New technologies and a more diverse workplace keep the profession in flux. To get an idea of how the engineering profession has changed over the seven and a half decades Machine Design has been published, we interviewed leaders in an array of engineering organizations. The most obvious change has been the nonstop expansion of technology, including growth in old, established fields such as mechanics and electricity, and entirely new fields including space travel, nanotechnology, and fiber optics. Engineering affects all of our lives in ways that were not imaginable 50 to 75 years ago. You can't walk down the street without seeing people talking on cell phones, and we all have new conveniences and tools in our homes. PDAs, for example, have more power than the largest IBM computers 30 years ago, and we carry them in our pocket or on our wrists. Unfortunately, people no longer understand what's going on inside all these black boxes, and engineering has become a process that just a few people really understand. All of this means the role of engineers will be even more important in the future. As technology expands, the design space or options engineers have to solve problems, their primary job description, has gotten much larger. My father, for example, was a mechanical engineer. He had a small list of all the materials he could use. It had properties for several different steels, some bronzes, and a few dozen other metals. Now we have designer materials and you can specify conductivity, elasticity, whatever property you want. So the number of design options has exploded, as has the number of computer-based design options and tools. At the same time, there are more constraints on engineering solutions. For instance, I don't think my father knew the word ergonomics, and yet you would be
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