Blogs

December 2, 2010 - 09:24
Several years ago a friend who had majored in industrial engineering, or “IE,” at one of the discipline’s premier institutions, Georgia Tech, mentioned to me how irritating it had been when other engineers would refer to his major as “imaginary engineering” because of the perceived lack of analytical rigor relative to other engineering fields. Back then, the two of us had been occasional karaoke tag-teamers who sang a mean cover of “Tonight, Tonight” bySmashing Pumpkins, and during our jam sessions, we’d often openly commiserate on how different engineering disciplines were at ends and...
November 30, 2010 - 14:17
In the United States, medical doctors are licensed by state medical boards to practice medicine. That is all that is needed for state medical boards to be able to carry out their statutory mandate to protect the public health, safety, and welfare by assuring that those who practice as physicians have the requisite education and experience to practice medicine. New physicians are examined through the United States Medical Licensing Examination (similar to the PE exam). State medical boards do not license medical specialties, recognizing advanced qualifications in medicine. If a physician...
November 8, 2010 - 13:36
About 40 engineering licensure jurisdictions in the U.S. now require continuing professional development for renewal of PE licenses, and most professional engineers are now regularly accumulating professional development hours, or PDHs. The rules in almost every state are flexible, and purposely so. Flexibility is required in terms of content, format, and providers because engineering practice is so different among engineering disciplines, practice areas, and specific work roles that anything other than great flexibility would place restrictions that would limit the usefulness of...
October 13, 2010 - 09:01
Saint George clearly meant business judging by the size of his spear. From any other angle in the courtyard where I was standing, this gigantic statue appeared to simply represent the classic tale of Saint George slaying the dragon—except that upon closer inspection, where I was expecting scales or a writhing pointy tail, the dragon’s body was instead formed from the colubrine segments of a dismantled nuclear missile, suspended in frozen disintegration. This is "Good Defeats Evil” by sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, given to the United Nations as a gift from the Soviet Union in 1990. Two...
October 6, 2010 - 11:37
This is the second in what will be a series of articles regarding industrial exemptions to engineering licensure requirements in state engineering statutes. The NSPE Licensure and Qualifications for Practice Committee has a charge this year to examine industrial exemptions. The current status of industrial exemptions in each jurisdiction is described below. A few years ago, Neil A. Norman, P.E., currently a member of the Washington Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, prepared anoutstanding summaryof the genesis of industrial exemptions in the U.S. This...
September 13, 2010 - 07:43
There are two axioms that are often cited regarding the engineering profession. One is that only about 20% of those who graduate with a B.S. in engineering in the U.S. go on to become licensed professional engineers. This one is true. The second, and a corollary to the first, is that 80% of engineering graduates work in industry. Nothing could be further from the truth. In round numbers (all the numbers in this piece are very “round numbers”—don’t pick apart the numbers, think about the concepts), there are roughly 450,000 licensed professional engineers in the United States. The data...
September 7, 2010 - 09:26
At the 2010 Annual Meeting of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, NCEES leaders continued discussions regarding the details of the engineering educational requirements in the Model Law as of 2020. In 2006, NCEES modified itsModel Lawto require, as of 2020, a B.S. in engineering from anEAC/ABET-accredited programplus a master’s degree in engineering from an institution that offers EAC/ABET programs. Two alternates had previously been approved by NCEES: a B.S. in engineering from an EAC/ABET-accredited program plus 30 additional credits from approved providers...
August 30, 2010 - 10:56
Take this for what it is, the opinion of one person who is not from Texas, and for what little it may be worth because of that. Texas engineers are currently discussing an initiative of structural engineers in Texas to establish discipline-specific licensure for structural engineers. Texas has historically licensed engineers only as professional engineers. PEs in Texas, as in most states, are obligated to use their professional judgment to ensure that they practice only within their area of expertise. The structural engineers in Texas propose to change that by establishing an SE license...
August 11, 2010 - 08:32
Recently at a dinner in a “small” Chinese town of just under three million people, I sat around a table with colleagues representing seven countries, speaking Mandarin Chinese, English, French, Korean, Flemish, German, Russian, and Dutch. Given that a coworker and I were born and bred well south of the Mason-Dixon Line, arguably the two of us also spoke “Southern.” This same group was composed of the following academic backgrounds: mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, one doctorate in materials science, one doctorate in physical chemistry. These diverse...
June 28, 2010 - 10:42
Hello from ashinkansenbullet train, tearing through the Japanese countryside at 300 kilometers per hour. The thorough network of public transportation in Japan continues to embody the aphorism that time waits for no one and that these rockets-on-land will not hesitate to leave you and your laptop bag quivering in the supersonic dust. With regards to the global economy, Japan, like the rest of the world, is facing its share of large-scale changes. Unemployment, while still half of that in the U.S., has reached historical highs for the country; there has been a change of regime with the...

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