Using Lava for Engineering

Scholarship Entrant: Nathan from North Canton, Ohio
Essay Question: If you could earn a living doing what you love most, what would it be, and how would it change the world? Describe the specific goals you would set to make that dream a reality.
Vote for Nathan: 0

I love volcanoes. I love every aspect of them such as how they form, their inner mechanics, their impact on local and the global environment, and their impact on humanity. Lava from a volcano is essentially the most basic and purest earth material from which everything on earth has come from, at one time or another. In a way, molten rock is like molding clay; it has the potential to form all kinds of structures. If I could, I’d love to study this material and possibly find a way to harness it in a new form of Geological engineering…Magmatic Engineering.

First, I would need to have a thorough understanding of the mechanics and behaviors of lava, through research. Next, I would have to devise and test ways in which I could manipulate lava. This would include physical manipulation using heavy machinery or simply guiding it to a new location, like diverting a river. Then, I would have to implement the chosen methods on an active volcano and record the real-world results. Finally, I would need to review the results of the real-world test, perform a cost/benefit analysis, and review the entire project for possible improvements.

I truly would love to do this as a career, especially in starting and developing a new field. It would be an incredible feat to take Geological Engineering a new step forward by using a previously unusable material, and I would certainly love to be part of that.

Vote for Nathan: 0

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