Public Release: 

NASA administrator Charles Bolden, Outstanding Young Engineers to speak

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

WASHINGTON -- NASA Administrator and former astronaut Charles Bolden will give the keynote address at the National Academy of Engineering National Meeting on Feb. 16 in Washington, D.C. Bolden has logged over 680 hours in space, including a flight to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope.

The event will also feature the NAE Gilbreth Lectures by four young engineers who have distinguished themselves through their research. The Gilbreth Lectures -- named in honor of Lillian M. Gilbreth, the first woman inducted into the NAE -- are given by speakers from NAE's Frontiers of Engineering symposia, which bring together top engineers from the U.S., Germany, Japan, India, China, and throughout the EU.

The first speaker, Ayanna Howard, an associate professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, developed artificial-intelligence software that mimics human decisions. Using cameras and sensors, her robots navigate through rugged terrain and gather scientific measurements in an assigned area. Eliminating the need for a human operator reduces risk, and robots can be used in dangerous Arctic environments.-

The second Gilbreth speaker, Laura Niklason, Yale Professor of Anesthesiology and Biomedical Engineering, has developed a technique that uses a patient's cells to grow arteries in the lab. These techniques have been refined so it is now possible to grow blood vessels for any patient, regardless of age or disease, and to have these arteries ready to implant in a very short period of time. Such techniques may eventually enable the widespread creation of replacement tissues, not unlike replacement parts for automobiles.

New techniques are meeting the rising demand for oil and gas by allowing the extraction of previously unobtainable hydrocarbons. The third Gilbreth speaker, Jorge Lopez, a project leader at Shell International Exploration and Production, images hydrocarbon reservoirs deep underground using seismic receivers. When placed at suitable intervals on the Earth's surface or in boreholes, the data from receivers allows abundant oil originally by-passed to be located and extracted.

The final lecture will be given by Brown University Assistant Professor Chad Jenkins. He and his team study human-robot interaction and robot learning from human demonstration. Rather than writing code or computer programs, their robots are programmed implicitly from a user's demonstration. The team has successfully designed a robot that responds to human gestures, among other achievements.


The lectures are free and open to the public, and will be held in the National Academy of Sciences building, 2100 C St, N.W. Reservations are required at Please see lecture schedule at or contact Randy Atkins at 202-334-1508 for more information.

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