[Beowulf] Re: about clusters in high schools

Jim Lux James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Sun Jan 29 19:04:48 EST 2006


At 01:31 PM 1/29/2006, James Cownie wrote:

>On 28 Jan 2006, at 03:37, Andrew Piskorski wrote:
>>
>>A whole CLASS on "team work" or "presentation skills"?  As fundamental
>>to an ENGINEERING curriculum?  God save us...  Or rather, let's hope
>>all the engineers we import from India and China save us - from faulty
>>automobiles, process plant disasters, collapsing bridges, etc. etc.
>
>A whole class may be more than is necessary, but the inability of the
>Morton Thiokol engineers
>to produce a convincing presentation of their results which made
>their concerns clear to their management
>and also convinced NASA was a major contribution to the decision to
>launch Challenger...
>
>So, some education in presentation skills seems worthwhile.

Actually, the problem in NASA is that too much reliance is made on 
"presentations" which are fundamentally "selling tools", and not enough on 
writing engineering reports.  See Edward Tufte's comments on PowerPoint for 
instance (and, in fact, the report of the Columbia Accident Investigation 
Board and the Return To Flight committee).




>--
>-- Jim
>--
>James Cownie <jcownie at cantab.net>
>
>
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James Lux, P.E.
Spacecraft Radio Frequency Subsystems Group
Flight Communications Systems Section
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mail Stop 161-213
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
tel: (818)354-2075
fax: (818)393-6875

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