The good natured and cosmopolitan historian Plutarch tells how the Roman consul Marcellus, during the Second Punic War (bc 218-201), was foiled in his assault on the coastal city of Syracuse. Marcellus, writes Plutarch, "reckoned without Archimedes." Marcellus had approached the city walls of Syracuse with a formidable "fleet of sixty quinquiremes" bristling with "many different kinds of weapons and missiles," and a massive "siege-engine which was mounted on a huge platform supported by eight galleys lashed together." But the philosopher of Syracuse, in his role as military engineer, would not be outdone. Once so confident of victory, the Romans were horrified by a
tremendous barrage ... of missiles, including a great volley of stones which descended upon their target with an incredible noise and velocity. There was no protection against this artillery, and the soldiers were knocked down in swaths and their ranks thrown into confusion. At the same time huge beams were run out from the walls so as to project over the Roman ships: some of them were then sunk by great weights dropped from above, while others were seized at the bows by iron claws or by beaks like those of cranes, hauled into the air by means of counterweights until they stood upright upon their sterns, and then allowed to plunge to the bottom, or else they were spun round by means of windlasses situated inside the city and dashed against the steep cliffs and rocks which jutted out under the walls.... Often there would be seen the terrifying spectacle of a ship being lifted clean out of the water into the air and whirled about as it hung there, until every man had been shaken out of the hull and thrown in different directions, after which it would be dashed down upon the walls.
 The Romans were so alarmed by the sight of "so much as a length of rope or a piece of timber" over the Syracusan fortifications that Marcellus was forced to abandon his assault and to attempt to reduce Syracuse by a blockade.
However great may have been the legacy of Rome's eventual triumph over Carthage and its allies, Plutarch's account of the struggle for Syracuse preserved an equally enduring legacy from antiquity. That was Archimedes' contempt, inherited from Plato, for those who devote their lives to "the solution of practical problems" encountered in "the needs of everyday life." Plutarch's Archimedes "did not regard his military inventions as an achievement of any importance, but merely as a byproduct, which he occasionally pursued for his own amusement, of his serious work, namely the study of geometry." In this Archimedes is made to echo the Greek philosophers' prejudice against the "celebrated and highly prized art of mechanics." Plato had been "indignant" at the efforts of those who used mechanics "to illustrate geometrical theorems, and to support by means of mechanical demonstrations easily grasped by the senses propositions which are too intricate for proof by word or diagram." Plutarch-schooled in philosophy in Athens and Delphi-thus conveyed Archimedes's prejudice to two millenia of readers:
As for Archimedes, he was a man who possessed such exalted ideals, such profound spiritual vision, and such a wealth of scientific knowledge that, although his inventions had earned him a reputation for almost superhuman intellectual power, he would not deign to leave behind him any writings on his mechanical discoveries. He regarded the business of engineering, and indeed of every art which ministers to the material needs of life, as an ignoble and sordid activity, and he concentrated his ambition exclusively upon those speculations whose beauty and subtlety are untainted by the claims of necessity.
In the end victory went neither to abstract theory nor to engineering, but to guile. While negotiating with the Syracusans a ransom for one of their errant number, Marcellus chanced to notice a poorly guarded tower. As he parleyed with his opposition, his men measured the tower and prepared "scaling ladders." Patiently waiting for a feast day when the Syracusans would be preoccupied with "drinking and other festivities," Marcellus's men crept over the tower. Before the Syracusans fully grasped what was happening to them, Marcellus stood weeping (so Plutarch tells us) on the heights over "the great and magnificent city below" as he contemplated the plunder that would soon consume it. "But what distressed Marcellus most of all," writes Plutarch, was the killing of Archimedes. Accounts of Archimedes's death at the hands of Marcellus's soldiers vary, Plutarch acknowledges. But "at any rate it is generally agreed that Marcellus was deeply affected by his death, that he abhorred the man who had killed him as if he had committed an act of sacrilege, and that he sought out Archimedes's relatives and treated them with honour."1
The classical education Frank Toscelli received in Italy, in the region where Roman legions defended the empire two millennia before, was an education rare  among American engineers. It had evolved from the Renaissance ideal of liberal learning, a process which cultivated all aspects of the human intellect, physical attributes, and creative sensibilities. "In my time," he remembers, high school students studied philosophy, Latin, Greek, two modern languages, and ancient and modern history. "We had to study Italian literature, European literature; we read Shakespeare" and "took courses in translation." Electives were unheard of: a liberal learning and a full science curriculum "provided that background which would permit" students "to reason, synthesize, to analyze a problem, and then," with such tools, to become an engineer. The Renaissance text for the worthy life submerged the harsh distinction perpetuated by Plutarch between men who work with their minds and men who work with their hands, men who understand nature and men who manipulate nature for practical ends. Through the slow and intermittent deterioration of legal class distinctions in Europe, the nature of one's work would persist as a more subtle means of announcing one's standing in the world.
For Toscelli engineering represented not the subordinate alternative to science imagined by Archimedes, but the culmination of scientific understanding in a sequential evolution of mental capacity. "There is not really much of a difference between" scientists and engineers. "If you want to be involved, if you have the background of math and physics, then you can be either one." The business of education, his own experience had taught him, is to "provide the foundation" on which you "build yourself." One can become an expert in an exotic field like materials outgassing in space, but only after one has become well grounded in the basic sciences and mathematics. He is disturbed by the impatience of the engineering he sees around him, the haste to calculate without fully understanding what is being calculated.
Frank Toscelli, with his catholic education,
his "love of learning," and his conviction that problems must be
fully understood before they can be solved, stands out among his
peers. Few things unite American engineers trained in the 1940s and
1950s so much as the narrowly technical focus of their education.
2 Time and again NASA's Apollo era engineers confess to
having tried to avoid curricula that required grappling with
literature, or philosophy, or history. A narrow technical curriculum,
already pressured by the rapid growth of sheer technical information
to be absorbed, became separated from the study of the natural and
physical sciences as well. Thus the relationship of science to
engineering would be burdened by institutional-and inevitably
sociological-demarcations having no necessary relationship to what
actually occurred when a handful of engineers puzzled out the ways to
achieve a smoother airframe or a more efficient aircraft engine.
Absent the catholicity of a traditional European or liberal arts
education, attempts to unite science (broadly conceived) with
engineering would become as much a matter of rhetorical contrivance
as of substance.3
When the crew of Apollo 11 landed on the lunar surface in July 1969, conventional wisdom had it that successful technology was a linear byproduct of scientific  research: engineers apply what scientists discover. Such a view, of course, helped scientists at universities (where most "basic research" was done) make their appeals for federal funding. 4 NASA (no doubt unwittingly) yielded to popular perception in its own accounting of the professional personnel the agency employed throughout the Apollo decade by placing scientists and engineers in a single category. 5 (In doing so, it followed the example of the federally funded National Science Foundation.) Granting the problematic character of personnel statistics, organized as they must be into artificial categories, 6 only one-fourth of the 9875 scientists and engineers who joined the agency between 1958 and 1970 (and were still with NASA in 1980) consisted of persons whose field of highest degree was in mathematics or a basic science7 discipline rather than engineering. The proportion of trained scientists increased to one-third among those "scientists and engineers" who joined NASA between 1966 and 1970 (see table 2).
NASA's occupational classifications (or "codes") changed between 1960 and 1985, so the numerical results of the effort to distinguish NASA scientists from NASA's engineers by the nature of the work they did should be treated as estimates based on the merging of similar occupational categories (see table 3). Those categories however, are similar enough to enable one to distinguish between persons in primarily engineering occupations (research and development, design, testing and evaluation, facilities operations and maintenance) and occupations in the space or life sciences. As a measure of the kind of work that was most probably being done by these "scientists and engineers," NASA scientists were outnumbered by NASA engineers 26 to 1 in the agency's first two years. By the end of the decade the ratio had declined dramatically-with NASA employing one scientist for every eight engineers-but the large preponderance of persons working as engineers during the agency's formative years was most certainly a powerful factor in its organizational ethos.
If aggregate NASA personnel statistics during the 1960s failed to distinguish between scientists and engineers, NASA's leadership cadre did not. When asked who among NASA's "pioneering generation of aerospace engineers" most reflected the "characteristics which have typified NASA during its first quarter century" (see Appendix C), NASA's top managers in 1984 more clearly identified "scientists and engineers" who had, in fact, been trained in engineering. Moreover, in identifying exemplary Apollo era engineers, they were no less certain: the engineers were not scientists; the engineers were the men who had been doing either engineering or technical work-or had risen into NASA's management ranks.8
NASA engineer Joseph Totten (who began working in stress and structural analysis for launch vehicles at Marshall Space Flight Center in 1962 after eight years in private industry) has some difficulty deciding where science stops and engineering begins. Of himself, he says simply: "I'm not a scientist. I'm just a practical engineer." But he credits a good bit of creativity to both occupations. "Engineers, to me, are the ones who do the designing and analysis of things. The scientists are the ones that  dream up experiments, that develop new systems, if you will, and they go through the development part.... They'd be the research part of it. They would diddle with experiments, or what have you, to develop some kind of a system. Once they got that to a point where they think it would be worthwhile to make [it] into an experiment for flight, why then they would turn [it] over to the design people. That's when the engineering takes place, because then you've got to worry about . . . getting the thing such that it can be manufactured.... So often we get into the manufacturing process, and the parts won't go together."
