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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2004. The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10999.
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THE ENGINEER OF 2020

VISIONS OF ENGINEERING IN THE NEW CENTURY

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, DC
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2004. The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10999.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: This publication has been reviewed according to procedures approved by a National Academy of Engineering report review process. Publication of signed work signifies that it is judged a competent and useful contribution worthy of public consideration, but it does not imply endorsement of conclusions or recommendations by the National Academy of Engineering. The interpretations and conclusion in such publications are those of the authors and do not purport to represent the views of the council, officers, or staff of the National Academy of Engineering.

Funding for the activity that led to this publication was provided by the National Science Foundation, NEC Foundation of America, SBC Foundation, and Honeywell International, and the National Academy of Engineering Fund.

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Copyright 2004 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2004. The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10999.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2004. The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10999.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2004. The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10999.
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Acknowledgments

About Honeywell International

Honeywell is a diversified technology and manufacturing leader of aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes, and industry; automotive products; power generation systems; specialty chemicals; fibers; plastics and advanced materials. The company is committed to providing quality products, integrated system solutions, and services to customers around the world. Honeywell products touch the lives of most people everyday. The company’s philanthropic giving is overseen by the Honeywell International Foundation. The Foundation is currently focused in three strategic areas: Family Safety and Security, Housing and Shelter, and Science and Math Education.

About NEC Foundation of America

NEC Foundation of America was established in 1991 and endowed at $10 million by NEC and its United States subsidiaries. Income generated by the endowment is donated to nonprofit organizations in the United States to help assure that individuals have the skills to advance the boundaries of technology, and to be served by innovation on both a personal and societal level. As of March 1, 2003, the Foundation’s sole focus is technology for people with disabilities.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2004. The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10999.
×

About National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) was established in 1950 by the Congress and is the only federal agency dedicated to supporting education and fundamental research in all science and engineering disciplines. The mission of NSF is to ensure that the United States maintains leadership in scientific discovery and the development of new technologies. NSF promotes the progress of engineering in the United States in order to enable the nation's capacity for innovation and to support the creation of wealth and a better quality of life.

About SBC Foundation

SBC Foundation is committed to supporting programs and organizations that promote the importance of a K-16 education continuum. Since its formation in 1984, SBC Foundation has distributed more than $203 million to fund educational endeavors across the United States. SBC Foundation-backed programs are designed to increase access to information technologies, broaden technology training and professional skills development, and integrate new technologies to enhance education and economic development. The Foundation is an independent entity and receives all of its funding from SBC Communications, Inc. and its family of companies.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2004. The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10999.
×

COMMITTEE ON THE ENGINEER OF 2020

G. WAYNE CLOUGH (NAE), Chair,

Georgia Institute of Technology

ALICE M. AGOGINO (NAE),

University of California, Berkeley

GEORGE CAMPBELL, JR.,

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

JAMES CHAVEZ,

Sandia National Laboratories

DAVID O. CRAIG,

Reliant Energy

JOSÉ B. CRUZ, JR. (NAE),

Ohio State University

PEGGY GIRSHMAN,

National Public Radio

DANIEL E. HASTINGS,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MICHAEL J. HELLER,

University of California, San Diego

DEBORAH G. JOHNSON,

University of Virginia

ALAN C. KAY (NAE),

Hewlett-Packard Company

TAREK M. KHALIL,

University of Miami

ROBERT W. LUCKY (NAE),

Telcordia Technologies

JOHN M. MULVEY,

Princeton University

SHARON L. NUNES,

International Business Machines, Inc.

HENRY PETROSKI (NAE),

Duke University

SUE V. ROSSER,

Georgia Institute of Technology

ERNEST T. SMERDON (NAE),

University of Arizona

PROJECT LIAISON

STEPHEN W. DIRECTOR (NAE),

University of Michigan

NAE PROGRAM OFFICE STAFF

PATRICIA F. MEAD, Study Director

JORDAN J. BARUCH, Fellow

MATTHEW CAIA, Project Assistant (through March 2003)

LANCE DAVIS, Executive Officer and Acting Director, Program Office

ELIZABETH HOLLENBECK, Intern

NATHAN KAHL, Project Assistant

JAMIE OSTROHA, Intern

ERICKA REID, Intern

PROCTOR REID, Associate Director, Program Office

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2004. The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10999.
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COMMITTEE ON ENGINEERING EDUCATION

STEPHEN W. DIRECTOR (NAE), Chair,

University of Michigan

ALICE M. AGOGINO (NAE),

University of California, Berkeley

ANJAN BOSE (NAE),

Washington State University

ANTHONY BRIGHT,

Harvey Mudd College

BARRY C. BUCKLAND (NAE),

Merck Research Laboratories

G. WAYNE CLOUGH (NAE),

Georgia Institute of Technology

MICHAEL CORRADINI (NAE),

University of Wisconsin, Madison

JENNIFER SINCLAIR CURTIS,

Purdue University

RODNEY CUSTER,

Illinois State University

JAMES W. DALLY (NAE),

University of Maryland, College Park

RUTH A. DAVID (NAE),

ANSER Corporation

ANN Q. GATES,

University of Texas, El Paso

RANDY HINRICHS,

Microsoft Corporation

ROSALYN HOBSON,

Virginia Commonwealth University

BARRY C. JOHNSON (NAE),

Villanova University

LARRY V. McINTIRE (NAE),

Rice University

EX OFFICIO MEMBERS

BRUCE ALBERTS (NAS), President,

National Academy of Sciences

HARVEY FINEBERG (IOM), President,

Institute of Medicine

GEORGE M.C. FISHER (NAE), Chairman,

National Academy of Engineering

SHEILA E. WIDNALL (NAE), Vice President,

National Academy of Engineering

WM. A. WULF (NAE), President,

National Academy of Engineering

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2004. The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10999.
×

REVIEW COMMITEE

This report was reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authoring committee and the NAE in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the charge for this activity. The contents of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.

