Trussed in the ‘Scientific American’

The season of goodwill has just passed, so the Lad is on the lookout for slights.

The magazine ‘Scientific American’ is well known internationally: indeed The Lad could perhaps irritate it, that is if it deigned to notice, by referring to it as a “venerable institution”  http://www.scientificamerican.com/

The Lad read the feature “SCIENTIST IN THE FIELD” in the Jan 2011 edition. This very title of the feature has the flavour of a scientist sallying forth from the Grove of Academe to assist, and patronise, the toiling agricultural peasants.

The particular feature was on Pamela Fletcher, who holds down the job of a Global Chief Engineer, no less, for the multi-national, vehicle manufacturer General Motors. See http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=practically-green . She is clearly responsible for leading and managing the team of engineers who will have designed and developed the insertion of power trains into future vehicles including the like of the new US car, the Chevrolet Volt.

From her own words, her curriculum vitae includes, academically, her B.Sc. and M.Sc. both in Mechanical Engineering and what appears to be the equivalent of an M.B.A. [Master of Business Administration]. Her commercial, engineering experience within GM must be considerable although not in the public domain. See http://coe.uncc.edu/newsletter/newsletter-home/91-pamela-fletcher.html .

We can, perhaps, perforce more accept with a shrug when the hacks of the common press describe engineers as scientists. Quite different however is it when the scientists try to arrogate engineers to themselves and their profession. Doesn’t it somehow aggravate the misdemeanor too that this very senior engineer is a woman?

I wonder how many other engineers have featured in this section. Perhaps if I bring this post to their attention, they will tell The Lad.

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