Engineering

Engineering alumna builds bridges and changes lives across the globe

Avery Bang (MS CivEngr’09) believes that every person has a right to safely access essential services such as health care, schools and markets. As CEO of Bridges to Prosperity (B2P), a nonprofit that builds pedestrian bridges in rural poor communities to provide access, Bang is literally building upon that belief, one bridge at a time. She also founded the Bridges to Prosperity University Program, which supports student chapter groups around the world including one at CU-Boulder.  (Support the CU B2P chapter’s campaign to build a footbridge in Bolivia now—learn more: www.colorado.edu/crowdfunding.)

Hybrid conversion kits also would cut fuel costs for rickshaw drivers

On her biennial trips to visit family in India, Colorado native Maithreyi Gopalakrishnan is always dismayed to see ever-increasing pollution levels dimming the “rich and colorful” country. Much of that pollution is caused by rickshaws, the motorized tricycle taxis that serve as a primary mode of transportation in India. In conversations with rickshaw drivers, Gopalakrishnan was saddened to learn that not only are the gasoline-powered vehicles bad for the environment, but that the fuel costs also leave drivers barely able to support their families.   

Correcting for the weather: Studying how wind, rain can affect cycling performance

Last fall, computer science major and avid cyclist William Luce and a friend turned their bikes east onto Niwot Road north of Boulder.

“There was a storm blowing in and there was a 40 mph wind coming right off the foothills and blowing straight east,” he said. “We pedaled as hard as we could with this tailwind at our backs.”

When Luce got back home, he uploaded the GPS data he’d recorded during his ride to an online program called Strava, which compared his performance to all other cyclists who had ever ridden and recorded their times for that section of road in the past.

Love of bodybuilding inspires scientific pursuit for Goldwater Scholar Brennan Coffey

Before there were beakers, there were barbells.

Brennan Coffey—one of three CU-Boulder undergraduates to win a coveted Goldwater Scholarship this year for high academic merit—has logged long hours at the gym. An avid bodybuilder, Coffey’s weightlifting sessions have sculpted both his body and his interest in science.

Student-designed rover, built for NASA lab, can go to extremes

Just before midnight Saturday, one day before the final presentation, the project came to a dead stop.

The following Monday, the student aerospace engineering team was scheduled to perform a live test of their prototype land exploration rover to a high-profile client. But the microcontroller—the circuit board that commands the rover—was fried.

CU-Boulder, Mesa County team up to make snow-depth data free to water managers, farmers, public

A University of Colorado Boulder professor who developed a clever method to measure snow depth using GPS signals is collaborating with Western Slope officials to make the data freely available to a variety of users on a daily basis.

College and elementary school students teach each other

Professor Kris Gutiérrez has a rule about her after-school program at Alicia Sanchez Elementary School in Lafayette: “If you’re not having fun, something is going wrong.”

When words, not math, are the secret to engineering

While civil engineering centers on the design and construction of physical environments, Jordan Burns specializes in a critical part of the discipline that isn’t often recognized—communication.

Her interest in communication stems from her identification with the people she’s working for. “I see people like myself get stressed out about how daunting engineering looks to people who want to fix problems and I want to help them,” she said.

Cambridge bound student shows breadth of impact math can have

Stephen Kissler spends a lot of time thinking about research problems such as an artificial pancreas that could determine exactly how much insulin to release in a diabetic person.

“Usually my thoughts are about what’s valuable, what hasn’t been done, what would be an important piece of information for either a patient or a doctor to have and what skills I have to address that,” said Kissler.

CU-Boulder researchers use video games to spark kids' interest in coding

In grade school classrooms across the country, students have been hard at work this semester trying to figure out how to smash a virtual frog with a virtual truck. They’re building their own video games—inspired by the 1980s classic Frogger—and there are a thousand details to work out. 

In the end, the students will have built a video game. But more important, the students will have learned how to code—whether they knew it at the time or not.

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