On May 12, the ME department will welcome Dr. Charles M. Vest to the Chrysler Center for the 3rd Annual Korybalski Lecture in Mechanical Engineering. Vest’s lecture, “Engineering, Innovation, and the Challenges of the 21st Century,” will take place at 4pm in the Chesebrough Auditorium, and will be followed by a reception.
Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering and the president emeritus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In his talk, he will discuss the current and future role of engineering in this century, a century he calls the most exciting era for engineering and science in human history. He claims that globalization and innovations in science and technology are enabling worldwide change in research and development and in higher education. The future vitality of the United States, he says, is dependent on innovation, and he suggests that a major transformation in the American innovation system may be needed. Anyone interested in attending the lecture should register online.
Vest’s talk is a part of an annual lectureship endowed by Michael Korybalski, chair of the ME External Advisory Board and former CEO of Mechanical Dynamics. The Korybalski Lecture brings high profile speakers to the ME community to promote engineers’ impact on addressing large societal problems, such as energy and environment, health and quality of life, national security, and disaster prevention.
Vest earned his M.S. and Ph.D in mechanical engineering from the UM in 1964 and 1967, respectively. He also serves as a professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. From 1990 to 2004, Vest was president of MIT. Throughout his professional career, he has worked to bring to public attention issues concerning education and research and has served on numerous committees in order to strengthen national policy on science, engineering and education. He chaired the President’s Advisory Committee on the Redesign of the Space Station and serves on the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. He chaired the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) task force on the Future of DOE Science Programs, was vice chair of the Council on Competitiveness for eight years, and is a past chair of the Association of American Universities.
Vest has authored two books on higher education and research policy: Pursuing the Endless Frontier: Essays on MIT and the Role of the Research University (MIT Press 2004), and The American Research University from World War II to World Wide Web (University of California Press 2007).