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Invention Assembly Workshop

October 2003



Director, Center for Innovation in Product Development
Professor of the Practice of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Systems
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Christopher Magee received a Ph.D. in metallurgy and materials science from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.B.A. from Michigan State University. Among his areas of expertise are vehicle design, systems engineering, application of computer-aided engineering, and computer-aided design. The application of materials, vehicle crashworthiness, manufacturing-product interface and all aspects of the product development process, are also areas of significant personal experience and knowledge.

Prior to joining the faculty at M.I.T., Magee had 35 years of experience at Ford Motor Company. This ranged from early research and technology implementation work to executive positions in product developmentę emphasizing vehicle systems and program initiation activities. He has lectured internationally on vehicle design and weight reduction, vehicle crash-worthiness, and safety. He has been a participant on major National Research Council studies, whose topics span design research to materials research. Magee is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of ASM and a Ford Technical Fellow.


Professor of Mechanical Engineering
With appointments in Design, Computer Science, and Biomedical Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University

Jonathan Cagan received his bachelor and masters degree from the University of Rochester, and his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley (1990). His research concentrates on design methodology, computational design tools, and design practice. His interests span from computational tools and theories to product development practice.

Cagan's research, teaching and consulting focuses on the early fuzzy front end of the product development through a stakeholder-centered, integrated product development practice. He works closely with colleagues in industrial design, psychology and business, in creating new methods for product design that incorporate ethnographic approaches and cross-functional teams. Cagan and colleague Craig Vogel co-authored Creating Breakthrough Products. Their annual class on Integrated Product Development leads to patentable (and often patented) products for corporate sponsors.

In complementary work, Cagan creates theories and implementations of computational design tools to assist in the early stages of design. This work explores issues in form, function and layout of systems. His premise is that computational tools must support a design process modeled by lateral exploration, followed by a focused investigation of one or more good designs. Results include technology for the automated generation of alternative layouts of mechanical and electro-mechanical systems, shape grammars to represent the logic behind engineering and industrial designs and computer interpreters to implement those languages, and methods to reason about functionality in conceptual design and the use of agents to generate new concepts.

Cagan is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and has served as the associate technical editor of the ASME Journal of Mechanical Design in the area of Design Theory and Methodology (DTM). He also serves on the editorial boards of Research in Engineering Design, Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, Computer Aided Design, and the Journal of Engineering Design.  He has served as the chair of the ASME DTM committee and of its annual conference. Cagan has held the Ladd Development Chair of Engineering and was the recipient of the B. R. Teare Education Award at CMU. Cagan was also the recipient of the National Science Foundation's NYI Award and the Society of Automotive Engineer's Ralph R. Teetor Award for Education. He is a registered Professional Engineer.


Executive Director, Engineering Systems Learning Center
Senior Research Scientist, Sloan School of Management
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld joined the faculty at M.I.T. in 1998. Prior to that, he served on the faculty at the School of Labor and Industrial Relations at Michigan State University for nine years and in the Olin Graduate School of Management at Babson College for two years. He holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Relations from M.I.T.'s Sloan School of Management and a B.S. from the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University.

Cutcher-Gershenfeld has co-authored or co-edited seven books and over 60 articles on new work systems, labor-management relations, negotiations, conflict resolution, training, organizational learning, public policy, economic development, and large-scale systems change. He is co-author with Kevin Ford of the forthcoming book Valuable Disconnects in Organizational Learning Systems: Integrating) Bold Visions and Harsh Realties (Oxford University Press, 2004).  He and 13 colleagues co-authored Lean Enterprise Value:  Insights from MIT's Lean Aerospace Initiative (Palgrave, 2002). He also co-led a cross-cultural, interdisciplinary team of 14 scholars in writing Knowledge-Driven Work:  Unexpected Lessons from Japanese and United States Work Systems (Oxford University Press, 1998), which traces the cross-cultural diffusion of new work systems. Along with Richard Walton and Robert McKersie, Cutcher-Gershenfeld is co-author of Strategic Negotiations: a Theory of Change in Labor-Management Relations (Harvard Business School Press, 1994; issued in paperback by Cornell University Press, 2000) and Pathways to Change: Case Studies in Strategic Negotiations (Upjohn Press, 1995).  He is the co-editor of two additional books on workplace training. His 1991 article on "The Impact on Economic Performance of a Transformation in Workplace Relations," (Industrial and Labor Relations Review) won the Scholarly Achievement Award by the Personnel/Human Resources Division of the Academy of Management. 