Men and women younger than Totten, engineers who came to work for NASA well into the Apollo program, could have similar difficulty differentiating between scientists and engineers. "People in science and engineering," offers systems analysis and integration engineer Fred Hauser, "do either one of two things: they work on what's called space research and technology, which is kind of independent, or maybe they work with a contractor on the development of [a] technology that may ... be used in the future. Or the other thing that those people in science and engineering do is, they support a project." Engineers like Hauser, who do not question the assumption that scientists and engineers are fundamentally different, locate that difference in the realm of intellectual ability, where (as he perceives the matter) scientists reign and engineering is a practical derivative of science. "Scientists work on things that engineers will use in ten years," explains Hauser, adding, "space scientists, these guys are really smart guys. They are Ph.Ds.... I have a little bit of an intellectual shortcoming there, so I don't have . . . the ability, I believe, to develop the background for that."
One of NASA's older Apollo era engineers, Joe Lipshutz, is a native of the midwest, son of an erstwhile electrical engineer turned furniture manufacturer. He has been working in the wind tunnels at NASA's Ames Research Center since before NASA was created. Assigned in the early 1970s to a computerized aerodynamic analysis group, he grew restive and unhappy with the abstract character of computerized analysis. "I got tired of it.... It's not the real world.... It's [more] fun to run a test and see what's really going on. You lose sight of what goes on with a computer, because after a while, if the computer said so, therefore it's right." In a few years he returned to wind tunnel work. The abstract quality of theoretical work is mirrored in his own distinction between scientists and engineers. "The scientists, to my mind, are still the Oppenheimers, the Einsteins-those kind of people ... the truly theoretical, I might call them a scientist, and not an engineer.... I don't consider myself a scientist. I don't generate ... really original type theories compared to people with Ph.Ds." What Lipshutz might do as an engineer is "take what other people use and maybe make it so that they can use it more quickly, more efficiently."
Bill Cassirer has also been with NASA since the NACA days, also in aeronautical research, in this case at Langley Research Center. Holder of bachelor's and master's degrees from Cornell University's program in aeronautics, Cassirer thinks of himself as a "research scientist" for the same reason Lipshutz thinks of himself (with a tinge of self-deprecation) as an engineer: "To me," declares Cassirer, "an engineer is somebody that takes handbook stuff and applies it ... he can look up and get a formula and then plug the formula in. He accepts what comes out.... A scientist is  somebody that is working . . . to develop the handbook stuff, is working on new ideas and theories." He identifies himself as a scientist: "I've got patents.... I've published original theories.... That's how I differentiate between engineers and scientists."
Trained in mathematics and physics, Sarah McDonald began her NASA career at the Army Ballistics Missile Agency (transferred to NASA in 1960) where, in 1946, she began work during her junior and senior years in college as a science assistant for Saturn mission operations. She has been working in computational trajectory analysis, "developing the equations of motions to write the software programs . . . to integrate these trajectories" for most of her NASA career. McDonald shares with Lipshutz and Cassirer the perception that engineers exist to apply the original ideas conceived by scientists to concrete problems. "When I was in school, majoring in mathematics," she reflects, "my math advisor wanted me to just do research, 'pure mathematics,' he called it. That was more science oriented." But she found the environment at ABMA during the early 1950s so exciting that she accepted her German-born mentor's invitation to return permanently after she graduated from the University of Alabama. Her mathematics professor would have been disappointed. "I was utilizing knowledge that's available in textbooks . . . and synthesizing those things that we could utilize to work a problem that we had. I don't think that is research at all ... research is doing something that has not been done before, discovering new things." In fact, McDonald and her co-workers were heavily involved in doing research that "had not been done before." Embedded in her distinction between science and engineering is an effort to discriminate between unprecedented deeds involving new knowledge, and the acquisition of that knowledge.
Joe Lipshutz, Bill Cassirer, and Sarah McDonald, who entered college before the end of World War II, are members of the same generation. Their similar and somewhat crudely drawn distinction between engineers as essentially mechanics, and scientists as theorists who define the natural world, is a distinction that echoes from antiquity. This distinction, one that relies heavily on the perception that the former are cerebral while the later are not, seems to have provided numerous NASA "scientists and engineers" a means of occupational differentiation. Hank Smith, a facilities engineer at Kennedy Space Center, knows (at least in retrospect) why he did not choose science as a career: "I'm too practical for that . . . [I] like to go kick tires. [I'm] hands-on.... I just enjoy doing things.... I can't stand a brain. I think they have their place, and I think we should have experts like that-scientist-absolutely.... But not for me. Never, no."
For some NASA engineers, the choice of engineering as a career was less a matter of temperament or intellect than of relative occupational security. When Isaac Bloom started college on the eve of World War II, foremost in his mind was making a living. Son of an immigrant East European tradesman living in New York City, Bloom wanted to take up the "nearest thing to a trade" in order to make a living. When the registrar at Brooklyn College told him that the curriculum offering closest to "a trade" was engineering, he began to study engineering. Unlike Bloom, Derek Roebling might have gone into science, had he been more certain that a scientist could earn a decent living. Although interested as a boy in astronomy, he "lacked an  understanding of what a scientist was." Moreover, "in those days a scientist was not always assured of a job.... I was thinking, well, I would really like something where I would not have to be worried, you know, about making ends meet. And in the 1950s it was not always apparent that a scientist could do that."
The occupational choices of young men like Derek Roebling, who were the first generation in their families to aspire to college educations but whose families could not afford to send them, were especially susceptible to the influence of the federal government on higher education opportunities. The special attraction of engineering was that if one's college (undergraduate) expenses could be largely met, an engineering career could be launched after four years in a baccalaureate program, while a young man with other professional ambitions could face more years of graduate, medical, or law school. A scientist's career prospects encompassed a greater possibility of unemployment (or underemployment) than the engineer's. At the same time, a demonstrated ability to do original research was one of the criteria for an advanced degree in the sciences; significant original research experience could only be had in the universities that awarded the coveted degrees through their graduate programs. Thus an aspiring scientist faced the necessity of yet more years of education expenses and part-time work for all but the well-to-do. (The cost could be mitigated if the student found work on a federally supported project at a university in whose graduate program he might enroll.) No less daunting, the cost of a good graduate education in science was not only high, but was incurred at the same age at which the scientist's father had been expected to support himself and perhaps a family.
Public policy favored the would-be engineer. During World War II the U.S. military's reserve officer training corps (ROTC) programs had enabled engineers to study while they did military service. After the war, the GI Bill (Serviceman's Readjustment Act of 1944) and its Korean War successor (Public Law 550, 1952) enabled veterans in all areas to return to college. Moreover, between 1950 and 1960 the federal government, motivated by the cold war preoccupation with a strong national defense, more than doubled the amount of money it spent on contract research at American colleges and universities. Nearly half of all federal research funding went to engineering research and development typically connected with large technology projects. The principal exception was the infusion of funds for basic scientific research that came from the Office of Naval Research, created in 1946 and predecessor to the National Science Foundation, established in 1950.9 Thus, between 1940 and 1950, a young person had a better chance of obtaining a federally subsidized education leading to salaried industrial or government employment if he or she chose an engineering field than if he or she chose to work in the basic sciences.10
The need to compete for university grants and scholarships (unless one had other means) may have reinforced among scientists the notion that they possessed superior intellects by virtue of their involvement with abstract ideas and theories (which Platonists through the centuries have regarded as purer forms of knowledge). Those who were able to finance their advanced scientific education themselves could benefit from another well-established source of status: in previous centuries the disinterested study of nature had typically been a gentleman's occupation.  The scientist's presumptive social standing thus sprang from class as well as philosophical origins, while the engineer's supposedly inferior standing likewise could be traced to the newness of his middle-class position as well as philosophical prejudice.11
When attempting to distinguish themselves from scientists, NASA engineers frequently suggest that the difference has mostly to do with "status." Ed Beckwith who worked his way up from an apprenticeship in the sheet metal shop at Langley Research Center, where he began his engineering career over 30 years ago, insists that the only true difference between a scientist and an engineer is "in the perception of management somewhere." The people who go "out and run experiments" [as technicians, not investigators] are "second class," while the people who sit at desks the scientists, are "first class." William McIver, who earned a doctorate in aerospace science in 1959 and has spent some of his NASA career in the agency's Office of Space Science and Applications, also sees any distinction between scientists and engineers largely in terms of status. Scientists in NASA are "as violinists are to an orchestra or as physicists are to a college campus. Scientists are the creme de la creme."
Some NASA engineers experience the putative superior standing of scientists less as a management bias than as the manner in which engineers are treated by scientists. "Engineers tend to be more organized," reflects Jack Olsson, a 25-year veteran of aeronautical engineering at NASA's Ames Research Center. "They're prompt. At a meeting, we usually show up on time." The scientists "never show up on time.... We have personnel problems associated with engineers working for the scientists. If you're not careful, they want the engineer to become more of a gofer."12
Engineers at Goddard Space Flight Center, one of two NASA installations that has evolved primarily into a government space science laboratory, have had greater opportunity to ponder the differences between scientists and engineers than have engineers at other NASA installations. A 25-year veteran at Goddard asserts that most NASA scientists look upon NASA's engineers as existing to serve them in a relationship seen much the same way by those engineers. "I think that the vast majority of engineers, ninety-five percent," observes Henry Beacham, "view themselves as serving the science program.... We don't fly satellites for the fun of flying satellites; we fly satellites because there is science that somebody in their wisdom has judged ... worth spending the many millions of dollars on-hundreds of millions now." This notion is echoed by Paul Toussault, who began working for NASA in 1969 after 10 years of a checkered career in graduate school and the aerospace industry. "There's a lot of prima donnas in the science area ... and we have a lot of them here at this center.... Scientists think that the whole world is run for them. They think NASA is being run for them."
