Discovery & Innovation

The Past & The Future

Nov 21 2014

Discovery and Innovation

When it comes to research discovery and innovation, Columbia Engineering, for the past 150 years, has remained at the forefront of disciplinary frontiers, defining and pushing the boundaries of new fields, such as nanotechnology, data science, computation-based engineering science, and a myriad of devices capable of sensing, imaging, and visualizing everything from the health of bridges to the health of the human brain.

At the same time, the School’s faculty, alumni, and students have successfully tackled many of society’s grand challenges, developing solutions to problems across the years: from providing safe drinking water in New York City to creating the first automatic tabulating machines in the 1800s, to mass producing antibiotics and developing the first industrial robots in the 1900s, to areas as diverse as engineering human tissues, creating the world’s smallest FM radio, and designing green infrastructure that can enhance human health and reduce pollution in the 2000s. Through the decades, Columbia Engineering remains a game changer in engineering and the applied sciences.

“We are now in an Engineering Renaissance, and the pace of translating technological advances into realworld impact has never been faster,” Dean Mary C. Boyce says. “As you will read in the following pages, our current faculty continues the School’s legacy and tradition in excellence in creative research and true engineering innovation.”

In this issue of Columbia Engineering magazine, we continue to celebrate the School’s 150th anniversary and honor its long line of innovative thinkers, tinkerers, and inspired problem solvers. Here, we spotlight a cross-section of professors who, together with their students, are making a significant impact in the areas of personalized medicine, sensing and imaging, urban infrastructure, sustainability, communications, nanoscience, and big data. From Professor Upmanu Lall’s grand push to address the global water crisis and Sal Stolfo’s persistence in making our cyber world secure to Jingyue Ju’s breakthrough work creating technologies to inexpensively decode the human genome and Maria Feng’s revolutionary ideas to make smart cities a reality, this Discovery + Innovation feature will illustrate some of the path-breaking research at Columbia Engineering today.

We are pairing these current faculty with profiles of pioneers of the past who, in their own time, pushed disciplinary boundaries and defined new research frontiers that significantly affected society at large. As history shows, today’s Columbia Engineering leaders stand on the shoulders of giants of the past as they continue to create science, engineering, and technological breakthroughs that will influence our next generation of engineering and applied science leaders, and generations to come.

Discovery + Innovation

Sunil Agrawal
Personalized Medicine

Maria Q. Feng
Urban Infrastructure

Upmanu Lall

Dan Ellis
Sensing & Imaging

Helen H. Lu
Personalized Medicine

Gil Zussman

Latha Venkataraman

Sal Stolfo
Data Science

Jingyue Ju
Personalized Medicine

Stay up-to-date with the Columbia Engineering newsletter

* indicates required