June of 2012, research conducted by UCLA’s Computer Science and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology departments and Israel’s Tel Aviv University have developed a dynamic approach to the study of genetic diversity: SPA. Spatial ancestry analysis allows for the modeling of genetic variation in two- or three-dimensional space, and can help pinpoint individuals’ geographic origin.


Transparent Solar Cells Developed

nullIn August of 2012, UCLA researchers led by Carol and Lawrence E. Tannas Jr. Chair in Engineering professor Yang Yang develops a new polymer solar cell that is 70% transparent to the human eye. The cell produces energy by absorbing infrared light, and may someday allow windows in homes or buildings the ability to generate electricity, while still allowing people to see outside.


NSF-Funded Nanoscale Systems Research Center Opens

In September of 2012, the Translational Applications of Nanoscale Multiferroic Systems Center opens in Boelter Hall, thanks to a major 10-year grant from the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Center (ERC) program. This center will serve as a base for creating some of the world’s tiniest electromagnetic devices.

Magnetic Nanoparticles for Developmental Biology, Cancer Research

In November of 2012, using clusters of tiny magnetic particles about 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, UCLA professors led by professors Dino Di Carlo and Jack Judy manipulate how thousands of cells divide, morph, and develop finger-like extensions. This tool can be used in developmental biology to understand how tissues develop, or in cancer research to uncover how cancer cells move and invade surrounding tissues.


New Semiconductor Research Center Established

In January of 2013, a new multidisciplinary research center aims to revolutionize future semiconductor technologies by developing new nanoscale materials and structures that take advantage of properties unavailable at larger scales. The Center for Function Accelerated nanoMaterial Engineering (FAME) is supported by $35 million in funding over the next five years by the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) and by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to address the national needs of advanced semiconductor research.

Tiny Capsule Effectively Kills Cancer Cells

nullIn February of 2013, devising a method for more precise and less invasive treatment of cancer tumors, UCLA and USC scientists develop a degradable nanoscale shell to carry proteins to cancer cells and stunt the growth of tumors without damaging healthy cells.


New NSF-Funded “Collaboratories” Open

In April of 2013, with the support of the National Science Foundation, UCLA Engineering completed four new “collaboratories” — collaborative laboratories for research in sustainable fuels, pollution solutions and nanomaterials for harnessing energy and improving healthcare, as well as a virtual lab in which sensors track energy and water usage in the new facilities. They are located in Boelter Hall.

UCLA Engineers Craft Material for High-Performance ‘Supercapacitor’

In May of 2013, taking a significant step toward improving the power delivery of systems ranging from urban electrical grids to regenerative braking in hybrid vehicles, researchers from Cornell, UCLA, and France synthesize a material that shows high capability for both the rapid storage and release of energy.

Hidden Coded Message Discovered in Campus Floor Tiles


In July of 2013, a hidden message left by a UCLA architect in 2011 was recently uncovered in Boelter Hall. The tiles spell “Lo and Behold!” in binary code, as a tribute to computer science professor Leonard Kleinrock, who in 1969 succeeded in transmitting the first two letters of the word “login” to Stanford Research Institute in the first-ever internet message .

Computer Scientists Develop ‘Mathematical Jigsaw Puzzles’ to Encrypt Software

In August of 2013, a team of researchers led by UCLA professor Amit Sahai collaborate with IBM and University of Texas at Austin colleagues to design a system to encrypt software so that it only allows a program to be used as intended while preventing any deciphering of the code behind it. This is known in computer science as “software obfuscation,” and this is the first time it has been accomplished.

UCLA Engineers Develop a Stretchable, Foldable Transparent Electronic Display

2013 ElectronicImagine an electronic display nearly as clear as a window, or a curtain that illuminates a room, or a smartphone screen that doubles in size, stretching like rubber. Now imagine all of these being made from the same material. In 2013, researchers from UCLA Engineering develop a transparent, elastic organic light-emitting device, or OLED, that could one day make all these possible.


UCLA Researchers’ Smartphone ‘Microscope’ can Detect a Single Virus, Nanoparticles

Your smartphone now can see what the naked eye cannot: A single virus and bits of material less than one-thousandth of the width of a human hair. In September of 2013, Aydogan Ozcan, UCLA professor of electrical engineering and bioengineering, and his team create a portable smartphone attachment that can be used to perform sophisticated field testing to detect viruses and bacteria. The device weighs less than half a pound.


