Elon Musk’s election as a member of the National Academy of Engineering, true or false?

Tesla founder, rocket company SpaceX, brain-computer interface company Neuralink, billionaire, entrepreneur eager to explore space… These are some of Elon Musk's many identities.

Not long ago, after the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) announced the list of additional academicians of the National Academy of Engineering in 2021, Musk, who was listed on the list of 111 new members and 22 international members, has another identity – an academician.

▲ Picture from: INDEPENDENT

In the public information of the National Academy of Engineering, Musk's column shows: founder, CEO and chief engineer, SpaceX. Breakthroughs in the design, engineering, manufacture and operation of reusable launch vehicles and sustainable transportation and energy systems.

▲ Picture from: NAE

It can be seen that, as the CEO and chief engineer of SpaceX, Musk was selected as an academician by the National Academy of Engineering because of his achievements in SpaceX.

After the list of academicians was announced, Musk retweeted the National Academy of Engineering's tweet through his personal social media, with the caption: "Much appreciated!" (Thank you very much).

▲ Picture from: Twitter

After seeing Musk being elected as an academician, various voices emerged. Some netizens on social media expressed congratulations, and some netizens questioned: "You are not an engineer, so how much did you spend to become an academician?"

Netizens think that Musk's academician status is "unworthy of the name". It is not difficult to understand the question. Academicians are synonymous with "scientists" in the eyes of many people, and Musk, as an entrepreneur, seems to be somewhat "incompatible" with this identity. In fact, the nouns in the cognition of American academicians and many people may be different.

▲ Picture from: Getty Images

Founded in 1964, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is a non-profit non-governmental organization in the United States, affiliated with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), responsible for carrying out engineering projects that are needed by the country, oriented by education and research, and recognize and affirm engineers their values ​​and achievements. There are currently 2,388 US members and 310 international members.

New NAE members are elected for a one-year period for those who have made "significant contributions to engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, the engineering literature," "pioneering emerging and developing fields of technology, in traditional fields" Outstanding Contribution to Significant Progress" and "Development/implementation of innovative approaches to engineering education".

▲ Picture from: NAE

The meaning of "academician" varies from country to country. For example, academicians in China usually refer to academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences or the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and there are strict review systems and election procedures. After being elected, in addition to the highest academic title, the government will also issue special allowances for academicians.

The difference is that academicians in the United States are more like "members", which represent an academic honor that has no economic and administrative significance, nor is it the highest academic title, and has no social status and material benefits. to a noticeable change.

▲ Picture from: NAE

It is worth mentioning that the technology website "Tech Times" made this evaluation in its report on Musk's election as an academician: "Musk is an engineer and businessman who has participated in many companies and projects, which have made him what he is now. …Because he was an engineer and understands what's going on in these processes, [hence] was able to successfully start these companies and help them grow."

The report also mentioned: “The appointment of this CEO by the National Academy of Engineering is just right for his role in SpaceX.” Judging from the evaluation and NAE’s election standards, it is not unreasonable for Musk to become an academician.

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