When faculty member Leo Castagno of Brigham Young University discovered that many engineering students could write a program in C++ but couldn't tell the difference between a screw and a bolt, he wasn't exactly surprised. "In the traditional engineering curriculum, fasteners are covered in a single class," he says. "But I will tell you that there is a lot more to the technology than a person could possibly imagine." A former engineer and welder himself, Castagno's primary goal is to expose students to more than just pitches and thread counts. So he is expanding a process class that he teaches from just the basics of welding and chip cutting to include joining processes—in a very real-world kind of way. "This isn't a spectator sport, you know," he stresses. "I want to expose students to as many different kinds of fasteners as I can get my hands on." For starters, Penn Engineering has contributed a variety of fasteners to the school, free-of-charge. The idea is for students to gain some hands-on experience with them. Castagno is thrilled. But just in case some students may be contemplating not having to hit any books for the class, he says that the final exam will include at least some theory.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
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.