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A New Pilot Course: Biology And Chemistry Applications For Engineers

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.85.1 - 11.85.7



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Paper Authors

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Rachel Adams Loyola Marymount University

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John Dorsey Loyola Marymount University

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James Landry Loyola Marymount University

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Michael Manoogian Loyola Marymount University

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William Trott Loyola Marymount University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A New Pilot Course: Biology and Chemistry Applications for Engineers Abstract

A new pilot course, Biology and Chemistry Applications for Engineers, was developed for first-year engineering students. The fundamental concept of this course was to provide these students with a basic background in focused areas of biology and chemistry as it applies to engineering. The emphasis of the course was a hands-on experience with biology and chemistry applications in engineering. Applications in the areas of bioengineering, material science, nanotechnology, medicine, energy, and the environment could be selected, depending on faculty expertise, and appropriate biology and chemistry content taught in support. Topics for this pilot course included microbial processes, cell chemistry and biology, rates of reaction, chemical equilibria, acid-base chemistry, and reduction-oxidation reactions. These topics were demonstrated using fresh-water aquarium microcosms and field studies in the La Ballona Wetlands as a focus. The engineering content at this level served to broaden engineering student understanding of science, stimulate interest in technical careers, and attract under- represented populations into technical fields. It is expected that the course will ultimately become part of the science sequence for all first-year engineering students.


The interrelationship between the sciences and engineering is especially significant as the role of biological systems and chemistry in engineering are growing areas of opportunity for engineers and as the sciences are often treated as distinct entities in engineering curricula. In most cases, engineering students at the university level never take a biology class. Furthermore, most engineering students who take a chemistry class learn chemistry in isolation with no articulation with engineering coursework. At Loyola Marymount University, first year engineering students take a one semester introductory chemistry class that addresses atomic theory, stoichiometry, properties of gases, solids and liquids, periodic law, solutions, thermochemistry, and redox equations. This new course added biology topics, addressed more advanced chemistry topics and integrated these biology and chemistry topics with engineering in a new and innovative way. To our knowledge, few if any institutions offer a course like it. Few examples were found based on an internet search. Few engineering biology courses existed that were not associated with a biomedical program. Some evidence of similar courses was found at the Universities of Toronto, Maryland, and Washington, Princeton University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A textbook, Biology for Engineers, was found in draft form on the internet by Johnson (1). The course presented in this paper was initially tested as a pilot course targeted to incoming first-year engineering students who have had Advanced Placement Chemistry in high school as they would initially have the free units in their first year schedule to take the course. It is thought that the introduction of biology and chemistry applications in the engineering curriculum may improve first-year student interest and motivation as well as broaden the scope of and improve their preparation to study in the various fields of engineering.

Adams, R., & Dorsey, J., & Landry, J., & Manoogian, M., & Trott, W. (2006, June), A New Pilot Course: Biology And Chemistry Applications For Engineers Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--578

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