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2011 News in Brief



Ulm pulls off a mechanical performance at talent show

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During Campus Preview Weekend, Professor Franz Ulm participated in a Professor Talent Show hosted by SaveTFP, a student group that facilitates all-inclusive student social activities. Ulm’s talk focused on the mechanics of scraping the top of a cold stick of butter. After defining the problem mathematically, he stated that it takes a bit less force (he’s always really tired in the morning, he says) to scrape a narrow, deep strip of butter than a wider, shallow one. He went on to show how the mechanics of this problem relate to the nation’s energy reserves and ended by warning the students that if they want to get famous, they should not become engineers. “Engineers only get famous when things go wrong,” he said to laughter. View the video (5:50 to 19:15).