Aeronautical Engineers Born in March

Kalpana Chawla                          Image Credit: NASA
Robert L. Curbeam, Jr.                  Image Credit: NASA
Michael Fincke                                Image Credit: NASA


March is overflowing with birthdays of engineers who made history in the United States, and we want to highlight the achievements of these inspiring engineers:

Kalpana Chawla was born March 17, 1962 in Karnal, India. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering in India, and later on moved to the United States to continue her education and received a Master’s degree in aerospace engineering. After being naturalized in the United States, she became an astronaut, engineer, and the first woman of Indian descent to go to space. Chawla lost her life during a mission, but her legacy continues to live through her work. Her research helped other astronaut understand health and safety during spaceflight. She continues to be an inspiration for many immigrants who are chasing the American dream.

Robert Lee Curbeam, Jr. was born March 5, 1962. He is an African American astronaut, engineer, military officer, and aircraft pilot. Curbeam was a Captain in the United States Navy, and during his Naval career he was deployed to multiple places such as the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas. After completing his term, he returned as an instructor for the Weapons and Systems Engineering Department.  During his NASA career, Curbeam broke the record for the astronaut with the most space walks on a single flight.

Michael Fincke was born March 14, 1967. He is an astronaut, engineer, and military officer. Fincke was a member of the United States Air Force, stationed at the Air Force Base in Los Angeles, California.  While in the Air Force Space and Missiles Systems Center Department, he worked as a space system and space test engineer, working on many flight test programs and holding a colonel rank. During his NASA career, Fincke held many titles, such as Mission Specialist, International Space Station Spacecraft Communicator, and Flight Engineer. During one of his missions, he broke the American record for the most time in space.

For more information about more inspiring engineers born in March, visit:

Engineers Are Celebrated During National Engineers Week

This week is National Engineers Week!

This week-long event recognizes engineers as a central asset to our world and celebrates their “positive contributions to quality of life,” according to the National Society of Engineers.

Engineers created structures like the Hoover Dam, the Panama Canal, and even the Great Wall of China! Without engineers, these massive and impressive feats would have never come to be.

Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1951, National Engineers Week has coincided for over 50 years with the week of President George Washington’s birthday (February 22nd) to pay homage to the nation’s first engineer. Washington was introduced to engineering at an early age, often partaking in land surveying opportunities and ultimately going on to design a country estate on a plantation he’d inherited — Mount Vernon.

Each year, DiscoverE, an organization focused on supporting and promoting growth of the engineering and technology communities, encourages children to explore the STEM community through interactive lessons, child-friendly activities, and involvement with their own local engineering communities.

Across the nation in cities like Port Jefferson, NY; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Los Angeles, California; DiscoverE hosts a series of workshops and presentations to promote the importance of engineering. Children are able to meet and speak with veteran engineers, participate in fun, educational activities, and learn about the global scale of engineered contributions.

For more information on upcoming STEM events sponsored by DiscoverE, visit

The Role of 3D Modeling in Researching the Human Brain

3D modeling was developed in the 1960s by the creator of Sketchpad, Ivan Sutherland, and is used to create a 3-dimensional digital representation of any surface or object.

A variety of fields utilize 3D modeling, including video games designers and movie / illustration animators, to bring their creative ideas to life.  In addition, it is no secret that 3D modeling is an important factor for many careers, especially for engineers and architects. For example, engineers and architects use 3D modeling when planning and designing their work. This software helps engineers and architects save time and money by allowing scenario visualization before execution of their projects.

In the science world, 3D modeling has been a complete game changer, as scientists are using it as an advanced tool to study the human brain for common neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. After many failures of trying to convert the findings from animal-based cell models to human patients, brain cell models created with 3D modeling have advantages including:

  • Replacing the old 2D model;
  • Minimizing failures by having better translations of the findings; and
  • Having a higher degree of improvements and solutions for these neurodegenerative diseases.

For more information about the role of 3D modeling in researching the human brain, visit

Engineers Who Have Contributed to the Development of Aviation

November is National Aviation History Month. While we may be focused on the upcoming holidays, many people are fascinated with aviation and the pioneers who’ve contributed to and helped shape aviation in today’s society.

If you’ve ever wondered about the first pioneer engineers behind aviation, read on.

In the early days, prior to designing and executing the first flight, engineers conducted many experiments and extensive research to determine the four component forces that enabled design and/or flying of an aircraft, which are thrust, lift, drag, and weight. This was the birth of aeronautical technology.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “aeronautical engineers work with aircraft. They are involved primarily in designing aircraft and propulsion systems and in studying the aerodynamic performance of aircraft and construction materials. They work with the theory, technology, and practice of flight within the Earth’s atmosphere.”

The following aeronautical engineers are some of the pioneers who changed aviation history:

  • Jules Henri Giffard studied the notes of an inventor named Pierre Jullien who display a cigar-shaped model airship at the Paris Hippodrome. Jullien’s design helped Giffard became the first person to build a full-size airship;
  • Brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright are known for executing the first flight, which lasted 12 seconds;
  • Charles Lindbergh is known for performing the first solo transatlantic flight; and
  • Amelia Earhart is a known aviation pioneer and was the first solo female aviator to complete a transatlantic flight.

For more information about aviation pioneers, visit:

Image by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)