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Citizen Engineers

Haitians walks past earthquake damageWhen Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake in 2010, Notre Dame engineering researchers created an online system that let students review hundreds of photos and reliably classify the structural damage. The effort is just one example of how “citizen engineers” and “citizen scientists” are advancing research in areas from astronomy to air pollution to penguins. Even snowflakes!

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A Smart Road for Driven Students

Virginia Tech Smart RoadThis ordinary-looking stretch of road is anything but. Nestled in the mountains of southwest Virginia, the 2.2 mile blacktop contains three bridges, an intersection–and a brain!

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Lesson: Concrete for Kids

concrete1Concrete for Kids is a fun, hands-on activity to introduce students to engineering and concrete as an engineered material that engineers use to make the structures we use every day, including bridges, buildings, and roads. In this two-period lesson, teams of students in grades K-12 mix and pour concrete to form beams which, once hardened, are tested to see how much weight they can hold before breaking.

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Virginia Tech Team Wins EcoCAR Contest

Virginia Tech Car TeamAn ethanol-powered electric vehicle that can travel the equivalent of 81.9 miles per gallon clinched the EcoCAR Challenge for a team of Virginia Tech engineering students. They beat 15 other student teams in the three-year competition, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors, to design a more fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly car with the same consumer appeal and safety as today’s models.

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