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Congressman George E. Brown, Jr.
February 11, 1980
Page 5

in the work force and that engineers are in short supply while scientists are

in surplus.

As an aside, NSF would be far more helpful to the Congress and the

Executive Branch if instead of lumping scientists and engineers together it

carefully distinguished between them in its reporting, its projections, and its

conclusions on supply, demand, and utilization.

Engineering is not science in a more fundamental sense than astronomy, chemistry,

physics, biology, etc. differ from each other.

A casual examination of each

undergraduate and graduate engineering curriculum shows this clearly.

The

education of engineers for a productive life in industry, government, or private

practice starts with mathematics and the sciences as a base in much of the fresh

man and sophomore years.

Then come what are called the engineering sciences which

build upon this base.

These disciplines carry labels such as mechanics of solids,

mechanics of fluids, therodynamics, electronics, electromagnetic fields, materials

science, operations research and bionics to name an assortment of areas underlying

chemical, civil, electrical, mechanical, industrial, and the other branches of

engineering. They are firmly within the science spectrum because they deal with

the understanding and codification of natural phenomena and natural laws, as do

the disciplines of science.

Engineering is the creation of objects or systems by man (in consonance with

nature if the engineering is good).

However, a suspension bridge or a synthetic

fuel plant or a production line or a computer or an aerospace system obviously

is not nature itself.

Therefore, the focus of the engineering sciences is on

those aspects of nature that are of value at the next level in the curriculum,

Congressman George E. Brown, Jr.
February 11, 1980
Page 6

the engineering subdisciplines of each of the disciplines of engineering (aero,

civil, electrical, ---) that underlie engineering practice but are still one

step removed from practice.

These fundamental areas of knowledge combine theory,

experiment, and the best possible distillation of practical experience into the

sets of fundamental concepts that provide the basis for modern engineering practice.

They carry a variety of titles such as principles of structural analysis and design,

geomechanics, systems analysis and design, information systems, power system

stability, transportation systems, hydrology, principles of semiconductor devices,

tribology, vehicle dynamics, robotics, principles of design against natural

hazards (earthquake, wind, flood, fire), etc.

Fundamental research is required

over the entire scope of the continually expanding domains of the engineering

sciences and the subdisciplines of each engineering discipline to provide the

basis for innovative modern engineering in industry, government, and private

practice.

This advance of fundamental engineering knowledge through research

provides the seed corn for the engineering of the future, just as the advance of

basic science through research provides for the science of the future.

With

few, af any) exceptions, when engineers in practice do apply new discoveries of

basic science for the benefit of mankind they can do so only after a progressive

fundamental research development of concepts through an existing or newly developed

engineering science and then one or more of the subdisciplines of engineering.

Much of fundamental engineering research does not derive from basic scientific

advance but instead derives its impetus from problems in the man-made world that

cannot be solved with present knowledge.

Engineers in education also will, on occasion, contribute directly to engineering

Congressman George E. Brown, Jr.
February 11, 1980
Page 7

practice as well as providing knowledge through fundamental research and

providing the educational basis for the enormously greater number of engineers

outside of academia to be effective.

Cooperative research with industry and

elements of the public sector have great two-way value and should be expanded

significantly.

Many contributions also are made through individual consulting.

Nevertheless, in addition to the formal education of engineers, the major

national need that can be met primarily by the Schools of Engineering is for

the continual progress of the engineering sciences and the subdisciplines of

engineering through fundamental engineering research.

My recomnendation would be that NSF assume this responsibility for the

engineering disciplines in the same measure and with the same degree of

devotion that it now has for the basic science disciplines. NSF is the logical

organization to do so because the dominant federal mode of maintaining the

health of the disciplines of engineering should be the support of fundamental

engineering research, graduate education, and instructional equipment across

the broad spectrum of each engineering discipline just as is true now for each

of the disciplines of science.

NSF has already made a significant start in this direction but has not made

the needed intellectual commitment.

That commitment, so necessary for the

future of the country, will require several substantial added steps of funding

for the purpose because of the great breadth and scope of the many disciplines

of engineering extending far beyond present NSF coverage, the large size of the

highly qualified fundamental research community within and outside the universities,

Congressman George E. Brown, Jr.
February 11, 1980
Page 8

and the need for considerable expansion of graduate research and education

to meet industrial demand.

In assessing NSF's role in the engineering disciplines and in the science

disciplines, the support of fundamental research by the many mission agencies

of government must be taken into account.

NSF should both fill in known gaps

of coverage and move aggressively in new areas that develop and go unrecognized

by others.

Perhaps it is worth noting that contrary to conventional wisdom,

the mission agencies provide far more support for fundamental research in the

basic science disciplines than in the engineering disciplines. Again, applied

research, valuable and needed as it is, does not substitute for a broad spectrum

of fundamental research in maintaining the health of a discipline and its

continued long-range contribution to the welfare of the country.

Thank you again for this opportunity to communicate with you and the Subcommittee.

My colleagues and I stand ready to be of any help we can.

[blocks in formation]

MONTHLY LABOR REVIEW October 1978 . Research Summaries

Tablo 3. Estimated supply and demand for Ph. D.'s, by field, 1976–85
(Numbers in thousands)

Openings for traditional
Ph. D. employment, 1976-85

Loant number of new

Ph. D.'s prolected to
enter nontraditional em-
ployment during 1976-85

Greates! number of now

Ph. D.'s projected to
enter nontraditional om-
ployment during 1976-85

Ph D's in

Total

Created by

growth

non-
traditional
jobs in
1976

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

253

39.2

50

100.8
32.4
27.4

10.7

22

[blocks in formation]

34.1
-20.9
34.9
24.2
1133
47.9
87.9

24.8

37
35 4
56

[blocks in formation]

415
12.4
315
29
36

31.2

1.2
22.5
2.1
26

10.3
51
91

29.0
24.6
48.8
51

41.2
66.6
60.8
636
708

37.7
43.8
71.9

7.5
103

53.5
118.5
695
93.
829

Supply of Ph. D.'s, 1976-85

Fleld

Projected
new supply.

1976-85

Total

4032

3230

80 2

1400
277
38.1
18.7
122
602
14.0

114 7
227
30.7
16.6

7.6
517
9.6

All fields
Engineering and natural
science
Engineering
Physical science

Chemistry

Physics
Lile science

Mathematics
Social science and

psycholoogy
Arts and humanities
Education
Business and commerce
Other helds

792
562
1034
10.4
13.9

70.5
37.0
804

8.0
124

NOTE Field refers to the academic field in which the degree was reconed

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