The Charles Stark Draper Prize, the richest award in the engineering profession, will be bestowed annually beginning in the year 2000. The award will include a cash prize projected to be no less than $500,000. Since 1988, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has presented the prize every other year. NAE President William A. Wulf says he hopes the change "can help improve the public's understanding of the role that engineering plays in our daily lives." The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc. (Cambridge, MA) endowed the prize. Its purpose is to recognize individuals whose outstanding engineering achievements have contributed to the well being and freedom of all humanity. Charles "Doc" Draper was the father of modern inertial guidance systems used in aircraft, space vehicles, strategic missiles, and submarines and the navigational system for Apollo missions.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.