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Profile Engineer: Henry Petroski

Over the past few months, we have profiled numerous engineers who have contributed significantly to our profession in varying ways. Up until now, the series has featured the likes of Elijah McCoy Archimedes and Brunel.  Compared to the rest on our list,  Petroski is slightly more modern and one that we can relate to.  Petroski is an engineer specializing in failure analysis, a professor civil engineering and history at Duke University.  Petroski is also a prolific author.

Professor Petroski’s current research activity focuses on the interrelationship between success and failure in design. He also has a strong interest in the nature of invention and in the history of technology. His research has been sponsored by the Corps of Engineers, the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and other organizations. He has published, in addition to fifteen books and hundreds of articles in newspapers and magazines, over seventy-five refereed journal articles in such places as International Journal of Fracture, Engineering Fracture Mechanics, Journal of Applied Mechanics, Structural Safety, and Research in Engineering Design.


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