Engineered devices are all around us.
我们身边全是机械电子产品。

From cell phones and computers to hybrid cars and deep-water oil platforms, advances in engineering are profoundly changing our lives. But concerns are growing that public understanding of how these technologies work - and how they impact our society and the environment - is not keeping pace.
从手机、电脑到混合动力汽车以及深水钻井平台,工程技术的进步正在深刻地改变我们的生活。但是,越来越多的人担心,公众对这些技术产品的工作原理,以及这些产品对我们社会和环境影响的了解没有同步前进。

To help bridge this knowledge gap, the engineering community is increasingly turning to science journalism.
为了填补这一知识空缺,工程学界日益依赖科学新闻。

Recognizing engineering in the news

Only 1 in every 800 people in the United State is a professional engineer. That leaves many Americans without the technical knowledge, or vocabulary, to make sense of today's complex, technology-driven world.
美国800个人当中才有一个工程师。这就是说,美国很多人没有技术知识或词汇来理解在当今世界占据重要地位的复杂技术。

But science journalists - some armed with advanced scientific degrees of their own - are helping to translate those complex stories into terms lay audiences can understand. Scientific organizations are welcoming this effort. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers recently created the IEEE USA Journalism award to honor the work of science journalists.
但是,科学记者正在把一些复杂的技术问题转换成一般听众读者也可以理解的新闻报导。一些科学记者本人就有科学学科的高学位。科学界的一些组织对此表示欢迎。美国电子和机电产品工程学会最近设立了美国电子和机电产品工程学会新闻奖,奖励科学新闻记者的杰出工作。

Nita Patel, the institute's vice president of communications and public awareness, says the award was created to promote engineering and science writing so the public can learn how their lives are impacted by technology.
学会负责新闻和公众教育的副会长尼塔·帕特尔说:“这个奖的宗旨是用于奖励工程学和科学新闻写作。这种新闻让人们不仅可以知道一些技术事实,而且也可以知道从事科学研究、技术研究和工程设计的人如何影响到他们的生活。”

Engineering on the radio

Randy Atkins of the National Academy of Engineering was one of this year's winners.
美国国家工程学院的兰地·阿特金斯是今年的科学新闻获奖者之一。

He was recognized for his weekly Engineering Innovation podcast, which adds technical context to issues in the news, such as the safety features on the space shuttle.
他每个星期制作“工程创新”节目,并通过互联网进行广播,对新闻中涉及的技术问题进行解释。这些问题包括航天飞机的安全设计。

His minute-long reports air during rush hour, providing commuters with a quick look into what is going on in the fields of engineering. Atkins says journalists these days don't try hard enough to convey the important issues behind the news of the day.
他制作的只有一分钟长的报导在人们开车上下班的时候广播,让上下班的人在路上就可以迅速了解工程设计界的新鲜事。阿特金斯说,公众得到的这类技术信息还远远不够。

"There is engineering - I believe - behind almost every news story. The audience is intelligent and I think they would crave this information if journalists would just take the time to give it to them."
他说:“说实话,我很希望有更多的记者能重点报导这类新闻。我觉得,如今的新闻报导没有作出足够的努力报导重要的新闻,以及新闻背后的故事。记者只是报导容易报导的问题。我认为,几乎在每一条新闻背后都有工程技术问题。听众是聪明的。我认为,假如记者肯花时间进行报导,听众是渴望得到这类信息的。”

Scientists of tomorrow

The other winner of this year's IEEE USA Journalism Award is Holly Morris of Fox News DC, a local TV station in the nation's capital.
今年美国电子和机电产品工程学会新闻奖的另一个得主是美国首都华盛顿的地方电视台福克斯新闻的霍利·莫里斯。在每天早晨的新闻报导中,莫里斯负责报导社区新闻。

During the morning newscast, Morris covers events in the community, and IEEE recognized her for her report on the 2009 National Engineers Week Future City Competition.
美国电子和机电产品工程学会给她颁奖,表彰她对2009年全国工程师周未来城市竞赛的报导。

The contest challenges middle school students to design the cities of tomorrow, addressing engineering issues like energy generation, water treatment and infrastructure to ease emergency response. Morris - who has a degree in civil and environmental engineering - says projects like this can inspire kids to pursue careers in engineering, and also help create a dialogue that may one day lead to important advances.
参加这一竞赛的中学生要设计未来的城市,解决如能源生产、水处理、应急基本设施等工程学问题。莫里斯拥有土木和环境工程学学位。她说,这类项目可以让学生立志追求工程设计方面的职业,也有助于集思广益,说不定有一天能导致重大的技术进步。

"It's the good old fashioned concept of brainstorming. I want to listen to what you have to say because what you have to say might then be the catalyst to help me come up with something that is gonna eventually be the answer."
她说:“这些学生的想法可能会成为至关重要的想法。工程师并不总是绝顶聪明的人,让人无从捉摸,无从理解。我们应当建立这种对话。好的想法是从另外一些想法来的。这就是所谓的集思广益。我愿意听听你有什么见解,因为你的见解说不定是一种催化剂,可以帮助我想出什么来,最终能够解决问题。”

Explaining the engineering behind oil drilling

As new technologies are put to use in so many areas, the need for this type of journalism is especially important, according to Wilson Lowrey, a University of Alabama journalism professor.
阿拉巴马大学新闻学教授威尔逊·劳里说,随着新技术应用于如此之多的领域,这类新闻报导也变得尤其重要。

The lead author of a recent study of media communications during disasters, Lowrey stresses the importance of explaining the inherent complexities of today's technologies to the general public, an especially relevant topic with the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico
劳里是最近一项有关灾难发生期间媒体通讯的研究的主要作者。劳里强调,新闻报导向公众解释当今技术的内在复杂性具有重要意义。在墨西哥湾发生原油泄漏危机之后,这更是一个重要的话题。

"For example, in the situation with the Gulf, [if we were to say] 'Well, BP did the wrong thing. That's a bad company. They made bad decisions.' If that's the lesson learned - and maybe I'm opinionating here - but I think that's the wrong direction to go. I think we also, at least, need to look at the question of well, what about our energy policy? Should we be drilling to the bottom of the ocean at all?"
劳里说:“在墨西哥湾发生的情况中,BP石油公司做事不当,做出了一些错误的决定,是一个不好的公司。或许我是在这里发表个人见解,但是,假如我们学到的教训就是这些的话,我认为我们就错了。我认为我们至少也需要看一看,我们的能源政策到底有没有问题?我们是否真的应该在海底开采石油?”

These are the types of questions that the IEEE USA Journalism award-winners are asking - while educating the public on the technological capabilities and exploring the limitations of our scientific community.
获得美国电子和机电产品工程学会新闻奖的记者提出的就是这些问题。他们向公众提供技术方面的信息,也让公众知道科学界的局限所在。