Engineering Sciences 20: How to Create Things & Have Them Matter
This aspirational design course teaches students to generate, develop and realize breakthrough ideas in the arts, sciences, and engineering. The Spring 2013 theme is “Synthetic Biology” and the class will be taught by Prof. David Edwards, Lab Founder and Faculty Director, of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences with Andrea Sachdeva, International Director of Education for ArtScience Labs. Students will learn basic skills of engineering design, brainstorming, prototyping, and public presentations. Synthetic Biology is a concept the class will explore very broadly in terms of the design possibilities it opens up for the future of society. Students will work in teams to develop breakthrough ideas in any area of interest (cultural, humanitarian, commercial, educational). No prior experience in science, Synthetic Biology, or art/design is required—just an interest to cross disciplinary boundaries in the pursuit of groundbreaking ideas that will have an impact on the world. Funding is available for continued project development following the course, including support for international idea development workshops in Paris, France and Cape Town, South Africa.
In previous years, David Edwards has co-taught this course with Dr. Beth Altringer, Visiting Lecturer on Engineering Sciences, and Prof. Rob Howe of SEAS.
ES20 teaches students to generate, develop and realize breakthrough ideas in the arts, sciences, and engineering. Students form groups of three to five around “seed ideas” proposed at the start of the class around a common theme. Over the course of the semester students then mold these ideas, all of which aim at a major need or opportunity in culture, industry, or humanitarian engagement, and develop “idea translation proposals” by which, if funded, they will be able to begin idea development, possibly leading to the startup of a nonprofit or for-profit organization, or the creation of a work of art or design.
Students learn basic skills of engineering design and explore the catalytic potential of developing ideas that move naturally between the arts and the sciences. Students brainstorm, give public presentations, and write final group reports. This year, as part of a new addition to the course, students will attend several hands-on and arts-based studio sessions on Wednesdays over the course of the semester. Studio sessions will take place at the Idea Translation Lab @ Cloud Place in Copley Square.
At the end of the course, those students interested in carrying on with their idea development will have the opportunity to receive funding for a summer idea translation experience in the USA or abroad, including mentored idea development experiences in Paris, France at Le Laboratoire and in Cape Town, South Africa at XYZ Design. Student ideas funded in the past have led to multiple for-profit and nonprofit organizations and cultural exhibitions internationally.
Ideas generated in the course aim to become profitable companies, non-profit organizations or major works of art. They build on a strong tradition of past class successes, including: Medicine in Need (MEND), Le Whif (a new way of consuming chocolate, coffee and vitamins by breathing that has now become Breathable Foods and led do the creation of Aeroshot), the Pumpkin (a new way of carrying water inspired by a biological cell), and Soccket (a soccer ball that captures kinetic energy from being kicked around that can be harvested for electricity).
In the planning and course transition for the opening of The Lab Cambridge in 2014, the spring 2013 course will have a limited enrollment of 12 students. Students should attend the course “shopping session” to learn more about the course and its application process.
Course Shopping/Info Session:
Monday, January 28th
location: SEAS Pierce Hall ground floor lobby (outside the teaching labs)
Contact Andrea Sachdeva at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.