News & Resources

Big Ideas

As engineers, we love learning about the world around us and drawing inspiration from other people and inventions throughout history. And, we love sharing our favorite stories with you! Who knows? Maybe they’ll help spark your next big idea too.


Accidental Invention: Synthetic Plastic

In today’s world, the term “plastic” is ubiquitous, encompassing a vast array of materials that have become indispensable in our daily lives. Originally derived from natural materials like horn and rubber, the development of synthetic plastics emerged as a response to the growing demand for durable, versatile, and cost-effective materials.

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Accidental Inventions

Mothers of Invention: Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson

A trailblazer in science and technology, theoretical physicist Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson is responsible for the research behind numerous innovations in telecommunications such as the touch-tone telephone, portable fax, and fiber optic cables. Her legacy is also that of an influential leader in education & public policy and a steadfast

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Accidental Invention: Kevlar

While often associated with high-stakes industries like defense and aerospace, Kevlar has been used in a variety of products, including tires, gloves, sports equipment, and more. The fibrous material that began as an unexpected discovery in a laboratory has gone on to save lives, transform industries, and inspire engineers around

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Accidental Invention: Saccharin

If you’ve ever looked through a collection of sweeteners for your coffee or tea, you’ve probably found several packets in various colors. But do you know what is actually inside? The pink one contains saccharin – a zero-calorie sugar alternative that was a surprisingly serendipitous result of laboratory experimentation 150

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Alice Parker

Mothers of Invention: Alice H. Parker

If your home gets cold in the winter, you adjust the thermostat. However, in olden days, keeping a house warm involved laborious maintenance of wood or coal burning fireplaces and stoves. That all changed in 1919 when inventor Alice H. Parker received a patent for a “new and improved” furnace

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Inventions Ahead of Their Time: French Fries

Is there anything better than biting into a fresh, salty, crispy french fry? Whether served alongside a burger or dipped into your milkshake, there’s no denying their deep-fried deliciousness. But where did this iconic side dish come from, and how did it become the beloved treat we know today? The

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Riata Center releases list of Cowboy100 honorees

Our beloved Chief Executive Officer, Denise McIntosh was named to list of upcoming honorees for the Riata Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to honor the third Cowboy100 Honoree Gala celebrating the business and leadership achievements of OSU graduate-owned or -led businesses. The gala will be held on March 29 at

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Accidental Invention: Safety Glass

Safety glass is commonly used in various applications where human safety is paramount. You’ll find it in vehicle windshields, architectural windows, shower enclosures, and computer monitors. As prevalent as this material has become, it’s a wonder to think it was stumbled upon by accident over a century ago. We interact

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Accidental Invention: Dynamite

You’re probably familiar with the Nobel Prize – one of the most iconic awards an individual can receive in science and humanities. But did you know that the award’s namesake, Alfred Nobel, invented dynamite? This explosive creation was one of his earliest and most notable inventions. The accidental invention of

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Accidental Invention: Implantable Pacemaker

A truly life-changing invention, the implantable pacemaker has revolutionized the cardiology field and enhanced countless patients’ lives. Surprisingly, the implantable pacemaker’s origins are rooted in an accidental discovery, a tale that underscores the serendipity often found in scientific breakthroughs.

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Accidental Invention: Super Glue

Chances are, if you look in that drawer in your kitchen (you know, the “junk” one), there’s a good chance you’ll find a tube of super glue. While it has become an extremely valuable tool for a variety of uses, this seemingly magical adhesive was actually discovered by accident during

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Inventions Ahead of Their Time: Automatic Doors

Daily, we encounter automatic doors almost everywhere we go – from supermarkets to office buildings, airports, and even our favorite coffee shops. They have become integral to modern architecture, making our lives more convenient and efficient. But have you ever wondered about the origins of this remarkable invention? (Hint: The

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Inventions Ahead of Their Time: Flushing Toilets

Have you ever used the expression “going to the John” and wondered who John is and why his name is synonymous with toilets?? Well, the man in question is, in fact, Sir John Harington – the inventor who created flush toilets nearly 500 years ago! The invention of toilets that

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Accidental Invention: X-Ray Machine

Since their discovery in 1895, X-rays have revolutionized medicine and significantly contributed to various industries. Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, a German physicist, accidentally stumbled upon X-rays one day while conducting experiments with cathode rays, which opened up a new world of possibilities for imaging and diagnosing medical conditions. X-rays, also known

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Accidental Invention: Post-it® Notes

Since their introduction in 1980, Post-it® Notes have become indispensable for communication, collaboration, and creativity. But did you know they resulted from a “failure” and the ingenuity of one scientist combined with the innovation and persistence of another? Post-it® Notes, those small sticky pieces of paper now ubiquitous in offices

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Inventions Ahead of Their Time: Vending Machines

While vending machines are sometimes seen as an example of modern conveniences and consumerism, they are not recent inventions. The very first iteration was designed over TWO THOUSAND years ago! Vending machines have become a common fixture outside stores, schools, office buildings, and many other places, dispensing everything from snacks

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