Technology Waits for No One

True story. I enter my kitchen early one evening and greet my daughter who is sitting at the kitchen table. The following exchange ensues:

Me: Hi Lucy, how are you?
Lucy: Hi daddy, I’m good. Can you help me with my homework?
Me: Of course. What do we have today, an essay for English class; a little Geometry maybe?
Lucy: dad, we have to arrange these chromosomes into a karyotype chart and then answer questions about genetic mutations and diseases.
Me: [Long pause] Uh. Hmm. Yes, karyotypes. I’ll tell you what. Let’s do that thing where you explain the topic to someone else just so you know you have it all straight in your own mind… You go first.
Lucy: You don’t know what I’m talking about, do you daddy?
Me: [Longer pause] Of course I do. It’s just that carry-pipes is a complicated subject. I want to make sure you’ve got it all down pat.
Lucy: [Laughter]

The moral of this story, [aside from remembering to ask your child what she is studying before you agree to help], is that science and technology waits for no one. I don’t know what you were doing in the 8th grade but no one I knew at Palm Springs Junior High knew anything about karyotypes or carry-pipes. Of course that was a long time ago, when my 1973 World Book Encyclopedia was still a valuable research tool and no one knew that people would actually buy water in plastic bottles.

Welding technology is no different. Beginning with the first covered electrodes at the turn of the 20th century, a series of scientific and technological innovations led to the development of MIG, TIG, FCAW, SAW and the other welding processes we currently use. Of course, that trend continues. Today, many companies are turning to automated systems in their quest to increase productivity and quality of welding. Extremely precise welding capabilities are also needed to handle the increased use of specialty metals. Friction-stir welding, hybrid/laser Gas Metal Arc Welding and robotics are three of the latest welding processes being employed to meet these demands.

The only hitch is that to master these technologies the welder needs to know how to set-up, program and operate high-tech equipment. It requires insight and expertise in addition to knowledge of welding. Sure, it can be challenging, but learning these advanced processes also improves skills and expands job prospects. The future is now and with the right training we can all be part of it. Take it from the old fogey that used the Internet to quickly teach himself about karyotypes and return victorious to the kitchen table.

Me: Hey Lucy, what are you working on?
Lucy: Geometry.
Me: Oh, I thought you might need help with karyotypes. You know, the number and appearance of chromosomes in the nucleus of a eukaryotic cell.
Lucy: What? No dad. That was yesterday.
Me: Oh, that’s too bad. I was looking forward to investigating the length, position of the centromeres and banding pattern of the chromosomes in order to identify chromosomal aberrations.
Lucy: Uh, no. Thanks dad. But we’re learning about how scientists are developing nanovectors which can be loaded with drugs and sent to destroy tumors. Maybe you can help me with that when I finish these problems?

Carlos Plaza

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