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Dipolar vortices generated in the wake of an adult water strider. When the chemical Thymol Blue is sprinkled on the water surface, Marangoni convection in the suspended fluid produces the swirling texture.
Credit: John Bush, MIT

Cover Page Credits: AT&T Bell Labs and
© 2002 MSU-Bozeman Bioglyphs Project. Additional credits appear throughout the site.

Title: Overview
Engineers bridge the gap between what the mind can imagine and what the laws of nature allow. While scientists seek to discover what is not yet known, engineers apply fundamental science to design and develop new devices and systems to solve societal problems. Science and engineering are essential partners in paving the way for America’s future.

Engineering research opens up new areas for technology and scientific discovery such as

  • novel medical treatments, including new antibiotics
  • new sensors and sensor networks to enhance homeland security
  • new tools and methods to enhance the structural integrity of buildings and infrastructure
  • new technologies to enable ultrafast computers and ultra-small nanoscale manufacturing

A priority of the National Science Foundation (NSF) is to develop the next generation of American engineers to become technology leaders and innovators. Many NSF programs fund engineers. In fiscal year 2003, the Engineering Directorate alone provided roughly $451 million in support for research and education activities.

NSF also plays a key role in supporting small business research to help drive innovation and commercialization of novel products and processes. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs target small businesses and their partners at universities, enabling the companies to pursue high-risk science and engineering research that could one day prove both useful and economically valuable. In fiscal year 2003, NSF provided nearly $95 million to support small business programs.

  row bullet How do engineers help improve health?
  row bullet What role do engineers play in national security?
  row bullet How do engineers strengthen the economy?
  row bullet Why are engineers exploring nanotechnology?