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MIT, Boston, Professor, Tenure, Academic novel, Engineering, University

One Man's Purpose
A Novel
by Stephen D. Senturia

Life in the Academic Fast Lane

Martin Quint, Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Cambridge Technology Institute, is at the top of his professional career. Beloved as a teacher and internationally lionized as a researcher, he enthusiastically embraces his academic overload. But with a baby on the way and a critical tenure case for a junior female colleague hanging by a thread, life throws more at Martin than he can juggle.

Martin Quint entered the lecture amphitheater at eleven sharp. After quieting the crowd, introducing himself and outlining what was expected in terms of homework and exams, he began his lecture: “You are all about to embark on the study of engineering, so it’s reasonable to ask: what is engineering? My answer is both simple and complex. The words are simple: engineering is the purposeful use of scientific knowledge.” He paused to let that sink in, then wrote the word ‘PURPOSEFUL’ on the board in large caps and underlined it twice. “The problem, and it is a real problem for each and every one of you,” as he glanced almost menacingly around the room, “the problem is that one man’s purpose, or one woman’s purpose, can be another person’s anathema.” In One Man’s Purpose, we encounter a matrix of purposes and cross-purposes: goals to some — anathema to others.

Stephen D. Senturia photo

Stephen D. Senturia spent 36 years as a Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is the author of three prominent textbooks and several hundred scientific papers. Here, in his first novel, he tells the story of a first-class university, full of smart, competent people, where things can still go badly wrong.


Stephen D. Senturia

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