Friday, February 15, 2008

Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century

The National Academy of Engineering sponsored a study to identify the Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century. Now their conclusions are revealed on this Web site:

A list of them is included below. At first glance, they seem to be very close to the mark. The only change I can think of after an initial read is to perhaps expand “Prevent Nuclear Terror” to “Prevent Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Terror”. One of the biggest parts of that is the ability to quickly and easily detect chemical and biological agents in the environment.

This list of grand challenges for engineering is such a fascinating topic that it certainly deserves more study, and more posts in the very near future. More later…

The Great Challenges

  1. Make solar energy economical
  2. Provide energy from fusion
  3. Develop carbon sequestration methods
  4. Manage the nitrogen cycle
  5. Provide access to clean water
  6. Restore and improve urban infrastructure
  7. Advance health informatics
  8. Engineer better medicines
  9. Reverse-engineer the brain
  10. Prevent nuclear terror
  11. Secure cyberspace
  12. Enhance virtual reality
  13. Advance personalized learning
  14. Engineer the tools of scientific discovery

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