PRISM - American Society for Engineering Education - Logo JANUARY 2006 - VOLUME 15, NUMBER 5
Seeking New Solutions

Frank L HubandWe all share concerns about the cost of oil and gas to run our cars and heat our homes. The world’s growing need for energy has sparked a renewed interest in nuclear power. Our cover story this month, “A New Era,” examines recent trends that may signal the start of a new nuclear age. For years, there has been a pall on nuclear power, due to high-profile accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl and the challenges of finding a way to safely store nuclear waste for the centuries it will remain hazardous. Recently, however, environmentalists are beginning to reassess the potential of nuclear power. Unlike coal, natural gas and other fossil fuels, nuclear does not produce carbon dioxide, which traps heat radiating from the Earth and contributes to global warming. While no nuclear plant has been constructed since 1978, there is now growing interest, with 15 separate groups making plans for new reactors. With the potential number of reactors on the rise, the need for nuclear engineers and other trained personnel to design, build and operate them is increasing as well.

Have you ever contemplated that hugely successful product, the Angled Reach Toothbrush? Probably not, but the angled toothbrush is an example of a product designed using engineering psychology principles to provide a more ergonomic product. While engineering and psychology may not spring to mind as sister subjects, let alone subjects of the same university program, the engineering psychology major is gaining attention in some academic circles. This month’s Prism article, “A Mind for Design,” looks at the engineering psychology programs at a number of universities.

When former dean of Tufts’ School of Engineering Ioannis Mialoulis became the president of the Boston Museum of Science in 2003, he embarked on an ambitious campaign to bring engineering to America’s secondary schools nationwide by 2014. Mialoulis believes that engineering should be part of everyone’s education, and to that end, he has spearheaded a K-12 science and technology curriculum for Massachusetts schools. Currently all fifth and eighth graders are being tested in engineering, and beginning in 2008, engineering will be among four science options that Massachusetts high school students must pass to graduate. “A Powerful Force” explores Mialoulis’ passion to infuse engineering into public school education and his plans to take his campaign beyond state lines.

It is always our goal to provide you a choice of interesting and thought-provoking articles. I hope you enjoy this month’s selections. If you have comments or suggestions, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Frank L Huband
Executive Director and Publisher



A NEW ERA - By Corinna Wu
A POWERFUL FORCE - By Alice Daniel
A MIND FOR DESIGN - By Pierre Home-Douglas
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REFRACTIONS: Celebrating Bicentennials - By Henry Petroski
A BROADER PERSPECTIVE - Some engineering students manage to squeeze study abroad into their tight schedules. - By Margaret Loftus
TEACHING: A Push for Participation - By Phillip Wankat and Frank Oreovicz
BOOK REVIEW: The Engine That Soared - By Robin Tatu
ON CAMPUS: Fuel for Thought - By Lynne Shallcross
LAST WORD: In Search of a Sputnik Moment - By Daniel Mark Fogel


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