P. Aarne Vesilind
P. Aarne Vesilind
Professor of Engineering (Emeritus), Music Director, Kearsarge Community Band Bucknell University
Joined OEC on 09/02/2009
Biography

Following his undergraduate degree in civil engineering from Lehigh University, Vesilind received his Ph.D. in environmental engineering from the University of North Carolina in 1968. He spent a post-doctoral year with the Norwegian Institute for Water Research in Oslo where he developed a laboratory test for estimating the performance of dewatering centrifuges, and a year as a research engineer with Bird Machine Company. He joined the faculty at Duke University as an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering in 1970. In 1999 he was appointed to the R. L. Rooke Chair of the Historical and Societal Context of Engineering at Bucknell University. He served in this capacity until his retirement in 2006.

In 1976-77 he was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, and in 1991-92 he was a National Science Foundation Fellow at Dartmouth College. He served as the chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University for seven years and was twice elected by the School of Engineering faculty to chair the Engineering Faculty Council. He's a former trustee of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers, a past-president of the Association of Environmental Engineering Professors, a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and a registered Professional Engineer in North Carolina. He is the recipient of the 1970 Collingwood Prize, awarded by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Other awards include the E. I. Brown Award from the students of the Department of Civil Engineering, Duke University, for teaching excellence (four times), the Tau Beta Pi Teaching Award from the students of the School of Engineering, Duke University (1999), the 2005 Award for Achievement in Environmental Engineering Education, American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, 1998 and 2005.

While at Duke he headed for many years the Program in Science, Technology and Human Values, an undergraduate enrichment program that sought to build bridges between the humanities and engineering.

Building on his PhD dissertation, his research evolved into all aspects of wastewater sludge treatment and disposal. In 1973 he published the first textbook in this field, Treatment and Disposal of Wastewater Sludges (Ann Arbor Science) and the second edition of this book (1979) is still being used in graduate programs. A recent book in this field is Sludge Into Biosolids (2002), a publication of the International Water Association, co-edited with Ludovico Spinosa.

Another research area has been the management of municipal refuse, and he has written two books in this field, including an undergraduate textbook, Solid Waste Engineering, co-authored by William Worrell and Debra Reinhart (Brooks/Cole, 2002).

His research has resulted in the authorship of over 174 articles in professional journals, and he has been the primary adviser for 12 PhD students and 46 master’s students. He has also been a principal investigator on over 53 research projects and training grants.

All through his career Vesilind has been interested in professional ethics, and this has resulted in the publication of a number of books, including Engineering, Ethics and the Environment (1999) co-authored with Alastair Gunn and published by Cambridge University Press, Hold Paramount: The Engineer’s Responsibility to Society (2003) co-authored with Alastair Gunn and published by Wadsworth Publishing, The Right Thing To Do: An Ethics Guide for Engineering Students (Lakeshore Press, 2005), Peace Engineering (Lakeshore Press, 2005) a compilation of papers presented at a conference held at Bucknell University on alternative career paths for young engineers, and in 2006 he co-authored, with Dan Vallero, Socially Responsible Engineering (John Wiley & Sons) which considers the role of justice in engineering decisions.

Other books written by Vesilind include Introduction to Environmental Engineering (1998) which incorporates ethics into an undergraduate environmental engineering course (now in its second edition, co-authored with Susan Morgan), and So You Want to Be a Professor? (2000) a handbook for graduate students, published by Sage Publications. In 2002 he edited the conversion of the Water Environment Federation Manual of Practice No. 8, Wastewater Treatment Plant Design into a textbook suitable for use in a wastewater treatment plant design course. Controlling Environmental Pollution, (DesTech Publishers, 2005), co-authored with Thomas DiStefano, is designed for use in environmental pollution courses intended primarily for non-engineering students.

Since June 2006 he has lived in New London, NH, where he continues to work, not having enough sense to stop and smell the roses. His latest book is Engineering Peace and Justice, forthcoming from Springer Verlag.

Commentaries
  • P. Aarne Vesilind
    Professor of Engineering (Emeritus), Music Director, Kearsarge Community Band
    Bucknell University
    Commentary: The Communism of Science
    Added 8/8/2006 11:02 AM

    P. Aarne Vesilind 
    Duke University

    There is no doubt that Dr. Well's actions are inappropriate and potentially damaging to both Mary and Michael, as well as the health of the entire laboratory. Some may admire what Dr. Well is doing - using his clout to steal Michael's work and give it to Mary. Robin Hood may have been admired by some, but he was still an outlaw.

    More important are the ...

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  • P. Aarne Vesilind
    Professor of Engineering (Emeritus), Music Director, Kearsarge Community Band
    Bucknell University
    Commentary: The Final Exam
    Added 4/5/2006 4:26 PM

    P. Aarne Vesilind 
    Bucknell University

    In Western jurisprudence, for a crime to have been committed, both a wrongful act and a perpetrator must be identified. In the case entitled "The Final Exam" only the act is identified, and that only through circumstantial evidence. The professor discovered that two answers were identical. True, it is highly unlikely that two students would ...

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  • P. Aarne Vesilind
    Professor of Engineering (Emeritus), Music Director, Kearsarge Community Band
    Bucknell University
    Commentary: Owing Your Soul to the Pharmaceutical Store
    Added 3/28/2006 2:52 PM

    P. Aarne Vesilind 
    Duke University

    Dr. Angstrom is the Faust who already has sold his professional soul to Mephistopheles. The problem is that the devil has an insatiable appetite and has come to collect the soul of a graduate student as a down payment.

    Julie is in a no-win situation. One could say that she is at fault for not finding out about the arrangement with ABC before she started ...

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  • P. Aarne Vesilind
    Professor of Engineering (Emeritus), Music Director, Kearsarge Community Band
    Bucknell University
    Commentary: Hazardous Materials
    Added 3/27/2006 12:17 PM

    P. Aarne Vesilind 
    Duke University

    Professor Creasin is wrong. Consider the simplest test of ethical behavior: If your actions were on the front page of the New York Times the next day, would you be proud of yourself? Would Professor Creasin be able to explain satisfactorily why he allowed a student to conduct an unsafe experiment and why he further allowed his students to eat in a ...

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  • P. Aarne Vesilind
    Professor of Engineering (Emeritus), Music Director, Kearsarge Community Band
    Bucknell University
    Commentary: Crashing into Law
    Added 3/14/2006 11:01 AM

    P. Aarne Vesilind 
    Duke University

    When I was a kid, I used to make balsa wood model airplanes. They looked real, and some of them even flew, powered by rubber bands.

    When I became an engineer, I made other kinds of models - mathematical and conceptual models - of environmental engineering problems. And some of these models "flew": They were accepted by the profession as useful for ...

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Cite this page: "P. Aarne Vesilind" Online Ethics Center for Engineering 9/2/2009 OEC Accessed: Sunday, August 25, 2019 <www.onlineethics.org/Community/CommunityDirectory/PAVesilind.aspx>