865,000 new engineering jobs foreseen
over next 10 years
Growth and the replacement of people leaving the labor force will add more than 865,000 new positions for engineers and engineering managers by the year 2005. So concludes a study by the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) in Washington, DC. Analyzing data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, AAES's employment experts predict the most rapid job expansion will come in computer engineering. It will pass mechanical engineering to become the second largest engineering discipline. Still on top of job providers, the study continues, will be electrical and electronic engineering. More than 362,000 of the expected openings represent job replacements. The remaining will stem from growth, mostly in services such as consultants in compu- ter and data processing, engineering services organizations, R&D labs, and management and accounting firms. Comments an AAES official: "Engineering is becoming a consulting profession."
Supreme Court seeks to clarify patent infringement
Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will spend much time this year pondering issues involving patent rights. By late June the court is expected to determine which matters should be decided by juries instead of judges in infringement suits. In addition, the court has agreed to hear arguments in the fall about what should and should not be considered a patent violation. The core question will be: How close can a new invention be to an existing patent without transgressing the patent? In the past the high court has followed a controversial "doctrine of equivalents." Under that policy, an invention breaches the patent protection given another invention if a jury decides differences between them are merely "cosmetic" or "insubstantial." The vagueness of the doctrine has taken a suit Hilton Davis Chemical Co. filed against Warner-Jenkinson Co. to Washington. The case regards a patented process for removing impurities from food dyes. The American Intellectual Property Law Association submitted a friend-of-the-court brief informing the court that their decision in the suit would be crucial "in virtually all patent litigation."
Prominent designers among 86 tapped for National Academy
The National Academy of Engineering has elected 78 new members and eight new foreign associates. Academy membership honors those who have made "important contributions to engineering theory and practice" and those who have demonstrated "unusual accomplishment in the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology." The Academy chose Karl J. Springer, vice president, automotive products and emissions research at Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, for his design of measurement and control systems to reduce pollutants from diesel and gasoline engines. Also elected: Malcolm J. Abzug, president, ACA Systems Inc., for contributions to aircraft and missile dynamics, control and guidance. Total U.S. membership in the Academy is now 1,841, and the number of foreign associates is 156.
Aerospace team unveils plans for U.S.-U.K. strike fighter
A team of three aerospace firms have come up with a unique design for a new strike fighter for the United States and the United Kingdom. McDonnell Douglas Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp. and British Aerospace Plc unveiled their design in Washington, DC. The U.S. government is managing a competition among three design teams to determine which version to build for the next century. Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. head the other two design teams in the competition. The McDonnell version would be a sleek jet without a vertical tail. A vector nozzle on the cruise engine would deflect thrust giving pitch and yaw control, especially at low speeds. The result, says a McDonnell executive, is "a highly maneuverable aircraft that is virtually spin proof." The Pentagon's Joint Advanced Strike Technology program will ask two of the three teams to build demonstrator versions of their concepts. Shortly after the turn of the century, one contractor team will win the right to engineer, develop, and manufacture the new fighter. Plans call for up to 3,000 strike fighters for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps of the U. S. and Britain's Royal Air Force.
How do you get a nerf glider to fly? Toy maker asks NASA
Toy maker Hasbro Inc. has taken advantage of a spinoff from the space program: aeronautical expertise. The firm wanted to design a Nerf Glider. Made of soft foam, the toy would soar without harm to children or furniture. A problem: No matter what shape Hasbro tried, the glider wouldn't go far. Hasbro officials sought experienced advice from NASA's research center in Langley, VA. Four NASA engineers and technicians spent a day last June at Hasbro's headquarters in Pawtucket, RI. They lengthened the toy's fuselage and repositioned and reshaped its wings. Result: Toy stores are now stocking Nerf Gliders that are air worthy.