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Pathways in Molecular Engineering (Session 2)

Oleo Sponge

Molecular engineers tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have been working to find a solution to oil spills by developing a new type of technology called the “Oleo Sponge.” Check out how the Oleo Sponge can be used not only to soak up oil from water but also to save that oil for later use.

Program(s): Immersion

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  The emerging field of Molecular Engineering brings together concepts from chemical and mechanical engineering, materials science, physics, and nanotechnology to innovate across a wide range of areas, such as energy storage and harvesting, water purification, and manufacturing electronic, biomedical, and mechanical devices. Molecular engineers may build new materials or objects from the molecule up, or even create new molecules that do not exist in nature. This course will provide an overview of the basic components of engineering -- design principles, modeling, and optimization -- as they can be applied at the molecular level in order to address real-world problems. In addition to lectures, discussions, and labs, students will have the opportunity to use super computers to create models which will inform their optimization efforts. Overall, the program will lead participants beyond the boundaries of traditional scientific disciplines into the intersection of physical, chemical, computational, and engineering sciences – the forefront of technological problem-solving – so that they are able to engage in the lateral, multi-disciplinary thinking that is required to solve some of the most fundamental problems facing society today.


Daily Course Expectations

  • 6 hours of daily work
  • Mix of synchronous and asynchronous work (see definitions here)
  • 1 required synchronous session per day: 9:00 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. CST

Course Overview

Current Grade / Education Level

9th Grade
10th Grade
11th Grade



Start Date

July 13

End Date

July 29

Class Details

Primary Instructor

Aaron Esser-Khan

Secondary Instructor

Academic Interest

Physical Sciences (e.g., astronomy, physics)

Class Specifics

Course Code

MENG 10100 94

Class Day(s)

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri


Session II

Course Length

3 weeks