CEEatGT Update: June 2016

Braves’ New World
Rending of SunTrust Park
A new home for baseball’s Atlanta Braves is rising near the junction of Interstates 75 and 285. The $600 million project involves thousands of people — including three civil engineering and building construction alumni who gave us a peek inside the new ballpark.

Biking the Netherlands
The Sustainable Transportation Abroad class outside the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Kari Watkins’ Sustainable Transportation Abroad spent two weeks bicycling across the Netherlands earlier this summer, evaluating the country’s approach to transportation infrastructure and its famed biking culture. Their takeaway? The Dutch system isn’t just about biking; it’s about holistically integrating biking with public transit and transportation planning.

A large wave towers astern of the NOAA ship Delaware II in the Atlantic Ocean in 2005. (Photo: Delaware II Crew/NOAA)

Going rogue Understanding how rogue waves form in the ocean turns out to be simpler than scientists thought, a revelation that’s thanks to Francesco Fedele and his colleagues around the world. They developed a relatively simple mathematical explanation for the massive waves that more fully describes their formation than previous research.

Hurricane Isabel, the strongest storm of the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season. (Photo: NASA)

Categorizing hurricanes Anyone who’s spent any time in hurricane country knows well the work of civil engineering alumnus Herbert Saffir, BSCE 1940. He was one of the two men who created the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale that, for the first time, helped people understand the destructive power of the storms.

A simulated landslide splashes into a wave basin at Oregon State University.

Understanding tsunamis Hermann Fritz and former Ph.D. student Brian McFall made the cover of a recent issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society A with their landslide-generated tsunami experiments. Such tsunamis are rare — usually earthquakes cause the waves — but when they form, they’re often extremely dangerous.

ShanghaiRankings Academic Program Ranking: Civil Engineering No. 7

No. 7 A new worldwide ranking of the top civil engineering programs puts the School at No. 7 and in the top three in the United States. It’s the first time the group behind the Academic Rankings of World Universities has focused on specific engineering disciplines.

Yannis Dialynas, a hydrology Ph.D. student in Georgia Tech’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Georgia Tech Provost Rafael L. Bras, discuss a model of soil erosion. This research is studying the role of erosion on carbon cycling. (Photo: Rob Felt)

Soil and carbon Ph.D. student Yannis Dialynas and Provost Rafael Bras have developed a new high-resolution model that might explain gaps in global carbon budgets. Their model describes how soil erosion affects atmospheric carbon levels by burying it in streams and elsewhere. The work appeared recently in the journal Global Geochemical Cycles.

The Atlanta Streetcar near the original Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Georgia Tech researchers have developed a way to improve the timing of the streetcar, eliminating the need for schedules and reducing passenger wait time. (Photo: Spmarshall42 / Wikimedia Commons)

Staying on schedule A new real-time dispatching method will cut down on passenger waits and improve efficiency for the Atlanta Streetcar. Using an algorithm developed by Ph.D. student Simon Berrebi and Assistant Professor Kari Watkins will ensure streetcars are evenly spaced along the route and maximize the frequency of service.

John Kelley, BSCE 1992, at the Avalon development in Alpharetta, Georgia

Creating community Avalon in Alpharetta. Colony Square in Midtown. Lorelei in Charleston. If there’s a mixed-use project redefining how residences, offices, retail and public spaces work together to build community, alumnus John Kelley seems to be at the center of it. As a partner with North American Properties, Kelley has a hand in some of the big-name work making an impact across the South.

IndustryWeek website screen shot

Sewing robots Alumnus K.P. Reddy and his sewing robots are revolutionizing the clothing industry using machine vision and automation. His work earned him a profile in IndustryWeek magazine as one of its June Manufacturing Leaders of the Week.

Prescribed burn near Griffin, Georgia. (Photo: Talat Odman)

Where there’s smoke Talat Odman is starting a new project this month to compile and unify all of the prescribed burn data across the southeast United States in an effort to understand how the burns impact people’s health and air quality. The project will also help land managers optimize their state’s burns.

Senior Maggie Lindsey in Costa Rica with one of the young students who will attend a primary school she helped design and build.

Ethics across borders Maggie Lindsey’s perspective on civil engineering ethics in foreign countries has won her second place in the American Society of Civil Engineers Daniel Mead Prize competition. The senior said engineering ethics classes and the Construction Management and Megaprojects course have taught her how to be ethical in her everyday work and demonstrated the importance of understanding ethics across cultures.

A MARTA train in the Edgewood-Candler Park transit station.

MARTA expansion? Atlanta voters will decide in November whether to pay more sales tax to fund an expansion of public transit in the city. Kari Watkins told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution their decision will have huge implications for the city’s growth and whether Atlanta continues to attract younger generations.

Professor Paul Mayne

A ‘geolegend’ GEOSTRATA magazine profiled Paul Mayne in its most-recent issue, highlighting his decades of service to geotechnical engineering and sharing his thoughts on the field’s future. Fun fact: Mayne calls himself a “geomusician,” a nod to his many years playing the bass guitar and often jamming with other engineer-musicians.