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April 15, 2010 at 2:39 PM

New details of engineering Grand Challenge in Seattle

A schedule is out for the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenge Summit taking place May 2 and 3 in Seattle, a high-profile gathering of students and engineers in the aerospace, computing and biotech industries.

The forum is one of six being held across the country this year to discuss challenges that engineering may help solve in the coming decades. It starts at the University of Washington and concludes at the convention center downtown.

“This is a unique event to talk about what it really means to be an engineer in the 21st century, and how engineering and related disciplines are going to affect life in the coming years,” Matt O’Donnell, dean of engineering, said in the release. “For students, it’s a chance to discuss the issues that will define their careers. For others, it’s an opportunity to learn about fundamental issues for our society in the 21st century.”

Seattle’s event will focus on the challenges to “Engineer better medicines” and “Engineer the tools of scientific discovery,” including computing tools for data-intensive science and space exploration, the release said.

Speakers include representatives of Seattle’s PATH, Microsoft Research, Google, General Electric, Gilead Sciences and Facebook.

Also speaking are a former NASA administrator and former astronaut Bonnie Dunbar, who now heads the Museum of Flight, as well as professors from the UW, University of Texas, University of California at San Diego and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

They’ll address questions such as:

— How will emerging medical technologies, which span both a device and a drug, be regulated?

— How can genetic therapies become a reality?

— Is the future of aerospace innovation in the public or private sector?

— Can we continue to send humans into space, or should we send only robots?

— How will we store and make sense of the flood of data generated by modern science?

Registration before April 19 is $100, or $75 for academics or $20 for students. After April 19, prices are $175, $125 and $20 for students. Here’s a UW engineering site with more details.

Comments | More in | Topics: Education, engineering, grand challenge

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