In This Issue
Winter Bridge on Frontiers of Engineering
December 15, 2023 Volume 53 Issue 4
This issue features articles by 2023 US Frontiers of Engineering symposium participants. The articles cover pressing global issues including resilience and security in the information ecosystem, engineered quantum systems, complex systems in the context of health care, and mining and mineral resource production.

Guest Editor's Note: The Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering 2023 Symposium

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Author: Timothy C. Lieuwen

The NAE dedicates the winter issue of The Bridge to papers from The Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Symposium (also known as US Frontiers of Engineering [US FOE]), held in September each year. I am delighted to be the guest editor of this issue, which includes a selection of papers from the 2023 US FOE meeting that I chaired. The meeting was hosted by the University of Colorado Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science.

I would like to remind our readers that the names of the Frontiers of Engineering program and the US-based event were changed last year in recognition of the extraordinary endowment gift of $10M from The Grainger Foundation that the NAE received. We still use “US FOE” when referring to the annual meeting for US engineers if the shorter term works better in a particular context.

The Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering symposia bring together a diverse group of highly accomplished, early-career engineers who represent the best and brightest from academia, industry, government, and nonprofit sectors across all engineering disciplines. In addition to the US FOE, the series includes bilateral programs with Germany, Japan, China, and the European Union. The events provide an opportunity for competitively selected participants to learn about cutting-edge and impactful developments and to network and engage in intellectual discussions crossing traditional boundaries in engineering.

The technical sessions at the 2023 US FOE covered the following topics:

  • Resilience and Security in the Information Ecosystem, cochaired by Cody Buntain (University of Maryland) and Ewa Syta (Trinity College). Talks provided perspectives on a decade of research on online rumoring, misinformation, and disinformation; design vulnerabilities in a post-Twitter age; the dismantling of trust and safety efforts in social media; and opportunities and challenges for bridging engineering, research, and policy.
  • Engineered Quantum Systems, organized by Joshua Combes (University of Colorado Boulder) and Sara Gamble (US Army Research Office), with presentations on the fundamental challenges of scaling quantum systems, bridging the knowledge gap in engineered quantum systems from basic research to applications, and engineering software for the quantum computers of today and the future.
  • Complex Systems in the Context of Health Care, cochaired by Mariel Lavieri (University of Michigan) and Parika Petaipimol (Upstream Bio). Speakers ­covered engineering human organoids and organs-on-chips, improving blood collection operations at the American Red Cross, complex global supply chains in the life science industry, and utilizing limited public health resources to control infectious diseases.
  • Mining and Mineral Resource Production, organized by Fiorella Giana (Freeport McMoRan) and Aaron Noble (Virginia Tech), which included presentations on our historical dependence on minerals and new mineral demands, mining and sustainability, and ­modern mining of a domestic lithium-boron deposit.

The meeting also included a breakout session that facilitated small group discussion about attendees’ research and technical work as well as tours of the Joint Institute for Laboratory Physics, several engineering laboratories, and the building that houses the Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences. The ­dinner speaker was Dr. Diane McKnight (NAE; University of Colorado Boulder), who spoke about the environmental impacts of mining in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The symposium program, abstracts of the presentations, and (where permission was granted) links to the slides of the presentations are all available at the US FOE website (

We thank the sponsors of the 2023 US FOE meeting: The Grainger Foundation, the University of Colorado Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science, the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the DOD OUSD(R&E)- Laboratories and Personnel Office, Cummins Inc., and individual donors.

The 2023 meeting concluded my service as chair of the US FOE program. The next US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium will be held on September 11–14, 2024, at the National Academies’ Beckman Center in Irvine, California. We encourage you to nominate outstanding early-career engineers in February each year to participate in this program. This will allow us to continue to facilitate cross-disciplinary exchange and promote the transfer of new techniques and approaches across fields in order to sustain and build US innovative capacity.

About the Author:Timothy C. Lieuwen (NAE) is interim chair of the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, Regents’ Professor, holder of the David S. Lewis Jr. Chair, and executive director of the Strategic Energy Institute at Georgia Institute of Technology.