The Great Mobility Revolution – Planes, Trains and Automobiles

For most of human history, our mode of mobility was feet — our own feet, or those of some domesticated animal. Whenever we wanted to go somewhere, we walked or used horses. These quadrupeds remained the dominant mode of inter-city and intra-city transport for over two thousand years. Then in the mid-nineteenth century, the mode of inter-city transport changed over from horses to railways. Another half a century later the horse also disappeared from cities and towns as intra-city transport was taken over by automobiles. In the mid-twentieth century airplanes became the dominant mode of inter-city travel in North America, with railways continuing in addition to airplanes in Europe and Asia.

And that’s where we are today — stuck with trains, planes and automobiles for nearly a century. But not for long. Continue reading

COP21 – A Call for Engineers and Scientists to Innovate

As the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference — COP21 — took place in Paris, I watched as business and world leaders met with the goal to reach a binding agreement on climate policy among all nations. One of the main objectives is to set a path to limit global warming below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 by reducing man-made emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHGs). Continue reading