When was the last time you saw an engineer portrayed glamorously in a film—or, for that matter, in any form of popular culture? Right. Let’s face it: The unflattering stereotypes persist, and they’re tired. They’re also out of touch with reality. Just consider the five engineers we profile here.
Simon Hauger [above], for example, trained as an electrical engineer but became a math instructor at an inner-city school that most other newly minted teachers would have written off. Now he’s bringing hands-on learning to a new level. Geoff Martin, at the other extreme, studied music, not engineering. But technology has always been a keen interest, and now this longtime member of the Audio Engineering Society spends his workdays creating some of the world’s most innovative audio gear. The three others in our group have traveled paths that are no less fascinating.
So don’t buy into the stereotypes. The reality is that engineers emerge from varied backgrounds and do a wide range of vital and interesting work. Now all we need is for one of them to make a movie about it.
Simon Hauger helps inner-city high schoolers build cars and start businesses
LiChen turns ordinary sports goggles into digital dashboards
At Bang & Olufsen, Geoff Martin brings a musician’s sensibilities and an engineer’s precision to loudspeaker design
Marcia Lee shapes the Khan Academy’s tools for Web-based instruction
Christian Ochsenbein was the engineer on board the only solar boat to circumnavigate the globe