Ice gave way to ISE — the Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Symposium — at the Whittemore Center on Wednesday, where 360 students presented 156 projects that spanned the disciplinary spectrum, from applied mathematics to zoology.
The largest single event of the UNH Undergraduate Research Conference, ISE showcased student ingenuity aimed at improving the world. Computer scientists and electrical engineers trained robots to fight fires, make maps, mine the moon’s surface and explore below the sea. Civil engineering students studied bridges and roadways near and far, and mechanical engineers built a racecar to drive on them.
“The biggest challenge was bringing all the parts together,” said UNH Precision Racing team member Evan Duane ’16, adding that their 10-person project, which won top prize for mechanical engineering team projects, taught them real-world project management as well as engineering. “When one part, the suspension, for instance, changes, you need to be sure everything else still works.”
Another prize-winning team, Project OASIS, brought together mechanical and environmental engineers, a business student and students in zoology and sustainable agriculture to create a small-scale aquaponics system to produce fresh vegetables and fish in developing nations. “Getting us all together to work on this was hard, because we’re from so many different disciplines,” said Mikalah Little ’16, a sustainable agriculture and food systems major.
The student presenters, dressed sharply and explaining their work in front of professional-looking posters and products, were all business. But plenty of projects targeted leisure activities, with solutions to improve sailing, skiing and even recreational fishing.