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)
I thought beeing an Engineer mean mostly the ability to link different related thing in order to make something work ) Here we have a strange example of linking totally unrelated things.
Hope you agree that being an "engineer" and being a "good human being" is not exactly the same thing. Also the very same meaning of the "being a good human being" could vary from one culture/country to another which also in no way related to being an "engineer".
Though I admit your article could provoke some discussions. Guess that was your intention. Well done then )
I worked for a very short time at McDonnell-Douglas before it was bought by Boeing. I worked in a mock-up department and we had to use a numeric code to enter the shop. I had visions of James Bond type action, but was told what was most feared was industrial espionage from other domestic aircraft manufacturers.
On another note, I was also shocked at the number of Chinese Nationals represented in this collection. Furthermore, any judge who would sentence people for not being able to predict an earthquke should be caned in the public square.
Mostly engineers don't "go bad", or step over to the "dark side", instead, mostly the poorer ones just do incompetent stuff that makes messes for others to deal with. All of those earlier comments about traffic laws, and those incredibly rambling responses, show what I mean about that.
But the temptation is that as engineers we often do know not only how things work, but how to get around things designed for security. Once we know how things function we can know how to get around those functions. Like that pick proof lock that we sometimes see advertised, although not so much any more. As an engineer I can see how the system functions and get around that pick-proof loock without needing to pick it. Just one example there. All of the security systems in buildings, we know how to paralyze them, but we don't do it. And the poor folks in the TSA, who do a faily good job at keeping simple weapons off of airplanes, and a really excellent job of inconveniencing the majority of us. But stil weapons and explosives get carried aboard the planes, since the "bad guys" are not stupid, just evil, and they count a few engineers among their ranks.
So we find that having all kinds of knowledge gives us all kinds of potential, and we also discover that with all of this comes a great deal of responsibility to use our skills and intellect in manners that will benefit society, rather than becoming those who would take from society for their own purposes without regard for what is right. Much is expected from those of us to whom much has been given. Ayn Rand is wrong.
Ah yes the GOD complex. I think attributing any one climate incident to global warming is a fool's folley but the general trend is a different matter. I'm amazed how many scientists (and more importantly politicians) untrained in the intricasies of climate science seem to be so ready to condem climate science. It's like an opthamologist (the other disipline scientist) or a baker (the politician) telling a brain surgeon how to remove a tumour. I think the line "an inconvenient truth" explains the thinking of politicians and skeptics. It's in human nature to refuse to admit inconeient things. A neighbour of ours was dying of incurable lung cancer and refused to admit it. He thought his doctors didn't know what they were talking about. The truth caught up with him. Either way (climate change or not) the truth will soon catch up with us. The next 30-40 years will confirm a result for this global experiment one way or the other.
Statistically, you are wrong. As you can learn from a brief visit to the local penitentiary, there is an almost linear correlation between education and morals (yes, thats education, not religious belief - sorry, all). Since engineers, by definition, have enjoyed a good education, it follows that the numberof immoral actors among them will be small, compared to the population in general.
For some reason, this theory doesn't hold true for lawyers.
Very very interesting post Charles. I think the engineering profession (as well as others) has one fatal flaw—it has to take it's practitioners from the human race. I will admit I was definitely surprised at the number of cases where theft of intellectual property was the crime. I suppose I should not have been that surprised though. I wonder how many of the property crimes were committed by individuals on H1B visas, if any.
The question of whether engineers could have foreseen the shortcut maintenance procedures that led to the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979 will probably linger for as long as there is an engineering profession.
More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the country’s worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
If you’re an embedded systems engineer whose analog capabilities are getting a little bit rusty, then you’ll want to take note of an upcoming Design News Continuing Education Center class, “Analog Design for the Digital World,” running Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21.
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.