Keeping us all safer (Day 246)

Engineers and chemical engineers are continually trying to improve quality of life. But sometimes, simply protecting what we have already is the most important thing – life itself.

Over the past 15 years, terrorism has made the world more cautious, with increasing amounts of money spent on intelligence and prevention. Recent events in Paris suggest how hard the challenge is.

Some of the answers to detecting terrorism are technological and involves the expertise of engineers like Ling Zang, a University of Utah professor of materials science and engineering.

Ling Zang
Ling Zang, a University of Utah professor of materials science and engineering, holds a prototype detector that uses a new type of carbon nanotube material for use in handheld scanners to detect explosives, toxic chemicals and illegal drugs. Photo Credit: Dan Hixon, University of Utah College of Engineering

Continue reading Keeping us all safer (Day 246)

Gaming to teach about air pollution (Day 244)

Air quality is something that teenagers and school children probably spend little time thinking about. In the area of Wasatch Front, Utah, US, this issue is particularly important due to weather inversion.

Weather or temperature inversions occur when there is an increase in temperature with height. This means that an inversion can trap pollutants below it causing higher pollution levels.

(L-R): Professor Roger Altizer and Kerry Kelly. Image courtesy of University of Utah College of Engineering
(L-R): Professor Roger Altizer and Kerry Kelly. Image courtesy of University of Utah College of Engineering

Educating young children about air quality and how the decisions we make as an individual and as a society affect pollution can be a challenge, so a chemical engineering research associate at the University of Utah, Kerry Kelly, came up with a video game idea to do just that.

Kelly wanted school students to start thinking critically about air quality, so working with Roger Altizer, a professor at the University of Utah’s Entertainment Arts and Engineering video game program, the web-based game “Bad Air Day: Play It Like UCAIR” was created.

Continue reading Gaming to teach about air pollution (Day 244)