News & Recognition

Seales Makes Breakthrough – and News – with En-Gedi Scroll

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University of Kentucky Department of Computer Science Chair and Professor Brent Seales and his team have further unlocked writings in the ancient En-Gedi scroll—the first severely damaged, ink-based scroll to be unrolled and identified noninvasively. Through virtual unwrapping, they have revealed it to be the earliest copy of a Pentateuchal book—Leviticus—ever found in a Holy Ark.

Seales and his team have discovered and restored text on five complete wraps of the animal skin scroll, an object that likely will never be physically opened for inspection. In a study published in Science Advances, Seales and co-authors describe the process and present their findings, which include a master image of the virtually unrolled scroll containing 35 lines of text, of which 18 have been preserved and another 17 have been reconstructed.

The feat garnered international exposure with stories from BBC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, Fox News, The Guardian, The Economist and many others.

“This work opens a new window through which we can look back through time by reading materials that were thought lost through damage and decay,” said Seales. “There are so many other unique and exciting materials that may yet give up their secrets—we are only beginning to discover what they may hold. We are releasing all our data for the scroll from En-Gedi: the scans, our geometric analysis, the final texture. We think that the scholarly community will have interest in the data and the process as well as our results.”

UK Solar Car Team Competes at American Solar Challenge

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For the first time since 2010, the University of Kentucky Solar Car Team qualified for the American Solar Challenge (ASC)—a competition to design, build and drive solar-powered cars in a cross-country event.

The 2016 ASC was an eight-day, 1,975-mile road course that routed through seven states from Brecksville, Ohio to Hot Springs, South Dakota. Seventeen UK students competed in ASC this summer, and while motor issues eventually ended their journey early, it was an overall success for the team of talented student engineers.

“Seeing the car on the track and on the road is something that really gives all of us a lot of pride, because we get to see all of the hard work that we’ve put into this car in action,” said Senait Nuguse, 2016-2017 team manager. “The fact that we qualified for ASC for the first time since 2010 is an accomplishment in itself, and although things didn’t really go as planned, we’re all really happy that we got as far as we did.”

This year’s car featured the team’s brand new lithium-ion battery pack.

“Before we had a split battery pack that had lithium phosphate rectangular pouch cells,” Nuguse said. “We encountered a few problems with this pack, as it didn’t really allow adequate air ow and we would always have heat problems with the batteries. The new pack is a singular battery pack with cylindrical lithium-ion cells, better air ow and is much lighter than the previous pack.”

Faculty, Staff Raise over $90,000 in Giving Campaign

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In its first employee giving campaign, the University of Kentucky College of Engineering faculty and staff raised $94,342.17 for college programs and initiatives. The

total easily exceeded the campaign goal of $60,000. The fundraising initiative, named “PI: Participate & Inspire,” was led by a committee of volunteer faculty and staff .

Mike Richey, vice president for philanthropy, said, “The college’s employee giving campaign is a perfect example of how we can further our efforts developing a culture of philanthropy at UK. We congratulate the college on this successful effort and encourage other colleges, centers and units at UK to follow engineering’s leadership.”

The campaign officially commenced March 25 with “pie socials” in each department and ended April 15. A celebration event took place on May 2, where the final giving tally were announced. Faculty and staff giving to the campaign were able to designate their gifts to the program of their choice.Page 34 - PI LogoThe PI campaign was coordinated through the College of Engineering Office of Advancement.

Johnson is New Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Michael T. Johnson, Ph.D., formerly professor in the Marquette University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has become the next chair of the University of Kentucky College of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He began his duties August 1 with the rank of tenured full professor.

Dr. Michael Johnson

Johnson received his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Purdue University in 2000. After receiving his doctorate, Johnson began teaching at Marquette in 2000, achieving the rank of full professor in 2013. He served as director of his department’s graduate studies for three years as well as on the University Board of Graduate Studies for seven years, two as chair.
Johnson’s research interests include speech and signal processing, machine learning and bioacoustics. He has received over $2.5 million in external funding, including multidisciplinary and multi-institutional grants. In addition, Johnson has authored 38 journal papers and more than 110 total refereed publications and presentations. He also has six years of industry experience as a design engineer and engineering manager.

Johnson replaced Larry Holloway, who is now the college’s interim dean.