Laying the pavement
Name: Tony "Danger" Coiro
Hometown: South Bend, Indiana
No second-guessing: For Tony, coming to Purdue was a gut feeling, and he didn’t apply anywhere else. “Science and engineering have always interested me, and I knew Purdue was the place to go. I have never regretted my decision.”
Forward progress: During Tony’s first year at Purdue, a research project on particle physics led to a deeper interest into transportation and energy. “For a civilization that has put men on the moon, can build 10 nanometer transistors and accelerate particles to (practically) the speed of light, a 25% efficient transportation system is embarrassing."
Tony’s passion for energy and transportation led to the development of an electric motorcycle and is starting an Electric Vehicle Club at Purdue. “I want to push the electric vehicle envelope and be at the bleeding-edge of technology. This is the first major step of promoting and advancing electric vehicle systems. We will then use the intellectual property we develop to fund the club projects.”
Driven to succeed: “Passion and enthusiasm are contagious, it doesn’t matter what about, but that is what inspires me.” Tony attended the National Youth Science Camp in 2008. The camp selects only two graduating high school students from each state to attend. Tony, who returned the past two years to teach physics, says, “To be able to teach and see the excitement on their faces is motivating.”
Danger is his middle name: After attempting a stunt, “Danger” has been with him ever since — illustrating his willingness to defy the status quo. A few of his “dares” have resulted in building a 25 foot catapult with a 400 pound counterweight, building a forge that can produce temperatures well over 2,000 degrees and going to Scotland just to pull a prank on a friend.
Some serious planet saving: Although his passion is electric vehicles, this summer Tony is working for Indy Power Systems, a small start up that has developed a smart grid tie-in system which can lower energy costs by half. "The system has huge potential in the electrical grid, and I'm hopeful some of it can be applied to electric vehicles as well."
A legacy to leave behind: Tony would consider it an honor if he were the precedent for a new university policy forbidding zip lines from the math building to the engineering mall or tying up personal blimps to the bicycle racks. “I want people to wonder if I really was a genius or a complete idiot.”
By Sarah Showalter