Engineering

“Engineering problems are under-defined, there are many solutions, good, bad and indifferent. The art is to arrive at a good solution. This is a creative activity, involving imagination, intuition and deliberate choice.” –Ove Arup

Chicago is home to one of the biggest urban engineering projects where the Army Corps of Engineers reversed the flow of the Chicago River. Engineering is studying big projects and small applications to solve real-world problems. Engineers, however, must be comfortable thinking well outside the domains of scientific inquiry: they’re critical thinkers, problem solvers, and creatives. They design solutions to address problems ranging from commercial to existential; smartphones to climate change, and everything in-between. In this course, think like an engineer by investigating and defining a problem, empathizing with the end user, and engaging in an iterative design process to solve a series of engineering challenges. Work with various mechanical devices such as solar cars, wind turbines, and hydrogen fuel cells. You’ll also get exposure to other major disciplines of engineering including civil, chemical and electrical engineering and cutting-edge emerging fields like biomedical engineering. During the robotics challenge, students gain experience with programming, wiring, and machine elements.

Students are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop or notebook computer running Windows 7 or greater; OS X 10.7 or greater; or Linux that can connect to the internet wirelessly.

Who Should Take This Course?

Are you interested in how things work? Do you like building with your hands, experimenting, or tinkering? Engineering is the combination of physics with design, and is ideal for students who enjoy thinking creatively and divergently in order to solve problems. No previous engineering experience is required for this course.

Advisors + Past Speakers

  • Dr. Steven Goldfarb, Particle Physicist, ATLAS Experiment, CERN, Geneva
  • Dr. Guillermo A. Ameer, PhD, Professor of Biomedical Engineering + Surgery, Director of Center for Advanced Regenerative Engineering Northwestern University, Chicago
  • George Whitesides, CEO, Virgin Galactic + Space Co.
  • Rolf Landua, Physicist + Head of Education, CERN, Geneva
  • Marcia Isakson, Lecturer + Research Scientist, University of Texas at Austin
  • Ellen Roche, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering + Medical Engineering Science, MIT
  • Dr. Robert Berg, Professor of Physics, Wellesley College
  • Natalia Guerrero, NASA Planet Hunter + MIT Research Associate
  • Mike Worley, Roller Coaster Engineer, S&S Worldwide, Inc.
  • Brian Hughes, Former CEO, American Rocket Company; Chair, HBN Shoe
  • Pamela Silva Diaz, Lead Public Health Engineer, Oxfam America
  • Paul Loschak, Senior Medical Robotics Controls Engineer, Minimally Invasive Therapies Group, Medtronic
  • Sam Rosenblum, Senior Software Engineer, Minimally Invasive Therapies Group, Medtronic

Plan your summer

Chicago

Course Highlights

  • Challenge Series

    Design and build a series of prototypes including an unmanned vehicle, a solar-powered machine, a wind turbine and a hydrogen fuel cell.

  • Site Visits

    Get a taste of the many disciplines within the field of Engineering by visiting various Chicago-area firms, engineering labs, and project sites while networking with the Engineers, Designers, and Project Managers there.

  • Design Thinking, Prototyping + Modeling

    Integrate feedback from professionals within the industry into your prototypes. Apply principles of the design and engineering process: sketching, modeling techniques, and exploring product function.

  • Robotics

    Design, program, and wire up an unmanned robotic vehicle. Collect data in our testing field and see how your robot performs when it’s up against your peers’.

It has helped me understand how the world around me works and develop my passion for engineering. I learned more about specifically green energy and I want to help the world become a better place and green energy could help achieve that.

Advisors + Past Speakers

Dr. Steven Goldfarb

Particle Physicist, ATLAS Experiment, CERN, Geneva

Dr. Steven Goldfarb is a particle physicist working on the ATLAS Experiment at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan in 1991, for research carried out on the L3 experiment on CERN’s Large Electron Positron collider, and began his current participation on the Large Hadron Collider in 1998. He served as ATLAS Muon Software Coordinator and participated in preliminary studies of the Higgs boson search. He served as ATLAS Outreach Coordinator, overseeing worldwide communication of the Higgs boson discovery in 2012, and launching the award-winning ATLAS Virtual Visit system. Dr. Goldfarb currently chairs the International Particle Physics Outreach Group, serves on the US National Science Foundation’s Quarknet advisory board, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society.

Dr. Guillermo A. Ameer, PhD

Professor of Biomedical Engineering + Surgery, Director of Center for Advanced Regenerative Engineering Northwestern University, Chicago

Dr. Ameer is the Daniel Hale Williams professor of Biomedical Engineering and Surgery in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the McCormick School of Engineering and the Department of Surgery at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. He is the founding director of the Center for Advanced Regenerative Engineering (CARE). He has co-authored over 250 peer-reviewed journal publications and conference abstracts, several book chapters, and over 50 patents issued and pending in 9 countries. Several of his patents have been licensed to companies to develop medical products. Dr. Ameer is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering(AIMBE), a Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society(BMES), and a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers(AIChE). Dr. Ameer is an Associate Editor of the Regenerative Engineering and Translational Medicine Journal, member of the Boards of Directors of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), the Regenerative Engineering Society, and the American institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, co-chair of the BMES Diversity Committee, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Acuitive Technologies, Inc. a company that is bringing one of his technologies to the musculoskeletal surgery market. Dr. Ameer is also a co-founder of several medical device companies.

