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UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering

Explosives, Rock n' Roll and Rollercoasters: Scientists' Lives Showcased in Newspaper Feature

San Diego, Calif., Oct. 28, 2011 --One performs in a rock band while perfecting computer vision systems. Another spent time in the Amazon forest in his youth and is drawing on that experience to look for ways to create new materials inspired by the rainforest’s fauna. Another is a rollercoaster fanatic and helps explore how different parts of the brain work together as a system. Yet another is a football fan who is improving the brain-machine interface. And yet another had dinner with the King of Sweden without even knowing it and aims to build smart solar farms.

All five are professors at the Jacobs School of Engineering and have appeared in the Union-Tribune’s “10 Things” feature. Make sure you read the items below to learn more about Todd Coleman, a professor in bioengineering, Carlos Coimbra, a professor of environmental engineering, Gabriel Silva, a professor in bioengineering, Marc Meyers, a mechanical and aerospace engineering professor and Serge Belongie, a professor in computer science. Bonus: Belongie’s story has a fun video of his band’s hit “I Just Want You to (Dance With Me Tonight)"

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Meet Todd Coleman, an associate professor of bioengineering at the University of California San Diego. Coleman, 34, develops “epidermal electronics,” thin, wireless, wearable sensors that researchers believe will soon be used for everything from monitoring a person’s heartbeat to studying brain activity. The sensors, which resemble tattoos, are light, flexible and durable, making them a potential alternative to some of the cumbersome sensors people now wear. Coleman was recruited from the University of Illinois this year, and he’s quickly settled in at UCSD. On a recent morning, he talked for an hour while wearing slippers from his alma mater, the University of Michigan. More


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Meet Carlos Coimbra, a 43 year-old associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of California San Diego. Coimbra is part of UCSD’s large research program in renewable energy, specializing in the development of solar power farms. Much of his work involves using a network of solar observatories throughout the University of California system to collect data that will make solar plants work more efficiently. Coimbra has devoted much of his life to engineering, but that’s not all that defines him, as we learned when we asked him to list 10 things that he’s done or experienced that give us a sense of what he’s like, and the kind of life he’s been leading. More


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From playing hide-and-seek in a cemetery to falling under the spell of Rome, Gabriel Silva has been leading an interesting life. And he's only 37. Silva helps to explore how the various parts of the brain fit together and work as a system, and how the brain represents and processes information. “We’re especially interested in the brain’s networks” says Silva, who grew up in Toronto, “and how those networks can break down, leading to disease.” More

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Meet Serge Belongie, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of California, San Diego. Belongie, 36, sees the world more fully than most. He’s helped find ways to keep an electronic eye on sensitive coral reefs, worked on video-based fire detection systems, explored facial recognition programs, and helped developed assistive vision technology for the blind. Belongie’s also a rock n’ roller. He plays bass and sings in the band SO3, which is associated with UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering. More


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Poet. Explosives expert. The titles don't seem to go together. But they both apply to Marc Andres Meyers, a materials scientist at the University of California San Diego. He's primarily an explosives expert, having found ways to improve armor, gauge the reliability of nuclear weapons, and figure out what lasers do to metals. Meyers also is an expert in the emerging field of biomimetics, where researchers design products that mimic designs found in nature. But the 64-year-old Brazilian also is the author of poetry, science fiction, and suspense. More

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Media Contacts

Ioana Patringenaru
Jacobs School of Engineering
Phone: 858-822-0899