Skip navigation

ENE Memo: April 23, 2012

From the Head: 4/23

Awakening (Earthrise)Think Global: Act Local

Yesterday, April 22, was Earth Day. Events continue at Purdue today with the Earth Day Symposium and a lecture this evening at 7pm in Stewart on Conservation and Sustainability in a Human-Dominated World.

The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 during a time of social upheaval: hippies, sit-ins, psychedelic music, rising racial tensions and protests over the Vietnam War. The space program produced two remarkable, mind-altering images during this period: Earthrise by the crew of Apollo 8 in Dec 1968 and the Blue Marble by the crew of Apollo 17 (including Purdue’s Gene Cernan) in Dec 1972. [Photo above right: Awakening (Earthrise). Photo below right: Global interdependence (Blue Marble)]

Global interdependence The following extract captures the environmental awakening of the time.

“The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a ‘national teach-in on the environment’ to the national media."

Local creativityCheck out more history of this movement including a neat video from the first Earth Day – a time when people from different political persuasions and backgrounds came together. 

On a related but more prosaic level, Saturday was Record Store Day, a global event that takes place in local stores. Von's Records was packed as local musicians played at the store. My daughter went to her local record store, Rat Records, in London, and Rocking Horse Records in my home town of Brisbane was also rocking. The point is this event is about fostering local community through music, a pivotal cultural mechanism in the consciousness-raising that catalyzed the environmental movement.

Global collaborationThe theme of the spring meeting of the ENE Industrial Advisory Council (E2IAC) on Tuesday is global engineering and local engineering education. Nearly one quarter of our FYE students come to Purdue from around the world. This represents an enormous opportunity for all FYE students and ENE staff, faculty, graduate TAs and undergraduate peer teachers to have a global experience, locally here at Purdue.

The book for Purdue’s Common Reading Program in 2012-13 is The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. The following extract from Harper Collins, the book's publisher captures the essence of the story.

Local ingenuity“William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was a mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger. But William had read about windmills, and he dreamed of building one that would bring to his small village a set of luxuries that only 2 percent of Malawians could enjoy: electricity and running water. His neighbors called him misala—crazy—but William refused to let go of his dreams. With a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks; some scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves; and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to forge an unlikely contraption and small miracle that would change the lives around him….

a remarkable true story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. It will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual’s ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him”.

You can hear William Kamkwamba present a TED talk and also see his interview with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show. Copies of his book will be available for your summer reading.

  - David

News and Information: 4/23


Faculty, if you haven't yet hand-written your "big research question" on the cover mockup for the upcoming ENE research report, please do so ASAP (that is, by Wednesday, April 25). The cover is shaping up nicely, but we need (and want) the whole range of faculty input to reflect ENE's research enterprise. The mockup is on the table by Julie's workstation (pens are supplied). Thank you!


Come out for visiting assistant professor Dr. Joyce Main's presentation, "The Impact of Same-Gender Mentorship on Women's PhD Completion," on Thursday, April 26, at 3:30pm (Forney G-124). Last seminar of the semester!


Purdue Engineering's new Diversity Lecture Series features Dr. Arthur J. Bond (BSEE '68, MSEE '69, PhD '74, HDR '09), founding member of the National Society of Black Engineers and Dean Emeritus of Engineering and Technology at Alabama A&M, providing the inaugural lecture on Thursday, April 26, at 2pm in Armstrong Hall's Kurz Atrium. Reception to follow. To RSVP, click here.


  • The ENE T-shirts are in! If you did not order one and would like to place an order, contact Velvet and let her know the size and quantity needed. Shirts are $10. For those who have ordered T-shirts, you can pick yours up this week at seminar. Be sure to bring $10!
  • Attention, all ENE students! Please remember to go online and vote for the 2012-2013 ENEGSA Officers and Constitution. Elections end Thursday, April 26, at 8:00am. Officers will be announced that Thursday afternoon.

Calendar: 4/23

Spring 2012

  • Mon/Tues, April 23-24: ENE Industrial Advisory Council (including Graduate Poster display)
  • Thurs, April 26: ENE Seminar: Speaker: Dr. Joyce Main: 3:30pm, Forney G-124
  • Thurs, April 26: Diversity Lecture Series: Speaker: Dr. Arthur J. Bond: 2-3pm, Armstrong atrium
  • Thurs/Sat, April 26-28: 2nd P-12 Engineering and Design Education Research
  • Mon, May 7: School Celebration: 10:30am, ARMS 1300

National and Independence Days around the World

Kudos: 4/23 Carla Zoltlwski, Bill Oakes and Monica Cardella for having their JEE paper Students' Ways of Experiencing Human-centered Design selected to be featured in the ASEE PRISM magazine, in the JEE Selects section. The significance of this is that the editor of JEE  believes that the findings of this research deserve wide dissemination amongst the broader engineering education community as a good example of "Research in Practice."

To suggest content for future issues of ENE Memo, contact David Radcliffe or Lisa Tally by midday Friday for the following week's issue.