Mechanical Engineering is the oldest engineering school at Purdue, founded in 1882. The school has a rich history with its facilities, faculty, students, and alumni. In the ME Building itself, much of this history hangs on the walls in the form of historic photos. These have been coupled with photos of today's cutting-edge research, to show that the foundations of Purdue ME are strong, and the future is even stronger.
Build Your Own Car!
Location: ground floor
Ever since steam-powered locomotives gave way to internal combustion engines, Purdue mechanical engineers have always experimented with building their own cars. Today, with computer-aided design and carbon fiber composites, students design and build new racing vehicles every year, including a Baja off-roader, a Formula race car, and a Solar-powered endurance vehicle.
Fun: watch the Formula SAE car in action!
Location: 2nd floor
In the days of the Tennessee Valley Authority, when you needed more electricity, you built a bigger dam. Today, with 40% of the nation’s electricity used by buildings, we’re learning to use that power in a smarter way. Herrick Labs is the largest academic HVAC and refrigeration lab in the world, pioneering compressors that are more efficient than ever before.
Location: 2nd floor, by the electronics shop
In the days of analog computers, bigger was usually better (such as this 1960 photo with Purdue Engineering students Beth Fisher and Sam Peale). But today, when the most powerful digital computers now fit in our pockets, it’s all about what we can do with that computing power. In Prof. Song Zhang’s XYZT Lab, 3D holographic images can be captured and transmitted, in real time, with existing consumer-level hardware.
Fun: watch Holostream in action!
National Society of Black Engineers
Location: 3rd floor
Historically, engineering at Purdue has been a tough hill to climb -- especially for African Americans, many of whom lacked proper preparation in high school, and had little representation on campus (see the 1962 photo on the left of Purdue's administration). That began to change in the 1970s, when a group of Purdue students and their advisor founded the National Society of Black Engineers, which now has more than 30,000 members around the world.