Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Request for ideas: SUE Winter Seminar Series

The University of Cincinnati Civil & Environmental Engineering Department will host the first transdisciplinary SUE Graduate Seminar series in Winter quarter.

Bahram Shahrooz and I are in the process of organizing the seminar. We are soliciting your suggestions for possible speakers and topics. We expect to have a mixture of U. Cincinnati and external invited speakers. There may be some funds available for bringing speakers in from out of town, so do not be limited at this point by where people are located.

Please contribute your ideas:

  • An idea for an SUE research area that you would like to be considered, even if you do not know a speaker (e.g., green infrastructure, low energy buildings, transportation systems, ... or something more targeted and specific)
  • An idea for a speaker that you would like to be considered. Please include basic contact information, and a brief statement of what this person would be expected to present.
  • Feel free to nominate yourself for a seminar, or one of your graduate students.
Thanks for your support and suggestions!

Jim and Bahram


  1. Jim and Bahram,

    I will try to think more about this but if we have funds, perhaps we can get people from centers related to this topic. Few I know leading such centers are at the University of Texas Austin (I believe) (David Allen), John Crittenden (now at Georgia Tech), and Bill Cooper/Arturo Keller (UC Irvine). I also believe it will be nice to have people from other programs at UC that were involved with SUE to give relevant lectures. Few people at EPA are also involved on life cycle analysis (Mary Ann Curran).

    Another approach is to have someone from a funding agency to learn more about opportunities (NSF, EPA, the state etc)


  2. I suggest that you invite someone from GE Power Systems or John Burck at BHE Environmental to talk about wind power.
    Solar seems to be getting all the publicity.
    There is an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion facility in Hawaii. Alan McDonald and Peter Lively at Purdue were working on the mechanics of OTEC back in the early 1980's.
    I am prepared to lead a discussion about the ethics of "going green".
    Pat Ryan in Environmental Health has written several papers about health effects related to exposure to diesel particulates.
    Dave Piech at NavStar W708-865-3468, C630-337-7365, would probably come to talk about their clean diesel engines.
    Erin Haynes in Environmental Health received a grant to work with the community of Marietta, OH, to monitor health effects from local air pollution.
    Gerald Keeler at U. Michigan and Marion Hoyer at EPA National Fuel and Vehicle Emissions Laboratory could address their findings of mercury in vehicle exhaust.
    Wendy Davis Hoover at EPA could share her research on pollution-eating super bugs.
    There was a project at the T&E using bacteria and pine trees to clean up methane.
    I'd love to know more about LEED certification. Perhaps Jane Goode at GBBN Architects could recommend someone.
    Tim Keener can recommend speakers for biodiesel and wet electrostatic precipitators.
    Sumana Keener could discuss pollution controls at the power plant on the edge of campus.
    Basically, I think the sustainability seminar should invite speakers from several different fields.

  3. I'm happy you have put this blog together. Its a great way to start (and hopefully maintain) some dialogue. For speakers, I would like to use a format similar to Talk 20 or TED - where a panel of experts is given a short period of time to speak - and most of the time is devoted to discussion. Another approach may be to use an existing bank of speakers available on the net - such as TED - and then to follow the presentation with a moderated discussion... in reality, we don't need to have the outside speaker actually 'physically visit UC'. We could show assign some background reading, show the video clip, and then open up a moderated discussion with the speaker participating via conference call... just an idea of a different means of engaging the audience (perhaps a more sustainable way than having folks physically travel to Cincinnati?!?!)

  4. In the autumn of 2008, I taught a course entitled, “Readings in Sustainable Urban Engineering,” to the Honors students at UC. At the end of the term, the students were required to write short essays (less than ten pages double spaced) on a topic of their choice. Some of them were VERY thoughtful and VERY well written. Perhaps it would be nice to invite this collection of students (all undergrads at UC; except one) to prepare brief (e.g., 10 min) presentations summarizing their papers and to have this be a point of discussion for a couple of seminars (e.g., two or three students present their papers – distirbute them before the seminar so that the grad studnets can read them; and then have discussion during the seminar).

    This would be a great way to stimulate interaction among UG and G students in our program and students in other programs around UC.

    FYI, the titles of the papers were:
    Community supported agriculture
    International trade laws and sustainability
    Recycling the three r’s of saving the planet
    Sister cities as a sustainability resource
    Sustainable grass roots
    The future of LEED is it sustainable

    All of these topics would be interesting for a general audience discussion.


  5. Dion, thanks for the information about the folks at Austin and Irvine. Can you provide a couple of sentences about what they would be expected to talk about? I don't know them.

  6. Dan, I like your idea about the use of some TED talks. What do you think about "Jaime Lerner sings of the city"? Perhaps we could combine that with a talk by someone involved locally in multimodal transportation options, for a couple of 15 minute presentations and then 30 minutes of discussion.

  7. Dan, if there were 6 students in the honors class, and we did a talk20 format, then we could have all of them present in about 40 minutes. Do you think that would work?

    Also I'm hoping to link many of the seminars with a "standing" SUE happy hour at Mecklenberg gardens, to continue discussions started during the seminar.

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