Playing with atoms, experiencing Cyclone engineering at SWE U

“Materials scientists and engineers create new materials and take old materials and make them act differently. We do that by working on materials at the atomic level. So, today, we are going to play with atoms!” said Larry Genalo, university professor and associate chair of materials science and engineering, to welcome 28 participants in Society of Women Engineers University (SWE U) to a hands-on demonstration of materials science and engineering concepts.

Genalo explained a wide variety of materials innovations and how they work – from fiber-optic cables to ceramic medical implants to how magnets are used in electric generators (shown here). SWE U participants also tested windows’ thermal conductivity and learned about scanning electron microscopy with other members of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

The stop in MSE is just one of many hands-on experiences for SWE U participants, who are spending the week of July 10-14 on campus to see what it’s like to live and study engineering at Iowa State. The high-school juniors and seniors learn more about all areas of Cyclone engineering, connect with current Iowa State engineering students, and work on a project to apply what they’ve experienced during SWE U.

SWE U is offered by Iowa State’s Society for Women Engineers, Program for Women in Science and Engineering, and College of Engineering.