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Top 5 Podcasts of 2023
The editors of Mechanical Engineering magazine select the year's best episodes of ASME TechCast.
The printed word is a powerful means to convey information, but to provide shades of meaning and spontaneous insights, nothing beats the human voice. In 2023, the ASME TechCast series featured 24 conversations on topics ranging from small manufactures and project management to the James Webb Space Telescope.

Choosing five episodes to spotlight is a difficult task, as all the discussions in 2023 were top-notch. After listening to these selected conversations, check out the ASME TechCast home page to subscribe to the series.

Burnout and Mechanical Engineers

For many in the profession, the mental challenge of engineering can make for a satisfying career. But sometimes, stress can take its toll. Engineer, consultant, and author Peter Atherton discussed his personal experience with burnout, what makes engineers suspectable, and understanding the signs of its onset.

Tapping Solar Power in Space

One of the intractable challenges of solar power is navigating the day-night cycle. But what if we could place solar panels in a place where the sun never sets? That’s the promise of orbiting power stations, which place large arrays of photovoltaic panels thousands of miles in space and beam electricity back to the surface via microwaves. Caltech research scientist Austin Fikes talked about a prototype satellite recently launched into orbit.

Engineering Geothermal Heat Pumps

Heat pumps, which use the outside as a source—or sink—for heat, are a familiar environmental control technology in many homes. But one drawback is that, when outside temperatures are at the extreme, heat pumps begin to lose efficiency. Kathy Hannun, founder and president of Dandelion Energy, a company that makes household geothermal heat pump systems, discussed the efficiency advantages and engineering challenges of drawing heat from the ground.

Ethics in Engineering Education

People put their companies—and even their lives—in the hands of engineers who design complex machines and critical infrastructure, and they expect engineers to act with the highest professional standards. Those standards must be instilled early in engineering education. Sara Hendren, associate professor of arts, humanities, and design at Olin College of Engineering, spoke about the importance of keeping engineering students engaged in social and ethical issues throughout their education.

Cybersecurity in Manufacturing

Malicious actors are testing the internet-accessible points in most products and infrastructure. That makes building and maintaining cybersecurity systems critically important. CyManII’s Gabriela Ciocarlie and Kyle Saleeby talked about developing and standing up methods to secure the entire manufacturing supply chain and the challenges it poses for an industry with a wide range of equipment and technical expertise.
 

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