Finding extraordinary engineers for exceptional clients

Who is Peter Cooper? — Engineering History

August 15th, 2013

One of the most important inventions in American History was the steam locomotive. It revolutionized travel in the United States, and it made the relatively young country’s aspirations towards Manifest Destiny possible. Did you know the engineer responsible for this innovation — Peter Cooper — also developed Jell-O?

Peter Cooper’s Early Life and Hands-On Education

Born in 1791 in New York City, Peter Cooper tinkered with nearly everything in a variety of early jobs. He worked as a hat-maker, brewer, and a grocer among other positions before buying a glue factory in 1821. The factory quickly became profitable, allowing Cooper the time and resources to create new glue and other formulas, one of which became the freeze-dried gelatin that his wife branded as Jell-O.

The profits from the glue factory allowed him to speculate on land expected to show an increase in value because of its proximity to the fledgling B&O Railroad. Soon after that he discovered ore on his land and realizing that railroads needed railroad ties, Cooper put two and two together.

Tom Thumb Revolutionizes the World

There was some doubt that the current British steam locomotive design could work on the curved incline track typical of the B&O. Undaunted, Cooper designed and built the Tom Thumb locomotive from a variety of spare parts and old engines. The locomotive was a rousing success, made the B&O into a transportation giant, and Cooper became a very rich man.

Despite his wealth, which continued to grow through smart investments, Cooper lived a simple life without the luxurious trappings of his peers in New York City. He became active in the anti-slavery movement, and used his vast resources for the founding of the Cooper Union for Science and Advancement, a private college in Manhattan still educating fledgling engineers and scientists today.

There is little doubt that Peter Cooper is an important figure in American History who doesn’t receive the fame he deserves. If Cooper’s exploits in engineering inspires you to take your career to the next level, talk to the experts at The Talley Group, one of the top engineering staffing companies in the Seattle area. They have the recruiters on hand to help find a position to challenge you as an engineer. If you are looking for engineer recruiters in Seattle, contact us today!

Solving Energy Challenges — Lessons Learned in Nuclear

June 19th, 2013

While nuclear power has the potential to solve many of the nation’s energy challenges, the risks are still wide-ranging. The disasters at the Japanese Fukushima reactor, the Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl still strike fear in many of the people responsible for making decisions on our energy future.

Nuclear engineers remain hard at work researching ways to make nuclear energy safer and a relevant part of any energy policy. They continue to apply the lessons learned at Fukushima and Chernobyl.

Engineers Devise System to Clean Contaminated Fukushima Water

A collection of engineers from the Washington-based company, AECOM, designed a system that helped to clean the contaminated water used to cool the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant. Kurion, the California company responsible for the project, choose AECOM to perform the engineering portion of the work.

They were able to design, build, and ship the system to Japan in five weeks; a similar project after Three-Mile Island took nearly 18 months to fully implement. Within the year after the tsunami hit the power plant, the Kurion system has cleaned over 36 million gallons of contaminated water.

Oregon State Engineers Develop a Nuclear Reactor that can’t Meltdown

The engineering students at Oregon State University developed a reactor they believe won’t meltdown, with the added benefit of a 30-40 percent improvement in energy output resulting in only half as much radioactive waste.

“You can’t get the thing hot enough to melt the core down so you’re really limiting the potential for these types of traumatic accidents that we’ve seen in the past with nuclear power,” said Brian Woods, an associate professor of nuclear engineering at OSU. Woods hopes the technology reaches a marketable state within the next 20 to 30 years.

Engineers once again prove that their innovation and ingenuity can make the world a better place. Do you want to improve the world through your engineering career? Talk the people at The Talley Group; they are one of the leading engineering staffing companies in the Seattle area, and they can help you reach your career goals.

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