Engineering in Society

Panel on Engineering Interactions With Society
Committee on the Education and Utilization of the Engineer
Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems
National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C. 1985



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Engineering in Society Panel on Engineering Interactions With Society Committee on the Education and Utilization of the Engineer Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1985

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Page ii NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS • 2101 Constitution Ave., NW • Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the Councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the project were chosen for their special competences and with regard to appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was established 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. The Council operates in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy under the authority of its congressional charter of 1863, which established the Academy as a private, nonprofit, self-governing membership corporation. The Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in the conduct of their services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. It is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine were established in 1964 and 1970, respectively, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences. Support for this work has been provided by the National Science Foundation, the Department of the Air Force, the Department of the Army, the Department of Energy, the Department of the Navy, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Additionally, assistance has been provided through grants from the Eastman Kodak Company, Exxon Corporation, the General Electric Company, the IBM Corporation, the Lockheed Corporation, the Monsanto Company, and the Sloan Foundation. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 85-61980 International Standard Book Number 0-309-03592-9 Printed in the United States of America

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Page iii Preface This report of the Panel on Engineering Interactions With Society was prepared by the panel as input for the deliberations of the Committee on the Education and Utilization of the Engineer. It served as a resource document on the societal, cultural, and historical aspects of engineering for the summary report1 of the Committee. The panel thanks Mr. Courtland S. Lewis, who acted as rapporteur. The appendix to this report is "Engineering in an Increasingly Complex Society," which is based on the proceedings of a conference held in July 1983 to examine "issues, challenges, and responses in the history of professional engineering and engineering education." Dr. Arthur L. Donovan acted as conference moderator and rapporteur, and the panel appreciates his efforts in thus helping to provide some of the intellectual foundation for its work. The panel would also like to thank Dr. Stephen H. Cutcliffe, of Lehigh University, who generously provided a reading list along with a number of key reference works as additional background for the historical sections of the report. Finally, as chairman of the panel I would like to express my personal appreciation to each of its members for their enthusiastic dedication to the project, which led, I believe, to an interesting and unusual description of the engineering profession and its role in our society. GEORGE S. ANSELL CHAIRMAN 1 Engineering Education and Practice in the United States: Foundations of Our Techno-Economic Future, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1985.

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Page iv Panel on Engineering Interactions With Society GEORGE S. ANSELL, Chairman, Dean of Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (now President, Colorado School of Mines) THOMAS P. CARROLL, Professor, Science and Technology Studies Division, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute SAMUEL FLORMAN, Vice-President, Kreisler, Borg, Florman Construction Company AARON J. GELLMAN, President, Gellman Research Associates, Inc. MELVIN KRANZBERG, Callaway Professor of the History of Technology, School of Social Studies, Georgia Institute of Technology LAWRENCE M. MEAD, JR., Senior Management Consultant, Grumman Aerospace Corporation M. EUGENE MERCHANT, Principal Scientist, Manufacturing Research, Milacron, Inc. (now at Metcut Research Associates, Inc.) Consultants ARTHUR L. DONOVAN, Professor and Director, Center for the Study of Science and Society, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University COURTLAND S. LEWIS, Washington, D.C.

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Page v Committee on the Education and Utilization of the Engineer JERRIER A. HADDAD, Chairman (IBM, Ret.) GEORGE S. ANSELL, Dean of Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (now President, Colorado School of Mines) JORDAN J. BARUCH, President, Jordan J. Baruch Associates ERICH BLOCH, Vice President, IBM Corporation (now Director, National Science Foundation) DENNIS CHAMOT, Associate Director, Department for Professional Employees, AFL/CIO EDMUND T. CRANCH, President, Worcester Polytechnic Institute DANIEL C. DRUCKER, Dean of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana (now at University of Florida at Gainesville) FRED W. GARRY, Vice-President, Corporate Engineering and Manufacturing, General Electric Company JOHN W. GEILS, Director of AAES/ASEE Faculty Shortage Project (AT&T, Ret.) AARON J. GELLMAN, President, Gellman Research Associates, Inc. HELEN GOULDNER, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Sociology, University of Delaware JOHN D. KEMPER, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California at Davis EDWARD T. KIRKPATRICK, President, Wentworth Institute of Technology ERNEST S. KUH, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of California at Berkeley

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Page vi W. EDWARD LEAR, Executive Director, American Society for Engineering Education LAWRENCE M. MEAD, JR., Senior Management Consultant (Senior Vice-President, Ret.), Grumman Aerospace Corporation M. EUGENE MERCHANT, Principal Scientist, Manufacturing Research, Cincinnati Milacron, Inc. (now at Metcut Research Associates, Inc.) RICHARD J. REDPATH, Vice-President, Ralston Purina Company FRANCIS E. REESE, Senior Vice-President, Monsanto (now retired) ROBERT M. SAUNDERS, Professor, Electrical Engineering, University of California at Irvine (Chairman, Board of Governors, AAES, 1983) CHARLES E. SCHAFFNER, Executive Vice-President, Syska & Hennessy JUDITH A. SCHWAN, Assistant Director, Research Labs, Eastman Kodak Company HAROLD T. SHAPIRO, President, University of Michigan MORRIS A. STEINBERG, Vice-President, Science, Lockheed Corporation DONALD G. WEINERT, Executive Director, National Society of Professional Engineers SHEILA E. WIDNALL, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Staff WILLIAM H. MICHAEL, JR., Executive Director VERNON H. MILES, Staff Officer AMY JANIK, Administrative Assistant COURTLAND S. LEWIS, Consultant Government Liaison LEWIS G. MAYFIELD, Head, Office of Interdisciplinary Research, National Science Foundation

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Page vii Definitions Adopted by the Committee on the Education and Utilization of the Engineer Engineer A person having at least one of the following qualifications: a. College/university B.S. or advanced degree in an accredited engineering program. b. Membership in a recognized engineering society at a professional level. c. Registered or licensed as an engineer by a governmental agency. d. Current or recent employment in a job classification requiring engineering work at a professional level. Engineering Business, government, academic, or individual efforts in which knowledge of mathematical and/or natural1 sciences is employed in research, development, design, manufacturing, systems engineering, or technical operations with the objective of creating and/or delivering systems, products, processes and/or services of a technical nature and content intended for use. 1Including physical sciences.

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Page ix Contents Executive Summary 1 1. Introduction 11 Engineers and Engineering in the Cultural Context 12 Calculating the Vector of Change: Where Do We Go From Here? 15 2. Evolution of American Engineering 17 Development of the Structure 17 Early Structural Characteristics of Engineering 29 3. The Present Era: Managing Change in the Information Age 35 Postwar Changes in Scope 35 Impacts on Engineering 40 4. Engineering and Social Dynamics 53 Fluctuating Supply and Demand 53 Adaptability in the Educational System 57 The Impact of Technological Change on Employment 59 Society's Responsibility to the Engineering Profession 63

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Page x 5. Maintaining Flexibility in an Age of Stress and Rapid Change 65 How Well Is the System Working? 66 Can the System Function Under Projected Future Conditions? 68 Where Are the Greatest Stresses Appearing in the System? 70 6. Conclusions and Recommendations 72 References 76 Bibliography 77 Appendix: Engineering in an Increasingly Complex Society Arthur L. Donovan 81

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