Nowhere is this more apparent than in semiconductor technology.
Semiconductors, the elements necessary to build electronic circuits, were the building blocks for microwave ovens, refrigerators, clocks, radar, and radar reflectors. Engineers was a group who designed and developed designs, invented new methods in process and used these to build instruments, building the first electromagnetic wave intensifiers, amplifiers, and power amplifiers. This early foundation was named Claude Shannon, a British army scientist. (The equivalent of God’s Work). As one of the pioneers of magnetic recording, Thomson Cooper and Lawrence Bracewell Shockley used electromagnetism to record and encode audio, ideas which were first brought to the US by electrical engineer George Church.
It was at the Dayton Division of RCA that the first video display system, the DynaTron, was designed. It was the work of engineers that showed that video images were going to be need for the next-generation computers. The idea of a display that had been displayed on a television for many years could be done without a television. Also, engineers began work on laser keys, which allowed a computer to masterfully stroke keys without requiring a human to interpret the information.
The medical applications
Engineering were engineers who worked for the defense corporation Micrographics to develop the first digital imaging machine. During WWII, during the development of Livermore’s H-bomb, many key engineers were, part of a small group of incredibly skilled engineers. Others included Robert Lawrence, who designed the deadly VTOL aircraft Stealth Bomber, Robert Tanner, a pioneer of radar, William Perry, a pioneer of computer mass storage, Garrett Brown, an engineer who invented many advanced military equipment, and Lawrence Richards, who was a neurological pioneer and inventor of modern neurosurgery.
Military applications continued with folks like Peter Joseph, Edward Teller, and William Henry Ream.
Engineering was also an important part of the first atomic bomb, Konstantin Chernobyl and Co, who manufactured the bomb using no live uranium (later re-named Blue Book, code named P-239, code name, Little Boy).
The insurance industry carries so many engineers as you can imagine. Also, the National Institute of Standards and Technology is vitally and dangerously involved in the world of advanced electronics funded by Congress.
A standard working definition of a computer engineer is, “one with an engineering emphasis and who possesses a strong interest in scientific and technical problems.”
The future of engineering
While the role of the engineer is such a powerful force in our modernity, it is not sufficient. Where does that leave the journeyman?
There are a lot of people in the middle, relying on SKB cases engineering consulting and other kinds of building trades skills to survive. Improving the pace of the development of these people will not just improve our economy, it will improve the wider development of society.
E-newsletter: What you need to know about Advanced Engineering Curriculum Let students in grades K through 12 learn to use shifting technology to solve everyday problems like dangerous fights, fraudulent lending, tax fraud, problems with credit cards, identity theft, or creating the perfect document.
But what may be particularly important is that continuing education is being introduced to more people to give these people new skills, as well as prevent them from just taking courses required in an engineering degree.
Improvement in Engineering
James Linval co founded and is the faculty chair of the Department of Civic Education. He is also the lead author for The Smartest Adults in the World report, co-author of Teaching.com’s A Bit More, and co-author of Geek Science. Your comments and questions about innovations in Engineering Education are welcome.