With a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Cockrell School of Engineering is launching a unique initiative that aims to make The University of Texas at Austin a national hub for geothermal energy expertise and startups. The new Geothermal Entrepreneurship Organization (GEO) will bring together engineers, researchers and entrepreneurs to develop technologies and launch companies to help advance the geothermal energy industry.

When a dramatic thunderstorm sweeps over Texas, the first question that often comes to mind is, “Where did I put my umbrella?” But, in many impoverished and isolated rural communities around the world, the implications are far more drastic — and the question is more likely to be, “How many weeks will I have to wait before I can get to school?”

Nicholas Peppas, professor of biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, pediatrics, surgery and pharmacy at The University of Texas at Austin and an expert in biomaterials and drug delivery systems, has been awarded the Sigma Xi Monie A. Ferst Award sponsored by the Georgia Institute of Technology Sigma Xi Chapter.

Advances in machine learning are announced every day, but efforts to fundamentally rethink the core algorithms of AI are rare. The University of Texas at Austin has received a three-year, $1.5 million National Science Foundation TRIPODS (Transdisciplinary Research in Principles of Data Science) award to establish a new institute on the foundations of data science. The institute will coordinate foundational research in AI and data science across several university departments, launch a large-scale workshop and signature seminar series, and provide seed funding for a number of graduate and post-doctoral fellowships in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Not everything is bigger in Texas — some things are really, really small. A group of engineers at The University of Texas at Austin may have found a new material for manufacturing even smaller computer chips that could replace silicon and help overcome one of the biggest challenges facing the tech industry in decades: the inevitable end of Moore’s Law.

An emphasis on the psychosocial elements of living with diseases such as breast cancer may seem uncommon in engineering. But Mia K. Markey, biomedical engineering professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering, is dedicated to designing decision-support systems for patients, aiming to help enhance their quality of life post-treatment.

The Welch Foundation, one of the nation’s largest private funding organizations for basic chemical research, is giving $2.5 million to establish the Norbert Dittrich-Welch Chair in Chemical Engineering in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering. The chair is named in honor of Norbert Dittrich, who is retiring as the foundation’s president after serving for 26 years in this role.

John B. Goodenough, professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, has been awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in chemistry — jointly with Stanley Whittingham of the State University of New York at Binghamton and Akira Yoshino of Meijo University — “for the development of lithium-ion batteries.”

On the wall of Janet Zoldan’s lab, which is teeming with enthusiastic students, is a poster with ZOLDAN LAB in capital letters printed across the top. Underneath it lies a short, curious statement: Stem Cells Are Like Pokèmon. Through a novel biomedical engineering process, Zoldan is looking at how iPSCs “evolve” into the cells needed to form new blood vessels and how near-infrared light can be utilized to precisely control this process.

Thanks to an extraordinary commitment from alumnus and former EOG Resources Inc. President Gary L. Thomas, the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin is officially naming its newest building the Gary L. Thomas Energy Engineering Building. Through his investment, Thomas hopes to ensure UT’s position among the nation’s top energy universities while helping to provide a multidisciplinary engineering education for students.