Monthly Archives: November 2011

Engineering and the Art of the Big Purchase

Ken Gottesman

When you spend billions on technology, supplies and services, it’s good to have a system. Fortunately, Ken Gottesman, vice president of procurement services at Time Warner Inc., knows systems.

Gottesman graduated from UW-Madison with a BS (1984) and an MS (1987) in industrial engineering. He and his hand-picked team help Time Warner leverage its purchasing power in the marketplace and serve as internal consultants to the media giant and its companies including Warner Bros., Turner Broadcasting (CNN, TBS, TNT) HBO and Time Inc., which produces magazines such as Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and People. Time Warner also has a fast-growing online games division. (more…)

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Obituary: Ed Pauls (BSME, ’57) Inventor of the NordicTrack

Ed Pauls

Ed Pauls

It was during a particularly wet and cold training session on the streets of Excelsior in the early 1970s that cross-county skier Ed Pauls wondered whether he could build an indoor exerciser that would duplicate the skiing motion. The key to such a device was to imitate the unique properties of ski vs. snow, a subtle resistance that Pauls was able to capture through the use of a patented flywheel and one-way clutch mechanism. Read more…

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Team Engineers Solution to Critical Worldwide Shortage

SHINE, a Wisconsin startup company led by alumnus Greg Piefer (BSECE, Physics, ’99, PhDNEEP, ’06) achieved a major milestone toward its goal of becoming the first U.S. producer of the medical isotope molybdenum-99 in August.

Greg Piefer

Greg Piefer

“We completed the first demonstration of our accelerator technology at production-level beam voltage and current,” says Piefer. “This accelerator beam power achieves the requirement of our plan to produce half the U.S. supply of this critical medical isotope.”

Radioactive isotopes allow doctors to see inside a patient non-invasively. The isotopes (tracers) emit a wavelength of light that special cameras can detect. By attaching tracers to drugs, physicians could diagnose and treat heart disease, cancers, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and other ailments. The isotopes have an extremely short half-life and disappear from the body within hours, but this also means that they cannot be stockpiled. Because most of these isotopes currently are created in old, overused nuclear reactors, there recently have been critical worldwide shortages, pushing the price of some isotopes as high as $150 million per gram. (more…)

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Karina Eversley Makes Sure Astronauts have the Right Stuff, and Know How to Use it.

Eversley in EVA suit before entering training pool

In 1995, Karina Eversley (then Karina Shook) was an engineering mechanics and astronautics senior working at her dream co-op job with NASA.

Eversley’s task was to program the electronic cuff checklists that are strapped to the wrists of astronauts during spacewalks. The instruments stored more than 800 pages of procedures. If an astronaut checked the device to solve a problem, Eversley had helped to provide the solution.

Today, if an astronaut has a problem during a spacewalk, they still get help from Eversley, only now she provides answers from mission control in Houston as the overall lead of the EVA (extravehicular activity) team.

(more…)

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