Engineering is generally regarded as a profession of integrity. There are, however, exceptions. Every year, a handful of engineers end up on the wrong side of the law, for offenses ranging from trade secret theft and spying to computer hacking and bank robbery. Because they’re a clever bunch, engineers tend to gravitate toward intellectual crimes, but a few have been known to cross over into violence, ranging from assault to murder.
We’ve collected photos of some of engineering’s best-known offenders. From cloak-and-dagger spies to passionate pepper sprayers, we present some of the most notable, and strangest, of engineering’s malefactors.
Click on the photo below to start the slideshow.
Nearly 30 years after shooting four men who he thought were trying to mug him on a New York subway, Bernhard Goetz’s name is still remembered internationally. Goetz, who held a B.S. degree in electrical and nuclear engineering from New York University, was acquitted of attempted murder and first degree assault charges, but was convicted of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree. (Source: Google Images/Time.com)
Fascinating slideshow, Chuck. Where on earth did you come up with this idea? What I found surprising was the number of engineers convicted of corporate espionage. Do you know if these are just the highlight or corporate spying? Or, is this pretty much the total population?
Chuck, a lot of these are espionage cases. When I worked in the aerospace industry on classified projects, we were aware of a number of spies operating in our area. This was just around the time of the end of the cold war (just before and just after). It was a strange thing.
#1. Broadcom CEO Henry Nicholas - drug use and consorting with prostitutes... sometimes at work. Threatening employees with murder, etc.
#2. Autotote betting scandal - 3 Autotote employees found a way to place bets after the results of the race were known. This of course raised their odds of success considerably! They were detected when a 43 to 1 shot won the last race of the 2002 Breeder's Cup.
#3. And in the world of espionage Klaus Fuchs stands out in my mind, he defeated the incredibly tight security on the Manhattan project by simply handing secret papers to a Russian compatriot while standing on a bridge in Santa Fe NM.
Given what Google & Facebook pay people these days to detect and prove vulnerabilities I'm not sure No 5 Robert Tappan Morris Could be considered a criminal. I leave it open to debate of course.
What I firmly believe though is that the Italian case shoulbn't be listed here. No one can predict with 100% accuracy whether an earthquake is going to happen or not. If they would have predicted an earthquake and everyone left the location and the earthquake didn't happen, would they sue them for loss of income etc?
First, let me say that you have my condolences for the loss of your wife.
I am confused by your statement that signals have been changed to give cross-turning traffic the right of way (ROW). Can you provide more information (maybe a link or two) about this? It is certainly true that sometimes cross-turning traffic does have ROW, but this is only when through traffic has a red light or stop sign.
In the Oakland County, MI case you referenced, the cross-turning driver (Prainito) would not have had the ROW (he had a flashing yellow light) if it weren't for the fact that the other driver (Cram) was speeding (54/45; from car's computer). Apparently in this case, it was decided that Cram forfeited the ROW because he was speeding.
Neither Cram nor his passenger (the County Exec, Patterson) were wearing seatbelts!
I don't believe that this accident was caused by a traffic signal. It was caused by two careless drivers: one who was speeding and not wearing his seatbelt (or requiring his passenger to wear one), and another who should not have turned left in front of the other driver. Not wearing a seatbelt tells us something about how safety-conscious the driver was.
When I drive with my young adult daughter as a passenger, she will often talk about who has the ROW. She knows all the rules well, but I am concerned that her lack of driving experience will get her into an accident. Ultimately, it does not matter who has the ROW if you want to avoid accidents. You do your best to follow the rules and signals, but you also must always watch out for other drivers who are not so careful. Many decades of driving experience tell me that I should not trust any other driver to know the rules and follow them and the signals and signs.
The Italian Judge's Ruling of Manslaughter against a Seismic Engineer made me think of a news clip where actor Morgan Freeman commented on the devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma this past spring. Morgan stated the killer tornado was the result of our government's policies and actions related to Global Warming, and stressed "We Must Change". I think playing the role of GOD in the Bruce Almighty film has gotten to his head.
The so-called “maker movement” may not be big on degrees and formal training, but it can teach the engineering community valuable lessons in product design, an expert at UBM’s Embedded Systems Conference said this week.
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