HCES Website Update


Hey all,

The HCES website is going under some reconstruction over the next couple of weeks. So far we have a new layout, and new we’re actively updating the content so that everything is up to date. Stay tuned!

SpaceX – Tech Talk and Internships + LUNCH 4/17 1-2:30pm Pierce 209



Info Session |Tuesday, April 17th
1:00pm – 2:30pm |Pierce 209
***Food will be provided***

SpaceX is looking for talented Aerospace, Mechanical, Electrical and Computer Engineers to design, build, test and fly our next generation of rocket launch vehicles. We are hiring interns, co-ops and full-time new graduate employees for positions across the company and at all academic levels. On December 8, 2010, SpaceX made history by bringing our Dragon capsule safely back to Earth after two orbits around the planet. This feat marks the first timeever a commercial company has successfully recovered a spacecraft from low-Earth orbit. Please join us for an information session discussing the tremendous technical challenges involved with spacecraft re-entry, recovery and reusability.

All interested students are invited; seating is first-come-first-served.



Presented by Meagan Karagias – Outreach Representative

TECHNICAL OVERVIEW: The Business of Revolutionizing Rockets

Presented by Jamie Hadden – Mission Integrator

SpaceX is a US based rocket company founded by Elon Musk, the former co-founder of PayPal. Musk is currently the residing CEO and CTO at SpaceX and also the Chief Product Architect and CEO of Tesla Motors.

SpaceX builds rockets from the ground up; including electronics, software, vehicle structures, and engines. At SpaceX we cut through the noise and believe in the essentials of hands-on, hardcore engineering.

We build it, test it, and fly it.


Jamie Hadden studied Physics at Harvey Mudd College, and subsequently worked at Northrop Grumman designing and operating space systems. He has been with SpaceX for two years. Jamie is a Mission Manager at SpaceX, responsible for the programmatic, technical and financial success of SpaceX’s first two geosynchronous telecommunications satellite launches, planned for early 2013.

Engineering Students Exhibit Senior Design Projects


April 10, 2012 — Students in Engineering Sciences 100: “Engineering Design Projects” exhibited their senior design concepts in a series of presentations that took place from Tuesday through Friday of last week.

The year-long class, required for engineering sciences bachelors of science concentrators, challenged students to identify and respond to real-world engineering challenges, according Robert J. Wood, ES100 lecturer and an associate professor of electrical engineering.

“For the engineering students, it’s a direct application of the knowledge they have accrued over their time here,” Wood said. “They’re able to take the theory and put it into practice to make optimal design choices.”

For more information, check out the Crimson!

Recruiting Engineering Peer Advisers!


Hello Engineers!

We have some great news: last fall, 80 sophomores declared engineering as their concentration!

There’s a need for upperclassmen (juniors and seniors) to act as peer advisers (a.k.a. engineering Big Sibs) for the new engineering students. Help them avoid the pitfalls and difficulties of getting an engineering degree at Harvard without experiencing the same learning curve that you did. Your experience is invaluable, and if you take the time to pass it on to the new students it will strongly improve their undergraduate experience. Please sign up using the application form!

Note: to those who signed up for the big sib/little sib program last fall (all 21 of you), thank you so much for your response! If you remember filling out the form, you do not need to do it again; we already have your info!

HCES Board

Early-stage venture fund launches in Cambridge, Mass.


New resource will serve local students and alumni worldwide

Cambridge, Mass. – January 27, 2012 – When the “next big thing” is invented in a dorm room, ruminated over in a late-night café, or discovered in a laboratory, it will now find more support in—and its inventors will have better reasons to stay connected to—the Cambridge area.

Today, The Experiment Fund (, a new seed-stage investment fund, opens its doors with backing from storied venture capital firmNew Enterprise Associates (NEA).

Designed specifically to support student start-ups and nurture novel technologies and platforms created in Cambridge (or by innovators educated here), the Experiment Fund will eventually include additional strategic angel investors and advisers…. (For more information, head over to Harvard SEAS…)



Engineering Survival Kits!


Kits in the boxes

 Getting ready for Survival Kit delivery!

On Thursday, January 26 2012, HCES delivered 81 Engineering Survival Kits to incoming Engineering Sciences (and Bioengineering) Concentrators.


Now, one might ask, “what IS an Engineering Survival Kit?” See below for the complete kit description:

Contents of the Survival Kits

 The Complete Engineering Science Kit

  • 1 granola bar (Do engineers have time for breakfast? Not always. But hopefully this will give you enough energy to get through that 9 AM class.)
  • 1 package Fruit Snacks (A healthy dose of Vitamin C will help you stay healthy throughout the cold winter weeks.)
  • 1 package instant Top Ramen (Working so hard on that thermo pset that you forgot to eat dinner? Hopefully this will come in handy.)
  • 1 pad lined paper (Problem set scratch paper. To-do lists. Ideas for future inventions. Or you may want to make mini yellow paper airplanes. Go ahead; it’s yours to use.)
  • 1 Sharpie marker (a.k.a. multi-purpose permanent marking tool. Use only for good, not evil.)
  • 4 AAA batteries (Because your TI-89 is probably low on power right at this very moment.)
  • 1 can Red Bull (Batteries for you. Trust us. You’ll need it.)

