NAE President to deliver April 21 Hall Lecture on the engineer’s responsibility to benefit society

For the first time in two years, the John R. and Donna S. Hall Engineering Lecture Series will be held in person on Vanderbilt’s campus.

John L. Anderson

John L. Anderson, president of the National Academy of Engineering, will deliver the Spring 2022 lecture on Thursday, April 21, at 4:15 p.m. in the School of Engineering’s Jacobs Believed in Me Auditorium, Featheringill Hall 134. His lecture— Engineering’s Role in Creating Technology: Working in the Penumbra of Understanding—is open to the public. The lecture also will be live streamed. Register to view the webinar here.

Anderson will discuss the collaboration between engineering, science, and technology. He will also address the engineer’s professional responsibility to assure that new technologies are benefiting society by avoiding unintended consequences of the new technologies as they are developed.

“Engineering is a goal-oriented endeavor, respecting science but not totally dependent on it. In fact, the result of engineering – technology – often precedes science, and in many cases enables scientific discovery,” Anderson said. “At their core, science and engineering have different goals and thus different methods. As Theodore von Kármán, an engineer who received the first National Medal of Science in 1962 put it, ‘Scientists study the world as it is, engineers create the world that never has been.’ Technology results from these two endeavors.”

Anderson previously served as president of the Illinois Institute of Technology, provost and executive vice president at Case Western Reserve University, and dean of engineering and chair of chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. His research focuses on the areas of membrane transport phenomena, dynamics of colloidal particles in electric fields and chemical gradients, and fluid flow by electrokinetics.

Anderson has bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware and the University of Illinois, respectively. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also has received the Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress from the AIChE.

Anderson previously served as a member of the U.S. National Science Board for six years. He has held visiting professor positions at MIT, University of Melbourne, Australia, and Wageningen University, the Netherlands.

Established in 2002, the John R. and Donna S. Hall Engineering Lecture Series allows Vanderbilt engineering students to hear renowned engineers from universities and agencies address engineering topics of particular interest.