College of Science & Engineering Alumni Newsletter

Spring 1999

A Wonderful Progress Report

This spring has been a time filled with great news. We have begun to celebrate the centennial year of San Francisco State University. It began with Founders Week, when many of you came to the campus and heard talks by Alissa Arp and Debra Fisher. Debra talked about the work she and Professor Geoff Marcy are doing on the discovery of new planets around other stars and how solar systems might be formed. Alissa talked about her work on life in hostile, high hydrogen sulfide environments in the deep ocean hydrothermal vents, the shallower “cold seeps” where methane leaks out of the sediments and supports a unique animal community, and intertidal mudfalts where animals develop strategies to deal with high sulfide concentrations. All of these communities depend on specialized bacteria and this research goes to the heart of how life might have evolved on earth. Between work on the origins of solar systems and the origins of life on this planet the research going on in the College is touching on some pretty fundamental questions.

In April we held a press conference to announce the discovery of a new solar system, the first ever found outside of our own . This discovery by Geoff Marcy, alumna Debra Fisher and alumnus Paul Butler was front page news around the world. All of this indicates the sort of world-class research going on in the College, but the most exciting part of this work, and that by many other faculty members, is that our students, undergraduates as well as graduate students, are directly participating in this work. We continue to believe that, in this way, we provide the best possible education for our students.

In Engineering, Professors Ahmad Gangi and Shi-Shenq Liou, who direct the Industrial Assessment Center, received an award from the Department of Energy for their work. The Center conducts audits, by groups of students and faculty, of small to medium-sized businesses. The teams audit the businesses’ energy utilization, productivity and waste-streams and make recommendations for improved efficiency. Thus far they have served over 200 companies in Northern California. This experience for our students has led to great success for them in industry, and some have even started their own consulting firms on energy efficiency.

As you can see, this is an exciting time in the College of Science and Engineering. We hope you will visit us soon to share in some of this progress.

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Updated by Lannie Nguyen-Tang on August 3rd, 2000