Sunday, March 29, 2015

Combine academics, social system

From page A6 | March 07, 2013 |

Relevant to the controversial GATE lottery is the need to teach thoughtful kids that “best and brightest” labels require much socializing, not just brainpower.

The Feb. 19 Enterprise stated that election to the National Academy of Engineering is “the highest professional distinction for an engineer.” Might it be a greater distinction for the originators if the reported “extremely strong aluminum alloys” find their way out of the lab to affordably benefit many people?

The National Academy is an exclusive club that draws members mostly from universities and other research organizations. Students and guidance counselors should know that mainstream engineering is more about creating, designing and building useful things, then making them work reliably for the public.

Academia encourages engineering professors to be more like scientists. Chancellor Linda Katehi was quoted as calling the honoree a scientist. Might such uncertainty cause identity crises for young people seeking career paths?

The goal of science is to reveal nature’s secrets to humanity, but many engineers create technical information as valuable private property. Thus publishing in research journals is a less universal measure of engineering accomplishment than for science.

The article noted 700 publications during a 30-year career, roughly two per month. A breakthrough every two weeks would indicate genius, but the well-known social element is that familiarity helps authors obtain acceptance. Conversely, highly original work can be rejected by publication reviewers because it is unfamiliar, misunderstood or controversial.

Unlike newspaper articles, scholarly technical publications rarely have one author. Universities assign an individual publication credit to each author, an excellent measure of fundraising for people who preside over teams. It would be a luxury to put a higher priority on technical achievement.

Clearly, we need to teach GATE-identified kids to not be too smart. The social system is so important that perhaps it is not GATE that “divides the community,” but rather segregating kids who prefer group projects, as the Da Vinci Charter Academy does.

My intent is more to shed light than to criticize academic success. I remain forever grateful to all my past teachers, including both science and engineering professors.

John Whitehead



Letters to the Editor

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Davis sewage to get new digs

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Where do Davis recyclables go?

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    UCD faculty receive lowest pay in the system

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1

    Motive for murder-suicide remains a mystery

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

    Human Relations Commission hosts Chávez celebration

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

    Davis Flower Arrangers meet Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    ‘Music as Medicine’ is radio show topic

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Friendship the topic on radio program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6



    Milt Prigee cartoon

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Some ‘survey’ …

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    These results were meaningless

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Survey not representative

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Answers on the green waste program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    A phone call could have fixed this

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Mayor’s corner: Looking ahead to spring

    By Dan Wolk | From Page: B5 | Gallery

    A Little Respect for Dr. Foster

    By Nicholas Kristof | From Page: B5

    Universities need more funding

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

    Father of the bride snubbed

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Which experiences count as ‘once in a lifetime’?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A8

    After a month of no TV news, I’m feeling much better

    By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A8

    Take a hike for your heart

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8



    Aggie softball splits doubleheader

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Republic stun Galaxy with repeated history

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Bad fourth quarter sinks boys lacrosse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Aggies’ walkoff win clinches series against Riverside

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Burns scores shootout winner to lift Sharks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Aggie women’s tennis dominates at home

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B10 | Gallery







    Millennials are changing our community

    By Rob White | From Page: A9

    With new owner, DAC will Get Fit

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Grant writing for non-profits workshop set

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9





    Comics: Sunday, March 29, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8