Previous Dourdeville Lectures

Gilda A. Barabino

Gilda A. Barabino
Engineering for Impact
Nov. 28, 2023, 4:30 p.m.

Imagine a world that is more equitable, inclusive, and just. Engineering for impact on the challenges that our world faces today will require rethinking engineering design through a lens of equity and inclusion. Join Dr. Barabino as she discusses a radical transformation of engineering design – and engineering education – that integrates the arts, humanities, social sciences, and STEM to create a healthier planet and healthier people.

Gilda Barabino is President and Professor of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering at Olin College. A thought-leader and sought-after speaker in health, STEM education, public policy, and equity and inclusion in science and engineering, she is also a path-breaking investigator in the areas of sickle cell disease, tissue engineering, and the role of race and gender in STEM.

Dr. Barabino is Past President and Board Chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest multidisciplinary scientific society. She is a Fellow of AAAS, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and the Biomedical Engineering Society. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Recently, she co-chaired the groundbreaking National Academies report on Advancing Antiracism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in STEM Organizations.

Prior to joining Olin, she served as Dean and Daniel and Frances Berg Professor at The City College of New York Grove School of Engineering; Vice Provost for Academic Diversity at Georgia Tech; and Professor and Associate Chair for Graduate Studies and Professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. She began her academic career at Northeastern University.

Dr. Barabino earned her BS in Chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana and her PhD in Chemical Engineering from Rice University. She holds honorary degrees from both Dartmouth College and Xavier University of Louisiana.

Rebecca Richards-Kortum
©John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Rebecca Richards-Kortum
Designing and Delivering Medical Devices to Help Every Newborn, Everywhere Survive and Thrive
Feb. 27, 2023, 4:30 p.m.

Rebecca Richards-Kortum is the Malcolm Gillis University Professor and member of the Department of Bioengineering at Rice University.  After receiving a B.S. in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1985, she continued her graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she received a PhD in Medical Physics in 1990.  She joined the faculty in Bioengineering at Rice University in 2005 and served as Chair of Bioengineering from 2005-2008 and 2012-2014.

She was named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor in 2002 and 2006, and is an elected member of the US National Academy of Engineering, US National Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Inventors, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.  She is a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Dr. Richards-Kortum’s group is developing imaging systems to enable better screening for oral, esophageal, and cervical cancer at the point-of-care in low-resource settings;  novel, low-cost sensors to detect infectious diseases at the point-of-care; and technologies to improve neonatal care in low-resource settings.

Paul DauenhauerPaul Dauenhauer
Lanny and Charlotte Schmidt Professor
University of Minnesota

October 5, 2021 at 4:30 pm
Imagining a Fully Sustainable Carbon Future of Materials and Energy

Paul Dauenhauer is a chemical engineer developing new technologies for converting biomass—materials derived from organic, renewable sources—into the chemical building blocks of products that are currently sourced from fossil fuels. Most consumer products contain petroleum-based plastics, rubber, detergents, and other chemicals that harm the environment in several ways: from the extraction of the petroleum, to the energy inputs and waste materials associated with the production process, to the limited biodegradability of the resulting products. With expertise that spans reaction chemistry (specific chemical transformations) and catalysis engineering (accelerating reactions), Dauenhauer is opening new pathways for mitigating the environmental impacts of commodity chemicals.

Paul Dauenhauer received a bachelor of science in chemical engineering and chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2004, and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 2008 supervised by Professor Lanny D. Schmidt. From 2008 to 2009, Paul worked as a senior research engineer for the Dow Chemical Company within Core R&D Reaction Engineering. In 2009, he joined the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Department of Chemical Engineering as an assistant professor. As of 2014, he is the Lanny and Charlotte Schmidt Professor and MacArthur Fellow at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. His published patent applications serve as the scientific foundation of three startup companies: Sironix Renewables, Activated Research Company, and enVerde, LLC.

David SedlakDavid Sedlak
Plato Malozemoff Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
UC Berkeley

November 12, 2020 at 5 pm
Technological Solutions for the Rest of the World’s Water Crises

Hundreds of millions of people living in the world’s wealthiest cities rely upon desalination and other advanced water purification techniques to solve problems related to water security and water quality.  Despite the tremendous technological advances that have been made in recent decades, people facing water crises in low- and middle-income countries and in rural communities within wealthy countries rarely employ modern solutions because they are either too expensive or complicated.  In this talk, Professor David Sedlak will describe the key water crises facing people outside of wealthy cities and the challenges that engineers face in their efforts to repurpose existing technologies to provide robust and affordable solutions to the world’s other water crises.

David Sedlak is the Plato Malozemoff Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley.  He is also the Director of the Berkeley Water Center, Deputy Director of the NSF’s Engineering Research Center for Reinventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure and Master Cartographer for the National Alliance for Water Innovation.  His research on topics such as potable water reuse and nature-based water treatment systems has provided him with insights into the application of systems-level thinking to the diffusion of water technology.  In 2014, he described the ways in which technologies are affecting water crises facing cities in wealthy countries in his award-winning book, Water 4.0.  He is currently attempting to apply these and other ideas to a broader set of water challenges.

Manu PrakashManu Prakash
Associate Professor of Bioengineering
Stanford University

November 19, 2019 at 5 pm
Salomon Center for Teaching, Room 001
79 Waterman St.

Frugal Science
Improving accessibility to science through low-cost technology

Thinking about cost as an engineering constraint brings new life to ideas. This is what makes the difference between an idea influencing a hundred people or a billion. As engineers, we make stuff. We use these skills to design solutions for extremely resource-constrained settings. Join Professor Manu Prakash as he discusses low-cost technology solutions to difficult problems in global health, science education, and ecological surveillance.