Scientists "seemed to be much more peer conscious," reflects one of NASA's oldest and most productive surviving engineers, Robert Strong. "I've had physicists insist on calling 'em 'Doctor."' A materials research engineer for over 20 years at Langley Research Center puts the matter of status succinctly: "I live in a little town called Suffolk, Virginia [with] 50,000 people in the core of the city. I'm one of two NASA scientists over there. Because we are scientists, we are in the upper crust of  the social scheme; everybody likes to say they know [us], especially back in the '60s, when we were really hot items-hot stuff."
Sensitivity to the relative status of scientists and engineers is more common among the older engineers interviewed for this study. It may be that status claims have made themselves felt in NASA's internal politics-an aspect of organizational life to which veterans are best attuned-as well as decades of social experience. Although members of all professsions harbor stereotypes of each other, popular notions of scientists held by engineers do not, in and of themselves, tell us much about those who hold them. Whether (and how) engineers differentiate themselves from scientists is important primarily if popular stereotypes of scientists affect how engineers think of themselves and go about their work. NASA engineers see themselves as inferior-by virtue of lesser intellect or status-members of the "scientist and engineer" coupling in the space program; or they assert that, in fact, they are really scientists; or they conclude that distinctions between the two are artificial, dissolving in the crucible of "research."
Pamela Donaldson shares with Bill Cassirer the outspoken view that whatever use is made of her work, she is really a scientist. Donaldson began her career in 1962 as a medical technician with a bachelor's degree from a small southern state college. After college she worked for a hospital in Houston, Texas and began her affiliation with Johnson Space Center through a National Research Council resident associateship in the biomedical laboratories established by the center to support NASA's manned spaceflight program. By 1968 she had earned a doctorate from the University of Houston in physiology and biochemistry; her work in Johnson's biomedical laboratories continued.
Despite the fact that all her research at NASA was undoubtedly "applied," when talking about her work she returns to her identity as a scientist, revealing considerable ambiguity (and ambivalence) in the process: "I could never envision myself, even back in early graduate school, working on projects that I didn't see a need to answer.... Here our scientists-and I certainly have been one of them- have been given certain latitude to explore [the] weightlessness [in space] situation and its effect on man. But certainly, the main reason we're here . . . is because of man in space.... We've been accused of doing observational research ... but it's something that you can get terribly committed to." She acknowledges that "lots of people" do biomedical research without any practical purpose "at universities and medical centers." But "I don't." When asked whether she has done any significant biomedical research without a particular application, she replies, "You have to understand, first of all, that here at the [Johnson Space] center there aren't a great deal of scientists.... I was doing scientific research at the same time I was running operational laboratories."
As engineers who made their careers with NASA articulate their notions of science and engineering, their sense of themselves wanders among competing Sources of vocational identity. Engineers and scientists are what they are for internal  (psychological or intellectual) reasons, for functional reasons, or for external (social or political) reasons; their identities may be shaped by a combination of all three. By far the most penetrating commentary on the nature of science and engineering comes from those engineers who give extensive accounts of their own work. The more detailed or reflective their account, the more likely they are to conclude that commonplace distinctions between scientists and engineers lose their meaning when both are involved in research, and that the boundaries between "applied" and "basic" research have become untenable in the universe of post-World War II government-sponsored aerospace research and development.
When he was young, muses David Strickland, he thought scientists worked only in the abstract while engineers worked on concrete problems. But as he accumulated years of engineering research in both industry and NASA, he concluded "that there really isn't that much difference between the way a scientist thinks and the way an engineer thinks." William McIver's observation on the supposed differences between science and engineering is that such distinctions are "silly" because "what you are is what you do." And what persons trained in science or engineering and involved in aerospace research and development typically do is work that could be called, by most conventional definitions, both science and engineering. McIver's model engineer is not someone "who simply learn[s] how to use a handbook and look up a package solution.... You want more creativity; you want people who can go from an abstract concept or, in fact, who will come up with abstract concepts. And then, more importantly [people who can] figure out creative, innovative ways to reduce those abstractions to practice." McIver illustrates his model with the "eminent earth scientist [who can be] an electrical engineer and knows about antennas and radar patterns.... So he's an earth scientist and an engineer and he does what you do to get this program done." Or, there's the case of physicists who, "in order to do their experiments ... are having to learn about circuitry and instrumentation and this and that," while there are "engineers ... having to learn about quantum effects in diodes and lasers."
Charles Stern, who began his NASA career working in aeronautical research at Langley Research Center when it was still a part of the NACA, also believes that the conventional separation of science and engineering is "another one of these weird dichotomies that doesn't always make sense." For Stern, science, like beauty, "is in the eyes of the beholder." Science embraces "mathematical and engineering sciences.... I don't draw the line until I come to worrying about how do you design a piece of hardware. And that's another matter." Before settling into his work at Langley in the 1950s, Stern had spent two years with the AVCO Corporation, then builders of aircraft engines and refrigerators. There was a difference between the engineering he did at AVCO-work he refers to as "applied research"-and the engineering he did at Langley: "I think the Langley work was probably ... more closely associated with basic research.... At Langley ... I wasn't interested in this engine or that engine. I was interested in the [engine inlet] flow phenomena and how does one alter them so that unsteady flows don't occur.... We used a fairly high level of mathematics in our theoretical research. We used fairly esoteric facilities, wind  tunnels, shock tubes and the like, in experimental research. But we weren't attempting to design any particular thing, or even a general thing."
Engineering research, argues Stern, involves not only systematic experimentation but habits of thought which are above all else "orderly, beginning from zero and working carefully to the end in ascending or descending [order], as the case may be, trying to associate cause and effect, trying to think through logically, not emotionally.... A physical scientist or an engineer [is someone] who starts from zero and moves ahead in a logical cause and effect relationship, trying to find the explanation to behavior in mathematics or in physics." Had he been a scientist, Stern would "have done the same thing ... but ... not had I been a musician." An engineer, he argues, "is one of the genus scientist." If distinctions must be made, they should be made between engineering research and "drawing board engineering."
Stern's older colleague from the NACA days at Langley Research Center, Robert Strong, also sees little fundamental difference between engineering research and science, ascribing to both vocations the essential intellectual activity of relating cause and effect. "In engineering . . . [when] you design an airplane it's more than just an architectural sketch of a vehicle. You've got to analyze structure, the forces and moments ... the fatigue." Strong's own "bent" in engineering "was more in the theoretical direction-understanding, applying analytical techniques." And he, too, contrasts engineering with "other fields, like education," in which "it might take a generation to find out whether ... the kid ought to be taught phonetic English." Most important, the engineer has "to ask the question, 'what happens if I do this?' ... You have to apply that kind of logic, rather than emotions, to the solution of problems."
The melding of science and engineering in aerospace engineering research appears as well in Ed Collins's account of himself and his work. Collins is another Langley engineer, but one who began his career in the early 1960s; his work has been primarily in radiation damage research and integrated optics. His college major was nuclear engineering, and he went on for a master's degree in solid-state physics. "I was a scientist.... I crossed fields and my ... work description has changed. I was listed as a physicist and ... I was [a] laboratory type.... I did research. I had to come up with ideas of trying this thing and that thing.... Once I moved into the electrical engineering slot I take [sic] that device that is already built and put together for me by the scientist and I test it, analyze it, and plug it in my system, try to make it play with the other things and, if I get an improvement out of it, that's wonderful."
Trying things out-experimentation-remains essential to both the scientist's and the engineer's work. Where they differ, in Collins's view, is in the degree of anonymity and the relative remoteness of the scientist's work from its consequences. "In science we're doing research [that] you may work on all your life and never really have anything you can hand to someone and say, 'here's ... what I made."' Remoteness from its consequences inheres as much in the anonymity of the scientist's work as in its motivation. "In the isomer field you can go on forever in making new materials . . . by different combinations." But only 10 percent "accomplish a significant discovery in their research." Commenting on the accidental discovery of a commercially successful artificial sweetener, Collins adds: "A lot of it is just pure  luck." More commonly "the research people are faceless. You could go in and pick out Joe Blow and say, 'what have you done the last 20 years?' And he may feel very bad about that because he may say, 'well, I've worked on 52 different development projects, but I can't show you a gizmo or a chemical, or whatever'.... The guy that ends up putting the sum total together is the one that gets the glory."
The terms "research," "engineering," and "technology" swim together in Sam Browning's explanation of what he has seen and done during his thirty-year career as a chemical engineer at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and then the Marshall Space Flight Center. "Technology" to him means research in the interest of innovation As the Saturn's J-2 engine on which Browning worked progressed through its flight qualification tests in the mid-1960s, he wanted out. "I didn't really want to get bogged down in tracking paper work on an engine that was now about to move out of the development phase into the flight phase, that I'd like to stay closer to the technology part of it-the farther out kinds of things."
