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.
With a better understanding of materials’ response to load and temperature, researchers could potentially use the knowledge to improve design. The research could even help geologists studying plate tectonics.
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