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John McMasters A Legacy of Sustaining Innovations in Biomimetic Aircraft Design and Engineering Education Alice Agogino, Mera Horne University of California.

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Presentation on theme: "John McMasters A Legacy of Sustaining Innovations in Biomimetic Aircraft Design and Engineering Education Alice Agogino, Mera Horne University of California."— Presentation transcript:

1 John McMasters A Legacy of Sustaining Innovations in Biomimetic Aircraft Design and Engineering Education Alice Agogino, Mera Horne University of California at Berkeley Mudd Design Workshop VII May 29, 2009

2 Acknowledgements Paul W. Dees
“The Technical Legacy of Dr. John McMasters” 47th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting Including The New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition AIAA


4 Scientific American, 1989

5 John’s Twin Professional Passions
Airplanes Education “Hobbies” Paleontology Archaeology Cultural anthropology Cognitive psychology Technical Workforce Development + Engineering Education (Reform) Airplane Design (and Aerodynamics)

6 “I’m sure glad the hole isn’t in our end…”

7 Professor McMasters illustrates his famous brain-stapling technique in a seminar for compulsive thinkers “It’s all about thinking, dummy” -- A. Einstein “Thinking is the one skill that never becomes obsolete.” -- Paul B. MacCready “He had only one vanity, he thought he could glve advice better than any other person.” -- Mark Twain (writing about John McMasters) Thanks to Gary Larson The Far Side

8 The Post-Cold War Aerospace Industry

9 Dreams of Leonardo da Vinci

10 A Cosmic View of Aviation History
Neil goes to the Moon Mass extinction from space Future of The World Economy ? X Insects Dinosaurs Birds Life Evolves On Earth Boeing ?? Man Wright Bros. Solar System Formed Global climate change Big Bang Future of Earth ? ~ 300 million years of flight

11 The Wonders of Bird Flight
Thanks to Sharon Finn

12 Dragonfly Flight Testing and Flow Visualization

13 Tandem Wing Fliers Microraptor gui Northern China 125 Mya
Rutan “Proteus” (circa the present) 77 cm (~ 30 in.) V Ref. Xu, et al., Nature, Vol.421, 23 January 2003, pp A feathered analog to a flying squirrel?

14 Some scientist' once proved that bees can't fly...?
In 1934 André Sainte-Laguë compared a bee to an aeroplane of similar size, and was based on the assumption that bees wings were more-or-less smooth, flat plates. The resulting calculations not surprisingly 'proved' the bee to be incapable of flight. But, of course, and crucially, bees' wings are far from flat. As McMasters said in 1989: The assumptions were almost wildly wrong, and the [scientist] himself later discovered part of his error by examining a bee's wing under a microscope — but not, alas, before the myth was born in the hands of overeager journalists. Scientific American (McMasters, J. H. 1989)

15 John the free thinker debating on how the alula of a bird works (1970s vintage)

16 Altostratus Sail Plane

17 An Extracurricular Frivolity Circa 1080 (and 2001-04)

18 “Please Professor McMasters, may I be excused. My brain is full.”

19 Speaking as a designer committed to building a better future through strategic technical workforce development… Homo habilis erectus sapiens sapiens faber boeingensis Up the value chain to business success Extinction Propithecus sp. With thanks to Prof. Larry Leifer, Center for Design Research, Stanford University, 2002

20 1994

21 (liberal arts, humanities, etc.)
The Well-Rounded Engineer Knowledge of Many Skills with Career Choices Based on Talent, Ability, Interest and Ambitions Designers System Architects Technical Subject Matter Experts Foundational Technical Skills Math Science Analysis Computing Engineering Skills Design Systems synthesis Note: Many of the jobs shown here are difficult to “outsource” or “mechanize” out of existence. System Integrators Process Engineers Professional Skills Communications Team Work Networking Interpersonal Business Skills And Acumen Cost accounting Scheduling Planning Program Managers General knowledge (liberal arts, humanities, etc.) and life experience Customer and Service Engineers Marketing

22 Our Engineering Education System and Thus Our Technical Workforce Pipeline Under Stress
There are several important disconnects Societal Concern Industry concern Company concern K-12 System Professional Practice/ Industry Needs College/University Engineering Programs Tradition bound Slow rate of change Costs rapidly escalating Heavy dependence on funded research Failure to attract/retain women and minorities Inadequate sense of urgency Rapid, continuous change in practice Changing priorities Globalization Aging workforce and lose of experience base Societal change Declining standards Decreasing interest in science and math Our future supply of engineering talent is threatened and we in industry must pay part of the “taxes” needed to fix the problem.

23 A Puzzle for Engineering Academe:
Get research funding ! Support labs and students Publish, publish, publish Puzzles Research $$ available (from where, for what?) Faculty talent and interests Curricula Jobs (potentially and actually available) Give me students who can do my work Department Program Faculty Teach (and look for talent) Graduate curriculum Students A good alignment too seldom exists and needs to be established Under Graduate curriculum Employers Give me grads who can do my work. Education JOBS !!

24 Roadblocks to Change The “faculty reward system” (more than just tenure) Driven by research and associated prestige What incentives to devote effort to undergraduate teaching? The industry “reward system” Driven by near-term needs for business (and career) success What career incentives to devote effort to “university relations”? General lack of communication and shared common vision A lot of “runners out for a pass”, with limited vision of the future Ignorance of industry needs from a university perspective Little understanding of faculty needs and constraints in industry Industry and university time scales for change or action are very different - causes major gaps between expectations and realization

25 Hooking Kids on Science and Engineering
Physical Sciences “Technical” Hooks Airplanes Rockets Astronomy Cars Dinosaurs Birds Bugs Plants &Gardening Computers Etc. Engineering Information Technology Physics Chemistry And business, law, etc. Engineering Biomechanics Bridge Biology Ecology Kid’s can do math Biological Sciences & Medicine K High School – College Careers

26 Engineering Isn’t Just “Applied Science”
Engineering is about applying knowledge (in a systems sense) from a broad range of disciplines (including mathematics, science, economics and information technology) to create products, services and processes that meet societal needs and enhance the quality of life. Technical Problems Humanities & Liberal Arts “Why” Science “What” Engineering “How” Understanding Human and societal needs Ethics Compassion Understanding Facts and data Tools & techniques Possibilities and opportunities “Society’s Technical Problem Solvers” [Desired image of the 21st Century Engineer] Solutions (products, services, etc.) of Value to Society

27 “I don’t know why people are so frightened by new ideas
“I don’t know why people are so frightened by new ideas. It’s the old ones that frighten me.” John Cage American composer “O you who love clear edges more than anything……watch the edges that blur.” Adrienne Rich American poet

28 Reflections on a Very Long Career in Aeronautics
The importance of having a vivid “vision” of the future. The value of mentors, role models and networking. Developing and holding a “systems perspective”. Design is not only the essence of engineering; it is a "life skill”.


30 Blog

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