Union to host annual symposium on liberal arts and engineering

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Hod Lipson, one of the nation’s top experts on 3D printing, will deliver the

Hod Lipson

Hod Lipson

keynote address at the College's annual symposium on integrating a liberal education with engineering.

The two-day symposium kicks off Friday, June 5 with sessions in Hale House. President Stephen C. Ainlay will give welcoming remarks at 6 p.m. in the Nott Memorial.

Lipson’s talk, “3D Printing: The Next 25 Years. The promise and peril of a machine that can make (almost) anything,” follows.

A professor of engineering at Cornell University, Lipson is co-author of the recent popular book “Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing.”

His work on self-aware and self-replicating robots, food printing and bio-printing has been featured in numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio.

Lipson has co-authored over 200 technical papers and speaks frequently at high-profile venues such as TED and the U.S. National Academies. He directs the Creative Machines Lab, which pioneers new ways to make machines that create and machines that are creative.

Among the schools and companies represented at the symposium are IBM, General Electric, California Polytechnic State University, Bucknell and Lafayette.

In addition to a number of paper presentations, there are three special workshops over the two days: “Exploring the Aesthetic and Humanistic Dimensions of Maker Culture”; “Applying Design Thinking to Create Effective Makerspaces”; and (Re)Making a Design Major/Studio: A Hands-On Workshop for Creating/Transforming an Integrative/Design Experience.”

Union has strived to foster a growing “maker” culture on campus. In early 2014, the College established the Union Collaborative Design Studio, an academic research-oriented Makerspace. Housed in the Wold Science and Engineering Center, the UCDS encourages interdisciplinary innovation in part through the use of the College’s 3D printer and other equipment.

This marks the eighth time the College has hosted a conference on integrating engineering and the liberal arts. The event has attracted national attention, including a feature in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

In 1845, Union became the first liberal arts college to offer engineering in response to the needs of a nation characterized by rapid industrial and urban growth.

The symposium is funded in part by the David Falk ’39 and Elynor Rudnick-Falk Endowed Fund and the Laurence W. Levine ’52 and Barry Traub ’53 Endowed Lecture Fund.