This year, Design News is getting a head start on the Fourth of July celebration. In honor of our country and its legacy of engineering innovation -- in all of its forms -- we are taking you on an alphabetical tour through all 50 states to showcase interesting engineering breakthroughs and historically significant events.
From California to the New York island -- as the song goes -- here is the fourth installment (New Mexico through South Carolina) of our five-installment 50-state slideshow, which will culminate on July 2.
Click here for the first 10-state installment (Alabama through Georgia).
Click here for the second 10-state installment (Hawaii through Maryland).
Click here for the third 10-state installment (Massachusetts through New Jersey). Check back on Design News as we close in on 50!
Of course, with a limited amount of space, we surely will miss many interesting state engineering facts and tidbits, so if you know any, add them in the comments!
Click the image below to start the slideshow.
New Mexico: The Monte Carlo Method of Computation
When it comes to science, New Mexico is perhaps most famous for the invention of the atomic bomb at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, but there was something perhaps just as important developed during nuclear research: the Monte Carlo method of computational algorithms, which is still used widely today in simulations in areas like physics, space, and oil exploration, and business risk calculation. Stanislaw Ulam invented the modern version of the Monte Carlo method in the late 1940s, while he was a scientist at Los Alamos. In 1946, he and other physicists were doing research in radiation shielding and the distance that neutrons would travel through materials. They had the data for the average distance a neutron would travel in a substance before it collided with an atomic nucleus, and how much energy the neutron was likely to give off after a collision. But they still could not figure out their problem with conventional methods of computation and thus had to come up with a different way. The name itself is a reference to the Monte Carlo casino in the French city, where Ulamís uncle would frequently gamble after borrowing money from relatives.
Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 15 years. She has lived and worked as a professional journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco, and New York City. In her free time she enjoys surfing, traveling, music, yoga, and cooking. She currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal.