2014 - 50 Years of Engineering in Society

1964 Super Computer

The 2014 essay contest has finished.  Congratulations to the winners

The year 2014 marks 50 years since the creation of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Much has changed in that half century! At the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, visitors were amazed by color televisions, a prototype of a picture phone, new materials like Mylar®, displays of a space program that promised to put an astronaut on the moon, and demonstrations of huge computers that could draw up a list of events that happened on a given date in history. We now have computers on every desk and some that can fit in our pockets. We have explored the moon and Mars and launched the Hubble space telescope. Our phones can take pictures, connect to the internet, and play music and movies.

All these innovations relied on engineering. Think about how engineering has affected your life. How has it improved people’s quality of life? What further needs of society could be addressed by engineering?

In honor of the NAE’s 50th anniversary, we invite you to imagine how engineering might change our lives over the next 50 years, in one of the following areas:

  • Nutrition
  • Health
  • Communication
  • Education
  • Transportation

It is challenging to imagine what the future will bring, and we think that you are up to the task. In 1500 words or less describe how engineering has addressed one of these five areas of societal need (e.g. Transportation) in the past 50 years and suggest ways that engineering could address this area of need in the next 50 years. Guidelines for length are indicated below.

  • Grades 3–5: about 400 to 500 words
  • Grades 6–8: about 600 to 800 words
  • Grades 9–12: about 1100 to 1500 words

We want to hear from you! Make sure to review the contest requirements and awards, and submit your essay by March 1, 2014 at 6:00 pm EST.


E4U Video Contest LogoIf you are in middle school or beyond, once you have researched your topic make it into a video, and you could win up to $25,000!  To celebrate its 50th Anniversary, the NAE is offering a $25,000 prize for the most inspiring one-to-two minute video, focused anywhere in the time period from 1964-2064, showing how engineering innovations advance human welfare and address societal needs.   So, rev up your creativity, pull out your camera,  phone, or anything else that records video, and get started!  Find out more at: www.e4uvideocontest.org