CEEatGT Update: December 2014

They got out
Almost 150 new civil and environmental engineers walked across the stage in the McCamish Pavilion early this month, including about a dozen new alumni we’re now calling “Dr.”

The Indian Ocean tsunami, 10 years later
It’s been a decade since an earthquake off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra sent a giant tsunami tearing across the Indian Ocean, eventually killing a quarter-million people and displacing millions more. Hermann Fritz says the disaster brought global attention and resources to what had been an under-the-radar threat.

An icon’s browning Researchers finally know conclusively what turns the Taj Mahal’s beautiful white marble a dingy brown: airborne carbon and dust. Michael Bergin and his colleagues published their findings this month in Environmental Science & Technology.

Just what’s in that pool water? Insect repellant, caffeine and some flame-retardant chemicals, as it turns out. But just small amounts, according to the work by Ching-Hua Huang, post-doc Peizhe Sun and others that was the cover story of Environmental Science & Technology Letters this month. But the findings raise questions for future research.

And what’s in this sample? A new set of computational tools will help researchers sort out the genomes of all the micro-organisms present in complex microbial communities they’re studying. It’s the first time scientists will have good tools to separate the individual microbes from the mixture.
Florida’s ocean-power potential The Christian Science Monitor highlighted a 2013 study by Kevin Haas and Hermann Fritz to suss out the power-generating potential of ocean currents off Florida’s coast.
A great teacher Susan Burns is one of Tech’s best teachers. Just ask her students. Their evaluations put Burns among the top instructors on campus.
Harsh realities Master’s student Aaron Bivins spent two weeks last summer in Maputo, Mozambique, helping lay the groundwork for a study on urban sanitation and public health with Joe Brown. Bivins remains optimistic about improving sanitation challenges, even though the trip brought him face to face with some difficult realities.
Pirkle makes history at GDOT The Georgia Department of Transportation has a new chief engineer for the new year: CEE alumna Meg Pirkle. She’s the first woman to hold the job.
Shaw wins IRF fellowship First-year Ph.D. student Atiyya Shaw will be a member of the International Road Federation’s fellowship class in 2016.
Giving back Four alumni joined CEE’s advisory board this fall, bringing their decades of experience, leadership and entrepreneurial spirit to help their alma mater. We learned more about them this month in a four-part series full of wisdom, advice and perspective.
Research accolades I Editors of Canadian Geotechnical Journal highlighted a paper by Fawad Niazi and Paul Mayne as one of the most significant the journal published all year.
Research accolades II The editors of Pure and Applied Geophysics selected Hermann Fritz to co-edit a special issue focused on tsunamis in 2011 and 2012, including the wave that devastated parts of Japan and led to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant meltdown. The special issue was published this month.

Until Next Month...http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2930/14204824807_2b3cfdf185_b.jpg
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