Johns Hopkins University, Whiting School of EngineeringWhat Is Engineering?

Course Requirements
Fall 2001

NOTE: All requirements except for the essay assignments and the final exam will be carried out in groups.


Perform and write reports for approximately 10 laboratory experiments. These experiments are a mix of real experiments and computer simulations. A sample lab report is available.

Reading and Essay Assignments:

  1. Read Ferguson, Eugene, Engineering and the Mind's Eye, MIT Press, paperback, $12.95. In many universities engineering curricula emphasize the theoretical aspects of the discipline - science, analysis, mathematical description, and computer simulation. But Ferguson in his book thinks that such curricula miss the real essence of engineering. Write a 3-5 page essay addressing the following questions; What does Ferguson emphasize in relation to the four areas mentioned above? Given Ferguson's perspective, what do you think an introductory course in engineering should contain in terms of content and philosophy?
  2. Write a 3-5 page research essay on an emerging technology. This essay should cover the following points and should be based on at least two non-Web references:
    1. overview of the problem/application
    2. technological challenges
    3. review of current technology
    4. discussion of emerging technology
    5. technology hope for the future
    A list of possible topics will be provided. Students may chose their own topic with permission from the instructor.

Oral presentation (group):

Design and present a solution to a given engineering problem. Presentations and solutions will be judged in competition with other groups.

Spaghetti/aluminum bridge/dome project

Design and construct a load-carrying bridge or dome made from spaghetti or aluminum and epoxy. Structures will be tested for load capacity in public (TBA). (This project takes approximately three weeks to complete.)


There will be a final examination at the end of the course.

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Michael Karweit
Dept. Chemical Engineering
Johns Hopkins University
Last modified by, 8/31/01