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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Anna Stefanopoulou, 33

Transportation

University of Michigan

“The most interesting thing in the world,” says University of Michigan professor and dirt biker Anna Stefanopoulou, “is balancing trade-offs to control complex systems.” Stefanopoulou works on electronic valves that could boost the fuel economy of conventional car engines by an estimated 10 percent and make practical exotic designs that are 30 percent more fuel efficient and free of nitrogen oxide emissions. A conventional engine regulates power with a throttle that controls airflow into cylinders; the timing of valves stays mechanically fixed. But the timing of electronic valves can vary infinitely, allowing the engine to “gain torque so fast it can break the crankshaft,” Stefanopoulou says. The native of Greece is developing such controls using sophisticated mathematical modeling, while high-end car companies “rely more on intuition,” says her Michigan colleague Jessy Grizzle. Stefanopoulou is also devising automated gears that would use engine compression to brake vehicles. She was already modeling the control of cars powered by fuel cells when the Bush administration dismantled an initiative to develop hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles--in favor of fuel cell power.

2002 TR35 Winners

Andrew Barrows

Transportation

Elisabeth M. Belding-Royer

Telecommunications

Vincent Berger

Telecommunications

Eric Bonabeau

Software

Daniel Branagan

Materials

Arnaud Brignon

Hardware

Howie Choset

Hardware

Michelle Effros

Telecommunications

Alexander Fay

Transportation

Claire Gmachl

Telecommunications

Michael Hansen

Hardware

Tom Hyongsok Soh

Telecommunications

Matt Keyser

Energy

Kara Kockelman

Transportation

Paul Krajewski

Transportation

Der-Horng Lee

Transportation

Ihor Lys

Hardware

Larry Mianzo

Transportation

Chahab Nastar

Software

Bill Nguyen

Telecommunications

Rajesh Reddy

Telecommunications

Vincent Rijmen

Software

Jonathan Rosenberg

Telecommunications

Steven Shaw

Energy

Anna Stefanopoulou

Transportation

Lisa Su

Hardware

Vahid Tarokh

Telecommunications

Steve Tuecke

Software

Les Welch

Transportation

Sean Willems

Software

Neil Young

Entertainment

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