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Gem of An Idea

Computer chips and electronic circuitry made from diamonds? Sounds like just bling, but nanodiamond-based components for microelectronic devices not only are very robust; they’re inexpensive.

Developed by researchers at Vanderbilt University, the devices are made by depositing a thin nanodiamond film on a layer of silicon dioxide and then vacuum-packaging it.

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It’s Here! The 5th Edition of
Engineering, Go For It

Like our new magazine cover? Snatch up the 44″ x 25″ poster

What do the blockbuster movie Avatar, high-performance sports gear, the Angry Birds phone app, and pollution-eating bacteria have in common? They are among a host of fascinating innovations developed by engineers and featured in the newest edition of the American Society for Engineering Education’s (ASEE) Engineering, Go For It magazine.

The publication is now available in our online store. You can find a free preview of the magazine here.

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Engineering Icons: A Cross Country Guide

Planning a road trip this summer? Whether en route to a beach, lake, or national park, there are plenty of engineering landmarks to admire along the way — including the interstate highway system along which most travelers must pass. Here are some designated engineering destinations worth braking for:

Hoover Dam: More than a million visitors a year tour this National Landmark (pictured at the top) that towers 725 above the Colorado River 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, NV. Read ASEE’s Prism magazine columnist Henry Petroski on the dam’s 75th anniversary.

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Engineers Respond to Disaster in Japan

An aerial view of damage to Wakuya, Japan, after March 11 earthquake and tsunami

Last Friday, Japan was hit with a devastating earthquake of 9.0 magnitude. In combination with the following tsunami, the earthquake caused immense damage to northeastern regions of Japan and severely compromised six nuclear power-plant reactors. Recent reports estimate the death toll at over 5,000, with another 9,000 people missing and 2,500 injured. Over 4 million households were left without electricity, and 1.5 million without running water.

Since the tragedy stuck, scientists and engineers have been working around the clock to find and help survivors, as well as to avert potential nuclear meltdowns.

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New Reactor Turns Sunlight into
Hydrogen Fuel

Every hour, the sun beams down more energy than the whole planet consumes in a year. Although solar cell technology has advanced considerably in recent years, many challenges related to reliably capturing and storing the sun’s energy still remain.

Sossina Haile, a professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering at CalTech, is developing a new approach to solar power. Using cerium oxide (or ceria), a metal most commonly found in self-cleaning ovens, Haile and her research team have created a prototype reactor that has the power to transform sunbeams into clean fuel.

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