Monday, September 26, 2011

Discovery Channel Features Structural Engineering's Blast Simulator

The Discovery Channel's Daily Planet recently visited the UC San Diego Department of Structural Engineering and Englekirk Structural Engineering Center as part of a 9/11 anniversary special looking at technological advances designed to thwart future attacks.

The Discovery crew filmed the department's blast simulator, the only one of its kind in the world, and interviewed Professor and department Chair Gil Hegemier, an expert in blast mitigation. The hour-long special, which aired in Canada on September 9, featured just seven stories from around the world. The segment on the blast simulator is in Part 3.

You can view the entire special here. The large structure featured in the picture isn't the blast simulator, in case you're wondering. It's the five-story structure the Structural Engineering Department is building at the Englekirk Structural Engineering Center to assess how well current nonstructural elements hold up to earthquakes and post-earthquake fires. The tests will focus on a broad range of systems and equipment that can malfunction during an earthquake and make it more difficult to evacuate buildings, which can lead to more injuries and deaths.

Fun at Engineers on the Green

A live version of “Angry Birds,” a giant inflatable bounce house, free food. These were some of the attractions that brought together hundreds of students to Matthews Quad Wednesday for “Engineers on the Green.” The annual meet and greet event hosted by student organizations at the Jacobs School of Engineering takes place the day before classes start.

This year, students could play carnival-style games, earn tickets and win free giveaways. The Women in Computing group, which recently launched an undergraduate chapter, put on a live version of “Angry Birds,” using plush toys and makeshift catapults. Several student-run projects also were on display. IEEE showcased some of its robots, including the famous micromouse. The Human Powered Vehicle team showed off two of its vehicles. Students could also feast of tacos and corn on the cob, among other goodies.

Read more about Engineers on the Green here.

Watch our Engineers on the Green slideshow on Flickr here.