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William Campbell
William Campbell

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Our whole-brain experience leverages connections throughout Northwestern University and neighboring institutions, bringing together undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. Augmenting the analytical core of engineering with design, entrepreneurship, leadership and personal development, and unusual collaborations, our students and faculty are prepared to take the world in a whole new direction.




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The National Academy of Engineering recognized Dean Julio M. Ottino for the development of our school's whole-brain engineering philosophy with the 2017 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technical Education.


Engineering requires the non-negotiable left-brain skills in mathematics, analysis, and rational thinking. Beginning in the first year and continuing through the graduate level, our students are immersed in rigorous courses in topics such as computer programming, physics, engineering mechanics, and differential equations.


Right-brain thinking embraces creativity, intuition, and metaphorical thought. It means looking at a problem through a new lens. Looking beyond the perceived problem to determine the actual problem. Using divergent thinking to create disruptive innovations. To innovate and lead, engineers must learn to be whole-brain.


We put our whole-brain philosophy to work not only in the classroom, but in our research, in collaborative initiatives on and beyond campus, and as we push our work into the world-at-large as the leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.


Our innovative Engineering First curriculum introduces first-year students to the fundamentals of a rigorous engineering education alongside practical applications and experiences that emphasize the power of communication. The curriculum brings together two aspects of whole-brain engineering: Engineering Analysis and Design Thinking and Communication.


Design is an essential skill for whole-brain engineers. Our view of design is broad: it extends seamlessly from research and product design to systems design and design of services, and it includes such areas as health care systems, financial products, and architecture.


Design thinking is a key pillar of right-brain thinking for engineers at Northwestern. Design thinking is the ability to see and solve the real problem behind the perceived problem. We teach our engineers to study the problem, frame the correct problem, ideate and prototype solutions, then meaningfully communicate the story and idea behind the solution.


Ultimately, we believe that curating a whole-brain network augments our thinking and unlocks new capabilities. This systems-thinking approach gives us a framework to connect with partners across disciplines. Northwestern is built for these connections; the majority of our science departments are clustered within a set of interconnected buildings, and Northwestern Engineering actively pursues formal collaborations with nearly every school at the University, on the Evanston and Chicago campuses, and at our San Francisco space.


QUAH: What you're hearing is a white noise stream. You might find variations based on different pitches and frequencies - brown noise, pink noise - but they all have the same form, long recordings of a static droning sound, not unlike the ambient noise you'd hear on a plane flight. White noise streams are a kind of sonic wallpaper, generally having the effect of drowning out the rest of the world. For many, they help keep some parts of the brain distracted so that other parts may better focus on things like writing or studying. As a phenomenon, white noise streams aren't particularly new, but they have recently been rising in prominence on digital platforms like Spotify and YouTube. Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that some white noise creators were earning up to $18,000 a month on Spotify. The trend has everything to do with the shape of these platforms, which are built around incentives that encourage the mass production of content that's cheap to make and sticky to consume. 041b061a72


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