About UCEC

The University of Chicago Engineering Center was established in 1991 to provide high quality engineering infrastructure for the Physical Sciences Division. The University of Chicago Engineering Center began when the Yerkes Engineering Center, the Enrico Fermi Institute Engineering Service Group as well as the Engineering Staff of the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research merged into what is now known as "UCEC".

As NASA, NSF and DOE grant funding for all departments within the Physical Sciences Division became increasingly competitive, the need for a centralized engineering community to preserve the availability of top rate engineering specialists became essential. Demand for the services of UCEC staff enabled the center to change from the old way of doing business (one person/one discipline/one project) to creating a business-like entity within the University. The UCEC concept has also allowed us to hire specialists. Engineering specialties include: optics, electronics, mechanical engineering, cryogenics, vacuum systems, instrument design, and computer software design. In addition to these specialized services, the UCEC provides full fabrication, assembly, and prototype testing services.

The UCEC engineers are now "rented out" to grants; working closely with faculty and student researchers; when the project is complete, they move on to another assignment. The engineering continuity is preserved, economies of scale are realized and the transfer of technology, in many cases, is passed from one project to the next.

Today the UC Engineering Center has twenty engineers and technicians based at Yerkes and on the University of Chicago campus. This year the Center is supporting projects at the following locations: Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Apache Point Observatory, The National Scientific Balloon Facility, Princeton University, Carnegie Mellon University, Northwestern University, the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory in Hawaii, The Neutron Monitor station in Maui, JPL, and Goddard - Kennedy - Johnson - Marshall Space flight Centers. Our engineers also regularly fly with the NASA airborne observing runs.

Today, our engineering support reaches far beyond the physical sciences. Some of our engineering clients include the University of Chicago Hospitals: Departments of Radiology, Neurophysiology, and Cellular Oncology, the Michael Reese Hospital, the UIC Hospitals, Goddard Space Flight Center, Caltech, the Naval Research Labs, Antarctic Support Associates, Princeton University, Northwestern University, UC Berkeley and the University of Colorado.