Comments on "Engineer the Tools of Scientific Discovery"

Cecile Gonzalez
Cecile Gonzalez

PostedFebruary 15, 2008

Where would you go?  What would you investigate?  What tools would you need to do so?  Engineers are creating tools to take us where we dream of exploring.  

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  • Harold M. Frost, III
    Harold M. Frost, III

    Posted 10 years and 4 months ago

    Harold M. Frost, III from Sheffield, Vermont, USA comments on What would you explore?
    Engineering new tools for scientific discovery in the biological sciences still holds great promise, as in the area of imaging of soft solids on nano-size scales and in various dimensions (ranging from 0 for point, to 4 for 'movies' in both time and space). Two examples include (1) contact-mode or dynamic indentation AFM in which the tip is not at the end of an oscillating cantilever beam but at the end of some other mechanical structure, and (2) NMR frequency and relaxation-time spectroscopy methods in which the test sample is deliberately moved uniformly to open up NMR access to (electric) polarization and thus internal endogenous electric fields of any multipole order. Both approaches, though, will require out-of-the-box thinking by young, maverick Ph.D.-level scientists and engineers who do NOT believe experts' claims that there are no new major advances now to make in these fields. However, by probing more deeply and more broadly into the underlying physics, it will become evident that there are theoretical physics frameworks upon which to rest hopes that one day prototypes of new imaging microscopes will be invented, made, used in the lab, and reported on in well-cited peer-reviewed engineering and scientific research journals.
  • Brendan Campbell
    Brendan Campbell

    Posted 10 years and 10 months ago

    Brendan Campbell from Northglenn, CO comments on What would you explore?
    I would explore the cosmos looking for signs of life or explore the possibilities of black holes. I would try to harvest energy from beams of energy projected from pulsars.
  • Damon Minvielle
    Damon Minvielle

    Posted 11 years and 1 month ago

    Damon Minvielle from Tulane University Library comments on What would you explore?
    Is there a term for an approach to scientific research that prioritizes or steers research in directions related to the things engineers would love to know in order to be able to solve problems currently just out of reach because of unanswered scientific questions? In other words, an incremental program using engineering possibilities as a reference to ask scientific questions related to the next most-doable engineering breakthrough. Or in the other direction, using engineers’ expertise to help determine what might be the next most-answerable purely scientific questions…

    It seems to me that this kind of approach would tend to provide some discipline in areas where pure research may tend to wander off into unproductive directions – string theory and related concepts in theoretical physics come to mind here – where the theories produced can’t even be tested.

    I’m fairly sure that the approach I’m describing here is already practiced. I’m just wondering whether or not there is some more-or-less philosophical term for it.

    I recognize also that the engineering-oriented approach can’t usefully be applied in some areas of research or discovery (or when it can be applied in those, it’s in much more limited ways) – it would not have been much use to Darwin or Galileo.

    I also wonder about how much of what we now recognize as solid (unlikely to be overturned) scientific knowledge was produced in an engineering environment or with an engineering motivation, either by professionals or amateur tinkerers. One sufficient proof of any scientific theory is its application in some kind of problem-solving technology.

    Damon Minvielle
  • Joe V
    Joe V

    Posted 11 years and 5 months ago

    Joe V from Vermont comments on What would you explore?
    I would explore ways to engineer society, ways to create a more suitable framework for humanity to live in. This would entail creating better ways to make power, creating suitable and efficient habitation, and rethinking the very structure of society and the ways it fonctions.
  • TomSka

    Posted 11 years and 9 months ago

    TomSka from Kentucky comments on What would you explore?
    I cant find anywhere to expllore
  • Joseph

    Posted 12 years and 5 months ago

    Joseph from North Carolina comments on What would you explore?
    First of all I want to state that we will never run out of places or things to explore. There is so much out there that by the time we have explore and analyzed everything time it self would probably be over. so my point is that I would like to explore anything and everything I can before my time is over.
  • Nick

    Posted 12 years and 7 months ago

    Nick from Houston comments on What would you explore?
    I want to explore social search clusters. the origins of searching, trends.. and why do we all start to search the exact things???
  • James Smith
    James Smith

