Engineering News
November 1 – 12, 2004 Vol 75, No. 7F

Carlo H. Séquin is a professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, and associate dean for capital projects in the College of Engineering. He received his Ph.D. in experimental physics from the University of Basel, Switzerland, in 1969. Dr. Séquin is a Fellow of the ACM, a Fellow of the IEEE, and a member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences.

Professor Minute with CS professor Carlo Séquin

What do you do to forget about engineering?
Why would I want to forget about engineering? This is the fun part of my job! For relaxation from administrative and bureaucratic hassles, I go swimming in Lake Anza on warm summer evenings, or I go hiking or on short backpacking trips and “sleep in the dirt.” But even then, I often think about engineering issues or geometrical questions —mostly in conceptual preparation for a new abstract sculpture. Later, I build models of these sculptures on our rapid-prototyping machines. Some of them get cast in bronze, and a couple of times I also had the chance to build them at a 12-foot scale as snow sculptures at the International Snow-Sculpting Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado.

What is your personal recipe for success?
Do a good job on all assignments that you have taken on. Give priority to jobs that are close to completion, so that you can conclude them successfully and clear them off your “to-do stack.”

How can a student get through your hardest class?
Actively and critically think along during lectures, and try to absorb and understand the material immediately. Ask questions if necessary. Relate the lecture material to the labs. Start early on assignments and don’t procrastinate.

Why did you become a professor?
It is a job that keeps me young! I love to be exposed to the enthusiasm and thinking of young people. I love intense technical or logical discussions with students and colleagues. I love the rhythm between the 17 weeks of the semesters and the more relaxed periods in between. I also love the flexibility and topical mobility that this job offers.

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