Two UCLA Faculty Members Elected to National Academy of Engineering

Feb 6, 2009

By UCLA Samueli Newsroom

Two faculty members from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional distinctions awarded to engineers.

Deborah Estrin, a professor of computer science with a joint appointment in electrical engineering, and John Kim, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, are among 65 members and nine foreign associates elected in 2009, the academy announced today.

Estrin, the founding director of the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing at UCLA, is the first female faculty member from UCLA to be elected to the academy. She was one of four women elected this year, making her one of only 104 female academy members. The National Academy of Engineering includes 2,246 U.S. members and 197 foreign associates.

Academy membership recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice or education, including those who have pioneered new and developing fields of technology and those who have made major advancements in traditional fields of engineering. Established in 1964, the academy shares responsibility with the National Academy of Sciences for advising the federal government on questions of policy in science and technology.

UCLA Engineering is now home to 24 affiliated faculty members who are members of the National Academy of Engineering. Since 2003, UCLA has had 11 faculty members elected to the academy.

Estrin, who holds UCLA’s Jon Postel Chair in Computer Networks, has made pioneering contributions in the design and application of wireless sensing systems for environmental monitoring and has been a national leader in the advancement of embedded sensing research.

Kim, who holds UCLA’s Rockwell Collins Chair in Engineering, revolutionized the way turbulent flows are studied and modeled. He has made outstanding contributions to the development of direct numerical simulations and large eddy simulations as reliable and respected tools for understanding the physics and control of turbulence.

“John and Deborah have each opened up entire new avenues of technological advances through their landmark research,” said UCLA Engineering Dean Vijay K. Dhir. “We are extremely proud that they have been recognized by the National Academy of Engineering with this special honor.”

Estrin has led the development and deployment of wireless sensing systems that provide real-time, multifaceted information about natural and urban environments. She created and directs the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing, a major multidisciplinary National Science Foundation research center, which brings together dozens of researchers from multiple universities and serves as a model for other federally funded centers. Prior to her work in embedded sensing, she co-developed multicast routing protocols that have become Internet standards and played an integral role in developing the ns-2 network simulator, an important tool in the network research community.

Estrin, who has received numerous recognitions for her work, was selected as the first Athena Lecturer of the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Committee on Women in Computing and was honored with the Women of Vision Award for Innovation from the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the ACM and the IEEE.

“As I reflect upon the last decade of developing and exploring embedded sensing systems for environmental monitoring, I feel particularly grateful to my students and multidisciplinary collaborators for making it such a rewarding and stimulating process,” Estrin said.

Kim was among the first to use modern computers for the study of the fundamental physics of turbulence, and his pioneering work has helped make direct numerical simulation an invaluable tool in turbulence research. In addition, Kim has made several important contributions to understanding the physics and control of turbulent flows.

Kim’s work has been recognized with the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, the H. Julien Allen Award from the NASA Ames Research Center, the Otto Laporte Award from the American Physical Society and the Ho-Am Prize in Engineering from the Ho-Am Foundation. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and has served since 1998 as editor of the journal Physics of Fluids. Kim joined UCLA Engineering in 1993,
following more than 10 years as a research scientist, section head and, ultimately, branch chief at the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif.

“I am humbled and honored to be recognized for my contributions to the fundamental physics of turbulent flows,” Kim said. “This is particularly meaningful and encouraging, considering the current academic environment, where basic research does not get much attention. I am grateful to my current and former students and postdocs at UCLA and former colleagues at the NASA Ames Research Center for their contributions, and to UCLA for providing the environment in which I could carry out such basic research.”

The National Academy of Engineering’s mission is to promote the technological welfare of the nation by gathering the knowledge and insights of eminent members of the engineering profession. The NAE is the portal for all engineering activities at the National Academies, which along with the NAE include the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council.

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