An associate professor of bioengineering at Stanford University, Manu Prakash works at the molecular scale to try and understand how the world really works and is humbled and inspired by nature’s own solutions to the world’s biggest problems. His lab applies techniques derived from soft-condensed matter physics, fluid dynamics, computer science, and bioengineering to study the structure and function of biological entities. He is best known for his Foldscope and Paperfuge. Prakash received the MacArthur Fellowship in 2016. He and his team are also working on a water droplet based computer. His work focuses on frugal innovation that makes medicine, computing and microscopy accessible to more people across the world. 


Mary Lou JepsenMary Lou Jepsen
CEO and Founder

October 16, 2018 at 5 pm
Salomon Center for Teaching, Room 001
79 Waterman St.

Using Light to See Deep Inside Our Bodies and Brains

Mary Lou Jepsen pushes the edges of what's possible in optics and physics, to make new types of devices, leading teams and working with huge factories that can ship vast volumes of these strange, new things.

Mary Lou Jepsen is one of the world’s foremost engineers and scientists in optics, imaging and display -- inventing at the hairy, crazy edge of what physics allows, aiming to do what seems impossible and leading teams to achieve these in volume in partnership with the world’s largest manufacturers, in Asia. She has more than 200 patents published or issued.

Jepsen is the founder and CEO of Openwater, which aims to use new optics to see inside our bodies. Previously a top technical exec at Google, Facebook, Oculus and Intel, her startups include One Laptop Per Child, where she was co-founder, CTO and chief architect on the $100 laptop. She studied at Brown, MIT and Rhode Island School of Design, and she was a professor at both MITs -- the one in Cambridge, Mass., and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Tech in Australia.

Heather Fleming

Heather FlemingCEO and Co-Founder
Catapult Design

November 6, 2017 at 6 pm
Salomon Center for Teaching, Room 001
79 Waterman St. 
Design as a Tool for Change

Heather Fleming is the CEO and co-founder of Catapult Design, a product and service design firm with an expertise in human-centered design for marginalized communities. Catapult partners with organizations to develop sustainable solutions that address technology and social issues such as rural electrification, water purification and transport, food security, and improved health. Before starting Catapult, Heather was a product design consultant in Silicon Valley, designing products for a diverse range of corporate clients and an adjunct lecturer at Stanford University and California Academy of the Arts. In 2005, she co-founded and led a volunteer group, the Appropriate Technology Design Team (ATDT), focused on social impact design work through a professional chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) in San Francisco. Heather was named a Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellow and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader for her work with EWB and Catapult Design. Her writing has been featured in ABC News, and Newsweek. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Navajo Chamber of Commerce on the Navajo Nation, and chairs a committee within ASME’s Engineering for Global Development initiative. Heather has a BS in Product Design from Stanford University.

John DabiriJohn DabiriProfessor, Civil and Environmental Engineering and of Mechanical Engineering
Stanford University 

November 11, 2016 at 4:00 pm 
MacMillan 117 - C.V. Starr Auditorium
167 Thayer Street 

Opportunities and Challenges for Next-Generation Wind Energy

Despite common characterizations of modern wind energy technology as mature, there remains a persistent disconnect between the vast global wind energy resource --- which is at least an order of magnitude greater than total global power consumption --- and the limited penetration of existing wind energy technologies as a means for electricity generation worldwide. Dabiri's talk describes an approach to wind energy harvesting that has the potential to resolve this disconnect by leveraging concepts from unsteady fluid mechanics and biology-inspired engineering. Whereas wind farms consisting of propeller-style turbines produce 2 to 3 watts of power per square meter of the wind farm footprint, full-scale field tests over the past five years have demonstrated that 10x increases in wind farm footprint power density can be achieved by arranging vertical-axis wind turbines in layouts inspired by the configurations of schooling fish and seagrass beds. Opportunities for near-term application of this technology were discussed, as were remaining challenges for wide-scale implementation of this approach to wind energy.

John Dabiri is a Full Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. His research focuses on science and technology at the intersection of fluid mechanics, energy and environment, and biology. Honors for this work include a MacArthur Fellowship, an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Popular Science magazine named him one of its "Brilliant 10" scientists for his research in bio-inspired propulsion. For his research in bio-inspired wind energy, Bloomberg Businessweek magazine listed him among its Technology Innovators, and MIT Technology Review magazine named him one of its 35 innovators under 35. In 2014, he was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He currently serves on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics and the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, and he is a member of the U.S. National Committee for Theoretical and Applied Mechanics.

Amy Smith

Amy Smith
Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering
Founder of D-Lab

October 15, 2015 at 4:00 pm 
Salomon 101

Innovation, Inclusion and Impact: Promoting Creativity and Design in International Development

Amy Smith is a senior lecturer in Mechanical Engineering and founder of D-Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Botswana and has also done fieldwork in Senegal, South Africa, Nepal, Haiti, Honduras, Uganda, Ghana, and Zambia. She won the BF Goodrich Collegiate Inventor's Award and the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for Invention for her work in creating technologies to improve the lives of people living in poverty. In 2002, she founded the D-Lab program at MIT, which focuses on the development, design and dissemination of appropriate technologies for international development. She also founded the International Development Initiative at MIT, the Innovations in International Health program and the International Development Design Summit. She was selected as a 2004 MacArthur Fellow and was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2010 for the work she is doing to promote local innovation and technology creation. Her current projects are in the areas of water testing, treatment and storage, agricultural processing, and alternative energy.