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Committee Member Spotlight

  • Wesley Harris
    Wesley Harris
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Dr. Wesley Harris is a member of the Committee on Grand Challenges for Engineering.
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Grand challenges in the news

U.S. Engineering Schools to Educate 20,000 Students to Meet Grand Challenges April 17, 2015

President Barack Obama greets science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) leaders including NAE President C. D. Mote Jr. during the 2015 White House Science Fair, in the Map Room of the White House, March 23, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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An engineering student tackles dirty water April 16, 2015

In 2011, an engineering student came up with an idea to help people in the developing world deal with raw sewage. His goal was to use technology to help save lives by limiting people’s exposure to the pathogens in human waste. Four years and several countries later, he’s still working on it – and the technology is beginning to come into focus.

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Using sound to separate cancer cells from blood samples April 15, 2015

Separating circulating cancer cells from blood cells for diagnostic, prognostic and treatment purposes may become much easier using an acoustic separation method and an inexpensive, disposable chip, according to a team of engineers.

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This bending bolt could help buildings withstand earthquakes April 15, 2015

In the world of nuts and bolts and other mechanical fasteners, things are usually flat, parallel, perpendicular, and rigid, just the way engineers like it. But a professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo has disrupted that notion.

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When you wish upon a star: nuclear fusion and the promise of a brighter tomorrow March 22, 2015

Decades in the making, Iter, a huge experimental nuclear fusion reactor in rural France, could be the site of breakthroughs that will provide limitless, clean energy and secure the planet’s future.

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Woman Controls a Fighter Jet Sim Using Only Her Mind March 22, 2015

“We are thinking about exactly how to restore function after injury, how the brain can be used to actuate devices,” says Justin Sanchez, the head of Darpa’s prosthetics research.

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Surprise! America Already Has a Manhattan Project for Developing Cyber Attacks March 22, 2015

There are update mechanisms, dozens of plug-ins, a self-destruct function, massive code obfuscation, hundreds of fake websites to serve as command-and-control.

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Lockheed's Fusion Promise: What We Know So Far March 22, 2015

Fusion promises unlimited clean, renewable energy without the nasty byproducts of the uranium-splitting fission that drives today's nuclear plants. The problem is figuring out how to contain it.

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Injectable Enzyme Stops Wounds from Bleeding March 22, 2015

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed an injectable material that can help blood clot faster and more effectively, plugging up the wound to stop the bleeding.

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Video Game Trains Eyes to Work Better Together March 22, 2015

The tablet-based game requires the use of 3D glasses, and features adjustable contrast levels of the red and blue colors that can be seen through one or the other lens of the glasses.

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MSU team will study Montana forest to help forests across West A March 22, 2015

A Montana State University ecologist who has studied the movement of water through redwood trees has now received a federal grant to investigate the movement of nitrogen through a western Montana forest.

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Material Building Blocks of the Future Deft Logic March 20, 2015

After confounding scientists for decades, University of Malta researchers are now developing mathematical models to explain the unusual behaviour of these logic-defying materials, unlocking a plethora of applications that could change the way we envision the future forever.

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Cheap, Flexible Solar March 20, 2015

An engineering student is tuning energy levels through surface chemistry, showing promise for higher efficiency quantum dot solar cells.

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Uncrackable code for nuclear weapons March 20, 2015

Mark Hart, a scientist and engineer in Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) Defense Technologies Division, has developed a new approach for ensuring nuclear weapons and their components can't fall prey to unauthorized use. The beauty of his approach: Let the weapon protect itself.

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Two Carbon-Trapping Plants Offer Hope of Cleaner Coal March 20, 2015

Two of the world’s first coal-fired power plants with integrated carbon capture are nearing completion in Saskatchewan and Mississippi, providing a rare lift for a technology that has languished in recent years.

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ISU researchers hope to prevent icy airport runways March 20, 2015

A team of 19 researchers is developing three methods to prevent snow and ice from collecting on the paved surfaces on airport runways and taxi areas.

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