re:think research

rethink research
Throughout history, engineering achievements were accomplished in response to specific human needs. Illustration by Jeff Harper.

Five years ago, the National Academy of Engineering came up with a list of the greatest engineering accomplishments of the 20th century. Looking at the list today, it’s hard to imagine life without things like electricity, automobiles, satellites or even Internet- equipped cell phones. Still, there will always be plenty of challenges for engineers to tackle. The collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minnesota last summer brought the nation’s aging infrastructure under public scrutiny. By autumn, an unprecedented drought in Atlanta had experts speculating that citizens would run out of drinking water in a matter of weeks. Just before the new year, the Energy Information Administration released its forecast for 2008, projecting that gasoline and diesel prices would peak at more than $3.40 per gallon this spring.

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re:viewing the world

Farouk El-BazFarouk El-Baz, MS GGph’61, PhD GGph’64, used remote sensing technology to help NASA officials determine where the Eagle would land in 1969. The producers of Star Trek: The Next Generation were so impressed by his work that they named a spacecraft, The El-Baz, after him.
As director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, El-Baz continues to be a man on a number of missions.

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re:newable vehicles

Plug in hybrids
A plug-in hybrid fleet that’s powered purely off renewable energy results means we’ll have emission-free energy that can be dispatched at the request of power grid operators. Illustration by Jeff Harper.

Two energy researchers at Missouri S&T are revved up about the future of plug-in hybrid vehicles, what they see as the next generation of electrically driven automobiles.
“I would compare my excitement about plug-in hybrid technology to where we were with the Internet in the 1980s,” says Mariesa Crow, the Fred W. Finley Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Energy Research and Development Center. “The utility industry should be going gung-ho about plug-in hybrids.”

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re:building bridges

FRP bridge of the future
Fiber-reinforced polymer decks offer durability and easy installation and may become key to the development of very long bridges, where being lightweight is a critical feature. Illustration by Jeff Harper.

Last summer’s collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis served as a stark reminder that the nation’s infrastructure is aging, and was a dramatic example of the type of disaster researchers at Missouri S&T are working to prevent.

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re:growing bones

growing bones
Human bone cells are attracted to porous medical scaffolding made out of bioactive glasses. Illustration by Jeff Harper.

Delbert Day, CerE’58, MS CerE’60, says it’s like seeding a fishing environment by throwing an old Christmas tree into the water. The submerged tree provides good pockets of cover for all kinds of fish. But this isn’t really a discussion about aquatic habitats. Day is trying to explain why human bone cells would want to colonize medical scaffolding made out of glass fibers.

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Reducing carbon footprints

The housing market may be soft, but one neighborhood in Rolla is seeing a building boom. Okay, so it’s really just a little village on campus property with a current population of two. But this is a village of the future, and the site developers are thinking long-term.

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Reliable glucose testing

Thanks to Chang-Soo Kim, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Missouri S&T, people living with diabetes may one day have an alternative to the daily routine of pricking their fingers to monitor their blood sugar.

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Beth Burka: "Save green, go green"

burka.jpgBeth (Eberle) Burka, ME’84, is helping businesses across the country save green by going green.
Burka founded her St. Louis-based company Energy Matters Inc. in June 2005 to help business owners save money by developing energy management programs.
In doing so, Burka took a huge risk leaving a stable position at a natural gas company, and all the benefits that went with it, to go into business for herself.

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Garmin International and the Kao Family Foundation

Min KaoGarmin, a leader in GPS navigation and communication equipment, and the Kao Family Foundation are helping Missouri S&T students financially navigate through the university, thanks to a new scholarship program and training initiative.
The Kao Family Foundation will offer scholarships worth $5,000 per year to 20 Missouri S&T students. Established by Min H. Kao, co-founder and CEO of Garmin, the foundation launched the $10 million endowed initiative with eight universities in 2007 to encourage students to study the high-demand areas of electrical and computer engineering. Selected students also will be given first consideration for one of more than 75 annual paid internships with Garmin International.

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Blowing hot glass

Many Missourians have long associated glass blowing with artisans who populate Silver Dollar City. Now, students at Missouri S&T can watch glass blowing – and practice it themselves – on campus.

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