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The Los Alamos National Laboratory Dynamics Summer School A Mechanics Motivator

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1026.1 - 6.1026.9



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Paper Authors

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Phillip J. Cornwell

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Charles Farrar

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

Session 3268

The Los Alamos National Laboratory Dynamics Summer School – A Mechanics Motivator

Phillip J. Cornwell, Charles R. Farrar Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology/Los Alamos National Laboratory


A unique summer educational program focusing on engineering dynamics has been developed and implemented at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The purpose of this summer school is to expose a select group of students to the broad field of engineering dynamics with the hopes that they will be motivated to pursue this area of research in their graduate studies. The summer school activities included 1) lectures on various engineering topics such as computational structural dynamics, experimental modal analysis, random vibrations, signal processing, etc., 2) a distinguished lecturer series in which prominent guest lecturers gave talks about cutting edge research in structural dynamics, 3) field trips and 4) an eight week project having both an analytical and an experimental component. In this paper the details of the program and of how it was assessed will be presented.

I. Introduction

Over the last 20 years there has been a 20% decline in the number of engineering degrees granted while university degrees in general have increased approximately 20%1 . Engineering dynamics, which encompasses areas such as flight dynamics, vibration isolation for precision manufacturing, earthquake engineering, blast loading, signal processing, experimental modal analysis, etc. is naturally affected by this decrease in numbers. The competition for talented individuals with the background necessary to replace those leaving the field of engineering dynamics necessitates a proactive approach of motivating and educating students who are embarking on their graduate school career. The Los Alamos Dynamics Summer School was designed not only to benefit the students through their educational experience, but also to motivate them to attend graduate school and to make the students aware of career possibilities in defense-related industries after they have completed their graduate studies.

The summer school had two focus areas. First, the multi-disciplinary nature of research in engineering dynamics was emphasized throughout the summer school. For example, the students were assigned to multi-disciplinary teams and each team was assigned a project that had both an analytical and an experimental component. Second, the program was designed to develop the students’ written and oral communications skills. To develop these skills, the students were required to give numerous informal oral presentations of their work as it progressed throughout the summer, culminating in a formal presentation and a paper written for a technical conference.

The summer school was taught for the first time in the summer of 2000 to thirteen students from nine universities. Four of the students had completed their junior year, seven of the students had

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Cornwell, P. J., & Farrar, C. (2001, June), The Los Alamos National Laboratory Dynamics Summer School A Mechanics Motivator Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9525

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