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Why Engineers Must Try to Save the World

Scientists also should heed the messianic impulse

6 min read
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Scientists have always been divided about whether or not to save the world. Who can blame them? When physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer witnessed the first test of an atomic bomb, his pride over creating an inconceivably powerful energy source was immediately overshadowed by a brooding awareness that scientific knowledge can bring fantastic destruction as well as glorious salvation. Quoting Vishnu from the ancient Hindu text, the Bhagavad Gita, Oppenheimer observed, “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

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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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