    Posted 12 years and 7 months ago

    James Smith from Los Angeles,Ca comments on What would you explore?
    I don’t now where to begin I believe if we are to advance in the field of educating people we must first let them know we are in the business to educate and not entertain although being gifted or just having an eye for things is great this is something you just shouldn’t have to stumble upon and then actively seek it out now if this this were a secret then let it stay that and actively seek out the people who get it I believe it times to come from the shadows and be honest out what the expectations and concerns are when it comes to the curiosity we have with society the reality not everyone is going to get it or even care. My thoughts for now. Mr. J
  • matthew diang
    matthew diang

    Posted 12 years and 10 months ago

    matthew diang from austin mn 55912 comments on What would you explore?
    Well my name is matthew diang and im on this very fascinating website at twelve years old and my perspective is we have to look at this at two diffrent precsice angles.I would like to be an aerospace engineer by the age of 30 .but for now we have to fix what we have devouerd swallowed and spit out called this earth.We need alternative energy's and people to discover them and people to learn to use them but im just a kid what do i know...........
  • Carter

    Posted 12 years and 11 months ago

    Carter from Space comments on What would you explore?
    There is always undiscovered territory out there somewhere!
  • Herb

    Posted 13 years and 6 months ago

    Herb from California comments on What would you explore?
    I would like to develop a exchange where people that know a subject extremely well but do not know how to use it for a practical reason. There are extremely knowledgeable, extremely creative, extremely practical people in the world. The problem is they are not one person. I want to bring all this vast group of people together and solve problems. I would create a social web site where ideas interact. “The face book of science”
  • Paul Van Herck
    Paul Van Herck

    Posted 13 years and 9 months ago

    Paul Van Herck from Antwerp comments on What would you explore?
    He, like a great design and craetor of many projects I can say that my brains running at 200% continuous full field ale. I would like to medragen expantie of brain abnormalities where there is as to conscientious wijnig ADHD Borderline etc.
    we know only 20% of what our brains can so 80% is noptelossen by hipnoze + electro analyze of brain waves we are able to express feelings without a word or move to the other side of the world as twins that still have .
    I think if we make the right freqenty severals of thinking and work patterns can trrug during the implementation of our brains far simplifies everything will be better communication between two beings.

    Hy,als een groot design- en craetor van veel projecten kan ik zeggen dat mijn hersenen 200% full continu draaien op ale gebied.
    ik wil wel medragen aan de expantie van de hersenafwijkingen waar nog wijnig van geweten is zoals ADHD Borderline enz.
    wij weten nog maar 20% van wat ons hersenen kunnen dus 80% is noptelossen door hipnoze + electro analyze van brainewaves wij waaren in staat om gevoelens te uiten zonder één woord of beweging tot aan de ander kant van de wereld zoals tweelingen dat nu nog hebben.
    ik denk als we de juiste freqenty heben van verschilende denk- werk patronen en deze trrug kunnen inplementeren in onze hersenen zal alles ver eenvoudigt worden voor een betere communicatie tussen twee wezens.
  • Eric Meier
    Eric Meier

    Posted 14 years and 2 months ago

    Eric Meier from Seattle comments on What would you explore?
    Hi, As an engineer, I'm excited to be a part of pursuing these challenges. I think NAE has done a great job putting together this list. Furthermore, my PhD research (under way) is in computational plasma science with a focus on fusion science. So, I'm glad to see fusion on the list. I do think, however, that fission science is conspicuously missing. Carbon sequestration would be nice. In my opinion, it has unacceptably high uncertainty when the health of the entire Earth ecosystem is at stake. (Not to mention the concern about various non-CO2 toxic emissions from coal power plants.) I think refining fission energy production technology would be higher on my list than carbon sequestration. I know you couldn't include everything on the list, but this is my two cents. Eric
  • Dr. Victor Pinks II
    Dr. Victor Pinks II

    Posted 14 years and 5 months ago

    Dr. Victor Pinks II from Yorkville, Illinois comments on What would you explore?
    We need to push for realism in our computer simulations - allowing us to engineer chemical, biochemical and material science solutions with self-assembly. In November 2002, the NITRD Task Force was charged to update the HPCC grand challenges for science and engineering. The report, reprinted for the third time in November 2006, identified sixteen Illustrative Grand Challenges and fourteen IT Hard Problem Areas ( see /200311_grand_challenges. pdf ). The IT Hard Problem area defined as "Algorithms and Applications" (e.g., Modeling and Simulations) is identified as a highly needed solution (in fourteen out of sixteen Illustrative Grand Challenges). An important point here is that one of the most pressing problems for HPC is not computer hardware [including their operating system (OS) software development], but a lack of scientific "Algorithms and Applications" to run on them. Supercomputing for engineering needs better scientific software -- a continuing problem. The first task at hand should be to address the realism problem with simulation methods (e.g., molecular dynamics) by developing a neural algorithm to perform as a feedback mechanism from the real world of experiment to the model world of simulation. Realism implies realistic forces and force parameters. Ideally, if all forces were correct, simulations would be real because the mode mechanics would be real and consequently, self-assembly would be real. If we solve the realism problem we will solve a very broad problem with a very high impact solution. We need to create a "computational microscope" to help control the self-assembly technique of engineering.
  • Julie Blankenburg
    Julie Blankenburg

