Our society is provided with numerous examples of high-profile individuals who give a great deal. Among businesspeople, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet first come to mind. Among singers, Bono is arguably the most visible face of philanthropy. Yet they are not alone: countless other businesspeople, singers, actors, and actresses join them in making substantial gifts to charity with the hope of helping others.
The Declaration of Independence states that man is endowed by his Creator the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This recognition of universal, sacred, and unalienable rights defines us as the American people and dictates what functions the state should provide. Further, the Declaration orders these rights: without life one cannot exercise liberty, and without liberty one cannot pursue happiness.
The challenges humanity faces in the 21st century — from the stable supply of energy in a carbon constrained world to the delivery of new products based on the fusion of engineering and life sciences — cannot be accomplished by individuals or technology on its own. We need to cultivate technically astute people who can apply their skills to guide and lead the development of socially, environmentally, and economically acceptable solutions to technical problems.