As We Now Think

Reflections, commentary and analysis from Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University.

Where Are Today’s Engineering Heroes?

CSPO Professor of Practice Gregg Zachary’s cover story in IEEE Spectrum launches a new public crusade: Engineering needs more heroes.


By failing to celebrate its finest contributors, the profession risks far more than mere obscurity

By G. Pascal Zachary

Some 25 years ago, I set out to write a biography of one of the most notable electrical engineers in American history. A professor at MIT, he designed the most powerful analog computers of the 1930s, and he cofounded Raytheon. An advisor to two U.S. presidents, he initiated the Manhattan Project, which produced the first atomic bombs, and he directed the research that led to the mass production of penicillin. In 1945, he conceived of the U.S. National Science Foundation, which continues to support groundbreaking research and has become the model for research funding in many countries. And he wrote a provocative magazine article that later was credited with accurately describing the personal computer and the Internet—decades before either came into being. I would argue that within the engineering pantheon, only Benjamin Franklin had as great an influence in as many spheres.

Read full article in IEEE Spectrum.

Image courtesy of Charles Arrington

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This entry was posted on July 1, 2014 by in Engineering, Science Communication, Science Education and tagged , , .
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