Engineering Trends, July 2012

A team of students from Purdue University and North Carolin A&T State University has been chosen by NASA to “build an experiment to be operated on the International Space Station.” The Purdue team is led by professor Steven H. Collicott, Ph.D. (MI G ’83), and will be working on “an original experiment in capillary fluid dynamics through the space agency’s National Lab Education Projects for the International Space Station.”

Read the news story here, for information on the collaboration and the experiment to be “operational in orbit in 2014 or 2015.”


A recent article from Inside Higher Ed, discusses the trend of individualized engineering programs “gaining popularity as problems within the field call for greater flexibility and broader skill sets.” Three university engineering programs offer such flexibility, at MIT, Stanford, and Cornell.

Dr. Mary C. Boyce, VA B ’81, is head of MIT’s mechanical engineering department and a professor and spoke about a customizable core of classes offered in engineering at MIT. “This shows how empowering the program is for students,” said Dr. Boyce. “It’s a great program because it really makes students think early on what it is they really want to be studying, and how do they want to be spending their time.” The article concludes that as the student demand increases for this type of engineering degree, so will the number of institutions offering similarly flexible programs.


The major players in the airplane building industry are trying new ways to build planes. Airbus and Boeing are highlighted for their recent “string of expensive and embarrassing crises while developing new airplanes.” Both companies are working to centralize production systems and deliver planes on-time and on budget.

Click here for the article, to learn about the issues that previously caused “one hiccup from delaying the whole assembly line” and the new practices of networking that executives hope will restore confidence and reshape the way jetliners are built.



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