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The Martian: Andy Weir Explains What He Got Right and Wrong

Software engineer turned sci-fi author talks about his hit book and seeing it adapted to the big screen

4 min read
The Martian: Andy Weir Explains What He Got Right and Wrong
Photo: Chloe Aftel/Contour by Getty Images

graphic link to martian future report

Andy Weir is the author of the 2011 sci-fi novelThe Martian (Crown Publishers), which became a best seller upon its rerelease in 2014. The book follows the exploits of Mark Watney, an astronaut accidentally left for dead on the surface of Mars; this month marks the release of a movie adaptation directed by Ridley Scott. Weir’s shift to author came after a career in software engineering, which turned out to come in handy in crafting The Martian’s plot. IEEE Spectrum Senior Editor Stephen Cass talked to Weir about writing his novel and the technology of space exploration.

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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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