Engineering the Future

Posted on October 29, 2005  Comments (0)

Engineering the Future

If you want to succeed in today’s hypercompetitive global economy, there are two things Jen-Hsun Huang wants you to know:

The name of the game is innovation, and innovation is a team sport.

“This is the innovation imperative,” he said.

That’s the message Huang plans to deliver this morning, when he will be the keynote speaker for the grand opening of the Kelley Engineering Center at Oregon State University.

In 1993 Huang cofounded Nvidia.

Using Light to Transmit Data

Posted on October 26, 2005  Comments (0)

Stanford innovation helps ‘enlighten’ silicon chips, Stanford.

Light can carry data at much higher rates than electricity, but it has always been too expensive and difficult to use light to transmit data among silicon chips in electronic devices. Now, electrical engineers at Stanford have solved a major part of the problem. They have invented a key component that can easily be built into chips to break up a laser beam into billions of bits of data (zeroes and ones) per second. This could help chips output data at a much higher rate than they can now.

Catalyzing Nanotechnology

Posted on October 21, 2005  Comments (0)

image synthetic and biological catalysts
Catalyzing Nanotechnology by David Pescovitz, ScienceMatters@Berkeley.

The researchers have also explored a method to imprint bulk silica with particle templates as large as 15 nanometers. Rather than organize several functional groups at a time, the synthesis of nanoparticle building blocks for bulk silica imprinting is ideal for organizing thousands of functional groups at once, Katz says.

This slide depicts the synthetic and biological catalysts consisting of similar organic and organometallic active sites. The confined environment surrounding both biological catalysts results from the hydrophobic interior of the enzyme. The researchers successfully replicated this confinement in the synthetic equivalents of the biological active sites shown on the right side of this figure. (courtesy the researchers)

Related: nanotechnology posts

China Prepares for Return of Shenzhou

Posted on October 16, 2005  Comments (3)

China Prepares for Return of Shenzhou, Washington Post:

China is only the third country to launch humans into orbit on its own, after Russia and the United States _ a source of enormous national pride as the communist government tries to cement its status as a rising power and help prepare for a planned moon landing by 2010 and the eventual creation of a space station.

This is China’s second manned space flight. Shenzhou means “divine vessel.”

Like the United States government in the late 1960’s and the 1970’s the Chinese government sees scientific advancement as one of the top priorities for future success.

China’s vision for new space age, BBC.
China National Space Administration

Ministry of Silly Walks

Posted on October 16, 2005  Comments (6)

silly walk photo

The Mechanics of Foot Travel

The engineers’ computer simulations conclude that walking is simply most energy efficient for travel at low speeds, and running is best at higher speeds. And, they report, a third walk-run gait is optimal for intermediate speeds, even though humans do not appear to take advantage of it.

The findings help to explain why the possible–but preposterous–gaits in the Monty Python sketch, “Ministry of the Silly Walks (sadly the link was broken – so removed),” have never caught on in human locomotion. The researchers add that extensions of this work might improve the design of prosthetic devices and energy-efficient bipedal robots.

You have to like a government news release that references a Monty Python sketch, don’t you? Especially if they realize Monty Python was poking fun at ludicrous government departments (using physical humor). I am glad they choose to add some spice to the scientific news. Learn more about the Ministry of Silly Walks (sadly the link was broken – so removed).

New link (since other links died): Monty Pythons Flying Circus (The Ministry of Silly Walks & the Spanish Inquisition ) (2000)

Global Engineering Excellence

Posted on October 15, 2005  Comments (0)

Global Engineering Excellence

Technological innovation is a significant driving force for national economies. Research, development, and training the next generation of engineers are therefore important factors in competition. In response to this consideration, Continental and eight top international universities have started the Global Engineering Excellence initiative.

Global Excellence Team:

  • Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany
  • Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, Switzerland
  • Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
  • Tsinghua University, China
  • Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
  • University of Tokyo, Japan
  • Continental AG, Germany

Nanoscale Science and Engineering Education

Posted on October 10, 2005  Comments (0)

Nanoscale Science and Engineering Education projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Abstracts for programs funded given by NSF.

