or her career, not just about engineering but also about history, politics, business, and so forth.

What attributes will the engineer of 2020 have? He or she will aspire to have the ingenuity of Lillian Gilbreth, the problem-solving capabilities of Gordon Moore, the scientific insight of Albert Einstein, the creativity of Pablo Picasso, the determination of the Wright brothers, the leadership abilities of Bill Gates, the conscience of Eleanor Roosevelt, the vision of Martin Luther King, and the curiosity and wonder of our grandchildren.

Lillian Gilbreth is known as the Mother of Ergonomics, a branch of engineering devoted to fitting the workplace to the worker. Ergonomics involves the application of knowledge about human capacities and limitations to the design of workplaces, jobs, tasks, tools, equipment, and the environment. Gilbreth’s approach transformed the engineering activity by introducing a primary focus on human needs and capacities. She was recognized for her contributions by being the first woman elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1966.


Johnston, S., Gostelow, J.P., and W.J. King. 2000. Engineering and Society. New York: Prentice Hall.

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