The tragedy of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has served at the catalyst for this re-examination of the ethics of the engineering profession. The incident at the Deepwater Horizon rig, rather than being an isolated and rare occurrence; is repeated time and time again throughout the world. Many different engineering disciplines play an important role in the exploration, drilling, removal and transport of oil, as is true in nearly all the technologies we use and often take for granted in our modern world.
Engineering is a profession with an ethical dimension and has helped propel technical advancements across the planet at incredible rates. But the question remains, has our understanding of our ethical responsibilities both as a profession and as individual practitioners kept pace with the advancements? The author suggests that it has not, and offers a new engineering ethic that, in the end, is intended to ensure engineers do everything they can to safeguard the planet and all its inhabitants for our collective future.
Table of Contents
Tragedy in the Gulf
Evolving Principles of the Universe
A New Engineering Ethic
About the Author(s)George Catalano
, State University of New York at Binghamton
George D. Catalano is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He holds joint appointments in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering. In addition, he serves as the director of the university wide honors program at Binghamton. Dr. Catalano earned a Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science degrees in aerospace engineering at the University of Virginia and a Bachelor of Science degree also in aerospace engineering at Louisiana State University. Prior to his present position, he has served on the faculty at the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright State University, Louisiana State University, and the United States Military Academy at West Point. He also served as a visiting scholar at the Politechnic in Torino, Italy and at the Technical Institute in Erlangen, Germany. Dr. Catalanos research interests include turbulent fluid flows, low and high speed aerodynamics and experimental methods in physics, modeling ecosystems as well as learning strategies and paradigms, engineering ethics, engineering design and environmental ethics. He is listed in the Philosopher's Index for his published work in animal rights and environmental ethics. Dr. Catalano has over 150 technical and educational publications and has twice been selected as a Fulbright Scholar in recognition of his work in turbulent fluid mechanics.