Also, each concentrator received a personalized, laser-cut acrylic placard with their name and graduating year engraved on the surface — our way of saying welcome to SEAS.


Again, congratulations to all the new ES concentrators, and welcome to Harvard Engineering!


-HCES Execs

Egg Drop / Pumpkin Drop Contest: Friday, October 28 @ 4:30PM!


Smashing eggs!  Exploding pumpkins!


Egg Drop Contest / Pumpkin Drop

and the Harvard College Engineering Society

Sponsored by the Society of Physics Students

Friday, 10/28 @ 4:30 PM
in front of Jefferson Hall
(Refreshments served in Jefferson 251)


SPS and HCES invite you to come witness a smashing spectacle of epic proportions. Watch or participate in an egg drop contest* (prizes will be awarded!), followed by an experiment to determine whether gravity still works… by hurling deep-frozen pumpkins from a four-story building.

And stick around for the refreshments (including pumpkin pie)!

HCES T-shirts: The Latest Fashion Statement!


Hope the semester is going well!  Since laundry is starting to pile up and psets are taking more time, now is the perfect time to buy an HCES t-shirt!  They’re all the rage and the latest fashion statement…..


We’re running out, so be sure to send an email with requested size to to reserve yours today!  They’re only $15!
Can’t wait to see y’all in green,
HCES Board

Egg Dropping, Pumpkin Smashing, and MORE!



Get ready for the annual pre-Halloween pumpkin-smashing ritual hosted by the SPS and HCES!

The Details:

  • What: Egg drop competition + pumpkin smashing + HCES/SPS social event
  • When: Friday afternoon, 10/28
  • Where: Jefferson (or somewhere thereabouts)
  • Food?: refreshments provided by SPS

Normally, the event consists of hurling pumpkins of different temperatures (warm, cold, really cold, frozen solid) from the fourth floor of Jefferson, enjoying the smashing spectacle below as the pumpkins meet their untimely end, then enjoying some tasty refreshments (including, of course, pumpkin pie).

This year, we thought it would be fun to stoke the fires of the engineering-physics rivalry by incorporating an egg drop competition at the beginning of the event: hurl an egg (+ protection) from the fourth floor, so that the egg survives and lands as close to a target as possible. The plan is to get several teams from both departments to participate; laser-machined trophies will be given to top point winners (we’ve outlined a rough grading rubric) and the most creative design. And, of course, whichever club (HCES or SPS) has the best overall performance gets bragging rights.

Be on the lookout for more information to come!



A typical day in the NASA Propulsion Academy


I expected the first week to be slow–a day to move in, a day for introductions and maybe some food shopping, a pit-stop at work to meet my boss for the summer.. it was all of this, plus much, much more. After a day of getting settled and meeting everyone else in the Propulsion Academy, Robotics Academy, and the regular academy (for individual research projects) ..about 35 of us in total from around the country.. we had a meeting with our mentor, who comes up with a summer project or two for a group of four. My project involves mass gauging for a propellant tank in zero-gravity using an optical interferometer. To sum it up, there are few ways of determining how much fuel is left in a propellant tank in space. Current methods work well when the tank is nearly full but not so well when the tank is nearly empty, which is when that measurement is most important. Because of this inaccuracy, excess fuel is added as a precaution, but as all of us aerospace lovers know, more weight is never a good thing. So my group, which includes students from the University of Maine, University of Texas at El Paso, and MIT, is working on using an Michelson interferometer setup, to help solve this issue. We are working closely with the Propulsion Systems Branch at Marshall Space Flight Center, which has about 20-30 members, to push this idea forward, and we regularly meet with experts in other departments in MSFC or on the army side of Redstone Arsenal base to learn more about this technology and for questions on our project specifically as well.

One great thing about working here is that everyone’s door is open, whether I have a question related to our project or a general topic, like applying to graduate school. We are in constant learning mode –morning, afternoon, and evening. During the workday, we have our main project to work on—working with the mechanics in the shop to build all of the hardware completely from scratch, with optical experts to better understand interferometry, and with project managers who help us recognize the assumptions and uncertainties in the validity of our data. Being a part of a government agency, this becomes a huge challenge, and fully understanding your experiment, your results, and how to conduct it safely can usually be the biggest hurdle. Twice a week, we have seminars held just for us that are taught by propulsion experts in the department and range from topics like “So you want to be a rocket scientist?” 101 to “the softer side of engineering.”. After a day of hard work, we head back to the cozy, air-conditioned University of Alabama dorms but don’t have time to get too comfortable before we are on our next learning adventure. In the evenings, we have speakers and events. We’ve had speakers on electric propulsion, solar sails, orbital tethers, nuclear propulsion, hybrid rockets, and many other interesting topics that I had not learned about before. (I would recommend researching the solar sails and tethers. It took my idea of propulsion to an entirely different level!) On other evenings, we’ll have space appreciation nights and watch documentaries related to the NASA missions. (“When we left Earth” is a great documentary if you can find any clips of it!) After all of this, we have about an hour or two to do some food shopping, play some music, or chat with our friends before we all pass out from exhaustion, but for a summer experience like this, it is worth it.

And the weekends? They’ll need a post for themselves..will right more soon!


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