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Astounding Big Ideas That Came From The University Of Delaware

With more than 100 programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, the University of Delaware can help you bring your big idea to life.

Tapping into the future of technology and touchscreen innovations:

Can’t imagine a world without touchscreen tech? Alumnus Wayne Westerman and University of Delaware professor John Elias’s joint work in the University's College of Engineering helped develop touch tracking and gesture recognition technology for phones and tablets in the late ’90s. Their entrepreneurial spirit and desire for big ideas led to creating their own startup, FingerWorks, and cementing their place in the technological revolution.

Saving the ocean’s aquatic inhabitants one anemone at a time:

University of Delaware assistant professor Danielle Dixson’s doctoral research first identified that certain fish will be affected by climate change. Her current research specifically focuses on how climate change will impact the symbiotic relationship clownfish have with sea anemones. Dixson’s work also extends into childhood education, and she authors a science-based storybook series called Sea Stories to engage young children in conservation causes.

Pioneering experiential learning and study abroad programs:

In July 1923, World War I veteran and University of Delaware professor Raymond W. Kirkbride sailed to France with eight junior-year students in America’s first study abroad program. In order to teach foreign-language students, break from isolationist tendencies, and form well-rounded, worldly students, Kirkbride and University President Walter S. Hullihen developed the Junior Year Abroad program in France. Over the course of the next century, the University of Delaware’s study abroad offerings expanded to over 100 programs, spanning all seven continents, with about a third of its students annually carrying on Kirkbride’s dream of a global education.

Researching the chemical building blocks of life to create a better tomorrow:

Scientific discoveries on the smallest of scales can lead to worldwide innovation. University of Delaware Professor Emeritus Richard F. Heck’s research uncovered efficient ways of linking carbon atoms to create specific molecules that play an essential role in our lives. The Heck Reaction is used for developing medicine, electronics, and other products. In December 2010, Heck and his fellow researchers received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their groundbreaking work.

Developing futuristic tech into superhero-esque space suits:

Revolutionized spacesuits that can withstand flying space debris are on the horizon! University of Delaware researchers, led by Dr. Norman Wagner, have worked together with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory to develop an out-of-this-world shear thickening fluid (STF). When under mechanical stress, particles of silica and polymers suspended in STF take the brunt of the impact and protectively harden like a shell within milliseconds before returning to their original flexible state. Astronauts from around the world will be lining up to get this tech!

Revolutionizing mobility for people with disabilities:

For more than a decade, a nationally funded research team at the University of Delaware has been spinning its creative wheels and redefining what mobility means for children and adults with special needs. Through Go Baby Go!, physical therapy professor Cole Galloway works with his team toward creating solutions for individuals with mobility restrictions. Workshops allow the UD community to come together to research, develop, and retool unique vehicles based on a person’s specific mobility needs.

Facts courtesy of The University of Delaware.

Illustrations by Kevin Valente.

From pioneers of the past to the future of technology, the University of Delaware’s history is filled with big thinkers and even bigger ideas. Find the UD program that can make your big ideas a reality!