Celebrating Engineer’s Week!

This week, February 18-24, 2024, we celebrate the engineers who affect positive change in our world. The theme, "Welcome to the Future!" celebrates today's achievements and efforts to pave the way for a brighter and more diverse future in engineering.

At the 2024 NAE National Meeting held February 8 at the Beckman Center in Calif., I introduced several engineers whose journey to and through engineering is quite unique. They included:

  • John Brooks Slaughter – pioneer in engineering education, leadership and equal opportunity.
  • Steve Fenves – Holocaust survivor and early pioneer in CAD for large structures.
  • Frances Arnold – recipient of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the 2011 NAE Charles Stark Draper Prize in Engineering, and member of all three of the Academies within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine – for the directed evolution of enzymes.
  • Martin Cooper – pioneering contributions to the world’s first cellular telephone, networks, systems, and standards.
  • Adrew Viterbi – who invented the “Viterbi algorithm,” a programming algorithm that can estimate the likely sequence of events in a given situation that is commonly used in everything from speech recognition to keyword spotting. He is also co-founder of Qualcomm.
  • And finally, Lillian Gilbreth, a pioneer in the field of management theory who is best known for her work as an industrial engineer (and is the real-life model for the book “Cheaper by the Dozen”).

A one-on-one interview with these leaders will be posted each month on the NAE website and the NAE YouTube channel. Watch for the interview of Steve Fenves coming March 1.

I also want to point to the future—the up-and-coming engineers whose work will impact our lives in the coming years. There are so many, but I would like to draw your attention to the four early-career engineers who were selected to give the Gilbreth Lectures at the NAE National Meeting. You may find their topics interesting and their efforts admirable.

I hope you have an opportunity this week—and all through the year—to celebrate how engineers make a difference in our world.