The researchers, engineers, and technologists at GE Research who help see, move, and create the future come from varying backgrounds with varying experiences. While no two paths are the same, there is one common thread – a love for science. Why Science? explores where our employees’ paths began – when and how their love for science was born. For some it was a favorite teacher; for others science runs in the family. The stories told are fun, insightful, and may even inspire the next generation of scientists!
This Why Science? features Andrew Cross, a lead mechanical engineer with GE Research’s Mechanics & Design team in Niskayuna, NY. Andrew is a mid-career researcher who joined GE in 2014 after earning a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. His impressive portfolio spans some of GE Research’s most talked about projects, including our biomimicry approach to a soft-bodied, tunneling robot. Andrew is part of the team that’s channeling the movements of earthworms and tree roots to develop an extremely dexterous autonomous robot that can tunnel its way past small rocks and obstacles as it carves a 10 cm diameter tunnel. Click here to read more about that work. In March, Andrew delivered the opening remarks at the FIRST Robotics regional competition in Albany, NY (GE was a proud sponsor). See what Andrew had to say.
A huge Star Wars fan, Andrew can tell you that before Luke Skywalker fought Darth Vader, he was a moisture farmer on a desert planet. That’s quite literally Andrew’s second active project. He’s part of the large, multidisciplinary team of chemists, physicists, and engineers who are developing a portable device that creates potable water from air. We call it AIR2WATER, and its commercialization could be a game changer in addressing water scarcity around the world.
Lastly, Andrew is working closely with GE Healthcare on next generation X-ray tubes. The team is designing a better bearing to spin the CT gantry faster and improve X-ray scans of the heart. This will allow doctors to image a patient without any medications to slow the heart rate.
Hey Andrew… Why Science?
“I want to learn how this world was created. Science is a mechanism to understand the existing, utilize what you have, and create the next piece. It is an evolving process that will never end; constantly changing and updating. I enjoy being part of that process and appreciate that I am not the first nor the last part of it. For me, it’s fun to make new machines. I marvel at the creativity of those who came before me but also at the designs we see in nature.
As a kid, I was drawn to engineering playing with Legos that my parents got me. Today, I tip-toe through my children’s Legos as they learn to design and build. I am working to continue that flow of science, utilizing what I have today and passing it on to my children to build the next piece.”
Andrew and his oldest son, 4-year old Ben.