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Charles Vest: Science and engineering key to meeting challenges

The former president of MIT spoke at the SPIE Optics + Photonics Symposium Awards Banquet.

Charles Vest at SPIE Optics + Photonics

Charles Vest, President of the National Academy of Engineering, came to San Diego the week of August 2 to deliver the keynote address at the annual SPIE Awards Banquet. He was also one of the honorees, receiving the Chandra Vikram Award for his major contributions to the mathematical analysis of holographic interferometry taken through flames and other 3D objects and also for major contributions to technology as MIT President, President of the National Academy of Engineering, and his service on numerous government advisory boards.

Vest was president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1990 through 2004, and is the author of 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, to be published in summer 2007). In 1979, he published Holographic Interferometry (Wiley). 

In his keynote talk, Vest talked about the "Grand Challenges" identified by an expert committee commissioned by the Academy. The increasingly close connections between engineering and science will contribute to solutions to the challenges, he said, and innovations aimed at rebuilding the economy, disruptive technologies, globalization, and changes in venture capital practices will have big impacts.

Vest answered a few questions about the challenges in science and engineering education for SPIE Newsroom.

Play video of Q&A with Charles Vest (6 min.) |

Charles Vest banquet speech (30 min.)