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

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

1 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 Technical Workforce Development + Engineering Education (Reform) + Airplane Design (and Aerodynamics) “Hobbies” Paleontology Archaeology Cultural anthropology Cognitive psychology Education Airplanes

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 Thanks to Gary Larson The Far Side “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)

8 The Post-Cold War Aerospace Industry

9 Dreams of Leonardo da Vinci

10 A Cosmic View of Aviation History Big Bang Solar System Formed Life Evolves On Earth Dinosaurs Birds Man Wright Bros. Boeing Neil goes to the Moon Insects Future of Earth ? Future of The World Economy ? Mass extinction from space Global climate change X ?? ~ 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 Rutan “Proteus” (circa the present) Microraptor gui Northern China 125 Mya 77 cm (~ 30 in.) Ref. Xu, et al., Nature, Vol.421, 23 January 2003, pp V 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 )

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

22 Our Engineering Education System and Thus Our Technical Workforce Pipeline Under Stress There are several important disconnects College/University Engineering Programs K-12 System Professional Practice/ Industry Needs Societal change Declining standards Decreasing interest in science and math Rapid, continuous change in practice Changing priorities Globalization Aging workforce and lose of experience base 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 Societal Concern Industry concern Company concern 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: Faculty Graduate curriculum Under Graduate curriculum Department Program Employers Give me grads who can do my work. Give me students who can do my work Teach (and look for talent) Get research funding ! Support labs and students Publish, publish, publish Students Education JOBS !! Research $$ available (from where, for what?) Faculty talent and interests Curricula Jobs (potentially and actually available) A good alignment too seldom exists and needs to be established Puzzles

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 Physics Chemistry Biology Ecology K-8 High School – College Careers Biomechanics Bridge Engineering Information Technology Physical Sciences Biological Sciences & Medicine “Technical” Hooks Airplanes Rockets Astronomy Cars Dinosaurs Birds Bugs Plants &Gardening Computers Etc. Kid’s can do math Engineering And business, law, etc.

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. Engineering “How” Science “What” Humanities & Liberal Arts “Why” Understanding Human and societal needs Ethics Compassion Understanding Facts and data Tools & techniques Possibilities and opportunities Solutions (products, services, etc.) of Value to Society Technical Problems “Society’s Technical Problem Solvers” [Desired image of the 21 st Century Engineer]

27 “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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