Unlike Collins, who is sensitive to the disjointed and anonymous nature of much research, whether in engineering or science, Browning perceives an orderly sequence of research, technological innovation, and development. "Research would be, say, the chemist in the lab who's looking for how he can put a couple of elements together like chlorine and flourine to make a really high-performance oxidizer and characterizing the physical properties, the chemical properties.... The technology begins to take over. Now, when he's done that, he calls it chlorine triflouride.... And you can use that with several fuels as a rocket propellant.... It's laboratory-scale testing in a real sense, not the traditional chemistry lab, because you've got to go outdoors on a stand to do it, but that's technology to me. Development, now, is when you take that and say, 'OK, we've done enough on this we understand it, we're going to fly a mission that uses that. So we will go into fullscale development of an engine system that employs chlorine triflouride."' Browning's own identity wanders through the artificial differences. "I'm trying to get the laser propulsion project going again.... It's almost more research than technology, because we had to establish that you can, in fact, sustain a stable plasma in hydrogen supported by a high-powered laser. And there's an awful lot of high-temperature physics, and computational fluid dynamics, and a lot of other good stuff I don't know much about involved there."
What Sam Browning refers to as "technology" is similar to what John Songyin who spent the Apollo decade at Lewis Research Center working on nuclear propulsion, calls "applied research." Describing his 1960s work on nuclear power and thermodynamic engines for space vehicles, he recalls "we were doing the basic spadework for a mission we thought would be coming.... Our aim there was not tied to any particular schedule leading to launch and takeoff of this mission. We were [trying to] answer the technological questions so that when the mission would be identified and schedules scheduled, that these technological answers would be there for the system people to put it all together for the mission.... I would say [it was] applied research and development . . . where you're one step toward a product development or toward ... an airplane or ... food or something like that." Songyin compares his early Lewis work with "basic research," which he considers "getting  down into the very basics of nature-almost like gene splicing . . . you're just trying to understand nature."
NASA's engineers have been dispersed among the agency's several far-flung installations, and the installation in which they have worked tends to influence their perceptions of themselves and their work-whether they are scientists at heart, lowly engineers in fact, or represent the union of both in the experimental and logic-driven process of causal explanation called "research." Langley engineer Marylyn Goode observes: "There are certainly a lot of engineers that [sic] work a lot more with their hands and building things than I do, because I work very much sitting at a desk and writing papers.... I think what a lot of us here at Langley [Research Center] do is sort of more in between the pure scientist and the pure engineer than maybe somebody who works at Kennedy [Space Center], who really works with the hardware.... But, by the very nature of Langley and Lewis [Research Center] and Ames [Research Center], our work is more into the basic research and things that some engineer is going to use probably ten years in the future . . . rather than working on something, some immediate product." Intersecting such elusive distinctions are status differences within aerospace engineering itself: rocket engineers may disparage aircraft engineers, and both may disparage "facilities engineers."
Whether or not sharp distinctions between science and engineering, or between "basic" research and "applied" research are tenable any longer may also be a function of historical time. The NASA engineers who spoke of the melding of science and engineering in the crucible of research commonly allude to a breakdown in the stereotyped perceptions they had of each as young men first making career choices. What their changing view reflects is the emergence of a class of engineering which has passed through a phase in its own historical development that necessarily required a high degree of research in the fundamentals of its medium, namely, aeronautics and space technology.
Hank Martin, one of the younger engineers interviewed, made an unusual effort to understand historically the vocational identities of scientists and engineers. He, too, as a high-school student, "pictured a scientist as someone who works in a laboratory." What has changed since then has been the profession of engineering and our understanding of it. "Engineering," he suggests, "back in the '50s ... was an emerging profession.... Engineers, I think, at that time were stereotyped ... as the sea of white shirts who were doing the mechanical drawings in the aircraft factories and laying out the steel trusses for the bridgework.... It did not appear at that time as a very exciting profession, because I think it was stereotyped as something fairly routine. You look up the specifications in the book and you get the right formula and you apply the numbers and you put it on a piece of paper and you do the same thing again the next day. In fact, with the advent of what we would call aerospace engineering today ... [we have] a more realistic view of what was going on in the fields of automobile development and electronics design and things like that, even back then. There's as a lot more ... to it, and there was a lot more interesting type work than one would be led to believe if you had read the papers and watched the televisions and the books at the time."
 The story that Plutarch tells served to reinforce the ancient platonic philosopher's prejudice against mere mechanics, whose work was caught up in the "practical . . . needs of everyday life." The epistemological and functional peculiarities that allowed such a prejudice to survive no longer have much meaning for post-World War II engineering in the realm of advancing technologies. The federal government, now the dominant "client" for both science and engineering, has never been able to distinguish successfully between the two. Where distinctions do persist is among professional associations and the academic milieu, which distributes the credentials for the modern professions-along with the notion, at once antique and academic, that those who traffic in knowledge and ideas have a higher claim on society's deference than those who traffic in things. NASA's Apollo era engineers have inherited the notion, and struggled with it, and many have concluded that it has outlived its time.
The question of whether someone working in advanced technology research is a scientist or engineer is complicated by the fact that each designation is burdened by perceptions of social status and philosophical prejudice. Objective or measurable distinctions are also difficult because, at heart, they involve a question of vocation, or "calling." Personal satisfaction in work comes from a sense of being called to that work and is ultimately a subjective thing. Vocation should not be confused with occupation, what men and women have done for millenia to put food on the table. Conventional wisdom suggests that the fullest rewards of a career are reserved to those whose occupations are vocationally satisfying. Whether seeing themselves as engineers, caught up in solving practical and concrete problems, or as researchers unraveling the mysteries of the man-made world in its ongoing dialog with the laws of nature, NASA's Apollo generation of engineers profess pride in, and affection for, the work they do-or used to do. Their vocational choices were made early in their lives, and their vocational identity is largely faithful to those youthful choices. For most of them, however, occupation diverged increasingly from vocation as they began to spend more of their days doing work for which they had little natural inclination.
The occupational reality most widely shared among engineers is their employment by hierarchichal organizations, whether in private business or in government, with relatively large numbers of technical underlings at the bottom and fewer managers toward the top. Authority and responsibility (if not power) for ever broader line or staff functions increases toward the apex of the organizational pyramid; and because most personnel systems (certainly that of the federal government) are designed by management to reward the assumption of increasing managerial responsibility, to "get ahead" or "move up" in the modern organization is to move into management. This fact has faced all Apollo era NASA engineers. To the extent that the ethos and pragmatic necessities of management conflict with the vocation and technical necessities of engineers, that fact has been a ubiquitous source of discontent. 13
 As career employees in the federal government move upward in rank and salary through the GS (general schedule) system, some supervisory or management responsibilities begin to encroach upon job descriptions at the level of GS-13.14 At GS-15, under the federal government's personnel classification system instituted in 1979 during the presidency of Jimmy Carter, NASA engineers typically face entering the senior executive service or staying at GS-15, contenting themselves with periodic cost-of-living and performance-based raises. In those rare cases in which the "dual track" (parallel technical and management grade and salary sequences) has been effective, an engineer could rise to the level of GS-16 without moving into management. Generally, however, an engineer who declines to shift into management can expect his career, measured by rank and salary, to end at GS-13-and to forsake a roughly 25 percent increase in salary potential.
Thus, when one talks with NASA engineers from the Apollo era, one typically talks with men and women who are no longer working as engineers. More than fourfifths of them have gone into management positions, and, among the older engineers who were employed with NASA by 1960, over 90 percent are in management positions. Sharply confirming the managerial destiny of "successful" engineers is the fact that more than 85 percent of the engineers selected by NASA's top management in 1984 as representative NASA engineers were in fact working as managers; over four times as many of those "engineers" were in senior executive service positions as the average Apollo era engineer.15
One of a small minority of twenty-plus year engineers who did not go into management, Joe Lipshutz expressed as succinctly as any why the greater status and salary rewards in a large organization should be reserved for managers. "No employee should make more than his boss." And a "boss" is, by definition, a manager. "If the person is responsible, with a lot of people under him, directing everything, and he is a GS-15, then an engineer, who is working independently- why should he be a GS-15? He has no responsibility." As for himself, Lipshutz's career path came to a stop at GS-13-willingly, he insists: "Anybody that goes into management has got to be crazy. The headaches are not worth the money ... the paperwork that flows out of [NASA] headquarters and the requirements ... would drive me up the wall." Thus he implicitly accepts the hierarchical nature of rewards and responsibility in the large organization for which he, an engineer, works. He regards efforts to reduce the loss of engineering talent to managerial ranks through dual (technical and managerial) career ladders as bound to fail.
Ames Research Center, where Lipshutz works, introduced the dual career ladder "in theory.,' However, in his view, the notion never went much beyond theory. "We were told that engineers could reach the GS-15 level. In twenty-eight years I have known it to occur once, and that's just recently." Someone to whom it did occur, Jack Olsson, evidently displayed enough talent to be promoted to a GS15 staff engineer after resisting the temptation to seek a division-level management position Nor has he succumbed to the lure of the Senior Executive Service. "I'm at  the top of the grade; they can't give me any more money." The increase in salary few thousand dollars, he might get by entering the Senior Executive Service would be paltry compensation for the "headaches." A temporary stint as an assistant divisional manager taught him that the "intellectual" rewards of "research" far outweigh being mired in work that he "wasn't enjoying."
