Blog, who is Dean Kamen, anyway?

by Guy J Kewney | posted on 14 July 2006

If I said: "Segway" to you, would you think of President Bush, falling off the thing? or would you think of a man who is currently inventing a dung-powered electrical generator - Dean Kamen? How many Americans think Al Gore invented the Internet?

The social status of the engineer in the UK usually distresses me. It's a job, to most people, not a rank. It's suited to quiet, studious kids who behave themselves and get on with their studies, and don't need much of a salary, and certainly can't be taken seriously as business executives.

But the American view of the engineer - which we envy here in the UK - is one which is being degraded, says Washington Post writer Leslie Walker. A thoughtful interview with Dean Kamen - not a long one, but worrying.

Quote: "Part of the problem," he said, "is we don't have a way to put a face on technology so kids can relate to it, because technology typically involves teams more than personalities."

Kamen [writes Walker] has long lamented how society treats our men and women of science. "And like many business leaders, he worries that American culture is steadily eroding the premium it once placed on innovation in favour of the cultural icons who romp through Hollywood and sports arenas."

If America is downgrading its engineering heroes, who will inspire students to follow that path?Tags: ,

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