Either Stanford University has a very very long list of engineering luminaries among its faculty and alumni, or it had better slow down.
That was my reaction in hearing the news earlier this week that Stanford’s School of Engineering has named eight more engineering heroes. The 2012 recipients of this award, created just a year ago, include inventors and industry leaders, with impressive accomplishments. These “Stanford Engineering Heroes” are selected from former Stanford faculty and Stanford alumni, and identified as “advancing the course of human, social, and economic progress through engineering.” The 2012 Heroes are:
• Craig Barrett, retired CEO and chairman of Intel Corp.
• Andreas Bechtolsheim, co-founder and chief systems architect at Sun Microsystems, CEO and founder of Granite Systems, and now co-founder and chairman of Arista Networks.
• Morris Chang, founding chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and 2011 IEEE Medal of Honor winner.
• George Dantzig, who created the “simplex algorithm” and is known as the father of linear programming.
• Theodore Maiman, who holds the patent for the world’s first working laser.
• Bradford Parkinson, chief architect of the Global Positioning System (GPS).
• Calvin Quate, co-inventor of the scanning acoustic microscope.
• Stephen Timoshenko, considered the father of applied mechanics in the United States
Last year, the school named five such heroes: Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, HP founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, and Fred Terman, former Stanford Professor credited as the father of Silicon Valley.
Five in the first year of the award—not such a surprise, the University had some catching up to do; after all, a Hall of Fame is a little sparse with just one portrait in it. But the eight heroes named the second year indicate that Stanford thinks it has a really deep bench. And it may be right; the youngest of this year’s recipients was born in 1955, so the school likely has quite a few more classes of engineering heroes to recognize before it gets to more recent alumni.
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.