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Closing the Engineering Gap: One Approach

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1 Author(s)
Brown, Gordon S. ; School of Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.

In the national debate about the shortage of people trained to advanced levels in modern technology, have we not overlooked the engineer already in practice? If the knowledge and skill of selected, key, practicing engineers were updated and reoriented, these men could help greatly to close the gap. As the pace of scientific advance continues, the knowledge of engineers who have been out of school for a number of years lags more and more. It appears that the quickest and perhaps the best way to fill the gap in numbers and capability, in both industry and education, is to embark on a formal program of updating and reorienting the skills of the most promising men now in these two fields. The character of the gap is well illustrated by the observations that during the 1945-1950 period few undergraduate engineering curricula included the fundamentals of nuclear physics, feedback control, information theory, digital computer technology, solid-state physics and molecular engineering, plasma physics, interactions of electromagnetic theory with fluid dynamics and statistical and wave mechanics, probability theory in decision making, relativity theory, or modern mathematics. The demands now imposed by the nation's space effort were not even visualized. There are three major groups-engineering managers, technical group leaders, and engineering professors-that seek assistance. Most attempts to solve the crucial problem of updating our engineers are fragmented, or lacking in certain key elements.

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Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:6 ,  Issue: 2 )