Here is an interview with Steve Sammartino (Australia) and Raul Oaida (Romania) on their efforts to build the car. The project built a fullsize car out of lego ($60,000 worth of legos) with a lego engine that works on air. It really is an interesting interview.
Posts about engineers
International Science Research Scholar Grants
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust, and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation have announced the International Research Scholars Program which aims to support up to 50 outstanding early career scientists worldwide. The program’s aim is to help develop scientific talent worldwide.
The new international competition is seeking top early career researchers from a wide variety of biomedical research fields. Applicants must have started their first independent research position on or after April 1, 2009. Awardees will be invited to participate in research meetings with scientists supported by the funders. These meetings facilitate the exchange of ideas, stimulate new research, and provide an opportunity for collaborative endeavors within the international scientific community.
- Awardees will receive a total of $650,000 over five years.
- Applications are due June 30, 2016.
- Awardees will be notified in April 2017.
HHMI and its partners have committed a total of $37.4 million for the International Research Scholars Program and will award each scientist who is selected a total of $650,000 over five years. The competition is open to scientists who have trained in the U.S. or United Kingdom for at least one year. Additionally, eligible scientists must have run their own labs for less than seven years, and work in one of the eligible countries.
Countries that are not eligible for this competition include the G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and United States), as well as countries identified by the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as being subject to comprehensive country or territory-wide sanctions or where current OFAC regulations prohibit U.S. persons or entities from engaging in the funding arrangements contemplated by this grant program. For this program, such sanctioned countries or territories currently include Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and the Crimea region of Ukraine.
Related: Directory of Science and Engineering Scholarships and Fellowships – Funding Sources for Independent Postdoctoral Research Projects in Biology – Scientific Research Spending Cuts in the USA and Increases Overseas are Tempting Scientists to Leave the USA (2013) – HHMI Expands Support of Postdoctoral Scientists (2009) – Science, Engineering and Math Fellowships
Biomass Fueled Power Generator from All Power Labs
All Power Labs produces biomass fueled power generators. They have grown from a open science and engineering foundation to their current position. I really like how they are focused on promoting understanding and encouraging collaboration.
They reject the copyright cartel closed science mindset; which is something I like. Their product takes waste biomass; for example walnut shells, coconut shells, hardwood chips (Oak, Beech), softwood chips (Douglas Fir, Pine). It also takes corn cobs, palm kernel shells and others but there are additional challenges to operation.
Their products use gasification which is most simply thought of as choked combustion or incomplete combustion. It is burning solid fuels like wood or coal without enough air to complete combustion, so the output gas still has combustion potential. The unburned gas is then piped away to burn elsewhere as needed.
The Power Pallet is a complete biomass power generation solution that converts woody biomass into electricity. It costs $29,995 which translates to a cost of $1-$2/watt which is more cost effective that alternatives. They have significant sales in developing markets where power is often problematic. It is specifically not suited to some fuel – wastepaper (could maybe work in pelletized form), municipal waste, coconut husk…
This webcast is the start of a presentation on the history and current state of their efforts (continue to view other clips for the whole presentation):
Related: Ethanol: Science Based Solution or Special Interest Welfare – Do It Yourself Solar Furnace for Home Heating – Kudzu Biofuel Potential Chart of Wind Power Generation Capacity Globally from 2005 to 2012 – Turning Trash into Electricity (2006)
Earnings by College Major – Engineers and Scientists at the Top
As we have posted about for years engineers do very well financially. This chart shows the median income by college major (the data includes those who went on to get advanced degrees) based on data for the USA. See the data on those that only have bachelors degrees. Also see a detailed post from the Curious Cat Economics blog looking at the value of college degrees based on the Georgetown data.
Engineering holds 6 of the top spots in the graph shown above and 8 of the top spots for those that didn’t earn an advanced degree. Pharmacy-sciences-and-administration and Math-and-computer-sciences made the top 10 of both lists. Pharmacology and health-and-medical-prepatory-programs make the list when advanced degrees are included.
The highest earning major, petroleum engineering, with $120,000 doesn’t have an increase for those with advanced degrees. The 10th spot goes to electrical engineering with a $94,000 median income.
Related: No Surprise – Engineering Graduates Continue to Reign Supreme – Engineering Again Dominates The Highest Paying College Degree Programs – Engineering Majors Hold 8 of Top 10 Highest Paid Majors – The Labor Market for Software Developers
Dennis Hong, Virginia Tech Mechanical Engineering Professor, Leading Robotics Innovation
Korean fathers of that era were strict and remote. Hong’s father was engaged and intellectually indulgent. He installed a work bench in Dennis’s room when he was 4, complete with a hammer and saw. He led the children in chemistry experiments and brought home model airplanes from America.
Dennis Hong built things with scraps of wood and metal and bits of plastic. He disassembled toys and stored the parts in a chest beneath his bed.
“We spent a lot of time building things and breaking things,” said Julie Hong, Hong’s older sister. “He was the one who broke things the most and built things the most.”
Hong traveled to America to complete his university study, following his father’s credo, “Big fish must swim in the big sea.” He earned a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin and a master’s and doctorate at Purdue.
Dennis’ success illustrates several themes repeated in posts on this blog: the USA attracting talent from overseas, kids curiosity and exposure to science and engineering leading to great things, the value of strong science and engineering programs and professors. Robotics continue to progress very quickly. The economic impact of robotics is large already (largely in manufacturing) and will continue to grow dramatically. Likely robots will find their way into much more diverse areas over the next 2 decades. The Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory, lead by Dennis Hong, seems poised to play a big role in that future.
