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Christopher Tracy

FABE 3140
h-Engineering Impacts
February 8, 2017

The Ohio State University offers many courses that allow engineering students to learn about
global and societal issues that are important to them. Through these courses, engineering students gain
knowledge as to what is causing the issue at hand, and then they are able to apply what they learned in
their engineering courses to come up with a theoretical solution. One non-engineering course that I
took was Introduction to Neuroscience (NEURO 3000). I learned that there are many challenges to
imaging the nervous system including determining the correct system to use based on what is being
imaged. For example, Magnetic Resonance Imaging can be used to image the brain and other parts of
the body. However, many patients are claustrophobic and have trouble with going through with the
procedure since the opening of the MRI machine is very small. One way to fix this problem is by making
the opening bigger, which would result in the need for a bigger magnet. Consequently, this is a tradeoff
that has not been necessarily made. While some large bore MRI machines have been made with larger
openings, the opening is still quite small for those with extreme claustrophobia. Another course that I
have taken that discusses global issues was Social and Moral Issues in the US (Philosophy 2367). One
issue in particular that we talked about was global warming and the effects that cars have on global
warming. We discussed if it was moral to drive a gas-guzzling SUV for no other purpose but to drive
one. While we could not say that it was immoral, there are ways that engineers can help reduce the
effect that cars have on global warming. One very popular method at the moment is electric cars and
alternate fuel sources. Alternate fuel sources such as ethanol emits less carbon dioxide than fossil fuels.
While these alternate fuel sources have been increasingly available in the US, they still need to be
improved to serve as a primary fuel source. Also, I am currently taking Introduction to Bioethics
(Bioethics 2010). One of the main topics that we talk about is the ethics of certain procedures that are
considered risky. One way that engineers have an impact on the effectiveness of risky procedures is the
equipment that the physicians use. Some of these procedures are considered risky because the
equipment being used may not be suitable for the procedure. Engineers can design better equipment
such as robotics that are better at procedures that involve microscopic incisions or extreme accuracy in
microscopic areas. These machines could highly improve the success rate of the operation as well as the
survival rate of the patient while minimizing damage and the size of incisions. Overall, there are many
social and global issues that engineers can make an impact on with the help of non-engineering college
courses that inspire engineers to make a difference in a particular field.