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Dr. Youngmoo Kim Nominated for Geekadelphia’s “Scientist of the Year” Award

July 9, 2012

Dr. Youngmoo Kim, associate professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and assistant dean of Engineering for media technologies, has been nominated for Geekadelphia’s Scientist of the Year award, one of only three nominees within the science category of the 2012 Geek Awards. The Philadelphia Geek Awards is an award ceremony honoring the outstanding achievements in Philadelphia’s vibrant science and technology community, hosted by the Academy of Natural Sciences and Geekadelphia, a blog that follows Philadelphia’s science and technology community. This year’s ceremony will be held on August 17, 2012.

Kim received his doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab. He holds master’s degrees in both electrical engineering and music (Vocal performance practice) from Stanford University, as well as bachelor’s degrees in engineering and music from Swarthmore College. His research group, the Music & Entertainment Technology Laboratory (MET-lab) pursues machine understanding of sound, interfaces and robotics for expressive interaction, and K-12 outreach for engineering education. He is the founding director of Drexel’s Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center, a new regional partnership for research and education at the intersection of technology and the arts.

His lab collaborates with many of the City's premier cultural institutions: The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, and The Franklin Institute. His "iNotes" project with the Orchestra, a smartphone app to enhance the concert experience, was a winner of the 2011 Knight Arts Challenge. MET-lab has participated heavily in the Philadelphia Science Festival (PSF), developing the iPhone app for the festival and hosting multiple events, including the Science of Music showcase event. This unique performance featured a Grammy award-winning jazz quartet and large screen visualizations and an interactive smartphone app allowing the audience to see the acoustics and physics of music in real-time. Kim is a key member of Drexel's team guiding the Freedom Rings Partnership (FRP), in collaboration with the City of Philadelphia and other regional partners to address digital divide and digital literacy issues in Philadelphia.

Kim also leads a $6 million project from the National Science Foundation for research on humanoid robotics, partnering Drexel with MIT, Ohio State, Penn, Purdue, USC and Virginia Tech. This project has brought six Korean HUBO humanoids to the US, enabling researchers across the country to work with a state-of-the-art adult-sized robot. The six HUBOs were unveiled to the public in February 2012 highlighting Drexel’s kickoff event for National Engineers’ Week. He is co-investigator for a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) GK-12 grant, funded by the National Science Foundation that partners Drexel with the School District of Philadelphia. This project teams 10 Philadelphia science teachers with 10 Drexel engineering graduate students at Philadelphia high schools to improve STEM education using the context of the Engineering Grand Challenges facing society, recently developed by the National Academy of Engineering. The project aims to develop new curricula and lesson plans that can be used throughout the School District of Philadelphia and beyond.

He was invited by the National Academy of Engineering to co-organize the “Engineering and Music” session for the 2010 Frontiers of Engineering conference and co-chaired the 2008 International Conference on Music Information Retrieval, hosted at Drexel. His research is supported by the National Science Foundation, including an NSF CAREER award in 2007, and the Knight Foundation. Kim is a former member of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and he has appeared in productions at American Musical Theater of San Jose and SpeakEasy Stage Company in Boston.

To read more about the Philadelphia Geek Awards, please click here.