On a warm June day in 1978, William J. LeMessurier, one of the nation’s leading structural engineers, received a phone call at his headquarters, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from an engineering student in New Jersey. The young man, whose name has been lost in the swirl of subsequent events, said that his professor had assigned him to write a paper on the Citicorp tower, the slash-topped silver skyscraper that had become, on its completion in Manhattan the year before, the seventh-tallest building in the world.
LeMessurier found the subject hard to resist, even though the call caught him in the middle of a meeting. As a structural consultant to the architect Hugh Stubbins, Jr., he had designed the twenty-five-thousand-ton steel skeleton beneath the tower’s sleek aluminum skin. And, in a field where architects usually get all the credit, the engineer, then fifty-two, had won his own share of praise for the tower’s technical elegance and singular grace; indeed, earlier that year he had been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the highest honor his profession bestows. Excusing himself from the meeting, LeMessurier asked his caller how he could help.
As Ross Perlin writes in this sharp new study, today’s teens and twenty-somethings have been taught that they must first work for free if they ever hope to get paid—and they are getting a raw deal. In what he bills as "the first book-length analysis of internships," Perlin puts the annual value of intern labor at a conservative estimate of almost $2 billion, performed free of charge, often for companies that could probably afford a minimum-wage employee or two.
The economic and legal problems with this arrangement are glaring. Internships exclude those whose families cannot afford to support them; they displace paid workers; they allow companies to dodge liability and colleges to cash in on "internship for credit" tuition dollars. Perlin is at his best delineating the systemic flaws of an "intern nation." It is satisfying—I say this without rage or resentment, I think—to see obvious truths forcefully articulated and persistent myths dispelled.
Rice University senior engineering students are using the sun to power an autoclave that sterilizes medical instruments and help solve a long-standing health issue for developing countries.
The Capteur Soleil, a device designed decades ago by French inventor Jean Boubour, was modified at Rice two years ago for use as a solar-powered cookstove for places where electricity — or fuel of any kind — is hard to get.
This year, Team Sterilize modified it further. When a set of curved mirrors and an insulated box containing the autoclave are installed, the steel A-frame sitting outside Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchenbecomes something else entirely — a lifesaver.
The system produces steam by focusing sunlight along a steel tube at the frame’s apex. Rather than pump steam directly into the autoclave, the Rice team’s big idea was to use the steam to heat a custom-designed conductive hotplate.
"It basically becomes a stovetop, and you can heat anything you need to," said Sam Major, a member of the team with seniors Daniel Rist, David Luker and William Dunk, all mechanical engineering students. "As long as the autoclave reaches 121 Celsius for 30 minutes (the standard set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), everything should be sterile, and we’ve found we’re able to do that pretty easily." (Source)
Gary Will argues that less than 10 percent of startups are commercialized at universities.
A new website allows students to gamble on the grades that they are going to get at college- something doesn’t sound right here!