Time and time again, whether they moved into management or settled for GS12 or GS-13 positions, NASA engineers declare the "twin-track" (dual career) ladder a myth. A very senior level NASA engineer turned manager, David Strickland, is accustomed to circumlocution; he observes: "The two-track [career ladder]-we haven't fostered that particularly well." George Sieger at Johnson Space Center supposes that the technical career ladder does not work at his center because, unlike Ames, Johnson is not an R & D center. He attributes the failure of the dual-career concept at Johnson not only to his center's relative emphasis on human spaceflight operations, but on the federal government's civil service structure, which is embued with the same hierarchical structure of management responsibility, rather than personal professional achievement, found in more traditional organizations. The government, too, bows to the "organization man."
While ordinary engineers with no special talent or inclination for management could expect to move upward into management positions in NASA (as we shall see), the technical career ladder seems to have eluded all but the most exceptional engineers. John Songyin, who "got pretty much stuck at the GS-13 level" at Lewis Research Center, thinks that the dice were loaded against the technical career ladder when it was first instituted at Lewis. It "was set up such that it was very difficult to go up the technical side of the ladder ... you had to be at least [a] nationally recognized expert in order to go up that way, whereas it was much easier to go up the supervisory ladder." John Songyin's colleague Robert McConnell rose to the GS15 level by earning a doctorate in chemistry and becoming attached to a major research division at the center. He has managed, however, to avoid accumulating supervisory chores. Had he attempted to advance on a technical career ladder, "it would have been far tougher.... For years they've been talking about dual ladders, and every time they had a grand meeting of people in the auditorium somebody brings [sic] up the subject ... and the comment is, 'we're working on it.' [But] to become a GS-15 without having been a supervisor is nigh impossible."
About half of the handful of research GS-14s and GS-15s who McConnell can recall have had doctorates; but probably more important than a doctoral degree is whether an engineer has "something to show ... some finding ... an [industrial research] award, or a patent." At Marshall Space Flight Center "there is," according to propulsion engineer Sam Browning, "not really a technical ladder." The chances of moving beyond GS-13 in a nonsupervisory position are miniscule, "no matter how competent you are ... unless you've got a Ph.D." But getting a Ph.D. while holding down a job is tough and requires "a lot of spadework, a lot of cooperation from management on up the line to get it." He ponders: "If I could go back to the middle or fate '50s," when he began his career, "and know what I know now ... [I would] probably go for a Ph.D."
 Only at Goddard Space Flight Center did an engineer we interviewed vouch for a successful dual-career ladder. The ladder "works" at Goddard, where there are "a fair number of GS-14s" in technical positions. But the "standard's pretty high," adds Henry Beacham; "if the journeyman is a GS-13, a GS-14 should have a national reputation, and a GS-15 should have what amounts to an international reputation. That's very much harder for an engineer to do than a scientist.... At the GS-14 level, if a person has worked on projects where they [sic] get to challenge contractors like TRW or General Electric-all of those-and they turn out to be right more often than not, I think that counts."
Bill Cassirer of Langley Research Center, one of those rare engineers who managed to ascend to GS-16 as a research engineer, remembers a time when the technical career ladder was not even an option-however elusive. A well thought of research engineer, Cassirer struggled to keep up with his research while progressing to section head and branch head. "As a section head . . . I could do research almost 75 percent of the time. When I got to be a branch head it reached the point where sometimes I had to get my secretary to lie and say 'Bill's not here.' On the guise of working on highly classified information I had some frosted glass put on my doors so I could be in there working." Describing himself as a "research scientist," Cassirer is quite explicit about what establishes one's standing as an exceptional engineer: "patents" and "original theories."
There is, as Songyin's and Cassirer's observations suggest, another force at work in the failure of the dual-career ladder in NASA besides the hierarchical nature of conventional bureaucracies. Professions attempt to control behavior "standards" and economic security not only by limiting access (typically through awarding credentials), but also by regulating upward movement through definitions of "success." Notwithstanding their many differences, management and engineering share with all professions an inclination to attach status to the degree of remoteness from the practical and the particular. In this they echo a long-standing prejudice. For management, increasing remoteness from practical and particular concerns inheres in the hierarchical and typically centralized structure of power; headquarters is "where the action is." One's status is a function of where one is located, and where one is located determines what one does. Barriers to upward movement are as likely to be structural as they are to be personal.
In the learned professions, which include science and by extension research engineering' professional standing is largely independent from one's location within an organization. "Achievement" is defined and acknowledged by professional peers, and it is the judgment of peers that controls access to the "top" of the profession. Ascent on the technical ladder was, and probably remains, difficult for NASA engineers because the measures of achievement that signify whether they are worthy of ascent derive from a profession-science-that places a premium on novelty, for example, "patents" and "new theories," which is understood to be the result of intellectual rather than manual- or practical, or particular- preoccupations.
 A GS-12 with a Ph.D., Derek Roebling at Kennedy Space Center argues that "the way of advancing" in NASA "is not technical knowledge so much, or management knowledge so much, as [being] the man on the white horse, the leader, the hard-charger, the friend of management who gets things done.... I have a doctorate ... but I do not mention it. I do not want some guy who is a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering and cigar-chomping saying, 'God Damn! We don't want any Ph.D. professors or anything like that here!"' Robert Ostrand has a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. He works at Lewis Research Center, where he willingly moved into management, believing that his best years as an engineer were numbered. He has what he thinks is a "minority opinion" on the dual-career ladder: "Here," at Lewis, the "dual ladder is ... grossly overdone.... If there are certain very talented engineers, if they can show me that they can walk on water, [that] they're that good, I'll get them a GS-15. [But] in a center like this, that's one or two guys ... a small percentage of guys." To be an engineer talented enough to ascend to the same heights as a manager is to be part of a very small percentage-almost as small as those who "walk on water."
The care and feeding of the managerial hierarchy has limited opportunities for one of NASA's (and any similar organization's) essential resources- technical talent: "Our people," observes George Sieger of Johnson Space Center, "once they get to the journeyman level-there is no outlet for them except to become a manager or a flight director or move out of the organization. And that is unfortunate, because we need those steady-state GS-12s and GS-13s ... they are still the core of any organization. We have no advancement potential for those kinds of engineers."
Just how deadening thwarted aspiration can be when engineers realize that they can only "move up" by going into management-but that there are many fewer management positions than upward moving engineers to fill them-surfaces in the lament of one frustrated Langley engineer: "In January (1986) I'll get my last step of a GS-13. I have nowhere to go. If I can't go on the management side or something doesn't change for promotions on the technical side . . . something has got to change. I'm just typical. There's hundreds of me. That's my last salary increase. I don't count the cost of living raises because everybody gets them. Other than incentive awards, I have nowhere to go for another 19 or 20 years. You either leave, or you pull in and say, 'OK. If I've got nowhere to go, I'm just going to put my feet up on the desk and do what I have to do.' You know, you can't live that way if you really care."
When organizations complain of "brain drain," or of being unable to compete for good talent, they typically cite the inability to offer competitive salaries. But upward mobility-or lack of it-can be shaped as much by the kind of work attached to career advance as by the kind of money earned along the way. "A lot of the young guys," explains Richard Williams, a Kennedy Space Center engineer turned manager, "will ... stay around for four or five years and then they'll go to private industry where they really can design and can do real engineering. We're seeing this now-guys who have twenty years are applying  for an early out and going to work for contractors, so they can be engineers again."
The perception that NASA loses valuable engineering talent when engineers move into management in order to get ahead assumes that the failure of the technical career ladder stunts otherwise productive and continuously creative engineering careers. Some of NASA's Apollo era engineers, however, have been aware of the problem of obsolescence in engineering, and consider management a legitimate and productive alternative for engineers who have, perforce, accumulated some understanding of how technical programs work. Even if they are no longer in command of the details, they are, so to speak, ready to move from the particular to the general. Robert Strong, who experienced a successful career as both a research engineer and a NASA program manager, put it this way: "After you've been involved with technical problems for a long period of time, you find you get stale." He had observed that "when we started running projects . . . [there] were people who kind of got bored and reached the end. They couldn't see any more progress they were making in their own field. They wanted a change. Well, these people had enough technical depth and, with a little help, were able to manage projects and parts of projects very, very well when they were [with] people who knew enough about the ... project so that they could keep track of the main thrust of the effort."
There was a special reason for Philip Siebold's sensitivity to the time clock that shadows the modern engineer. Now at Johnson Space Center, Siebold began his career without benefit of an engineering degree. He paid his dues as a draftsman for the Martin Company and eventually, by going to night school, earned a B.S. in engineering at the age of 40. By that time, however, he realized he "couldn't compete technically with the 20-year-olds who were coming out of college with either masters or doctorates in technical fields. I had been spread out too long. What they needed is someone to direct them, to manage them." Recognizing that engineering management was the most likely alternative to the wasteland of obsolescence, Siebold entered a night school program in management; by the time he entered NASA in 1964, he was prepared for a second career. Richard Williams, who made the shift from engineering to management at age 30 when he left flight crew simulation for a unit coordinating domestic and foreign spacecraft manifests at Kennedy Space Center, is open and unassuming about his engineering abilities. Having left "handson" work, he misses it: "I do, and at the same time I don't.... I thoroughly enjoyed getting out in the field and being around the hardware.... I can go back and ... look at the hardware, which is still interesting to me. But from an engineering standpoint, I don't know that I could engineer my way out of a paper bag anymore."
