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Celebrating Engineers: Drexel's Egg-ceptional Golden Anniversary

February 15, 2010

By Martha Cornog

Last Friday, the Drexel community began celebrating National Engineers Week with a variety of events designed to raise public awareness of how engineers make modern life--well, modern. In perhaps the most unique event of the week, students, faculty, and staff will build a contraption to cushion an egg so it can survive a fall of over 30 feet. Fun stuff? Of course. But such designs over the decades make our trains and cars comfy to ride in and contribute to making space travel possible. National Engineers Week dates back to 1951 and was established by the National Society of Professional Engineers to coincide with Washington's Birthday. This was deliberate since our first President, George Washington, was a land surveyor and engineer before he turned rebel and led the American colonists to fight against the British. Actually, Drexel began honoring engineers a year earlier in 1950, with a one-day festival of events that continued for some decades independently of National Engineers Week. The first Drexel Engineer's Day focused on 'Ingenuity and Original Thinking in Engineering,' and the keynote speaker was Admiral Luis de Florez. Admiral de Florez (1889-1962) was a naval aviator who was instrumental in the development of flight simulators. He is considered a pioneer in the use of what is now called 'virtual reality' for his work relating to training World War II airplane crews via inexpensive synthetic devices simulating flight and combat situations. It is likely that de Florez' accomplishments ultimately helped pave the way for video games much, much later. Now that's leveling up! Stay tuned for more about Engineer's Day in Drexel history.

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