Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science have collaborated to recreate the sound a dinosaur made 75 million years ago. The low-frequency sound was produced using computed tomography (CT scans) and powerful computers. The study of dinosaur vocalization began after the discovery in August 1995 of a rare Parasaurolophus skull fossil measuring about 4.5 feet long. The dinosaur had a bony tubular crest that extended back from the top of its head. Many scientists have believed the crest, containing a labyrinth of air cavities and shaped something like a trombone, might have been used to produce distinctive sounds. As expected, based on the structure of the crest, the dinosaur apparently emitted a resonating low-frequency rumbling sound that can change in pitch. The sound is an approximation of the possible tones that the dinosaur crest was capable of producing. The computer-modeling techniques used to create the dinosaur sound are the same ones Sandia uses to create complex, three-dimensional models for conducting computer simulations of problems that cannot be subjected to real-world tests. The same 3-D imaging techniques can be used to analyze and predict the structural integrity of mounting brackets on aging airplanes, the internal structures of aging weapons, and the accurate reconstruction of the forces and mechanical failures associated with the crash of an airplane carrying nuclear weapons. For more information, contact Carl Diegert, Sandia, at (505) 845-7193.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.