I had the privilege recently of talking to a Mechanical Engineering graduate student Nipun Goel about the research that he does on campus and advice that he had to students considering graduate school. Nipun is a Ph.D student and is actually graduating in one and a half months. He started his Masters Degree when he came to Lehigh in 2010, and was first attracted to Lehigh because of the energy research center. Before coming to Lehigh he attended undergrad in India and worked for two years in the power plant industry. Currently, his research involves looking at materials that have a high temperature on one end and a colder temperature on the other end, this temperature difference creates an electric current in the material, which Nipun hopes to utilize. The goal of this research is to look at the grains in materials and determine a material that is the most efficient in this process. The material needs to be able to reduce the resistance to heat transfer, and the goal of this technology is to use it in a car engine or a power plant where wasted heat energy can be used to power maybe the electronics in a car making it more fuel efficient. Nipun informed me they are five to ten years away from this goal,since his research primarily deals with looking at the atom structures of materials and calculating the forces of their interactions, and therefore he can calculate temperature.
In addition to research Nipun also participates in the Graduate Student Senate and last year he aided in putting together the first Gatsby Gala with the Undergraduate Student Senate. When asked what his favorite graduate class was at Lehigh he stated he really enjoyed a physics class that related to his research, and he said it was interesting that he is a mechanical engineer researching materials, and using the applications of physics. He said everything that you do ends up coming full circle. He also said that his one piece of advice would be to take courses that are not requirements and just go for it. This is the time to explore and learn new things, so why not reach out of your required mechanical engineering classes and try for instance a music class.