UPDATE: What are the 14 greatest engineering challenges for the 21st century?

The National Science Foundation announced today 14 grand engineering challenges for the 21st century that, if met, would greatly improve how we live. But that's not all, it wants you to rank them. The final choices fall into four themes that are essential for humanity to flourish, - sustainability, health, reducing vulnerability and joy of living, the group said. The committee did not attempt to include every important challenge, nor did it endorse particular approaches to meeting those selected. Rather than focusing on predictions or gee-whiz gadgets, the goal was to identify what needs to be done to help people and the planet thrive, the group said. WHAT'S NEW?: Visitors to Grand Challenge site have been voting on what they think are the greatest challenges. So far, 21,249 votes have been received. The results of that poll are ranked here by the number of votes each engineering challenge received during the period January 15 through March 28, 2008:

  1. Make solar energy economical
  2. Provide energy from fusion
  3. Provide access to clean water
  4. Reverse-engineer the brain
  5. Advance personalized learning
  6. Develop carbon sequestration methods
  7. Restore and improve urban infrastructure
  8. Engineer the tools of scientific discovery
  9. Advance health informatics
  10. Prevent nuclear terror
  11. Engineer better medicines
  12. Manage the nitrogen cycle
  13. Enhance virtual reality
  14. Secure cyberspace
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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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