Have you ever had a great idea that was too wild or far-fetched to become reality? So have the students in Engineering Sciences 147: “Idea Translation: Effecting Change Through the Arts and Sciences,” but they aren’t stopping at the drawing board.
In ES-147, students from many academic disciplines work on idea translation and “artscience,” attempting to put their dreams into tangible form. McKay Professor of the Practice of Biomedical Engineering David A. Edwards focuses on applying his own ideas and research to real life problems, and he challenges his students to do the same.
Edwards, who has gained fame for his innovative biomedical research, serves as an enabler for his students, pairing them with experts in whatever field they express interest. Edwards wrote in an e-mail that student projects include everything from “a new kind of interactive toy bear” to “an entrepreneurial approach to poverty in Africa.” Students are assessed on their work on these individual projects, as well as group projects and case studies.
Thomas D. Hadfield ’08, who is enrolled in the course, credited Edwards for his accessibility, noting that “he meets with students every week to discuss their projects.”
Other students laud his habit of challenging his pupils to go beyond their academic comfort zones. “Harvard needs more professors like him,” Sandra L. di Capua ’07, who is also enrolled in the course, wrote in an e-mail. “Professors that inspire us to be creative and to delve into spheres that may seem daunting and foreign to us.”
Edwards is proud of how far his students have come; “We’ve gotten beyond the conception stage,” he wrote. “That’s the hardest.” The ES-147 students are set to present their ideas for poverty-eradication, disease control, and teddy bears at the Loeb Theater on December 4.