Look around you. Great masterpieces of engineering are everywhere. As soon as you get out of bed in the morning, you are putting centuries of scientific and mechanical ingenuity to use. So familiar are these structures, inventions, and services that they are all but invisible. Yet they are just as remarkable as great works such as the Parthenon, the Eiffel Tower, and the Panama Canal. Consider for a moment the wonders of these marvels that have likely already played an important part in your day today: Residential construction: Built with common materials and simple tools, the modern house is a technological system for living. It provides protection and comfort, access to life's necessities, and a flexible space for work and recreation. Telecommunications: Able to link you to any phone in the world, the traditional phone system is miraculous enough. Even more wondrous is the array of services available through new telecommunications technologies such as cellular networks. Transportation: You can get there from here, thanks to automotive engineering, petroleum drilling and refining, satellite navigation, and a road system that is fast, safe, and goes almost everywhere. Water and power: Your house would be dark and bleak without connections to infrastructure systems that supply fresh water, dispose of wastewater, and furnish a power source-electricity-that provides illumination and animates most of your household appliances. All of us use these technologies, and knowing how they work empowers us in major ways. Anyone who owns a home or is in the market for one benefits enormously from understanding how it is constructed and how the roof, insulation, plumbing, wiring, heating, and cooling systems are integrated into the building. Anyone who's buying a car or needs to get one fixed can rest easier knowing how spark plugs, transmissions, tires, and brakes do their jobs. And because the development and use of everyday technologies-from solar cells to cell towers-are often strongly influenced by public policy, understanding everyday engineering helps us make more informed decisions about the kinds of policy initiatives we wish to support.