While the total number of engineering degrees earned is on the decline, the good news is that more and more people with an extra X chromosome are pursuing the degree. The number of female undergraduate engineering students has increased from 44,431 in 1979 to 72,393 in 1998. Overall, females now make up 19.7% of the undergraduate enrollment—though the percentage is higher at some schools, like MIT (42%). Numbers come from the Society of Women Engineers.
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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