Spend an afternoon by a creek in the woods, and you’re likely to notice water striders — long-legged insects that dimple the surface of the water as they skate across. Or, dip one side of a toothpick in dish detergent before placing it in a bowl of water, and impress your grade schooler as the toothpick gently starts to move itself across the surface.
Both situations illustrate the concepts of surface tension and propulsion velocity. At Michigan Technological University, mechanical engineer Hassan Masoud and PhD student Saeed Jafari Kang have applied the lessons of the water strider and the soapy toothpick to develop an understanding of chemical manipulation of surface tension.
Their vehicle? Tiny surfing robots.
“During the past few decades, there have been many efforts to fabricate miniature robots, especially swimming robots,” said Masoud, an assistant professor in the mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics department. “Much less work has been done
For more than five decades, Professor Emeritus Charles Krohn has nourished the soul of his students, teaching the classics at the University of St. Thomas in Houston — and he wasn’t about to let the coronavirus get in the way.
“They couldn’t run me off, so I just stayed around when the pandemic hit,” said Krohn.
But that’s meant embracing technology and a whole new way of teaching — at the age of 91.
When asked if his students are helping him, Krohn responded, “Oh, yes, definitely. Yeah, especially if something technical as well. ‘Well, Professor Krohn, why don’t you try doing this?'”
He currently teaches five days a week and often relies on his theater background to engage his students.
“It makes for more communication because you’re aware of the audience, as I’ve now made, and in a way more aware of the students in this online contact,” said
Romanna Flores is an IT Systems Analyst at Intel and as of this summer the cofounder of Mariachi STEAM, a summer program for young Latinx musicians that is dedicated to connecting the dots between science, technology, engineering, mathematics and music.
“I like to say that I did not choose this career but that this career chose me,” shares Flores. “Every industry that I entered started with a creative focus and then evolved to a more technical position allowing me to create innovative, digital interactions. My willingness to learn and experiment with emerging technologies was embraced by application teams who welcomed a different perspective to problem-solving.”
With Mariachi STEAM, Flores and her cofounder Richard Flores are hoping to cultivate the same encouraging, informative environment for Latinx students.
“Richard Flores and I both witnessed lack-of-representation