NWTRB Board Member
|Henry Petroski, Ph.D., P.E.
Dr. Henry Petroski was appointed to the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board on September 10, 2004, by President George W. Bush.
Dr. Petroski is Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and a professor of history at Duke University. His research focuses on the interrelationship between success and failure in engineering design. He also has a strong interest in the nature of invention, as well as in the history and evolution of technology. Before joining the faculty of Duke University in 1980, he taught at the University of Illinois and the University of Texas at Austin and was a group leader at Argonne National Laboratory, where he was responsible for research and development in fracture mechanics.
Among the honors that Dr. Petroski has received are a Guggenheim Fellowship (1990-1991); honorary degrees from Clarkson University (1990), Trinity College (1997), Valparaiso University (1999), and Manhattan College (2003); the Ralph Coates Roe Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (1991); and the Civil Engineering History and Heritage Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (1993); and the Washington Award from the Western Society of Engineers (2006). He has received the Centennial Award as an Outstanding Engineering Graduate of Manhattan College (1992) and the Alumni Award for Distinguished Service from the College of Engineering of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1994). Dr. Petroski is an honorary member of The Moles, is a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Engineers of Ireland, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Dr. Petroski is the author of the book To Engineer Is Human: the Role of Failure in Successful Design (1985) and is the writer and presenter of the 1987 BBC television documentary "To Engineer is Human," which has been broadcast on PBS. Among his other books are: The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance (1990); The Evolution of Useful Things (1992); Design Paradigms: Case Histories of Error and Judgment in Engineering (1994); Engineers of Dreams: Great Bridge Builders and The Spanning of America (1995), Invention by Design: How Engineers Get from Thought to Thing (1996); Remaking the World: Adventures in Engineering (1997); Small Things Considered: Why There Is No Perfect Design (2003); and Pushing the Limits: New Adventures in Engineering (2004); and Success through Failure: The Paradox of Design (2006). Dr. Petroski also writes the engineering column for American Scientist, which is published by Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, and a column on the profession for Prism, the magazine of the American Society for Engineering Education. He has published more than 75 refereed journal articles in such publications as International Journal of Facture, Engineering Fracture Mechanics, Journal of Applied Mechanics, , and Research in Engineering Design.
Dr. Petroski received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Manhattan College in 1963 and a Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1968. He is a professional engineer registered in Texas and a chartered engineer registered in Ireland.
Dr. Petroski lives in Durham, North Carolina.