University of Rochester

University of Rochester Doctoral Candidate Earns Fulbright Scholarship and NSF-CESRI Summer Fellowship

May 16, 2007

Philip Brune
Philip Brune (PHOTO CREDIT: University of Rochester)
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University of Rochester doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering Philip Brune has been named a 2007-2008 Fulbright Scholar to Italy. In a separate competition, he has also been awarded a National Science Foundation-funded science and engineering fellowship from the Central European Summer Research Institute.

Brune's Fulbright will take him to Rome for the 2007-08 academic year. His project, Structural Analysis as a Means to Understand Roman Engineering, forms an essential part of his Ph.D. dissertation, which is supervised by Renato Perucchio, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Rochester. Brune's research in Rome will allow him to refine and calibrate an engineering computational tool, a specialized Finite Element Analysis model, toward the analysis of ancient Roman concrete.

Brune will also conduct a comparative structural analysis of the Great Hall of Trajan's Market and the Frigidarium of Diocletian's Baths, which is now the Church of Santa Maria Degli Angeli e dei Martiri. Both buildings are considered masterpieces of imperial Roman vaulted architecture. Together with Perucchio, Doctor Lucrezia Ungaro, superintendent of the Markets of Trajan complex, and Professor Cairoli Giuliani, chair of Survey and Technical Analysis of Historic Monuments at La Sapienza University in Rome, will supervise his work. Brune has conducted research with both Giuliani and Ungaro in Italy in the summer of 2006.

Brune has also been awarded an NSF fellowship from the Central European Summer Research Institute to study advanced computational modeling for Roman concrete in Summer 2007. He will create a computational model for unreinforced concrete, the very model he plans to refine in Rome during his Fulbright. He will work with Professor Gerhard Holzapfel of the Graz University of Technology in Austria.

"The proposed project is of great importance for refining our understanding of engineering and building technology in antiquity, an area of increasing interest in archaeology, in the history of technology, and in the conservation of monumental structures," says Perucchio. For the past two summers, while working on his doctoral research, Brune traveled to Italy as Perucchio's teaching assistant for the course "Roman Structures: Engineering in the Classical World."

Brune, of San Diego, Calif., is a second-year doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering. Brune tutors high school students in mathematics through the Liberty Partnerships Program. A University of Rochester alumnus, Brune earned a bachelor of science degree with high distinction in mechanical engineering and a bachelor of arts degree, cum laude, in history with a minor in Spanish. As an undergraduate, he was a member of the Men's Crew Team, Ballet Performance Group, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Brune is among six University of Rochester students from the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering selected to receive Fulbrights this year.