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AND NOW FOR THE SPORTS REPORT

Frank HubandThis 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 urge.

"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 consequences.
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
f.huband@asee.org