recently broadcast the documentary "The Battle of the X Plane," which
presented the story of the competition between Lockheed Martin and
Boeing to build the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) plane. Under tight security,
a NOVA film team recorded the grueling progress achieved and setbacks
endured by engineers at both companies during the race to build a better
fighter plane. The film dramatically captured some of the extraordinary
challenges that engineers face in both design and manufacturing. This
month's Prism story, "The Sky's the Limit," examines
Lockheed Martin's win and what it took to gain this lucrative
contract. Design specifications were daunting, cost a prime determinant,
and the competition was winner take all.
One aspect of the JSF was that it will become a multinational fighter
plane. Other countries were not only lined up to buy the eventual product
but had design modifications of their own. While it is no surprise
that much of business has become global, the same has been much less
true of education—at least until recently. The cover story, "Going
Global," reports on some venturesome engineering schools that
have entered the global marketplace and their various approaches to
globalizing education wares.
Delores Etter, the former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Science
and Technology, is profiled in "Scaling the Ranks." A distinguished
member of the faculty at the U.S. Naval Academy, Etter, a member of
the Defense Science Board, also advises Washington policy makers on
national security issues.
" Palace of Science" reviews Tuxedo Park, a recent book
about Alfred Lee Loomis, the Wall Street financier who made a vast
fortune in the 1920s and used it to conduct military research on his
own. Although Loomis is all but unknown today, he led a remarkable
life and, among other accomplishments, bankrolled a radar lab that
laid groundwork for the detection technologies that changed the course
of World War II.
The tragic failure of the space shuttle Columbia and the loss of
all seven crew members shocked us all. Retired Admiral Harold W. Gehman,
Jr., a trained engineer, will lead the investigation into what happened.
Prism article "Engineer Leads the Probe" explains why an
engineer was tapped for the job and why Gehman is particularly well
equipped to determine the cause of this national tragedy.
Prism endeavors to provide ASEE members with a broad and exciting
mix of stories. I hope this month's issue meets that standard,
and as always, I welcome your views and comments.
Frank L. Huband
Executive Director and Publisher