Engineers are the new Currency
Silicon Vally investor discusses keys to good investment companies: “Engineers are the new currency… having the right engineers that can innovate and deliver is absolutely vital to success… It takes a great team to help the entrepreneur develop”
The video also makes the point that what separates Silicon Valley is the engineering talent.
Very cool. I like everything about this idea. I like the reuse (very environmentally friendly). I like the humanity and psychology of connecting with others. I like the tinkering/learning/fixing attitude and behavior. I like the very well done use of the internet to help fund such efforts. I like the exploration of the products and object we use. I like the rejection of a disposable attitude (just throw it away). I like the appropriate technology attitude. I made a donation, you can too (see what projects I am funding).
Driver Thanks Engineer Who Hit Him on Purpose
“Basic physics: If I could get in front of him and let him hit me, the delta difference in speed would just be a few miles an hour, and we could slow down together,” Innes explained. So he pulled in front of the pickup, allowed it to rear-end his minivan and brought both vehicles safely to a stop in the pull-off lane.
Some might say the driver of the truck, 80-year-old Bill Pace, of Bellevue, and anyone Pace’s truck might have slammed into had luck on their side that day. A retiree who volunteers for Special Olympics and organizes food drives, Pace didn’t know it at the time, but he’d had a minor heart attack two days earlier and his circulation was so poor he passed out at the wheel with his foot resting on the accelerator.
Nice story and nice that the article had a tiny bit of science in the story, with another example of good work by an engineer.
Nikola Tesla – A Scientist and Engineer
Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was born an ethnic Serb in the village of Smiljan, in the Austrian Empire (today’s Croatia), he was a subject of the Austrian Empire by birth and later became an American citizen. Nikoka Tesla studied electrical engineering at Technical University at Graz, Austria, and the University of Prague.
Tesla’s patents and theoretical work formed the basis of modern alternating current (AC) electric power systems, including the polyphase system of electrical distribution and the AC motor, which helped usher in the Second Industrial Revolution.
In 1882 he moved to Paris, to work as an engineer for the Continental Edison Company, designing improvements to electric equipment brought overseas from Edison’s ideas.
According to his autobiography, in the same year he conceived the induction motor and began developing various devices that use rotating magnetic fields for which he received patents in 1888.
He emigrated to the United States in 1884 and sold the patent rights to his system of alternating-current dynamos, transformers, and motors to George Westinghouse the following year.
In 1887, Tesla began investigating what would later be called X-rays using his own single terminal vacuum tubes.
Tesla introduced his motors and electrical systems in a classic paper, “A New System of Alternating Current Motors and Transformers” which he delivered before the American Institute of Electrical Engineers in 1888. One of the most impressed was the industrialist and inventor George Westinghouse.
The Tesla coil, which he invented in 1891, is widely used today in radio and television sets and other electronic equipment. Among his discoveries are the fluorescent light , laser beam, wireless communications, wireless transmission of electrical energy, remote control, robotics, Tesla’s turbines and vertical take off aircraft. Tesla is the father of the radio and the modern electrical transmissions systems. He registered over 700 patents worldwide. His vision included exploration of solar energy and the power of the sea. He foresaw interplanetary communications and satellites.
“Within a few years a simple and inexpensive device, readily carried about, will enable one to receive on land or sea the principal news, to hear a speech, a lecture, a song or play of a musical instrument, conveyed from any other region of the globe.” – Nikola Tesla, “The Transmission of Electrical Energy without wires as a means for furthering Peace” in Electrical World and Engineer (7 January 1905)
“Money does not represent such a value as men have placed upon it. All my money has been invested into experiments with which I have made new discoveries enabling mankind to have a little easier life.” – Nikola Tesla
IBM Fellow Grady Booch on the Value of Engineering?
In this webcast IBM Fellow Grady Booch discusses the critical role engineering plays in moving society forward. And he explores the history of science and engineering. This interesting webcast would be a good video to show children, or anyone, to bring out the desire to study engineering and encourage them to study so they can join the many engineers shaping our world and our future.
I have written about William Kamkwamba before: Inspirational Engineer – Home Engineering: Windmill for Electricity. And along with the post, Make the World Better, donated to his cause. His new book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, is quite enjoyable and provides an interesting view of how he persevered. His talk of the famine, not being able to afford school and putting together a windmill using scrape parts and a few books from the library (donated by the American government – much better foreign aid than all the military weapons that are often counted as aid) is inspirational. And should help many sitting in luxury understand the privileged lives they lead.
“Using Energy, and this book has since changed my life… All I needed was a windmill, and then I could have lights. No more kerosene lamps that burned out eyes… I could stay awake at night reading instead of going to bed at seven with the rest of Malawi. But most important, a windmill could also rotate a pump for water and irrigation.” (page 158)
William set out to demonstrate his windmill for the first time to a skeptical crowd saying (page 193)
I like how the story shows how long, hard work, reading, experimenting and learning is what allowed William to success (page 194-5)
[to William’s father] “What an intelligent boy. Where did he get such ideas?”
“He’s been reading lots of books. Maybe from there?”
“They teach this in school?”
“He was forced to drop. He did this on his own.”