Calling Dr. Brilliant

Dr Larry Brilliant gives polio drops to baby

When this seasoned epidemiologist launched his unconventional career in 1969, he fit the bill as the ‘hippie doctor’ with a penchant for Ram Dass and Wavy Gravy. Since then, this aptly named frontline worker has won public health victories over smallpox, blindness, Ebola, and COVID-19. Next? Monkeypox.

  1. U-M and GM open $5M advanced battery research lab

    The University of Michigan and General Motors have announced an important collaboration. A five-year, $5-million award establishes the GM/U-M Advanced Battery Coalition for Drivetrains (ABCD), headquartered at U-M. Three U-M engineering professors are involved. The project will develop new battery technologies for next-generation autos.

  2. Black holes are the rhythm at the heart of galaxies

    In remarkable new findings, researchers at U-M and other institutions have found that black holes expel energy in a gentle, rhythmic pattern that helps maintain a galaxy’s equilibrium. “Just like our hearts periodically pump our circulatory systems to keep us alive, black holes give galaxies a vital warm component,” says team scientist Alexis Finoguenov.

  3. 'Fish technology' draws renewable energy from slow water currents

    A U-M engineer has made a machine that works like a fish to turn slow-moving currents into clean, renewable power. The device could be far more effective than technologies that capture energy from ocean waves and tides, because most of the world’s currents are slow moving.

  4. Old as you want to be

    Older people tend to feel about 13 years younger than their chronological age, and in general they are satisfied with the aging process. Research by U-M psychologist Jacqui Smith also reveals that people who feel younger live longer than those who don’t.

  5. Violence and values in the Middle East: Lebanon survey

    As fighting continues in Gaza, a U-M survey of nearby Lebanon illuminates some of the values underlying the use of violence in the Middle East. The findings are likely to surprise people on all sides of the political spectrum.

  6. Are men hard-wired to overspend?

    The antique cliche says that wives rush out to spend their husbands’ hard-earned money. A new study suggests that the opposite is probably true: men seem to have evolved to spend, spend, spend when they’re looking for mates. In fact, the more sexual partners a man desires, the more likely he is to empty his wallet.

Watershed moments

Let’s raise a cool glass to U-M’s civil and environmental engineers who are creating a remote, real-time network of water sensors on the streams and rivers of Macomb County. The network allows local NGOs, government officials, river users, and decision-makers to observe and adapt to changes in flow dynamics across seasons, conditions, and long-term climate changes. Images are by Marcin Szczepanski, College of Engineering.

  • Diagnosis

    Students and faculty in U-M’s Digital Water Lab at the College of Engineering (COE) are collaborating with experts in the Center for Social Solutions (CSS) in the College of Literature, Science & the Arts to measure and better understand flooding in vulnerable communities.

     

     

    Engineers on bridge
  • Installation

    American businesses are expected to lose $50 billion in output in 2022 alone due to flooding, says COE’s Branko Kerkez, Arthur F. Thurnau associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. Flooding creates more damage than earthquakes and forest fires put together, he says.

     

    Experts install sensors on bridge
  • Timing is everything

    When installed throughout a watershed, these cost-effective devices will provide researchers with greater situational awareness of a flooding event in real time.

     

    Setting up sensor on bridge
  • Response and recovery

    The partnership with COE’s Kerkez and his team emphasizes the connection between data and humans, says Julie Arbit, research associate in the Center for Social Solutions (CSS).

    “We’re looking at the response and recovery phases of disasters: Who is flooded at this moment, what resources do they need, and how much damage has been incurred?”

    Measurements at the bridge
  • Making sense

    Addressing social inequity is a large motivator for the kind of engineering work Kerkez does. The collaboration with Arbit and CSS is ideal, he says.

    “Rather than just us as engineers focusing on flooding and saying, ‘Hey we have interesting solutions,’ we actually can work with somebody who understands how the community functions and what their priorities are so that the solutions we build actually make sense.”

  • Scaling up

    Researchers are evaluating “a ton of different variables and exploring a lot of different datasets,” to create a scalable methodology for application elsewhere, says CSS’ Arbit.

    “When you are able to evaluate on a very small scale how vulnerable or how resilient households are, you can make sure that equity is built into new policies, not just equality,” she says.

    Bridge