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User:Nate Preston

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Queen's University Engineering Physics Student

B.Sc Engineering Physics Candidate (2010)

Current Courses

  • Mech 425 Engineering for Sustainable Development
  • Phys 483 Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Phys 460 Laser Optics
  • Mech 346 Heat Transfer
  • Phys 455 Engineering Physics Thesis
  • Phys 450 Advanced Physics Lab

Current Projects

Queen's Solar Design Team

I have been working with the Queen's Solar Design Team (QSDT) for the past four years. The QSDT has been building world-class solar vehicles since 1988. This year, we have a new mission: we're building a home. While our vehicles brought us to the forefront of innovation, our home will push us even further as we challenge the limits of green building and innovation. Our goal is to compete on the world stage in the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon. I have led the team across Canada and the United States in the 2008 North American Solar Challenge, and am currently working with students from Queen's and Carleton University to prepare a successful bid to enter the 2011 Solar Decathlon.

I believe interdisciplinary design teams provide an incredible opportunity for students to apply their knowledge in a concrete and meaningful way. If we wish to work towards sustainable development, I believe it is crucial that engineering students learn how to develop integrated designs.

Solar Decathlon 2011

Carleton and Queen's University have jointly submitted a proposal to compete in the 2011 US Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon. I am currently acting as Project Manager for the QSDT as we work with Carleton to secure ourselves a spot in this highly competitive event. Check out our website for further information.

Engineering Physics Thesis

I am currently working with Dr. Geoff Lockwood and Dr. Stephen Harrison to develop a PV array design which could be used in the design and construction of a Solar Decathlon competition home.

Engineering Physics Project

Along with four other senior engineering physics students, I am designing and building a small scale solar simulator to be used for testing photovoltaic and thermal solar technologies.

Teaching Assistant: APSC 190 Professional Engineering Skills

I am very fortunate to work with first year students to help them develop a better sense of the engineering profession and the broader context in which their introductory technical courses will need to be applied. This year I helped develop and present lectures regarding the importance of Creativity in Engineering and the year before Engineering and Social Justice.

Interests

We as a global community are currently facing incredbile challenges, environmental, social, and econcomic. The solutions we develop to meet these challenges will have profound effects on communities around the world for generations to come. I hope my education will help equip me with the necessary tools to contribute to the development of sustainable solutions to meet these challenges.

Some of the things I have been studying include:

  • Integrated Design and Systems Management:
  -Most engineering projects require expertise from a huge range of subjects (mechanical, electrical, civil, architecture, finance, medicine, etc.) to come together to produce a solution to the identified problem. Integrated design is the process of ensuring that all of these contributors are actively engaged with each other at each stage of the design, with the intent of developing a holistic solution which leverages the knowledge of all contributors. Design that is not integrated will produce systems and solutions that are as effective as the sum of their parts. Integrated design should ideally produce systems and solutions which are greater than the sum of their parts. Currently I cannot find a resource discussing this design philosophy here, and will be building one in the coming weeks. For a great example check out the Whole Building Design Guide.
  • Building Integrated Photovoltaics
  • Engineering and Social Justice
  • Engineering and Education
  • Energy Policy