Humanitarian Engineering Training Engineers To Best Serve Communities – Colorado School Of Mines
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About this episode
Engineering is one of the most impactful and transformative fields of teaching, research, and practice, as it shapes the world we live in and ensures the functioning of many systems that maintain human life. The Colorado School of Mines created the first Humanitarian Engineering (HE) program to train engineering students to devise solutions that are efficient, ethical, socially responsible and sustainable. Its students work closely with the communities they serve, thinking critically about their needs.
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Experienced engineers are typically equipped with advanced technical knowledge and a unique professional skillset. These skillskets are often paried with impressive intuition, which allows engineers to devise solutions to complex real-world problems. Engineering faculty at Bucknell University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and The Ohio State University recently engaged in important research to further our understanding of intuition in engineering practice.
Studies suggest that children who rely more on vision from their left eye could be more likely to develop dyslexia if they learn to write using pathways in the right brain hemisphere. Dr David Mather, a researcher at the University of Victoria, recently published a paper reviewing these findings. He outlines a proposed approach to teaching writing skills that could prevent these children from developing dyslexia. This approach involves teaching children to write when they are 7 or 8 years old, when the human brain is better at mapping and memorising entire words.
As they age, steel and concrete structures often need to be retrofitted. One such way of strengthening is with Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer – or ‘CFRP’ – laminates. For certain applications, however, this can be a difficult and time-consuming process, and the resulting laminates are prone to debonding. In his research, Dr Abheetha Peiris at the University of Kentucky developed a new type of strengthening in the form of CFRP strip and rod panels. The panels can slot together seamlessly – making them less prone to failure, and far easier to assemble. Through a series of experiments and field applications, he revealed how the new method can be applied for retrofitting both steel and concrete structures.
Satellites are vital to modern civilization, powering the GPS in our phones, enabling long-range communication, and giving us insights into Earth’s climate and the universe beyond. We now launch thousands of new satellites into space each year, dramatically increasing the risk of collisions. Such satellite collisions create debris that can damage more satellites. Thomas Kleinig and his colleagues are developing and testing a new approach to avoid collisions by exploiting a unique property of the thin atmosphere that satellites travel through.
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