UCLA Engineering Leads NSF Project on Timekeeping for ‘Internet of Things’

In July of 2014, the National Science Foundation announces a $4 million “Frontier” award to a UCLA-based team led by professor Mani Srivastava and associate professor Sudhakar Pamarti that will tackle the challenge of timekeeping in cyber-physical systems (CPS) — often called the “Internet of Things” — in which objects and devices are equipped with embedded software and are able to communicate with and be controlled by wireless digital networks.

UCLA Engineering Plays Key Role in DARPA ‘Neuroprosthesis’ Research

In August of 2014, the school is tapped by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to play a key role in an innovative project aimed at developing a wireless, implantable brain device that could help restore lost memory function in individuals who have suffered debilitating brain injuries and other disorders.

Garrick Institute for the Risk Sciences Established at UCLA Engineering

In November of 2014, UCLA Engineering alumnus B. John Garrick and his wife, Amelia Garrick, have committed $9 million to launch the B. John Garrick Institute for the Risk Sciences at UCLA Engineering. The institute will provide new knowledge and technology to assess and manage risks in order to save lives, protect the environment and protect property from large-scale threats.

Researchers Hit Milestone in Accelerating Particles with Plasma

In November of 2014, professors Chandrashekhar Joshi and Warren Mori from UCLA and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory show that a promising technique for accelerating electrons on waves of plasma is efficient enough to power a new generation of shorter, more economical accelerators.

UCLA Engineers Create ‘Superomniphobic’ Texture

In November of 2014, professor Chang-Jin “CJ” Kim and Tingyi “Leo” Liu from UCLA Engineering create the first surface texture that can repel all liquids, no matter what comprises the material. Because its design relies only on the physical attributes of the texture, the texture could have industrial or biomedical applications.

2015 - Present


Next Dean of UCLA Engineering Selected

In February of 2015, Jayathi Murthy is selected as the first female and seventh overall dean of the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, effective January 1, 2016. Murthy was the Ernest Cockrell Jr. Department Chair and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

Smart Necklace Analyzes What Goes Down Your Throat

In March of 2015, a new smart necklace aims to rid us of our eating sins by automatically guessing the portions and contents of our meals. The device is called WearSens, and it was developed by UCLA engineers to provide more accountability over what we devour. The device’s co-developer is Majid Sarrafzadeh, professor of computer science and electrical engineering, and co-director of the Wireless Health Institute.

UCLA Engineering Celebrates Opening of Engineering VI

In April of 2015, UCLA leaders and prominent alumni gathered March 19 to celebrate the new jewel of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, Engineering VI. The state-of-the-art center for engineering research and education is located in the heart of campus.

CJ Kim Wins Korea’s Highest Prize for Engineering

In April of 2015, Chang-Jin “CJ” Kim, UCLA professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and a leader in microfluidics and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), receives the 2015 Ho-Am Prize for Engineering, considered Korea’s highest honor.

DARPA Robotics Challenge

In June of 2015, a team of engineers from UCLA and the University of Pennsylvania competed in the Department of Defense’s DARPA Robotics Challenge. UCLA mechanical and engineering professor Dennis Hong led the team.

UCLA Researchers Develop New Material to Accelerate Healing

In June of 2015, Researchers led by professor Dino Di Carlo from UCLA Engineering develop an injectable hydrogel that helps skin wounds heal more quickly. The material creates a scaffold that allows new tissue to latch on and grow within the cavities formed between linked spheres of gel.

Lower-Cost, More Efficient Nanostructure for Fuel Cells

In July of 2015, a team of UCLA Engineering researchers led by professor Yu Huang develop nanostructures made from a compound of three metals that increase the efficiency and durability of fuel cells while lowering the cost to produce them. Their solution addresses vexing problems that have stalled the adoption of fuel cell technology.

UCLA Engineering Raises a Record $42.6 Million in 2014-15

In August of 2015, the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has a record-breaking year for fundraising in 2014-15, bringing nearly $42.6 million to the school. The funds support student scholarships and faculty chairs, the school’s cutting-edge new building, Engineering VI, and research programs across all seven departments.

