The federal government has launched a program to promote college courses in the design of highly efficient automobiles. The Department of Energy (DOE) is putting up $500,000 this year for the program and proposes $2 million for 1999. Funding is to be matched by participating universities. The program's first goal is to set up a graduate curriculum and fellowship program that will concentrate on the latest automotive technologies. The next phase calls for developing full four-year courses of study at several universities. A DOE official claims the program will "train a new generation of automotive engineering professionals who will be building the super-efficient car of the future."
With a better understanding of materials’ response to load and temperature, researchers could potentially use the knowledge to improve design. The research could even help geologists studying plate tectonics.
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