Posted October 21st, 2016
The scientists and engineers attending the latest faculty-to-faculty luncheon were eager to hear about the work of two new faculty members — Andrea Silverman, who has a joint appointment at Tandon’s Department of Civil and Urban Engineering and NYU’s College of Global Public Health, and Peter Carr of the Department of Finance and Risk Engineering.
Before coming to NYU (a career move that brought her back to her native Brooklyn), Silverman studied at MIT and the University of California, Berkley, and worked in both Kenya and Ghana, aiming to develop sustainable water treatment systems that would be cost- and energy-efficient as well as effective. More than 2.4 billion people on the planet have no access to sanitary toilets, and 1.5 billion use toilets that are not hooked up to water disinfection systems, making the spread of water-borne pathogens an enormous problem, she explained.
She now studies disinfection processes in natural wastewater treatment systems, such as manmade treatment ponds and wetlands designed to treat sewage, and can provide valuable data to those in the field designing such systems. She hopes the design guidelines she is helping develop for shallow treatment ponds will be adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency. (Sunlight plays a big role in the disinfection process, and Silverman is excited that her lab will soon be taking delivery of a new solar simulator.)
She found a rapt audience in her colleagues, who are similarly invested in using technology for the benefit of society. The day’s second speaker, Peter Carr, the new chair of the Department of Finance and Risk Engineering, joked that he, too, would be touching upon waste in his talk, since high-risk securities are sometimes referred to as toxic waste.
Carr, who came to Tandon after a long career as a derivatives expert in the financial industry, titled his talk “Financial Engineering for the Impatient.” He offered a primer on hedging and modeling risk using stochastic calculus and the discrete Ito formula. Engineers from other departments recognized the Ito formula as similar to calculations they use in their own work, and a spirited discussion of possible alternatives and applicability to other fields ensued.
By all measures, it was an enlightening and informative event, and the next faculty-to-faculty luncheon, which is slated to feature Tandon dean and noted physicist Katepalli Sreenivasan, is certain to be the same.