Blogs

May 13, 2011 - 15:17
Engineering students at the University of Maryland may not walk away with the Sikorsky Prize, but they’re still excited about their accomplishment Thursday. Their two-year project, Gamera, a human-powered helicopter, appears to have lifted pilot Judy Wexler several inches into the air, the first time a woman has piloted a human-powered helicopter, according to university officials. Officials from the National Aeronautical Association were reviewing video of the attempt as of this blog post to confirm whether she indeed lifted off. Despite the milestone Thursday, the motivation for...
May 10, 2011 - 16:05
They’re emblematic. They’re sources of pride. They’re personal 3.5” x 2” flags that summarize company, title, and contact information. The business card: If this piece of pocket sized card-stock were a piece of real estate, your reputation would be its tenant. Every castle needs its monarch. In the age of kings and feudal lords, the King’s Champion was the representative of the monarchy—king, queen, royal family, regal reputation. The Champion would represent the royalty in tournaments, feats of daring, and sometimes, even for certain rights to a kingdom in dispute. Regardless of the...
May 10, 2011 - 09:11
Licensure among engineering faculty members has been on the decline in many institutions for decades. There are a number of reasons for this, some of which are as follows: Blurring of engineering and science. Many faculty members with Ph.D.s in engineering have academic backgrounds in science rather than engineering. The need for interdisciplinary backgrounds will likely increase in the future. Differences in engineering disciplines. A higher percentage of civil engineering faculty are typically licensed engineers in comparison to certain other disciplines, such as mechanical...
April 25, 2011 - 14:06
An article in the April issue ofPEmagazine toldthe storyof NSPE member Mark Johnson, P.E., who proved that there’s not one standard path to earning the PE license. Johnson first took the FE exam in 1987, five years after he graduated, and last December, at age 50, he passed the PE exam. After the article was published,PEmagazine received the following letter: Dear Editor, I just wanted to let you know what a good job I think you did on the Mark Johnson article about how some people just don't get around to being licensed until later in life. I too took the "nontraditional"...
April 13, 2011 - 11:32
What’s the difference between science-based advocacy and advocacy-based science? And what does it mean for professional engineers? In the April issue ofPEmagazine, Anthony Ingraffea, P.E., addresses these questions as they relate to the timely topic of hydraulic fracturing, or fracing. Ingraffea, who is the Dwight C. Baum Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University with a background in rock fracture mechanics and hydraulic fracturing, says there is a crucial ethical distinction between science-based advocacy and advocacy-based science. “In the former...
April 1, 2011 - 12:17
Without strong infrastructure systems, our national economic position, including our workforce, production, health, safety, and overall welfare is at risk. Professional engineers play a key role in the planning, design, implementation, construction, operation, and maintenance of this infrastructure. So when the Department of Transportation requested public input on the efficacy of its regulations, NSPE sprang into action. (DOT was responding to President Obama’s January Executive Order, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” under which every federal agency must review its existing...
March 23, 2011 - 07:45
The Oklahoma State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors has proposed a novel approach to recognize the advanced qualifications of structural engineers who have passed the 16-hour structural engineering examination. The proposal and its rationale arepresented in detailon pages 2 and 3 of the December 2010 issue of the board’s bulletin. This proposal would allow an engineer to use the “P.E., S.E.” designation in Oklahoma if he or she has passed: the PE exam and the previous structural II exam; or the previous structural I and II examinations; or the new 16-hour...
March 22, 2011 - 10:05
The NSPE Licensure and Qualifications for Practice Committee has proposed that the NSPE Board of Directors and House of Delegates consider adopting a new policy regarding industrial exemptions. The rationale for proposing the policy is as follows: “In the forty years prior to the 1960s, 41 states adopted exemptions from engineering licensure requirements for manufacturing businesses or utilities, or both. NSPE’s policies and positions since that time have generally recognized theexistence of these exemptionsin many states. The American public at that time had faith that product liability...
March 1, 2011 - 12:08
Anearlier articleaddressed the often claimed myth in the engineering profession that 80% of engineering graduates work as engineers in industry. That article didn’t present any data, just a compelling hypothesis that engineering graduates go into many lines of work. Now, here is some more specific information. Two reports published in 2004 for the National Science Foundation by Abt Associates of Cambridge, MA, entitled, “The Education and Employment of Engineering Graduates”and “Engineers in the United States: An Overview of the Profession” present interesting data on the engineering...
March 1, 2011 - 09:16
Today’s blog posting is brought to you.... By Chris Knutson, P.E. With completion of the recent U.S. and China summit, increased media attention has been focused on the need for expanding bilateral links between the two countries. The shift from a strong linkage between the U.S. and Europe to one with the Far East is only a change in longitude. It has not changed the fact that to continue both growth and the ability to influence our nation’s future, the U.S. must be engaged in the world. And, we must actively accept the challenge to stay engaged outside our borders and embrace...

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