NAE Perspectives

Commentary Series

Perspectives ThumbnailThe NAE Perspectives provides an opportunity for practitioners, scholars, and policy leaders to comment on developments and issues relating to engineering and to reflect on opportunities important to the advancement of the NAE mission. The purpose of the NAE Perspectives is to bring diverse voices and perspectives to discussions related to current issues, opportunities and challenges facing engineers and engineering, and to foster public engagement in engineering.

These short-form commentaries, published on the NAE website, will focus on topical issues accessible to a wide range of audiences. Some essays may be supplemented with videos or webinar events.

An editorial board will provide topical guidance on matters of engineering relevant to the profession, the public, and policymaking. For more information on the commentary series and for submission inquiries, contact NAE Perspectives managing editor Cameron Fletcher at
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  • PostedMarch 10, 2023

    Systematic manual examination of ballots, rigorous ballot accounting procedures, and public compliance audits would increase election transparency and are urgently needed.
  • PostedFebruary 14, 2023

    Formative experiences inform individuals’ perceptions of themselves and others in the classroom, community, and workplace. In engineering, the image of a typical engineer – perpetuated in a “hidden curriculum” – often distorts perceptions of the work and abilities of those who differ from that ...
  • PostedOctober 17, 2022

    Engineering impacts everyone. Diversifying the field is imperative if we want to build on engineering’s legacy of extraordinary impact. Why? Because diversity leads to better outcomes, explains Gary S. May in the latest NAE Perspectives.
  • PostedSeptember 30, 2022

    Robin Podmore (NAE) is president, Incremental Systems Corp. (IncSys). Anjan Bose (NAE) is Regents Professor, School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Washington State University.
  • PostedApril 7, 2022

    Human control over technology was a concern thousands of years ago when early humans sought to ensure safe use of fire. Later, control over horse-drawn wagons and eventually steam engines led to debates about how to make the most of their benefits while limiting dangers. Now questions of control ...
  • PostedJanuary 19, 2022

    Over the past decade there have been consistent alarm signals about US leadership in science and technology. Arguments often boil down to the need for additional funding for R&D. In this perspective, I reflect not on the well-justified need for such additional funding, but for more effective ...
  • PostedNovember 2, 2021

    While transportation is costly in many ways and tiresome for many, it is critical for economic and social wellbeing. Goods and people need to reach their desired destinations in a timely manner. Large amounts of money, energy, land, labor, time, and natural resources are devoted to travel. And it ...
  • PostedOctober 26, 2021

    Engineering has made vast contributions to health and medicine, from designing water and sewer systems that have saved millions of lives to optimizing healthcare delivery systems and creating ever more sophisticated medical devices. New applications of evolutionary biology to medicine are now ...
  • PostedOctober 11, 2021

    According to safety experts, more than 90% of motor vehicle crashes involve driver error,[1] and many believe that replacing drivers with automation could significantly reduce the number of crashes. Well-considered automation could compensate for human susceptibilities such as fatigue, distraction, ...
  • PostedJuly 26, 2021

    Moderna spent a decade combining chemical, systems, and bio engineering advances to create the mRNA platform for its COVID-19 vaccine. On November 15, 2020, after 4 months in large-scale Phase 3 clinical testing, Moderna received resounding proof that its new class of medicines based on messenger ...
  • PostedJuly 26, 2021

    In my nearly 20 years at SpaceX, I have experienced hundreds of Falcon launches and test firings. As such, my level of anxiety prior to these events had been waning until, of course, Saturday, May 30, 2020. On that day, and for days leading up to it, my heart was in my throat. Not for any known ...
  • PostedJuly 26, 2021

    At 3:22 pm EDT on May 30, 2020, the SpaceX Crew Dragon 206 Endeavor on a Falcon 9 rocket roared off the pad at the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A, carrying the first NASA crew, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, on a commercial spacecraft. NASA’s first operational step in commercial human ...
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