Forget algebra homework: try building spaceships, operating a nuclear reactor or listening in to distant galaxies
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.18.2011 at 12:45 pm 5 Comments
Forget stuffy lecture halls and humming fluorescent lights. Build robots instead! Or run a nuclear reactor. To rank the coolest labs in the country, we factored in groundbreaking research, undergrad access and sheer awesomeness.
Click here to launch a gallery of the coolest labs in America
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.04.2011 at 3:48 pm 0 Comments
At the Creative Machines Lab, a division of Cornell's department of mechanical engineering, 3-D printers fabricate everything from cupcake frosting to chain mail to body parts. Associate professor Hod Lipson, the head of the lab (who we've interviewed in the past), says "fabbing" particularly suits undergrads, because it takes only basic training in mechanical engineering to get involved, and the field rewards messing around.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.04.2011 at 3:19 pm 0 Comments
Reed College, a liberal-arts school in Portland, Oregon, has 1,447 students and no graduate schools. But it has its own nuclear reactor. Only 27 schools in the nation have such a thing, and they usually use grad students and pros to run it. Reed entrusts the power of fission to students as young as freshmen, licensing twice as many undergraduate operators as any other university.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.04.2011 at 2:52 pm 0 Comments
Some of the students interning on the Micro-autonomous Systems Technology (MAST) project at the Army Research Lab in Maryland spend their summer trying to equip soldiers with dozens or even hundreds of “insect” robots that can swarm into a bunker or cave to provide a remote look inside. “Working in silicon at the fruit-fly scale, they’ll cost almost nothing,” says Chris Kroninger, an aeronautics researcher specializing in MAST’s wings, “and they can be equipped with limited sensor capability that can be a first warning for a soldier.”
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.04.2011 at 2:00 pm 0 Comments
The research cruise that 25-year-old Ellie Bors took in 2009 looked so appealing, she says, that she skipped her own Oberlin College graduation to be part of it. On board, the crew made garbage-bag robes and a fake diploma for her, and she made her graduation walk anyway.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.03.2011 at 6:17 pm 0 Comments
Many students pass through the beer lab of Professor Charles Bamforth, who for eight years worked as a senior manager at Bass Brewers. But the ones he most enjoys instructing come from the University of California at Davis's distinguished department of viticulture. "I like to convert one winemaker into a brewer every year," he says. "I consider beer a superior beverage, and I know it's a lot harder to make."
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.03.2011 at 6:04 pm 0 Comments
It’s been about 50 million years since the Indian tectonic plate began colliding with Asia, and the Tien Shan mountain range in Western China is still shaking. The region compresses horizontally at a rate of about a quarter-inch per year, pushing the mountains ever higher and resulting in frequent magnitude-6 and -7 earthquakes. In 2006, Caltech’s Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences (GPS) dispatched a 21-person team, mostly students, to a barren region near Urumqui to figure out how faults in the foothills increased their seismic activity.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.03.2011 at 4:23 pm 0 Comments
From the Explorer I satellite in 1958 to the new Mars Science Laboratory rover set to blast off at the end of the year, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has built the country's most ambitious robotic space vessels. And every summer, about 280 undergraduates arrive there to participate in one of 16 internship programs for engineering or science students.
University grads everywhere may feel pressure to succeed, but the stakes ramp up when your school's co-founders include AI visionary Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis of the X Prize Foundation. Now recent grads of Singularity U have announced their strategies for using emerging technologies to help one billion people over the next 10 years.