JOHN A. ALIC, Consultant

DAVID P. BILLINGTON,

Princeton University

JAMES J. DUDERSTADT,

University of Michigan

SHERRA E. KERNS,

Olin College

BINDU N. LAHANI,

Asian Development Bank

EDWARD D. LAZOWSKA,

University of Washington

IOANNIS N. MIAOULIS,

Boston Museum of Science

CHERRY A. MURRAY,

Lucent Technologies

ROBERT M. NEREM,

Georgia Institute of Technology

SHERI SHEPPARD,

Stanford University

REPORT REVIEW MONITOR

C. DAN MOTE, JR.,

University of Maryland, College Park

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2004. The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10999.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2004. The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10999.
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Preface

The Engineer of 2020 Project centers on an effort to envision the future and to use that knowledge to attempt to predict the roles that engineers will play in the future. While of interest in itself, the exercise is also intended to provide a framework that will be used in subsequent work to position engineering education in the United States for what lies ahead, rather than waiting for time to pass and then trying to respond. This initiative is not unique in that other groups have somewhat similar efforts under way or have recently completed them. The work of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) differs in that it considers the issues with respect to all the diverse branches of engineering and examines them from the broadest possible perspective. Its principal focus is on the future of undergraduate engineering education in this country, although it is appreciated that to understand the full perspective engineering practice and engineering education must be considered in a global context.

Originated and chartered by the NAE’s Committee on Engineering Education, the project consists of two parts, the first relating to the development of a vision for engineering and the work of the engineer in 2020. This phase of the work culminates with this report. The second part, which is yet to be completed, is to examine engineering education and ask what it needs to do to prepare engineers for the future. This report will be used to frame the discussions of the second phase.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2004. The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10999.
×

A steering committee for the project was established in December 2001 by the NAE president to guide the work. The committee met four times over the course of the following year and developed a plan for a three-day workshop on the future of engineering that was held in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, in fall 2002. Thirty-five participants took part in the workshop representing a range of different disciplines, age groups, and points of view (see Appendix B). Keynote addresses were given by Phil Condit, Bran Ferren, and Shirley Ann Jackson.

At the outset it was agreed that predicting the future with any exactitude is not possible. Hence, scenario-based strategic planning was used to help the participants think broadly about events and issues that could shape the future. Peter Schwartz, a well-known author and strategic planning consultant, served as moderator and facilitator. During the course of the workshop, four scenarios were considered, each of which was thought to capture trends that could dramatically affect the way the future would unfold. All of the scenarios recognized that pending breakthroughs in technology from fields like nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials, computing, and logistics would be factors engendering change regardless of other conditions. It was understood that 2020 might reflect any one of the scenarios, some combination of them, or none of them. Their purpose was primarily realized through the process, which helped expand our appreciation of possibilities for the future and assisted in thinking about the future of engineering in these terms. The scenarios examine transformational changes that could derive from life-altering developments across several technological fronts, dramatic breakthroughs in biotechnology, a major natural disaster, and world division driven by growth in religious fundamentalism.

After the workshop, members of the steering committee were assigned the task of writing the report. A final meeting of the committee was held in December 2002 to critique the work of the writing groups. The final draft report was informed using the workshop keynote presentations, discussions, and scenarios as well as a steering committee consensus about new technologies that are likely to significantly influence the future course of engineering. Following the last meeting, a smaller group of the steering committee took on the task of editing the report for publication.

It is notable that this report posits a statement of aspirations for the engineer of 2020 and closes with a statement of attributes thought suitable for the engineer of 2020 that match the aspirations. The final two

Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2004. The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10999.
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chapters express a bold optimism for the engineering profession if it is willing to confront the possibilities for the future and prepare for it.

Ahead lies the challenge of considering what engineering students should learn in the university to prepare for the future and how this might differ from what is taught today. This effort will take place over the course of the coming year through a new workshop and continuing work of the steering committee.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academy of Engineering. 2004. The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10999.
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To enhance the nation's economic productivity and improve the quality of life worldwide, engineering education in the United States must anticipate and adapt to the dramatic changes of engineering practice. The Engineer of 2020 urges the engineering profession to recognize what engineers can build for the future through a wide range of leadership roles in industry, government, and academia--not just through technical jobs. Engineering schools should attract the best and brightest students and be open to new teaching and training approaches. With the appropriate education and training, the engineer of the future will be called upon to become a leader not only in business but also in nonprofit and government sectors.

The book finds that the next several decades will offer more opportunities for engineers, with exciting possibilities expected from nanotechnology, information technology, and bioengineering. Other engineering applications, such as transgenic food, technologies that affect personal privacy, and nuclear technologies, raise complex social and ethical challenges. Future engineers must be prepared to help the public consider and resolve these dilemmas along with challenges that will arise from new global competition, requiring thoughtful and concerted action if engineering in the United States is to retain its vibrancy and strength.

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