In applying theory in the field, Cutcher-Gershefeld has extensive experience leading large-scale systems change initiatives centering on the implementation of new work systems and mechanisms for joint governance. He is co-chair of the Negotiations in the Workplace initiative at the Program on Negotiations, based in the Harvard Law School. He has worked with a wide range of public and private sector employers and unions in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, England, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, Spain, South Africa, and the United States. Joel frequently serves as a keynote speaker on issues of labor-management partnership and knowledge-driven work systems.


Director, Lemelson-MIT Program
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Merton C. Flemings is Toyota Professor of Materials Processing emeritus at M.I.T., where he has been a member of the faculty since 1958. Flemings established the Materials Processing Center at M.I.T. in 1979 and was its first director. He served as Head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering from 1982 to 1995, and from 1998 to 2001 as M.I.T. director of the Singapore-MIT Alliance, a major collaboration between M.I.T. and Singapore in distance engineering education and research. He is author or co-author of 300 papers, 26 patents and two books in the fields of solidification science and engineering, foundry technology, and materials processing. Flemings has received numerous awards and honors, including election to the National Academy of Engineering and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has worked closely with industry and industrial problems throughout his professional career. Flemings is chairman of the Silk Road Project, a not-for-profit corporation devoted to fostering creativity and celebrating local cultures and global connections.


Inventor and Founder, Cordis Corporation
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Small Parts, Inc.

William P. Murphy, Jr. studied at Harvard College and received an M.D. from the University of Illinois School of Medicine. Afterward, he studied mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Coupling his proclivity for mechanical engineering with his expertise in medicine, Murphy has revolutionized the biomedical industry. His 17 patents include inventions for the following (many developed in collaboration with various colleagues): flexible sealed blood bags; a new and efficient hemodializer (artificial kidneys); motor-driven high-pressure angiography injectors; disposable medical trays; torque-controlled selective and disposable vascular diagnostic catheters; and the first physiologic cardiac pacemaker and further improvements on the early cardiac pacemakers.

Murphy started Medical Development Corporation in 1957, which evolved into Cordis Corporation (in 1959) to develop medical instrumentation. He started Small Parts, Inc. (1963) to quickly supply small batches of materials to engineers. In 1989, Murphy helped Dean Kamen establish the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST). He was the 2003 recipient of the Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award.                 


Professor, School of Education
Harvard University

David Perkins received his Ph.D. in mathematics and artificial intelligence from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1970). He joined the Harvard University faculty as a research associate in 1970 and is currently a senior professor of education. He was a founding member of Project Zero, a research and development group that (since 1968) has addressed many aspects of cognition and their application to educational challenges. Perkins co-directed the project for almost 30 years with his colleague Howard Gardner, and they both now serve as senior directors on a steering committee. He has conducted long-term programs of research and development in the areas of understanding, creativity, problem-solving, educational and organizational development, reasoning, and the role of technology in education.

Perkins' research on creativity resulted in the book, The Mind's Best Work (Harvard University Press, 1981), a well-received examination of the psychology of creativity. His later book, The Eureka Effect (Norton, 2000), offered an analysis of the underlying logic of inventive thinking. He is also co-editor (with Robert Weber) of Inventive Minds: Creativity in Technology (Oxford University Press, 1992), a collection of articles by contemporary inventors, historians of technology, and cognitive psychologists that discloses insights about the process of invention. He has authored several other books concerning education, intelligence, and educational and organizational development.


Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and Professor of History
Duke University

Henry Petroski has written about many aspects of engineering, including design, success and failure, error and judgment, the history of bridges, and the use of case studies in education and practice. His books on these subjects, which are intended for professional engineers and laypersons alike, include: To Engineer Is Human, which was adapted for a BBC-television documentary; The Pencil; The Evolution of Useful Things; Design Paradigms; Engineers of Dreams; Invention by Design; Remaking the World, and The Book on the Bookshelf.  He has also written a memoir, Paperboy: Confessions of a Future Engineer, in which he reflects on what predisposed him to become an engineer. His books have been translated into such languages as Chinese, Finnish, German, Hebrew, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, and Turkish. His latest book is Small Things Considered: Why There Is No Perfect Design.

Petroski has published over 75 technical articles in refereed journals and a like number of articles and essays in newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Scientific American. Since 1991 he has been writing the engineering column in American Scientist, and since 2000 has been writing a bimonthly column on the engineering profession for ASEE Prism. He lectures regularly to both technical and general audiences, in the U.S. and abroad, and has been interviewed by various media including National Public Radio and NBC's "Today."

