Written by IEEE | March 24, 2016 | Updated: December 15, 2020
This week, the engineering community is mourning the loss of two important engineers, Bob Ebeling and Andrew S. Grove. We take a look back at their accomplishments and how they shaped the progress of technology.
Bob Ebeling was a booster rocket engineer for NASA and worked on the Challenger shuttle. He is best known for trying to stop the Challenger from launching in 1986 due to complications from temperature. He had warned that the shuttle might explode since the cold temperatures that morning would stiffen the seals causing rocket fuel to leak out of the booster joints. His assessment was correct, and shortly after its launch,the Challenger exploded, killing all seven crew members.
Ebeling left NASA shortly after the disaster, and was interviewed by NPR this past January on the 30th anniversary of the shuttle explosion. The story on NPR caused a huge outpouring of letters, emails and phone calls to Ebeling praising his efforts. One email in particular removed the burden of the disaster off of Ebeling’s aching heart, and came from a former astronaut, Charlie Bolden, who called Ebeling’s efforts that night courageous.
Andrew S. Grove
Andrew S. Grove was a Hungarian refugee who survived the Holocaust and the Hungarian uprising in 1956, and later immigrated to the US. Grove became an acclaimed engineer and eventually, the chairman of Intel Corporation.
Grove started the semiconductor revolution and developed the memory chips and microprocessors that we use in most of our technology today. At Intel, he took ideas and research about chips and turned them into actual products. These products sparked the personal computer age and was instrumental in positioning Intel as one of the world’s leading semiconductor companies.