Auteur Guru Madhavan is the senior director of programs at the National Academy of Engineering. A biomedical systems engineer, he ...
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Guru Madhavan is the senior director of programs at the National Academy of Engineering. A biomedical systems engineer, he is a prize-winning author of essays and books, including Applied Minds: How Engineers Think. He lives in Washington, DC.
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Our world is filled with pernicious problems: how, for example, did novice pilots learn to fly without taking to the air and risking their lives? We have generated solutions over time, but challenges like these-wicked problems that tangle personal, public, and environmental factors-are not going away any time soon.
In Wicked Problems, engineer Guru Madhavan considers some of history's most complicated problems: revealing how an overlooked vulnerability resulted in Boston's molasses disaster, how a volcano eruption curtailed global commerce, and why maintenance of our sewer systems constitutes tikkun olam, or repair of our world. Braided throughout is the tale of Edwin Link, an unsung engineering hero who revolutionized aviation with his flight trainer, a device that provides a model mindset to deal with wickedness. An homage to society's innovators and maintainers, Madhavan's refreshing approach to problem solving will inspire readers of all backgrounds to build more equitable and resilient systems.