Petroski has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, and a Fellow of the National Humanities Center. Among his other honors are the Ralph Coats Roe Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; the Civil Engineering History and Heritage Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers; honorary degrees from Clarkson University, Manhattan College, Trinity College, and Valparaiso University; and distinguished engineering alumnus awards from both Manhattan College and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.


LEGO Papert Associate Professor of Learning Research
Director of the Okawa Center
Director of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the Media Lab.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mitchel Resnick earned a B.A. in physics at Princeton University (1978), and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science at M.I.T. (1988, 1992). He worked as a science/technology journalist for five years at Business Week, and he has consulted widely on the uses of computers in education. Resnick was awarded a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award in 1993. He is author of the book Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams.

Resnick's goal is to help people (particularly children) learn new things in new ways. Resnick's research group has developed new technologies (including LEGO programmable bricks and StarLogo software) that engage people in new types of design activities and learning experiences. He co-founded the Computer Clubhouse, an award-winning network of learning centers for youth from under-served communities


Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Design Division, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Stanford University

Sheri D. Sheppard received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin and her master and doctorate degrees from the University of Michigan (1985). She has been at the Design Division of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University since 1986. Besides teaching both undergraduate and graduate design related classes, she conducts experimental and analytical research on weld fatigue and impact failures, fracture mechanics, and applied finite element analysis. She is particularly concerned with the development of effective engineering tools to allow designers to make more informed decisions regarding structural integrity. In addition, she is co-principal investigator with Professor Larry Leifer on a multi-university NSF project for reforming undergraduate engineering curriculum. Sheppard is also a senior scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, leading a national-level review of engineering education. She is a registered Professional Engineer, member of the ASME Design Division Executive Committee, and a fellow of ASME and AAAS.

Prior to coming to Stanford, Sheppard held several positions in the automotive industry, including senior research engineer at Ford Motor Company Scientific Research Lab. Her work at Ford involved development of a large strain, large deformation finite element code for vehicle impact studies. She also worked as design consultant, providing companies with structural analysis expertise.


Professor of Ocean Engineering
Dean for Undergraduate Research
Director of the Edgerton Center
Director of Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Throughout his teaching career, J. Kim Vandiver has stressed the importance of hands-on learning. He has worked to enliven the mainstream curriculum by incorporating earlier opportunities for students to solve real-life problems, engage in research, and develop relationships with faculty. In 1992, he founded the Edgerton Center at M.I.T., which provides resources for M.I.T. students engaged in hands-on educational projects. The Center also runs a K-12 outreach program for local teachers and their classrooms.

In 1998, Vandiver was the recipient of the M.I.T. President's Award for Community Service for the Edgerton Center's work with the Cambridge Public Schools. In 2001, he was honored as a MacVicar Fellow for excellence in teaching.

A member of the Ocean Engineering Department faculty since 1975, Vandiver chaired M.I.T.'s faculty from 1991 to 1993. His research focuses on the dynamics of offshore structures and flow-induced vibration. He teaches dynamics and mechanical vibration at the graduate and undergraduate level. Vandiver received his bachelor's degree in engineering from Harvey Mudd College of Science and Engineering, his master's degree in ocean engineering from M.I.T., and a Ph.D. in oceanographic engineering from the M.I.T. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program. He is a registered Mechanical Engineer in the state of Massachusetts and is an active consultant in structural dynamics with the offshore engineering industry. He is also a certified flight instructor for gliders.


Professor of Education
Stanford University

Decker Walker received his bachelor and master degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and his doctorate in Education from Stanford University (1971). His research focuses on design studies to inform the development of technology-based products and environments for education, and on synthesis of research on information technology in schools, classrooms and other educational settings.

Walker studies the use of computers, telecommunications, and related information technologies in improving the curriculum. With his students, he researches the actual use and value of technologies by studying what happens when teachers and students use technology in the classroom. These studies focus on several areas: study of teacher difficulties in using computers to teach writing; analysis of computer simulations and multimedia to teach biology; comparative study of mathematical software on student's learning outcomes; qualitative review of computers in ear training for music theory; and collection of teacher strategies for overcoming difficulties in using informational technologies in the classroom. As director of the Learning, Design and Technology (LDT) Master's Program, Walker helps students learn sound fundamentals of designing and evaluating programs in their own areas of special interest. LDT students work at the interface of education and technology to address the issues that arise from this use of new technologies for education.