Tuesday, February 19, 2008

14 Grand Engineering Challenges of the 21st Century

Before you can save the world, you'd better write a to-do list so nothing gets overlooked. Some of the world's brightest minds have done just that by laying out this century's greatest engineering challenges.

The panel of 18 engineers, technologists and futurists included Google co-founder Larry Page and genomics pioneer J. Craig Venter. They spent more than a year pondering how best to improve life on Earth and came up with 14 Grand Engineering Challenges, a list the National Academy of Engineering deemed so momentous it should be capitalized.
  • Make solar energy affordable.
  • Provide energy from fusion.
  • Develop carbon sequestration methods.
  • Manage the nitrogen cycle.
  • Provide access to clean water.
  • Restore and improve urban infrastructure.
  • Advance health informatics.
  • Engineer better medicines.
  • Reverse-engineer the brain.
  • Prevent nuclear terror.
  • Secure cyberspace.
  • Enhance virtual reality.
  • Advance personalized learning.
  • Engineer the tools for scientific discovery.
Looks like a pretty good list to me, but I would have added one regarding genetics and I am not sure how preventing nuclear terror is an engineering challenge.

via Wired


Audacious Epigone said...

Looks great to me, too. I'm not sure urban revitalization really belongs with such esteemed company, but who am I to question that all-star slate of minds?!

Fat Knowledge said...


Yeah, good point. Here is what they have in mind, but it doesn't sound like anything too impressive. On the other hand, improvements in building efficiency of energy use, and of making transportation more energy efficient are important, and that is maybe what they are getting at with this point.

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