ND Research Explores: The Engineering and Design Core Facility


At the Engineering and Design Core Facility,
we’re really trying to enable world class research. The emphasis is to help build custom equipment,
to build custom machinery, to build gizmos and gadgets to do the research in a new way. And that’s really where the discoveries
happen. The Engineering and Design Core Facility is
a group of professional engineers that all work together and tackle a wide range of problems,
and it’s important to be able to have a place that everyone can gather to discuss
their ideas and to develop these concepts into reality. One of my favorite moments is when a professor
or staff member or student walks in and they have a brilliant idea, and they want to do
some type of novel research. The engineers then work with them to develop
a plan and we end up with this camaraderie amongst a group, doodling on the dry erase
board. This is where a lot of ideas occur. There are a wide variety of customers, and
I happen to be one of those as well. I’m the principal investigator of iLocater,
and we are trying to make measurements of stars and planets and trying to detect these
other worlds. It involves a lot of different types of skill
sets, from mechanical, to electrical systems, engineering, optical to the construction,
to the testing. Then we deliver these products to the observatory
to make these measurements that have never before been attempted. Where the Engineering Center really fits in
is that phase between the concept and design to the actual discovery. We’re going from fundamental research to applied,
getting the results, and then making sense of them, and bringing them back to our desks
and understanding how the universe works.

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