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The Basic-Research Challenge

Ann R. Karagozian, the summa cum laude engineering graduate class of 78, has been teaching engineering here on the Westwood campus since she received her PhD in mechanical engineering from Cal Tech.

Given that, she's a perfect person to ask two not unrelated questions:

  • What's the state of basic research in this country and its universities?
  • Will the skies get any friendlier when planes are powered by alternative energy?

Sitting in her office with a million-dollar view and Mr. Spock smiling beneficently from her desk, Karagozian said of research: “The trouble is with the economic situation, everything is being cut.”

This despite bipartisan political support for at least the concept of basic research as vital to the future of American technological competitiveness.

But Karagozian holds out hope that federal basic-research programs are somewhat insulated from cuts and that the trend of private industry partnering with universities on all kinds of research remains a powerful and important one.

As for one of her main research areas — fluid flow and energy efficiency — Karagozian doesn’t see any major fuel alternatives changing how we design aircraft, but there will be important incremental improvements in mixtures and efficiency going forward.

Karagozian on basic research:

Karagozian on the future of aircraft propulsion:

This article was originally published on EBN's sister publication Drive for Innovation.

7 comments on “The Basic-Research Challenge

  1. _hm
    February 15, 2014

    This will be very much depends STEM challenges. You need to have strong foundation. Money resource is required but is secondary. 

  2. Daniel
    February 16, 2014

    “Sitting in her office with a million-dollar view and Mr. Spock smiling beneficently from her desk, Karagozian said of research: “The trouble is with the economic situation, everything is being cut.””

    Brain, I think her answer is apt and its true. Whenever economic crises arise, the first cut is from R&D expenses. I think the R&D expenditure has to be link with GDP and a minimum of 5% has to be accounted for R&D expenditure. Then only new technological inventions can happen.

  3. Daniel
    February 16, 2014

    “This will be very much depends STEM challenges. You need to have strong foundation. Money resource is required but is secondary. “

    _hm, what is this STEM challenges?

  4. ahdand
    February 17, 2014

    @Jacob: Why do you feel the cash flow is secondary? 

  5. _hm
    February 17, 2014

    Jacob: Please refer to Brian's other post. STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math as related for Americal Education.

  6. Daniel
    February 17, 2014

    “Why do you feel the cash flow is secondary? “

    Nimantha, that's not my comment, its re quoted from _hm comment.

  7. Daniel
    February 17, 2014

    “STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math as related for Americal Education.”

    _hm, thanks for the clarification.

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