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Forensic engineer. If the job title conjures up images of a dead body flash-frozen with the rigor of electrocution, or high-res digital cameras snapping photos at the scene of a suspicious fire, or a toaster’s charred wiring strung out on a slab like body parts during an autopsy, that’s absolutely right. So says 26â''year-old Andrew J. Paris, who often explains what he does to friends and family by referencing a pop culture touchstone. ”I just ask, ’Have you seen the show ”CSI”?’ ” Paris says.

To be sure, forensic engineering isn’t quite as glamorous as the television show makes crime scene investigation out to be. But for someone who loves solving technically challenging puzzles, it’s just as compelling. Picking apart burnt lighting ballasts from a house fire, photographing a scene, questioning witnesses, writing reports, and preparing cases for trial, a forensic engineer wears many hats. Says Paris, ”There’s something new coming at you every day.”

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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