Professor Ortega Builds Bridge to Chinese Engineering and Science Institutions

Alfonso Ortega, PhD, the James R. Birle Professor of Energy Technology, and the College of Engineering’s Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, recently took a trip that could have long term significance for the College. In mid October, Dr. Ortega went to China at the invitation of W. Q. Tao, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Xi’an Jiaotong University. Prof. Tao is one of a handful of distinguished professors in his field and a member of the prestigious Chinese Academy of Science. Xi’an Jiaotong University is one of the leading engineering universities in China. This year, Prof. Tao received funding from the Chinese Ministry of Science to host three international experts in thermal science to speak with leading scientists and students about the latest trends in the field. Along with Dr. Ortega, the Chinese Ministry of Science hosted a professor from Purdue University and a professor from Georgia Tech. Dr. Ortega and the other experts lectured on thermal management in electronic systems.

The audience for Dr. Ortega’s four lectures consisted of approximately 60 master’s and doctoral students, as well as junior faculty from Prof. Tao’s large research group. Prof. Tao also lectured to the students. The goals of the talks were to give the students the opportunity to hear lectures in English on advanced topics and to give the faculty a chance to explore collaborative research.

Dr. Ortega also was invited to be a keynote speaker at the Asian Symposium on Computational Heat Transfer and Fluid Flow, held at Xi’an Jiaotong University. His address was on emerging areas of interest in United States research, from his vantage point as a former NSF program officer. His talk was attended by more than 100 scientists from institutions in Asia, including China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. His keynote was of special interest to visiting dignitaries from the Chinese equivalent of the National Science Foundation who has invited Dr. Ortega to visit their offices in Beijing in 2008.

As a result of his trip, Dr. Ortega has begun a collaborative research project with Prof. Tao at Xi’an Jiaotong University and begun discussions with other faculty at other institutions. He will follow up his visit to Xi’an with a visit to Shanghai and Beijing in January at the invitation of faculty at Shanghai University and the National Science Foundation of China.