Obsolescence is undoubtedly a difficult subject for those whose career fortunes depend on a profession that thrives on the accretion of knowledge. That may account for the fact that far more engineers complain that the lack of a true dual-career ladder frustrates careers than acknowledge the possibility that management offers a second chance for most engineers who-under the press of daily work-  simply cannot keep up. Whether technical obsolescence sets in before or after engineers shift to management is a difficult question to answer. More pertinent to understanding the organizations in which engineers work, not to mention the quality of their own second careers, is the question of how well they fare as managers.
NASA engineers experience management in two ways-as technical managers (managers of projects and tasks having little continuous involvement with the same people), and as managers of people (or of organizational units having the same personnel). Those who have spent some time in organizational management recognize that there is a qualitative difference between "good" engineering and "good" management, and that a system that rewards good engineering with a promotion into a management position risks promoting ill-equipped managers. The qualities these engineers cite as important to good managers all require a high degree of insight, empathy, and selflessness in dealing with others-the gift of dealing well with people. "Good managers are people oriented," insists Ed Collins at Langley Research Center, "and not all technical and research people are people oriented. Many of them are loners.... Many of the managers that are in line now ... should be back in the lab. And some of them came up through the buddy system.... They were very good men technically, but it was overlooked . . . [whether] they could work with people and really handle people and inspire. I think a manager should be able to inspire his people to work for him." A good manager is "kind of like a teacher," observes veteran NASA engineer and manager Robert Strong.
"What I learned," reflects George Sieger, "from the people who were ... good managers-I can go back to high school: a teacher in high school ... taught me that if you develop positive attitudes, things are going to happen." When, as a young aircraft flight data analyst, Sieger had no idea whether his work was good or not, his boss "made me think it was beautiful," and thus gave him confidence to try new things. Sieger remembers every good manager he has had. One taught him "precision." Another taught him "to use your mind, to not accept the obvious as the solution." And another taught him "finesse." Imagination, courage-"all of these things . . . are part of this puzzle every human being represents." Good management is also "leadership ... being able to ... anticipate ... to mobilize resources, to move into a posture where you're always looking to find a way to end this job in the belief that there's another one downstream that's equally interesting, more challenging.... Management is turning people on." The qualities that make for a good teacher can require a lifetime of learning. Good managers "evolve," echoes Fred Hauser at Marshall Space Flight Center; "I don't think you can teach them to be a manager ... by trial and error, the leaders just come to the surface."
However, the components of "leadership" are open to debate. Those with a genuine sympathy for people tend to see leadership as a matter of creatively "drawing out" (the literal meaning of education) the inherent potential in others, while NASA engineers whose own career goals have stressed technical achievement measure leadership by the extent to which one can induce others to work to preestablished organizational goals. The difference is subtle-the latter view both drawing its energy from and reinforcing greater anxiety over organizational control.
 Joseph Totten has a confident, creative attitude toward management similar to that of George Sieger. "I'd like to think that I have some unique managerial capabilities that have gotten me where I am. I seem to be able to get along very well with people.... I don't have too much trouble negotiating things. People find it easy to work for me, and I find it very easy to get people to do things that need to be done.... What I try to do is make sure that they understand that I'm not going to be hard on them every minute of every day.... They're in a position where I give them responsibilities and I expect them to go ahead and practice that responsibility . . . stay out of their hair, give them what they need. If they have any problems they can't handle, then I'm here for consultation."
Sieger's and Totten's views of good management contrast with that of Jack Olsson. For Olsson, the manager's role is essentially instrumental: it is to help his people succeed by the organization's rules rather than to develop personally and professionally per se. Each individual has a " limited growth path," he explains, and the good manager has "to try to develop that path for that person and point out to him where he's deficient and how he needs to write more reports ... or something in order to get the kind of recognition that's necessary to move up the ladder, both professionally and financially. So there's a lot of counseling of people and appraising their work." From Robert Ostrand's perspective, effective management is largely the same process: since (he claims) 20 percent of the people "make 80 percent of the significant accomplishments," a manager needs to know who they are and "take care of them." (Ostrand is not clear about what he should do with the other 80 percent.) Like so many of NASA's engineers turned managers, he had not been "planning on being a manager. It used to scare the hell out of me whenever I thought about it.... When I became a manager for the first time, I had all these guys, and I said to myself, 'All these guys are sitting there and they're waiting for me to tell them what to do....' It was terrible. But I soon learned to tell them." Werner Posen at Marshall Space Flight Center believes that management requires, most of all , "leadership talent." This, he thought, he had: the "talent to make people like to do what you want them to do . . . that was a reinforcing process, which led me more and more into management." A twenty year plus veteran like Posen, Bill Cassirer agrees: "What makes a good manager is to recognize the type of ... people he has working under him and then do whatever is necessary to get the best output out of his whole people."
However, virtually every engineer we talked with insisted that engineers, by inclination and experience, are not natural managers. And, because most of those interviewed have become managers, that they think so suggests that "moving up" has meant a struggle to adapt to careers for which they have little interior motivation other than the desire to get ahead. First, the reason some engineers are chosen for management is one of the principal reasons they have difficulty as managers. "We have a tendency to reward our highly capable technical people by putting them into management,'' comments Marshall engineer Joseph Totten, who has happened  upon the "Peter Principle" (organizations tend to promote people to their levels of incompetence) 16 Unfortunately, a gift for the concrete particulars of a problem does not necessarily translate into the general outlook managers need to flex with the unpredictable, the persistent fact of life in organizations. "That's a very tough adjustment, going from an engineer ... to a manager," concedes Robert Ostrand, who moved between several engineering and supervisory jobs while working his way to the GM-15 level at Lewis Research Center. Ostrand shifted "from a very detailed -I was working, you know, a one-inch square a mile deep as a researcher.... All of a sudden I'm in a great area where I'm working a mile square a millimeter deep. And that's what you do." "Sometimes" managers are "not as well rounded as they ought to be," echoes another Marshall engineer.
The trouble with managers who were once engineers is that "once an engineer, you're always a tinkerer," offers John Robertson at Johnson Space Center, another GS-15. A younger colleague of his in the same center explains: engineers "can't get away from the engineering side; they've got to do all the details." A proclivity toward meddlesome management-an inability to delegate-does not, however, seem to be the largest problem facing engineers as prospective managers. The problem that casts the largest shadow over these engineers turned managers is the problem of temperament, about which they are both explicit and articulate:
"Engineers got into engineering because they didn't like to deal with people. They like to deal with things that have definitive answers which you could reach by a fairly clear set of processes.... They make lousy managers."17 Or "Quite often your engineers . . . wouldn't recognize an emotion if it hit them in the face . . . some of them are not people oriented at all." 18 Or "I'm not really convinced that engineers make the best managers. Engineers tend not to be the kind of 'people persons' who good managers should be."19 0r "I don't believe a successful engineer necessarily becomes a successful manager." ... Technicians "really don't interface with outside people.... A manager has to be prepared to do that." 20 Or "I know people" who "just are not people persons. They get along with people, but they can't hardly manage their own time, or selves, let alone other people and an organization."21 Bob Jones, a GS-14 rocket engineer assigned to Kennedy Space Center, is the most succinct of all: "Engineers-like I said of myself: I related to things."
Whether these engineers and others like them have absorbed a stereotype of engineers or truly experience a profound awkwardness with the more intractable universe of personalities and feelings is hard to say. But the consequences are likely to be the same. Common experience tells us that those who feel confident about what they do are more likely to enjoy their work, and to be adventuresome in their work, than are those who are haunted by a fear of making mistakes. "You can tell the technicians who have become managers by the fact that they are probably . . . the few people wearing white shirts and ties," remarks Ed Beckwith at Langley Research Center. Being at ease with people is an essential ingredient in the fine art of persuasion, without which few managers succeed for long.
It is not only the NASA managers themselves who suffer from the lack of confidence with which they, former engineers, appear to have moved into management. The engineers they leave behind as their subordinates suffer, denied the  personal skills and sympathies of the good supervisor upon whom their own success partly depends. "We're so science, technology, engineering oriented that we have forgotten the human side.... Engineers are kind of selfish people. Their projects come first. And the people themselves are kind of pushed off to the side." Bettylou Sanders, a Johnson Space Center engineer in a GS-13 managerial spot, reflects a bit further: "I'm not sure that we always get the best product, because we have unsatisfied people."
NASA, like most large corporations, offers management education programs with varying degrees of emphasis on "sensitivity training." Yet the engineers we interviewed tend to agree that the qualities that make for a good manager of people cannot be taught (although they may, through experience, be acquired). Periodic instruction in management philosophies and techniques does not appear to compensate for an organizational culture that has difficulty identifying and promoting good managers. Yes, many engineers may not be "natural" managers, even though management is the principal upward career path open to them. And yes, there may be some confusion about what "good" management is, as NASA engineers turned managers commend management styles that range from the highly permissive to the manipulative. But there are also aspects of management (probably not unique to NASA) that appear to make it just plain unappealing.