For example How Do We Know What We Know? Resources for the Public Understanding of Scientific Evidence,

This project is designed to improve communication between scientists and the public focusing on the role of evidence in science. It is a two-year project that includes: 1) implementing a national survey on the public use of science web sites; 2) conducting a national Science Education Outreach Forum bringing together scientists and informal science educators; 3) implementing workshop sessions at a national conference to disseminate lessons learned from the survey and Forum; and 4) developing a prototype website on the role of evidence that will be evaluated for audience engagement and understanding.

This project builds on the Exploratorium’s prior NSF-funded project (ESI#9980619) developing innovative strategies using the Internet to link scientists and the public using Webcasts, annotated datasets and interactive web resources. Project collaborators include the Pew Internet and American Life Project, Palmer Station, Scripps Oceanographic Institute, FermiLab and the Society of Hispanic Physicists among others. The research and evaluation of the project has the potential for strategic impact by providing new information and models on how science centers can more effectively use the Internet to improve communication between scientists and the public while engaging learners more effectively.

Arctic System on Trajectory to New, Seasonally Ice-Free State

Posted on October 9, 2005  Comments (3)

Arctic System on Trajectory to New, Seasonally Ice-Free State by (see below):

This future Arctic is likely to have dramatically less permanent ice than exists at present. At the present rate of change, a summer ice-free Arctic Ocean within a century is a real possibility, a state not witnessed for at least a million years.

The ramifications of a transition to this newsystem state would be profound. The deglaciation of Greenland alone would cause a substantial (up to 6 m) rise in sea level, resulting in flooding along coastal areas where much of the world’s population resides.

Shrinking Polar Ice Cap Graphic

Jonathan T. Overpeck, Institute for the Study of Planet Earth, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA;
Matthew Sturm, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, USA;
Jennifer A. Francis, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA;
Donald K. Perovich, the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA;
Mark C. Serreze, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA;
Ronald Benner, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA;
Eddy C. Carmack, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, British Columbia, Canada;
F. Stuart Chapin III, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA;
S. Craig Gerlach, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA;
Lawrence C. Hamilton, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA;
Larry D. Hinzman of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA;
Marika Holland, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA;
Henry P. Huntington, Huntington Consulting, Eagle River, Alaska USA;
Jeffrey R. Key, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Madison, Wisconsin, USA;
Andrea H. Lloyd, Middlebury College, Middlebury, Virginia, USA;
Glen M. MacDonald, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA;
Joe McFadden, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA;
David Noone, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA;
Terry D. Prowse, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada;
Peter Schlosser, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York, USA;
Charles Vörösmarty, University of New Hampshire, Durham New Hampshire, USA.

Four Vehicles Finish in $2 Million Robot Race

Posted on October 9, 2005  Comments (0)

Four Vehicles Finish in $2 Million Robot Race:

Update: link broken – too bad they don’t know pages must live forever

The vehicles were equipped with the latest sensors, lasers, cameras and radar that feed information to several onboard computers. The sophisticated electronics helped vehicles make intelligent decisions such as distinguishing a dangerous boulder from a tumbleweed and calculating whether a chasm is too deep to cross.

E = mc²

Posted on October 8, 2005  Comments (1)

That Famous Equation and You by Brian Greene

Over the last couple of decades, this less familiar reading of Einstein’s equation has helped physicists explain why everything ever encountered has the mass that it does. Experiments have shown that the subatomic particles making up matter have almost no mass of their own. But because of their motions and interactions inside of atoms, these particles contain substantial energy – and it’s this energy that gives matter its heft. Take away Einstein’s equation, and matter loses its mass. You can’t get much more pervasive than that.

Intel and Scholastic Schools of Distinction Awards

Posted on October 6, 2005  Comments (0)

Intel and Scholastic Schools of Distinction Awards

recognize K-12 schools in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in implementing innovative, replicable programs supporting positive educational outcomes. The awards showcase the effective use of technology, the benefits of strong teamwork and the development of excellent classroom teachers.

In 2005, 20 winning schools recieved over $200,000 overall. Application for 2006. In addition to monetary rewards the winning schools recieve rriculum materials, software and hardware.