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Sangwoo Shin

Sangwoo Shin, a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa mechanical engineering assistant professor, has won the competition to present at the prestigious Falling Walls Conference in Berlin, Germany, later this year. Shin was one of 10 participants at Hawaiʻi’s inaugural Falling Walls Lab competition, hosted by the UH Mānoa Institute for Astronomy, with his presentation, “Breaking the Walls of Water Treatment.”

“This was an extraordinary experience,” said Shin. “Pitching a highly technical idea in less than three minutes to a broad audience was a big challenge. But this eventually pushed me to think about how I can engage my research to the public and how my research can truly impact the society, which I rarely thought about before I attended this event.”

“The College of Engineering is very proud that one of our faculty won Hawaiʻi’s inaugural Falling Walls competition,” said H. Ronald Riggs, UH Mānoa College of Engineering interim dean. “His invention holds the promise of being transformative, in terms of both technology and people’s lives. It is a great example of what engineering does—using technology to improve human lives and the environment.”

UH Mānoa Vice Chancellor Michael Bruno presents Sangwoo Shin with Falling Walls award.

Falling Walls Conference opportunity to showcase UH research

Shin will be one of 100 leading scientists presenting their research at the Falling Walls Conference, an annual global gathering of forward-thinking individuals from more than 75 countries. It is held each year on November 9, the anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Shin was also awarded airfare, hotel and convention costs.

UH Mānoa Vice Chancellor for Research and Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Michael Bruno served as a jury member at the 2016 Falling Walls Conference and as a jury member at Hawaiʻi’s competition. “I was very impressed—but not at all surprised—by the quality of both the ideas and the presentations,” said Bruno about the Hawaiʻi competition. “The Berlin competition will be an opportunity to showcase the creativity and passion for changing the world that exists at UH Mānoa.”

“The Falling Walls Lab is an exciting format where junior researchers showcase their work in a rapid-fire mode,” said UH Mānoa Institute for Astronomy Director Guenther Hasinger, who attended the 2016 Falling Walls Conference and was also a jury member for Hawaiʻi’s Falling Walls Lab. “All the participants had a lot of fun, but also had the opportunity to improve their presentation and performance. I wish the best of luck to our winner, Sangwoo, who will represent Hawaiʻi in Berlin.”

Shin earned his BS and PhD in mechanical engineering from Yonsei University, South Korea, in 2005 and 2012, respectively. His primary research interest lies in the field of transport phenomena in small-scale systems.

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