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April 23, 2003

Media Contact:

   UCSD Jacobs School: Denine Hagen, (858) 534-2920,
   Los Alamos: Jim Danneskiold, (505) 667-1640,


LOS ALAMOS, NM, APRIL 22, 2003 -- The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and Los Alamos National Laboratory today announced plans for a joint education initiative to train engineers in disciplines that support Los Alamos' mission of enhancing global security.

The research-based educational program will focus on technologies to detect damage and predict the remaining useful life of engineered systems. This research will support critical infrastructure management in both the civil and defense sectors, including stewardship of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, and maintenance of bridges, roads and aircraft.

Los Alamos plans to hire approximately 300 engineers over the next five years, many of them early in their careers, and the initiative with the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering will help fill the laboratory's need for a well-trained workforce.

A primary focus will be creation of a graduate-level, research-based engineering degree program co-located at UCSD and Los Alamos. Students will be required to participate in ongoing research at Los Alamos or at UCSD, and qualified students may opt to continue on for a Ph.D. Beginning this summer, four UCSD structural engineering graduate students will be awarded Los Alamos fellowships, and eventually as many as 30 students a year may enroll in the program.

The curriculum will initially concentrate on structural dynamics and structural health monitoring, including validated simulation, which encompasses predictive modeling and simulation, sensing and diagnostics and data interrogation. Students may take part in at least two of the current collaborations between Los Alamos and UCSD: detecting damage in the composite wings of the Predator unmanned combat aerial vehicle and research on composite-to-steel connections for next generation Navy destroyers.

The engineering education initiative is initially being supported by a six-month, $640,000 contract sponsored by the Weapons Engineering and Manufacturing Directorate at Los Alamos in collaboration with the UCSD Jacobs School Structural Engineering Department. Plans call for a five-year program with a commitment of at least $3 million leading to the creation of a Los Alamos-UCSD Engineering Institute. Funding will support student fellowships, laboratory equipment, and curriculum development.

At Los Alamos, the joint Institute will initially be housed in the Los Alamos Research Park, and will provide satellite access to UCSD courses, bring UCSD faculty to Los Alamos and allow Laboratory staff who qualify to serve as adjunct professors. New Mexico Technical Institute also is expected to participate in the education program.

In addition, the joint Institute will incorporate the existing Dynamics Summer School at Los Alamos and Los Alamos' specialty course offerings in structural health monitoring to offer continuing education programs for professional engineers from industry around the country.

"This project is another example of the rich interactions between the campuses and national laboratories of the UC system," said University of California President Richard C. Atkinson. "The research and education to be conducted through this new initiative will be an important addition to the long list of accomplishments of both the Los Alamos National Laboratory and UCSD."

"We believe this research-based educational program directed toward the needs of the National Laboratories is one of the first of its kind. Although the program will initially be focused on structural engineering, we expect the education partnership will be expanded to other key engineering disciplines at the Jacobs School including aerospace engineering and materials science," said Frieder Seible, Dean of the Jacobs School and Director of the Charles Lee Powell Structural Research Laboratories at UCSD. Seible added that the initiative leverages UCSD's strengths in large-scale structural testing, high performance computing and visualization, and sensor and sensor networks with Los Alamos' expertise and technical capabilities in damage prognosis, modeling and materials characterization.

Los Alamos Interim Director George "Pete" Nanos said the Laboratory's ability to maintain and certify U.S. nuclear weapons as safe, secure and reliable without underground nuclear testing will depend on the next generation of engineers.

"As engineers and weapons designers with test experience in Nevada retire, we will need the best and the brightest from schools such as the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering to take up the challenges of stockpile stewardship and develop the new technologies we need to fully understand these aging weapon systems," Nanos said. "Although we will depend increasingly on the most powerful computers in the world to integrate weapons information, we won't get the right answers in our models without the data these engineers will collect, analyze, and employ to simulate damage states and useful service life."

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About Los Alamos
Los Alamos National Laboratory is operated by the University of California for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) of the U.S. Department of Energy and works in partnership with NNSA's Sandia and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories to support NNSA in its mission.

Los Alamos enhances global security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health and national security concerns. For more Los Alamos news releases, visit World Wide Web site

About the Jacobs School
The UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering ranks among the top 15 engineering schools in the nation and is the youngest institution among the nation's best. The Jacobs School includes 160 faculty and approximately 5,300 students. The Powell Labs at the UCSD Jacobs School are the largest and most active large- and full-scale structural testing facilities in the world. Combined with the expertise of the Structural Engineering Department in critical infrastructure systems, vulnerability assessment, structural design and rehabilitation, these facilities make UCSD a leader in structural engineering research. In addition, the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UCSD has unique expertise in visualization, high speed computing and simulations. The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology [Cal-(IT)sup²] at UCSD and UC Irvine also has critically needed expertise in multi-scale sensors and sensor networks. Visit

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