SEAS 150

PAST AND PRESENT

Kate Scarbrough
/ Senior Staff Photographer

If any group of people at Columbia could figure out a way to blow out 150 candles in one breath, it would be the engineers at the School of Engineering and Applied Science. 

SEAS has come a long way since the School of Mines opened in 1864 with three faculty, 13 students, and a brick building on 49th Street. There were high points and lows—moments when according to some, the school almost ceased to exist. But today, SEAS looks toward the future with nearly 2,000 faculty, 4,500 students, and a home on 120th Street.

We sought out past deans, alumni, prominent faculty, and students from a time long-forgotten to piece together the story of how SEAS arrived at where it is today, and where it hopes to go in the future.

SEAS moves ahead with online education

When the School of Engineering and Applied Science first opened its doors as the School of Mines, the idea of a class in which student and professor need never be in the same room at the same time would have seemed pure delusional fantasy. Today, 150 years later, it’s an increasingly commonplace reality.

Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering brings together faculty from across University

Using accurate urban models to assess how autonomous robots can better understand their environment. Identifying the molecular signatures useful for cancer treatment. Using social media as a proxy for finding suitable Netflix suggestions. These are just some of the ongoing research projects that Columbia’s Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering is tackling in its first two years.