ASEE Prism On-line, February 2000
A Time for Celebrating

The general public, and engineers themselves, often fail to recognize the significant impact engineers,Frank L. Huband engineering faculty members, and engineering students have on society. Recently in Prism we described contributions that engineers have made in enhancing the lives of the elderly. This month, you can read about engineering contributions to national security, and NASA's technological contributions to our quality of life.

"Striking Back at Terrorism" discusses engineering training and research relevant to national security. From training college students about securing computers from cyber-attacks to designing buildings that are less vulnerable to terrorist attacks to developing a handheld device that can detect harmful chemicals, engineers are working hard to keep our nation safe.

Applying space-related technology to everyday needs is the focus of the article "NASA's Other Mission." In recent years, NASA has made certain technology available to the public, including imaging instruments used in the Hubble Space Telescope that now help detect breast cancer, and space suits designed for Apollo astronauts that now help people born without sweat glands. NASA has also contributed in other fields; cellular phone service is based on research conducted by the space agency. Again, engineers are the people behind the scenes.

A distinguished member of our profession, Henry Petroski, is highlighted in "The Poet Laureate of Technology." I consider Petroski special because of his ability to explain and describe engineering so that the public can understand and appreciate it. His books help us understand the connection between technology and the society it impacts.

These stories accentuate the contributions that engineering has made to society. This month, however, we have the opportunity to celebrate our contributions. National Engineers Week, to be held this year from February 20-26, is designed to celebrate with the public the roles engineering plays in our lives every day. Please let me know if you celebrate E-Week in a special way. As always, also let me know your thoughts on Prism and on engineering education.


Frank L. Huband
Executive Director and Publisher 

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