    Posted 14 years and 6 months ago

    Julie Blankenburg from Madison, WI comments on What would you explore?
    Someone needs to develop a metadata standard for the engineering sciences like they have for the biological sciences. A few years ago, I searched for such a standard. None existed at that time and no one was working on any that I spoke with. Standardizing the way web documents in engineering are indexed would go a long way in helping engineers locate the information they need.
  • Andrew Rigg
    Andrew Rigg

    Posted 14 years and 11 months ago

    Andrew Rigg from Carrollton, VA comments on What would you explore?
    The computer has not begun to live up to its original promise. Manufacturing large numbers of digital computers, connecting them together and using them as complex communications terminals has yielded many benefits. It seems though that we've lost the vision of modeling engineering systems problems with mathematical equations then solving these equations using numerical approximations. Maybe we live in a "Moore's Law Universe" where the entirety of the potential of computers will only be realized through clever new programming, simulation, creative design and innovative interfaces for digital VonNeumann machines. Then again maybe this exciting artistic period is prelude and creation of a means of creating input to new electronic devices that will be able to accept a mathematical function as input, operate on it and return the result of the operation precisely controlled and interpreted by digital systems.
  • Don Brittain
    Don Brittain

    Posted 15 years and 3 months ago

    Don Brittain from Fairfax, VA comments on What would you explore?
    Batteries to propel electric vehicles. Did GM have a battery designed, developed, tested and accepted some time ago?
  • Beth Green
    Beth Green

    Posted 15 years and 4 months ago

    Beth Green from USA comments on What would you explore?
    The United States justice system has a 29% failure rate in one mode. See "Implementation of the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980" A Report to the Chief Justice. Please join me in my investigation of the effects upon international and intorpersonal security and consequent medical conditions, some epidemic. We need a court interface that is reliable, customized, automated, secure, operable, maintainable and accessible to the ever-growing population in need.
  • Richard Reiss, PE
    Richard Reiss, PE

    Posted 16 years and 3 months ago

    Richard Reiss, PE from NYC comments on What would you explore?
    The most important challenge is to reevaluate how people move throughout the US. The US clearly needs new roads and bridges to support our existing and future populations. Now is a great time to develop a sustainable and long-term transportation model. We need to improve the health of Americans and our environment by reducing vehicular traffic, encouraging bicycling nationwide and increasing the use of new and existing (but abandoned) rail systems. By reducing vehicular traffic we will reduce our consumption of dwindling supplies of non-renewable resources, reduce pollution and set an example for other countries. Also, by encouraging Americans to get out of their cars and onto their bikes, we can help tackle that obesity issue too. China is currently emulating our unsustainable and inefficient transportation model by building thousands of miles of roads. Soon they, like us, will have everyone in a car driving to and from. Whether we like it or not, as the world leader, we set examples that others follow. If the US adopts a sustainable, long-term transportation model, our country will be cleaner, healthier and safer and other countries will likely take note.
  • Abhijit Pratap Singh Tomar
    Abhijit Pratap Singh Tomar

    Posted 16 years and 4 months ago

    Abhijit Pratap Singh Tomar from India, Rajasthan,Bikaner comments on What would you explore?
    Three fourths of our planet is oceanic. The one fourth dry land is sustained by the oceans, which also hide the remaining three fourths of land of this planet.What would earth be had there been no oceans and only dry land? Outer space exploration has immense curiosity and mystery attached to it. But is it ultimately going to be viable and cost- effective vis-a-vis survival & sustenance of both humans and our planet? The only good spin-offs of space research seem to be commercial and military. The speed with which changes are taking place on this planet may be too fast to interpret and extrapolate, and by the time space exploration reaps any measurable benefits for the human race and mankind, it might be too late. The key to the future of life and earth seems to be in exploring the oceans and the land that lies beneath. Long live Gaea.