UCLA Materials Scientists Take Step Toward Tougher Ceramics

In August of 2015, a team of UCLA materials scientists led by professor Jann-Ming Yang explores ways to create tough ceramics, a long sought-after class of materials that would be exceptionally hard, capable of withstanding extremely high temperatures and less prone to corrosion than metals, but still have the ability to become dented or deformed without fracturing.

Next-Gen Perovskite Solar Cells made Stable by Metal Oxide ‘Sandwich’

In November of 2015, UCLA researchers led by professor Yang Yang made significant advances toward stabilizing perovskite solar cells by protecting them between two layers of metal oxide.


Affiliated Department of Computational Medicine

In December of 2017, the Department of Computational Medicine (previously the Department of Biomathematics at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine) becomes an affiliated department with both the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and the David Geffen School of Medicine.



In May of 2018, the Women in Engineering (WE@UCLA) program at UCLA Samueli is established to enable the full participation, success and advancement of women in engineering and computer science.


UCLA Launches Institute to Explore Legal, Policy Impact of Emerging Tech

To explore how new technology affects society, privacy, government and public policy, the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and UCLA School of Law launched the UCLA Institute for Technology, Law and Policy. The cross-disciplinary institute will examine advances in artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, robotics and new forms of digital media to identify the benefits and risks they represent. John Villasenor, professor of electrical engineering, public policy, law and management, serves as director.


In-Person Master of Engineering Professional Degree Program

In fall 2021, the one-year, on-campus Master of Engineering professional degree program is launched with six areas of study. The self-supporting program is designed to address the needs of new and mid-career engineers who wish to pursue technical management positions, with both high-tech skills and management savvy.

Hub for Humanity and Artificial Intelligence

The Science Hub for Humanity and Artificial Intelligence is launched and is the first such collaboration for Amazon with a public university. The mission of the science hub is to address humanity’s pressing challenges by cross-pollinating academic and industry research that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to jointly identify and solve research problems, with particular attention to issues of bias, fairness, accountability and responsible AI.

Mentor Professors Program

The Mentor Professor Program is established. The initiative is designed to hire faculty with a demonstrated record of, or who show exceptional promise for, mentorship of students from underrepresented and underserved populations. The initiative builds upon the school’s commitment to foster a more inclusive and equitable environment and to promote the success of underrepresented students.


In April of 2021, a group of UCLA engineers becomes the first university team to win the grand prize in the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE global competition. The UCLA CarbonBuilt team, led by Gaurav Sant, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, won $7.5 million in the competition’s track for technologies related to coal-fired power generation.


Break Through Tech Los Angeles Hub Founded 

UCLA becomes the first public university to host a Break Through Tech AI hub — part of a national program, partly funded by Melinda French Gates, designed to teach artificial intelligence to a greater diversity of students — bringing AI education to college students from underserved groups across Southern California.

UCLA Engineering receives $21 million pledge from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative commits to donating $21 million to the UCLA Institute for Carbon Management to support the institute’s mission of developing new carbon removal technologies designed to combat climate change. Founded in 2018 at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, the institute focuses on developing technologies to reduce carbon emissions and accelerate their commercialization. 

MAP Founded

UCLA Samueli School of Engineering launches the Mathematics Achievement Program (MAP), which aims to provide a robust science, technology, engineering and math curricula for students from underserved high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).


Eighth Dean of the School of Engineering Named

In September of 2023, Ah-Hyung “Alissa” Park is appointed the Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean of the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering — the eighth dean in UCLA engineering’s history.

Center of Excellence on New Mobility and Automated Vehicles at UCLA Founded

Funded by the Federal Highway Administration — an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation —  with a five-year, $7.5 million grant, the Mobility Center of Excellence was launched November 2023. The multi-institutional hub will conduct research on the impacts of new mobility technologies and highly automated vehicles on the evolving transportation system when deployed at scale.

UCLA Samueli Commemorates Class of 2024 Bruin Engineers

UCLA Samueli Commemorates Class of 2024 Bruin Engineers

Nearly 1,800 graduating engineering and computer science students of the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science Class of 2024 celebrated their milestone accomplishments in two commencement ceremonies held in Pauley Pavilion