An engineer who remained an engineer, Ed Beckwith has avoided the predicament of the middle manager. Once a NASA engineer goes into a management job, he can expect to spend the rest of his time "checking budgets . .. defending what we are doing" and enduring the "frustration involved [in] dealing with ... upper management.... The red tape involved in doing this and the red tape involved in doing that .. . the frustration of a lot of wheel spinning." The problem with management is "we've got to take all this crap!" At Lewis Research Center it is not much different: "Our branch chiefs and section heads," complains Robert McConnell, "don't know what's going on.... They're much too interested in getting money from here to support [them], and money from there, and getting this report in every week and every month."
The dissipation of energies into paper-shuffling and mendicancy (even more necessary as NASA budgets declined after 1968) may be intensified by the fragmentation which threatens any large organization that, like NASA, attempts to sustain a multitude of programs, projects, and installations. Charles Stern has been a division-level manager at NASA Headquarters for much of his career. If the agency has a unified sense of purpose, it will be communicated outward from Headquarters, or not at all. While Headquarters attempts "oversight and coordination ... management in the broad sense," he reflects, "the degree to which the plans of the various organizations are [truly] coordinated, the degree to which they all seem to be oriented to a common future ... is usually nil." Part of the problem is that NASA, unlike a large private corporation, is constantly poised between the competing interests of government: competing contractors, competing political constituencies,  their surrogates within the federal bureaucracy, the White House on one hand and the Congress on the other. Administrator James E. Webb, a veteran of the Bureau of the Budget who stood at NASA's helm for much of the Apollo decade, made a virtue out of necessity. He resisted efforts at centralized, long-term planning in the agency, arguing that NASA's purpose in life was the legitimate business of the political process and thus always subject to change. Adaptability, and not single-minded attachment to purpose, should be the hallmark of a well-managed federal agency.
Struggling against the centrifugal tendencies caused by limited resources and bureaucratic particularism, and pulled at the periphery by competing political constituencies, managers may be tempted to retreat into the niceties of organization charts and chains of commands. When asked to talk about management in NASA, Pamela Donaldson, one of the few high-ranking women managers in NASA, described at great length who reported to whom in an elaborate hierarchical mix of line and staff positions. Most NASA managers, however, seem to recognize that effective managing in any organization depends on the ability not only to reinforce good managers and the qualities that produce them, but to transmit those qualities to younger staff "on the way up.
The temperamental unsuitability of many engineers for work that requires constant and effective interaction with others, and the centrifugal tug and pull that act on an organization like NASA, translate daily into a shortage of time and attention for the "drawing out" that George Sieger described as he talked of how he learned to be a good manager from other good managers. At Ames Research Center, Herman Sabado has spent a year or so managing an interplanetary probe project. But he laments that he has not had the kind of mentoring from a senior manager that would enable him to feel more prepared for the work he is now doing. What he means by mentoring is help in mapping out a career that takes account of stages of preparation and ability, and then some help in following the map. "To some extent," he confides, "I feel a little uneasy that I really don't know what I'm doing in management." NASA did send him to some management courses, "but I really felt that I should have done that before I got the management position." Notwithstanding ample amounts of paperwork, "even now, I really do not consider myself a real manager in the sense of 'I have my own project, and I'm going to manage it."'
"Because we are all engineers and not humanists," speculates Bob Jones, "there hasn't been a focused, concerted effort to ... develop a new generation of good second line management." Joseph Totten, who speaks from the experience of a senior executive, echoes Jones's observation: "We have done a fairly poor job of developing real managers." If Jones and Totten are right, everything they and their colleagues have said about the problems that face NASA's engineers turned managers would be explanation enough. Still, they work at managing, and some evidently take managing as a new profession very seriously-perhaps too seriously, as if to justify severing their roots in their technical origins. "Now, in the recent history of NASA," reflects NASA veteran (and manager) at Ames Research Center Abraham Bauer, "there's been a movement toward ... managers who almost take pride in not being technically [involved]." He contrasts this trend with the "early history" of Ames, when the center was managed by "technically oriented managers"  who understood and cared about decisions that had technical aspects to them, such as "whether a laboratory should engage in certain areas of work." Bauer attributes the change to "modern management" ideas in vogue during the 1970s, and especially the influence of management schools which thrived on the notion that good managers could be trained by studying "management" practices and principles detached from the content of the enterprise they would be expected to manage. He deplores this notion, insisting that "if you want to have a strong research laboratory, you want to have strong technical people running it." His conviction reinforces the promotion of engineers to management positions and defies the conventional wisdom that engineers do not naturally make good managers. '`Enough do," he counters, recalling the career of E. O. Lawrence (for whom the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif. is named), inventor of the cyclotron and a 1939 Nobel laureate in physics. "I'm sure that the man had the ability to work with other people, because there was a whole generation of disciples of his who became famous physicists."
Ultimately, believes Bauer, good management in technical institutions amounts to "leadership by example." Good managers in laboratories like Ames Research Center exemplify "resourcefulness, creativity." When he began working at Ames as a younger man, "there was a resourceful, creative person at the top. And his ideas kind of trickled down to others so that people ended up doing important research who, if they were just thrown out on their own, would never have done extremely important research.... Right now, individuals are being called upon to be these things [resourceful, creative] on their own.... I do not see present managers as being mentors. Period."
Abraham Bauer's somewhat unconventional view raises the interesting possibility that, in fact, engineers are neither more or nor less suited to become managers than are lawyers, physicians, or members of other "learned" professions. Given the subjective character of most notions of "good" management-relying, as they do, on accumulated, anecdotal experiences that are difficult to objectify, perhaps NASA's engineers do themselves a disservice. Perhaps they have accepted more than they should a stereotype of the engineer that portrays him (and occasionally her) as incompetent in a world of personalities, feelings, and the technically intractable. Some NASA engineers have gone into management, liked it, and succeeded at it; as Bauer suggests, perhaps "enough do."
One out of five of the NASA managers we spoke with confessed to enjoying management (and one can assume that if they enjoyed it, they were successful at it). The reasons they gave for liking managing mirror the range of notions they and their peers have about what makes a good manager. Just as notions of good management in NASA vary in emphasis from permissive to manipulative roles, those who enjoy managing do so for reasons that range from an apparently genuine pleasure in the creative challenge of working effectively with people to the psychic and monetary rewards of managerial power and status.
Elizabeth Mueller came to Goddard Space Flight Center with a background in mathematics and worked her way up as a computer software specialist for various unmanned satellite projects. She distinguishes between project management and  "line management," or managing organizational units, for which she has declined "many jobs." "If you're in a line organization, you're generally . . . managing people, but you're not doing quite so much of the technical work.... You're not outside the organization interfacing; I have never been interested in doing that." In contrast, she enjoys project management because "I like to find [technical] requirements, deal with the outside world, the experimenters [and] the contractors." Although she seems to shrink from the unremitting interpersonal aspect of line management, clearly "interfacing"-where the solution to a complex technical problem is at stake-is something she relishes.
Mueller's colleague, Henry Beacham, finds management rewarding for a similar reason: he likes "trying to make a contribution, trying to figure out what people want to do and fitting that into what needs to be done-trying to make people want to do what needs to be done." The challenge involves both people and technical experience: while working with people is "what you do do ... you have to have the outline of it [the technical problem] in your own mind pretty clearly before you want to ask people to do it." What motivates Beacham is the creative aspect of managing people doing technical work. A similar kind of creativity is the source of the satisfaction John Robertson has gotten out of his work managing engineers in a line organization at Johnson Space Center. Having chosen an engineering career to begin with in anticipation of moving into management later, he relishes what he experiences as "an interesting and very challenging job." What is interesting for him is "trying to get all of these people talking together and trying to reach a consensus." He agrees with a NASA Space Station Freedom project manager who observed: "Our job is ... to be missionaries."
The satisfaction Joseph Totten gets from his own work in line management- the satisfaction of working easily with people who seem to find it easy to work with him-is no doubt partially a function of his view of what constitutes good management. That view is a permissive one, one that sees the manager as an enabler of others' talents and development. There are other NASA engineers turned managers who share Totten's outlook. At Kennedy Space Center, for example, Richard Williams talks of the "rewards that go along with" meeting the "challenge of people, how to keep people meaningfully employed.... I'm extending myself to my guys that are out in the field. I have seven NASA fellows and three support contractor guys. The support contractor fellows are all young, fresh out of school engineers, and I look at them and it just amazes me, because . . . none of them had any field experience up until the time that they joined my group here.... It's a whole new world for them, and they thoroughly enjoy it. " Hank Smith, who oversees contractors doing facilities engineering, gets some of the same satisfaction out of his work. "I enjoy managing engineering.... I love it; I really do. I've taken short courses [in management], attended schools here and there on management.... I've always enjoyed people. And it's a people business now."
