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McMaster Engineering’s Top 10 Stories of 2018 December 19, 2018

From alumna Donna Strickland winning the Nobel Prize in Physics, to researchers inventing a patch that can tell you if your food has gone bad, to increasing first year female enrolment by five percent, here are the top stories of 2018.

10. Big Ideas: Getting to the ‘pointe’

This past year, McMaster Engineering celebrated 60 years of engineering excellence by recognizing some of the faculty, students and alumni, past and present, who have had #BigIdeas. Mechanical Engineering & Society student and ballerina, Lacey Wice, was one of 36 people profiled in the #BigIdeas series. She examines the mechanics of ballet and how the dance has helped her become the ‘whole engineer’.

9. Making Engineering More Inclusive

This fall, 27 percent of first-year engineering students are women, up five percent from 2017. Paired with a 95 percent retention rate for female students in their first year of studies, the Faculty is leading by example when it comes to promoting diversity and inclusion in engineering.

 Dean Puri and Engineering students

8. This tiny patch will tell you if your food has gone bad

Mechanical and chemical engineers at McMaster, working closely with biochemists from across campus, collaborated to develop a transparent test patch, printed with harmless molecules, that can signal contamination as it happens. The patch can be incorporated directly into food packaging, where it can monitor the contents for harmful pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella.

Lab students at McMaster

7. Engineering Tomorrow’s Military Successes

Three McMaster researchers are making discoveries that promise to keep Canadian troops safer and healthier in years to come by exploring cutting-edge materials, microscopy and biomedical engineering. 

Nabil Bassim, associate professor, Materials Science & Engineering

6. Technology giant Waguih Ishak to accept honorary degree, address Convocation

Waguih Ishak (Ph.D ’78 Electrical), an international leader in optics and photonics research and a successful technology executive, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree at the Spring Convocation ceremony on June 15. Forty years after his graduation, Ishak – named inventor on seven US patents and author of more than 100 papers – says he is still driven by his love for technology research and development.

5. McMaster Engineering disciplines ranked among the world’s best

ShanghaiRanking, a top higher education ranking, rated 16 McMaster Engineering academic disciplines among the best in the world. The Faculty climbed in global rankings with the civil engineering program securing the 30th spot, metallurgical jumping to 45th, and transportation science and technology landing 49th. Computer science & engineering was rated within the top 51-75 and water resources, telecommunications and electrical & electronic engineering made the top 101-150.

McMaster Engineering rankings infographic

4. Big Ideas: Engineering is for Everyone

Disease detective Leyla Soleymani builds sensors that make finding disease faster, easier and more accurate.

Leyla Soleymani, associate professor in the department of Engineering Physics

 3. Study shows smartphones harm the environment

Data centres and smartphones will be the most damaging information and communications technologies to the environment by 2040, according to research from W Booth School’s Lotfi Belkhir.

Lotfi Belkhir, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Associate Professor

 2. Big Ideas Contest: And the Winners are...

Six lucky engineering students won the Big Ideas Contest. Launched by McMaster Engineering Co-Op & Career Services (ECCS), the contest gave students the opportunity to submit their big ideas to solve real-world problems for a chance to win a trip to Silicon Valley, the Bay Area and San Francisco with Ishwar Puri, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, ECCS staff and faculty members.

Big Ideas Contest winners

 1. McMaster Engineering alumna wins Nobel Prize in Physics

Donna Strickland, a McMaster alumna who received her Bachelor of Engineering degree (B. Eng) in engineering physics in 1981, won the Nobel Prize in Physics, the first woman to do so in 55 years and one of only three in the history of the award. Strickland, currently an associate professor at the University of Waterloo, is part of a team that helped to develop short and intense laser pulses that have created new areas of research and led to broad industrial and medical applications, including lasers used in millions of eye surgeries conducted each year.

Donna Strickland, Nobel Prize in Physics winner