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Citizen Engineer: A Handbook for Socially Responsible Engineering Paperback – September 7, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0137143924 ISBN-10: 0137143923 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (September 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0137143923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137143924
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Just as the atomic bomb brought us the citizen scientist, the computer has brought us the citizen engineer. This book is for engineers who take their societal responsibilities seriously, combining the idealism of dreamers with the pragmatism of builders.”

–Danny Hillis, cofounder, Thinking Machines, Inc., and Applied Minds, Inc.


“In good economic times and bad, the forces driving companies to go green are getting stronger. Innovation will be the key to solving thorny environmental problems and creating lasting value for smart companies. Engineers are at the center of innovation. For businesses and the economy to experience the environmental and economic benefits of going green, we’ll need engineers who read, understand, and act on the ideas in this book.”

–Andrew Winston, author, Green to Gold


“The authors recognize the increasingly widespread impact of engineers on society in this new century and the resulting responsibilities that engineers now have. While engineering has long embraced safety in the designs of bridges and cars, not all of us consider the long-term environmental impact of our designs, or the importance of contributing to the knowledge base of engineering and honoring its intellectual property rights, as well as preserving the security and privacy of our fellow citizens who use our designs. I believe Citizen Engineer is a book that all of us teaching, studying, or practicing engineering should read, as well as those outside engineering who want to understand this force of change in the twenty-first century.”

–David Patterson, professor of computer science, University of California, Berkeley


“Douglas and Papadopoulos have created an essential road map for reengineering products, services, companies, and commerce in ways that are environmentally responsible, economically profitable, and just plain


–Joel Makower, executive editor,; author, Strategies for the Green Economy


“This book is the first to provide detailed guidance about eco-responsible product design and responsible use of intellectual property–two areas that are becoming vitally important to both the development of the engineer and the advancement of the engineering profession.”

–Dr. Bill Wulf, professor of engineering and applied science, University of Virginia; member, National Academy of Engineering


“With details and examples as well as principles, this book endows every engineer with a visceral connection to eco responsibility and to the new ways to create and use intellectual property.”

–Robert Sproull, fellow and director, Sun Labs


Citizen Engineer explains a critical transition of the engineering profession from technical focus to include social responsibilities and business context. This shift has changed the very nature of engineering as it is practiced today and as it must be taught in engineering degree programs.”

—Professor Steven D. Eppinger, deputy dean, MIT Sloan School of Management 

About the Author

David Douglas is senior vice president of cloud computing and chief sustainability officer at Sun Microsystems. He oversees the strategy and execution of environmental initiatives across the company, including enhancements to Sun’s products in the areas of energy efficiency, cooling technologies, product recycling, and clean manufacturing. In addition, Dave is responsible for Sun's cloud computing business, with a focus on creating reliable, scalable, and sustainable computing and storage. He has been in the high-tech industry for more than two decades, including more than a decade of experience leading organizations to build more innovative, efficient, and eco-responsible products, and he has a long-standing passion about environmental issues. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT. Dave sits on the board of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) and is a senior fellow at the Breakthrough Institute. He currently lives in Concord, Massachusetts, with his family. Dave’s blog can be found at



With more than 20 years experience in the technology industry, Greg Papadopoulos has held several executive positions, most recently serving as Chief Technology Office and Executive Vice President — Research and Development at Sun Microsystems, Inc., responsible for managing Sun's technology decisions, global engineering architecture and advanced development programs.  Prior to Sun, Papadopoulos was Senior Architect at Thinking Machines and has also founded a number of his own companies.

Papadopoulos was an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, where he conducted research in scalable systems, multi threaded/data flow processor architecture, functional and declarative languages, and fault-tolerant computing. He holds a bachelor's degree in systems science from the University of California at San Diego , as well as master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT.

Papadopoulos resides in Los Gatos, California with his wife Laurie and has passions for cooking, wine and eco-responsible living.



John Boutelle has been a freelance writer for more than twenty years. During that time, John has worked with and interviewed hundreds of engineers and executives from a diverse range of enterprises worldwide, including Adobe, Apple, Cisco, General Electric, Hitachi, Lam Research, Nokia, Novell, Oracle, Pacific Bell, Seiko, Sony, Sun Microsystems, VeriSign, and dozens of start-ups. Previously he was editor-in-chief of the Orange County Business Journal in Santa Ana, California. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan and a bachelor of arts degree from Pomona College. John resides with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.

More About the Author

Dave Douglas's career has been focused at the intersection of high tech, innovation and sustainability. He was most recently the Chief Sustainability Officer at Sun Microsystems, and also SVP of the Sun's Cloud Computing division. He is a Sr. Fellow at the Breakthrough Institute (, and on the board of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON, He lives with his family in Concord, MA. In addition to co-authoring 'Citizen Engineer', Dave writes regularly at You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@nearwalden).

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Peter D. Pitsker on September 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
In a world where eyeballs, clickrates, and IRR often rule the decisionmaking process, the type of thinking presented in Citizen Engineer provides a healthy counterbalance. As the value of intellectual capital increases and the influence of engineering design pervades every aspect of our lives, our collective investment and buy-in to a complete, self-sustaining engineering life cycle becomes essential to our survival. This book crystalizes that message and is peppered with many useful examples. I recommend it highly to students and executives alike - read it now before you greenlight that Thanksgiving helicopter turkey drop (or design the next Kindle)!!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
CITIZEN ENGINEER: A HANDBOOK FOR SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ENGINEERING offers the insights of two computer industry engineers who focus on two topics: eco engineering and intellectual property. It considers how and why engineering has changed and offers tips to engineers of all types who want to begin thinking in a different way. Collections catering to engineers in particular will find this an absorbing title.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Clyde L. Boutelle on October 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Finally someone considers ethics with engineering & the value af a broad educational background.

Should be required reading for engineering students.
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