If management offers the satisfaction of working creatively through others, it also offers some relief from the powerlessness often felt by those who are typically at the receiving end of an organization's directives. Top executives will dispute whether they have much real power over events, but it is the perception of greater  authority and status that matters. Although Ed Collins never did achieve his ambition to enter management, he has found some compensation in the fact that, as a project engineer, "I do have a title now." Working in her center's central administrative organization, Eleanor Finch at Kennedy Space Center likes management because "I have more options now. If I really don't want to do something, I can always delegate it to somebody else." After fifteen years in engineering, Werner Posen made a shrewd assessment of where the power lay and began his own shift into management. "You are part of a system," he explains; "you see who is calling the shots, and you see [that] sometimes you work under people who make decisions that you would do differently.... Who is calling the shots? Do you just want to do your thing? How about money? How about prestige?"
Because the authority that an engineer has depends as much on the currency of his or her technical knowledge as on simple talent, that authority declines with the onset of obsolescence (unless, of course, an engineer manages to remain current while working). However, a manager's authority is cumulative, and authority for the manager typically increases the longer he (or she) manages, learning to "work" an organization's administrative procedures, personalities, and clientele. Robert Ostrand seems to have grasped this intuitively early in his career, when he realized that the day would come when (as an engineer) he would face his own obsolescence and would have to go into management if he wanted to continue to "get ahead." "I'll tell you something I learned ... the hard way," he says, reflecting on the misery of the "reduction in force" Lewis Research Center had to institute in the late 1960s. "Forty-year old engineers, or older, are very difficult to sell because usually they've worked for twenty years.... It isn't that they aren't competent; but a company can ... go and get a young kid out of school and after two years they'll be able to do the same thing as that forty-year-old engineer.... If you're an engineer and you're doing pure engineering and you're over forty years old, you're in a high-risk profession.... That's not true of managers. Hell, I can go out and-you know, I'm sixty years old-I can go out and get a hell of a good job today if I want to."
For all the creative excitement that surrounded the early years of the U.S. space program, NASA's engineers have been and appear to be still men (and women) caught in the middle. They have seen public accolades, influence, and status conferred upon scientists, whose ideology scorned the "material needs of life" to which engineers devoted their "art." Yet scientists have not been bashful about claiming the practical results of engineering as mere applications of their own abstract speculations, "untainted [as Plutarch wrote] by the claims of necessity." The ambivalence and confusion with which American institutions deal with science and engineering is enormous, and it has become internalized by many engineers, resulting in a true problem of vocational identity. Institutionalized "research" has offered the engineer a role that is less fraught with ideological biases and generally understood to be both cerebral and practical; "research" has crossed the chasm that  Archimedes cut when he pronounced engineering "ignoble and sordid," but the speculations of science full of "beauty" and "subtlety."
Most of us do not live by vocation alone; aspirants to the salaried middle class must work and transform a vocation into a career. When NASA's engineers mapped out or stumbled forward in their careers, they discovered that they could not normally make much of a life-long career out of engineering-even engineering as "research." The hierarchical organization in which they have worked (and in which most engineers work), has managers, not engineers, at its apex. For most of them neither temperament nor education equipped them for the daily stuff of management. Their peers at private research and development organizations like MITRE Corporation and RAND Corporation, which benefit from federal funds without the burdens of federal personnel rigidities, no doubt experience greater career mobility.
Haunted by technical obsolescence, tempted by the relative status, monetary rewards, and the power of management, most NASA engineers have willingly "moved up" in the organization only to experience a good bit of frustration. The "technical career" ladder seems to have offered some hope-but not much. There seems to be enough apparent ambivalence about whether engineers really have much creative ability left in them after mid-life to sap the support for a viable alternative to management as the culmination of an engineer's career. A few engineers adapt, and adapt quite well, finding that they can operate in the human dimension effectively, and with considerable personal satisfaction. But in the end, the fact remains that they are neither true scientists nor true managers. They are engineers. NASA's Apollo era engineers can take some consolation from the fact that the factors that contribute to their situation-the ideological prejudice that venerates science while exploiting the works of engineers, or the hierarchical organization that reserves the top for managers (owners of all modern enterprises having become so remote as to be virtually invisible)-affect, to a greater or lesser degree, the working lives of salaried engineers in every modern research and development organization.
1. Plutarch, Makers of Rome: Nine Lives by Plutarch, Ian Scott-Kilvert, translator. New York: Viking Penguin, 1986, pp. 96-105.
2. Donnell W. Dutton, "A Brief History of Aerospace Engineering Education and Curriculum Changes," January 1982 (NASA History Office).
3. See Edwin T. Layton, Jr., The Revolt of the Engineers: Social Responsibility and the American Engineering Profession (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1971, 1986 ed.); Peter Meiksins, "The 'Revolt of the Engineers' Reconsidered," Technology and Culture, Vol. 29, No.2 (April, 1988), 219-246; Thomas P. Hughes, ed., Changing Attitudes Toward American Technology (New York: Harper & Row, 1975); Daniel S. Greenberg, The Politics of Pure Science (New York: New American Library, 1967); Don K. Price, The Scientific Estate (Cambridge: Harvard University Press,1965); Amitai Etzioni and Clyde Nunn, "The Public Appreciation of Science in Contemporary  America," Daedalus, Vol.103, No.3 (Summer 1974),191-205; Theodore Roszak, "The Monster and the Titan: Science, Knowledge and Gnosis," Daedalus, Vol. 103, No. 3 (Summer, 1974), 17-32; Richard R. Nelson, "The Economics of Invention: A Survey of the Literature", The Journal of Business, Vol. 32, No.2 (April 1959),101-127; Chalmers W. Sherwin and Raymond S. Isenson, "Project Hindsight: A Defense Department Study of the Utility of Research," Science, Vol.156 (June 23,1967),15711577; Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute, Technology in Retrospect and Critical Events in Science, Report to the National Science Foundation (Chicago: Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute, 1968); Sylvia Doughty Fries, "Expertise Against Politics: Technology as Ideology on Capitol Hill, 1966-1972," Science, Technology & Human Values, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Spring 1983), 6-15; and Sylvia D. Fries, "The Ideology of Science during the Nixon Years: 1970-76," Social Studies of Science, Vol. 14, No. 3 (August 1984), 323-341.
4. See Sylvia D. Fries, "The Ideology of Science During the Nixon Years: 1970-76," Social Studies of Science, Vol. 14, No. 3 (August 1984).
5. NASA summaries of its civil service workforce during the 1960s included, within the general category of "scientists and engineers," "occupational codes" 200 (general scientists and engineers), 700 (aerospace scientists and engineers), and 900 (primarily life sciences). The remaining occupational codes were 300 (technical support), 600 (professional administrative), 500 (primarily clerical), and 100 (trades and labor).
6. Common experience tells us that a job classification or title does not necessarily reflect the actual content of the work being performed, or the training and skills being brought to that work.
7. Physics, chemistry, biology, biochemistry, physiology, zoology, astronomy, geophysics, earth sciences, "other science."
8. NASA's Apollo era scientists and engineers (those who remained with the agency) were overwhelmingly white males (see table 8)]. The "nominee" group would undoubtedly have reflected the virtually uniform racial and gender composition of the larger population had it not been for the fact that the number of nominees from NASA's Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (52 names) was twice the average for all NASA's organizational elements combined (25 names).
9. J. Merton England, A Patron for Pure Science: The National Science Foundation's Formative Years, 1945-57 (Washington, D.C.: National Science Foundation, 1982). By its last year of operations, 1949, the ONR was spending about $20 million on 1200 projects in 200 institutions benefiting nearly 3000 scientists and 2500 graduate students. Committee on Science and Public Policy, National Academy of Sciences, Federal Support of Basic Research in Institutions of Higher Learning (Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, 1964).
10. The amount spent by federal agencies on contract research at American colleges and universities increased from $150 million in 1950 to $450 million in 1960. John S.  Brubacher and Willis Rudy, Higher Education in Transition: A History of American Colleges and Universities, 1636-1976 (New York: Harper & Row, 1976); Frederick Rudolph, The American College and University: A History (New York: Vintage Books, 1962); Federal Support of Basic Research in Institutions of Higher Learning, Ibid.; Committee on Science and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives (99-2), Science Support by the Department of Defense: Science Policy Study Background Report No. 8 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Superintendent of Documents, 1986), chapter III; National Patterns of R&D Resources: Funds & Manpower in the United States, 1953-70 NSF 69-30 (Washington, D.C.: National Science Foundation, 1969).
11. See chapters 1 and 2.
12. "Gofer" is a euphemism for an errand boy or girl.
13. For commentary on management as a dimension of the careers and professional identity of engineers, see Edwin T. Layton, Jr., The Revolt of the Engineers: Social Responsibility and the American Engineering Profession, 2nd ed. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press,1986), especially chapter I; and Robert Zussman, Mechanics of the Middle Class: Work and Politics Among American Engineers (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), pp.151-154, 140-145.
14. An alternate "merit pay" series, GM-3 through GM-15, encompasses management and supervisory positions for which promotions are based on periodic performance evaluations rather than automatic serial pay increases.
15. See table 4.
16. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull, The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong (New York: Morrow, 1971).
17. Henry Beacham, a senior executive at Goddard Space Flight Center.
18. Hank Martin, a GS-14 at Goddard Space Flight Center
19. Jack Olsson, an engineer at Ames Research Center who opted out of management.
20. Ed Beckwith, a non-supervisory GS-13 at Langley Research Center.
21. Richard Williams, a GS-12 at Kennedy Space Center.