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Volume 4, Issue 9
December 2004

In This Issue
Listening for ET

Lego my Robot

A Boom in Satellite Engineering

Cool Alumni

Dean's Digest

Archives 2004

Lab Notes, Research from the College of Engineering

Cool Alum: Benn Karne, gearhead and filmmaker

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Benn Karne, set against the stark beauty of Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats.

Benn Karne (BS '72, ME) became an engineer because he loved hot rods. Indeed, now he specializes in reconstructing vehicle accidents to determine the speed and position of the parties involved. Recently though, Karne has driven full circle. He co-produced Bonneville: Wide Open , a documentary about the unique characters who compete for land speed records.

The film was shot at Speedweek, an annual summer event at Utah 's Bonneville Salt Flats where unusual mobile machines, from powered barstools to souped-up diesel trucks, tear down the track at speeds up to 250 miles per hour.

"We wanted the film to appeal to a general audience but also to gearhead types, and I think we achieved that," says Karne, who made the movie with friend Steve Davy. "But we had to keep some of the speed secrets out. For example, if someone had a special motor detail or steering arrangement-and that was the stuff that really appealed to me as an engineer-the builders said it would put them years behind if we revealed those secrets to their competition."

Bonneville: Wide Open premiered last month at the California Independent Film Festival in Livermore where it won the Audience Award.

Related Sites

Bonneville: Wide Open

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