Of the almost 206,000 American students who studied abroad in 2004-2005, almost 23 percent were social science majors, more than 7 percent were business students and less than 3 percent were engineering students. Experts agree the ability to work in a global environment is crucial to long-term success (both for engineers and the United States), so why is engineering participation so low? Why aren’t more engineering students seeking global exposure in education? Educators say it’s partly the sequential nature of the engineering curricula but also an educational culture that fails to emphasize the importance of the international experience. This month’s Prism cover story, “The Amazing Race,” looks at why international experience is valuable and what schools are doing to boost the international flavor of their programs.
Malaria kills 3 million people each year. To put it another way, malaria kills a child every 30 seconds in the developing world. In “Hero by Nature,” we learn that the drug artemisinin can provide healing benefits. However, the drug is expensive to produce and the process time extensive. Also, production is an environmental nightmare, requiring the use of gasoline as solvent. What to do? Enter the chemical engineer and synthetic biology. By cloning genes from various plants, engineers are seeking to retool the metabolism in cells to make substances—like drugs—that are difficult to extract or that aren’t found naturally. Of course the race is on, the stakes are high and those involved feel passionate about the outcome.
“Wringing Gold From the Old” is right in step with the current focus on “going green.” This article reports on the merits of remanufacturing, wherein the product is disassembled, salvaged, cleaned and reassembled into a born-again product. The remanufacturing industry is not new—auto plants have used remanufactured car parts for years. Remanufactured products cost less and the environmental benefits are obvious, so it isn’t surprising that the range of such products is blossoming. Engineers are now looking to design with remanufacturing in mind and to develop more effective restoration techniques.
As this month’s Prism went to press, we received the sad and shocking news of the shooting at Virginia Tech. Three of those killed were engineering faculty members: Kevin Granata and Liviu Librescu, both professors of engineering science and mechanics; and G.V. Loganathan, professor of civil and environmental engineering.
Each was a world-class researcher and dedicated teacher, and their deaths will be felt deeply throughout the engineering community. We at ASEE mourn the loss of our three colleagues and the students who died in this tragedy. Our deepest condolences to all at Virginia Tech.
Frank L. Huband
Executive Director and Publisher