George Whitesides

CEO, Virgin Galactic + Space Co.

George T. Whitesides (S) is CEO of Virgin Galactic, a firm developing commercial space vehicles. Before Virgin Galactic, he was named Chief of Staff of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration after serving on the NASA transition team for the incoming Obama Administration. He is also the former Executive Director of the National Space Society. George co-founded the global astronomy education program Permission to Dream (PTD) in 2002. A Fulbright Scholar, George received his graduate degree in remote sensing and geographical information systems from Cambridge University, and his undergraduate degree in public and international affairs from Princeton University. He is a licensed private pilot and certified parabolic flight coach.

Rolf Landua

Physicist + Head of Education, CERN, Geneva

Rolf Landua, is the Head of the Education Group for European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN, Geneva) where he creates courses aiming to innovate modern physics teaching at schools. His scientific work involves fundamental research on antimatter and is the leader of an experiment producing millions of antihydrogen atoms. Landua is the Recipient of the Outreach Prize, European Physical Society (2003).

Marcia Isakson

Lecturer + Research Scientist, University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Marcia Isakson is the principal investigator on two Office of Naval Research Projects at University of Texas at Austin investigating acoustic interactions with ocean sediments and classifying ocean sediments from autonomous underwater vehicles using sonar. She previously served as an officer in the United States Army.

Ellen Roche

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering + Medical Engineering Science, MIT

Ellen Roche is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Medical Engineering Science at MIT. Roche’s research has focused on new approaches to cardiac device design. Her lab has strong collaborations with surgeons and interventionists from local hospitals who provide input into the device design process.

Dr. Robert Berg

Professor of Physics, Wellesley College

Robert S. Berg is a Professor of Physics and Chair of the Physics Department at Wellesley College. Since 1996, Berg has partnered with the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, where his projects develop new technologies that expand the range of what people design and create, in the same way that kindergartners create new things with blocks and finger paint.

Natalia Guerrero

NASA Planet Hunter + MIT Research Associate

Natalia Guerrero is a research associate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She works for TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics where she is the TESS Objects of Interest Deputy Manager. TESS is an MIT-led NASA mission to discover exoplanets by an all-sky survey. Guerrero’s work and research involves managing a team of scientists working to identify exoplanet candidates.

Mike Worley

Roller Coaster Engineer, S&S Worldwide, Inc.

Mike Worley is a Senior Mechanical Engineer at S&S Worldwide, Inc, the world’s leader in thrill rides. The company has designed, engineered, and manufactured over 400 roller-coasters, high-thrill rides, and family amusement rides in more than 30 countries around the globe. Prior to joining S&S Worldwide, Worley was a Chief Engineer at DJH Engineering.

Brian Hughes

Former CEO, American Rocket Company; Chair, HBN Shoe

Brian Hughes is the Chairman and Director of Research + Development at HBN Shoe. In his role at HBN Shoe, he and his team lead technological innovation by combining medical science and advanced engineering. Hughes is a co-founder of PTAT System, Inc. which built the first private transatlantic fiber cable linking New York and London. In 1995, he became CEO of the American Rocket Company that developed hybrid rocket technology.

Pamela Silva Diaz

Lead Public Health Engineer, Oxfam America

Pamela Silva Diaz is a mechanical engineer with experience in structural analysis of aircraft engines and airframe structures. Diaz served as the Technical Lead in Public Health Engineering in the Puerto Rico hurricane response as part of Oxfam America. In that capacity, Diaz conducted field research, organized water treatment and water testing workshops in conjunction with MIT, and led community orientations regarding post-hurricane public health concerns.

Paul Loschak

Senior Medical Robotics Controls Engineer, Minimally Invasive Therapies Group, Medtronic

Paul Loschak is a Medical Robotics Controls Engineer at Medtronic in the Minimally Invasive Therapies Group. Working in conjunction with a variety of technical and medical professionals, Paul designs and programs the way robots in medicine should move. He earned his PhD from Harvard University in Medical Robotics Engineering and holds a bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering.

Sam Rosenblum

Senior Software Engineer, Minimally Invasive Therapies Group, Medtronic

Sam Rosenblum is a Senior Software Engineer at Medtronic in the Minimally Invasive Therapies Group working closely with electrical teams in the development of the software that controls the power and delivery systems for the robot at Medtronic. Sam is originally from Russia but spent most of his early years in South Florida. He later moved to the Boston area to be surrounded by like-minded engineers and scientists. He received his bachelor’s degree from Florida International University.