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ISSN 2150-5128
University of Delaware Research Online Magazine

ONLINE MAGAZINE VOL 8 • NO 1

University of Delaware Research Online Magazine

ONLINE MAGAZINE VOL 8 • NO 1

Disruptors

by Beth Miller, Karen Roberts and Tracey Bryant

How UD is sparking new ideas to solve today’s problems

Many trace the demise of the buggy-whip industry to Henry Ford & Company’s mass production of automobiles early in the 20th century—and that is certainly part of the story. But the seeds of that disruption were likely sown more than a century earlier when French inventor Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built the first self-propelled, steam-powered automobile, serving notice that the carriage need no longer depend on a horse for power.

Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot’s first steam-powered car, 1769. Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot’s first steam-powered car, 1769.

No need to urge that horse along. Just keep the engine stoked with fuel—as Cugnot demonstrated could be done—and a disruptive sort of horse-power would emerge.

Look through the pages of time and it’s an individual or a small group that creates the kind of disruption that moves the rest of us forward in striking ways. Unencumbered by stock prices, conventional wisdom or the variable political winds that often steer decisions in large organizations and industry, these thinkers pursue untested ideas and push past familiar boundary lines. That is where discovery lies.

Top-tier research universities such as the University of Delaware have a multitude of such thinkers in their midst. This issue of UD Research points to just one example from seven of UD’s colleges—disruptors who pursue knowledge and confront intractable problems in our world from uncommon angles, producing new insights and possibilities that would not have come to light without their push.

Disruptors

How UD is sparking new ideas to solve today’s problems

Many trace the demise of the buggy-whip industry to Henry Ford & Company’s mass production of automobiles early in the 20th century—and that is certainly part of the story. But the seeds of that disruption were likely sown more than a century earlier when French inventor Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built the first self-propelled, steam-powered automobile, serving notice that the carriage need no longer depend on a horse for power.

No need to urge that horse along. Just keep the engine stoked with fuel—as Cugnot demonstrated could be done—and a disruptive sort of horse-power would emerge.

Look through the pages of time and it’s an individual or a small group that creates the kind of disruption that moves the rest of us forward in striking ways. Unencumbered by stock prices, conventional wisdom or the variable political winds that often steer decisions in large organizations and industry, these thinkers pursue untested ideas and push past familiar boundary lines. That is where discovery lies.

Top-tier research universities such as the University of Delaware have a multitude of such thinkers in their midst. This issue of UD Research points to just one example from seven of UD’s colleges—disruptors who pursue knowledge and confront intractable problems in our world from uncommon angles, producing new insights and possibilities that would not have come to light without their push.

See what drives them — and where they hope to go next!

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Disruptors: Cracking a Cell’s Secret Code

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Disruptors: Harnessing Beneficial Microbes

Disruptors: Harnessing Beneficial Microbes

So, what do a virologist, botanist and soil physicist have in common? This team from UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is leveraging their collective expertise to ensure that our food supply is safe and abundant, now and in the future.

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Honors

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News Briefs

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CONTACT

Tracey Bryant
Director for Research Communications

Phone: 302.831.8185
Email: Tracey Bryant

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