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Deciding how and whether to reopen schools is complex – here’s how rocket scientists would develop a plan

The United States approach to sending astronauts to the moon could help inform our response to COVID-19.| Short Read

By Robert Bordley

Dealing with the social and economic upheaval from the coronavirus pandemic will require the skills and talents of many types of professions – medical personnel, public health experts, parents, students, educators, legislators, enforcement authorities and many others. Until now, though, the U.S. has struggled to mount a coordinated national response to effectively stamp out COVID-19, even as other countries in Europe and East Asia have shown that the disease can be controlled.

In the past, the United States has successfully mobilized to address deeply complex challenges and I believe one of those – sending astronauts to the Moon – can be instructive today, even though a pandemic is a very different challenge.

Twelve years after the famed Project Apollo to land men on the Moon in 1969, General Motors hired former NASA Administrator Robert Frosch to bring space-age technology to car manufacturing. He commissioned a small task force to incorporate Apollo’s engineering process into the design of vehicles. I began my systems engineering career in this task force and now work on integrating the statistical and management sciences into future moonshots.

This article is republished from The Conversation. Read the full article.

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Researchers
  • Robert Bordley

    Robert Bordley

    Clinical Professor of Engineering Practice in the Division of Integrative Systems and Design

The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read