2022 Martha Salcudean Prize awarded to Dr. Juuso Heikkinen

Dr. Juuso Heikkinen has been awarded the 2022 Martha Salcudean Prize in Mechanical Engineering, which is given to a graduating doctoral candidate with an outstanding dissertation and academic record. The $1,000 prize is only awarded to a candidate with outstanding performance, and is not given out every year.

The award is given in memory of former Department Head Professor Martha Salcudean (1934-2019), a leading expert in computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer, and the first woman to lead an engineering department at a Canadian university. Born in Romania, Professor Salcudean was a Holocaust survivor and lived under totalitarian communist regimes before emigrating to Canada 1975. Head of UBC Mechanical Engineering from 1985 to 1993, she was  integral to the growth of the department. Professor Salcudean was internationally recognized for her contributions to metallurgy and pulp and paper processes.

Completing his doctoral studies under the supervision of Professor Gary Schajer in the Renewable Resources Laboratory, Dr. Heikkinen developed a non-contact inspection tool that can remotely measure object distance, relative surface angles and microscopic surface motions from tens of meters away. By allowing measurements to be observed remotely, Dr. Heikkinen’s device was initially designed to be used in hazardous situations or for monitoring structures that are too large to be observed comprehensively from up close, and low-cost sensors developed from this technology could have applications in a range of fields from augmented reality to self-driving cars.

His research work garnered recognition in 2020, when his paper “Remote Surface Motion Measurements using Multi-Wavelength Defocused Speckle Imaging” received first place in the Society for Experimental Mechanics’ prestigious Michael Sutton International Student Paper Competition. Notably, Dr. Heikkinen’s dissertation on this technology was lauded as “an excellent contribution to the advances in modern optical metrology” by the External Examiner of his doctoral defence.

As the 2022 Martha Salcudean Prize recipient, he will give a seminar on his dissertation research, “Defocused Speckle Imaging for Remote Surface Motion Measurements” on Nov 10 at 12:00 PM in CEME 2202.