month's Prism cover story, "Science & Sports,"
examines the role that research can play in sports technology. Engineers
can make athletes run faster and balls fly farther, but is that how
they should be spending their time? Some engineering professors believe
that studying sports is a good way to teach basic theories. It can also
help students bring their designs to the marketplace. But how far do
you go beyond using sports as a teaching aid? Should engineering schools
push sports research as an end in itself, or is it acceptable to work
with manufacturers in the sports industry on specific product development
as a way to teach entrepreneurship?
With their awareness of technological developments, engineers are,
of course, in an excellent position to initiate new, technology-based
enterprises. "The Lure of Industry," takes a look at the
challenges that schools and professors face in a time of heightened
entrepreneurial interests. Though tech start-up fever has cooled somewhat,
schools still can face the loss of prized professors to corporate America
when engineering educators get the itch to develop their innovations.
Schools are responding by devising creative ways to keep professors
on staff while allowing them to stray enough to satisfy the entrepreneurial
"Up in Smoke" examines the issue of global warming. Some
scientists say that technology can fix the problem. But at a cost. The
technology is enormously expensive, and some question whether the United
States has invested enough to make a difference. Carbon dioxide (CO2),
which acts like a glass ceiling and traps heat in the atmosphere, may
be causing some of the dramatic climate changes—drought and floods—we
are experiencing. There are creative ways to capture CO2, but what do
you do with it after that? The article examines several options. Two
prime possibilities are pumping it underground or sinking it into the
oceans, but scientists still aren't sure of the environmental
University of Southern California president Steven Sample, an electrical
engineer, is the subject of "A Contrarian for the Ages."
Sample is an unconventional thinker who advises " thinking free"
and not copying your way to excellence. He also recommends budding leaders
use his "70/30 formula for leadership" (spend 30 percent
of your time doing the vision thing).
As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments.
Frank L. Huband
Executive Director and Publisher