The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

These STEM Websites Use Games and Quizzes to Inspire Young Women

EngineerGirl and IEEE TryEngineering teach girls about the field

3 min read
Three students in a TryEngineering Together sponsored classroom work on creating windmills after reading about wind energy on the TryEngineering Together platform.
Students in an IEEE TryEngineering Together-sponsored classroom work on building and testing their windmill designs after reading about wind energy on the program’s platform.
Photo: IEEE Educational Activities

THE INSTITUTEI worked in the engineering industry for only six months before I realized what I was really passionate about was helping the next generation of women interested in a career in science, technology, engineering, and math to succeed. Girls often are discouraged from joining STEM fields even though they might show just as much interest as boys do. I wanted to help change that, so I moved from Los Angeles to Mexico, where I had family, and started working with preuniversity girls as a teacher’s aide. In this position, I’ve been helping female students understand the various opportunities within STEM fields, and I map out potential academic and career tracks for them.

Science, engineering, and technology are essential for promoting the health and well-being of all individuals. Accordingly, it’s vital to have a balanced scientific talent pool so that tomorrow’s innovations represent—and serve—everyone.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Get unlimited IEEE Spectrum access

Become an IEEE member and get exclusive access to more stories and resources, including our vast article archive and full PDF downloads
Get access to unlimited IEEE Spectrum content
Network with other technology professionals
Establish a professional profile
Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
Discover IEEE events and activities
Join and participate in discussions

Economics Drives Ray-Gun Resurgence

Laser weapons, cheaper by the shot, should work well against drones and cruise missiles

4 min read
In an artist’s rendering, a truck is shown with five sets of wheels—two sets for the cab, the rest for the trailer—and a box on the top of the trailer, from which a red ray is projected on an angle, upward, ending in the silhouette of an airplane, which is being destroyed

Lockheed Martin's laser packs up to 300 kilowatts—enough to fry a drone or a plane.

Lockheed Martin

The technical challenge of missile defense has been compared with that of hitting a bullet with a bullet. Then there is the still tougher economic challenge of using an expensive interceptor to kill a cheaper target—like hitting a lead bullet with a golden one.

Maybe trouble and money could be saved by shooting down such targets with a laser. Once the system was designed, built, and paid for, the cost per shot would be low. Such considerations led planners at the Pentagon to seek a solution from Lockheed Martin, which has just delivered a 300-kilowatt laser to the U.S. Army. The new weapon combines the output of a large bundle of fiber lasers of varying frequencies to form a single beam of white light. This laser has been undergoing tests in the lab, and it should see its first field trials sometime in 2023. General Atomics, a military contractor in San Diego, is also developing a laser of this power for the Army based on what’s known as the distributed-gain design, which has a single aperture.

Keep Reading ↓Show less