Yuly Kipervarg '88 did not expect his B Expos paper to be worth $3000 to the Honeywell Corporation, but he's not complaining.
The Harvard junior, who transferred from Brandeis University this fall, is one of 10 grand prize winners in Honeywell's annual essay contest, which invites American students to predict the future of the aerospace industry.
Kipervarg predicted that solar energy and applications of the space shuttle will replace existing technologies, and that human workers will take a back seat to robots in manufacturing.
He said he plans to "take a special someone out to dinner, and buy a Mac [computer]" with the prize money.
He said he decided to enter the contest during winter reading period and wrote his essays in an intense two-week work session.
"I basically signed out every book in the library and lived in the Science Center," he said. "Looking back on it now, though, it was more than worth it."
Applicants submitted two 1500-word papers, one speculating on developments in the high-tech field between 1986 and 2011 and the other analyzing the impact of the advances on society.
While Honeywell approved of Kipervarg's work, Expository Writing teacher Sandy Kreisberg qualified his congratulations yesterday. "The criteria for judging a paper and judging a contest are often vastly different," he said.
The contest received a record 757 entries, said Teri J. Rolfes, a spokesman for the Minneapolis based company. "It's the most we've ever gotten in the history of the contest," she added.
She said that of 251 engineering majors who entered the contest, only one garnered a grand prize. The winners study at 10 different universities, including Stanford, Cornell, Boston University and Brown, said Rolfes.
The Harvard winner described his predictions as "conservative." "I think the judges thought that this year's papers were more technical than in the past," Rolfes said. "As a result, entries were more conservative in general--they were very well done, but not quite as imaginative as they might have been."
Kipervarg expects the space shuttle program will expand and become more specialized. Different shuttles would be adapted for cargo carrying, passenger transportation or special tasks in space.
Kipervarg also predicated that solar energy will become more popular.
"We are running out of fossil fuels, and problems with fission prevent us from using that," he said.
The United States will develop new space based industries, causing significant "spin-off" effects in current industry, Kipervarg said.
In heavy industry, Kipervarg said robotics and artificial intelligence technology developed in the space program will take over. "I envision factories pretty much manned and managed by machines, with maybe a couple of humans coming in occasionally for maintenance," he said.
This might be a good thing, he said. "After all, robots don't take coffee breaks."
Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett '57 awarded Kipervarg a certificate of recognition yesterday morning. He will recieve Honeywell officials' congratulations and the $3000 check during a two-day visit for contest winners at the corporate headquarters in Minneapolis. Honeywell will host Kipervarg and a friend during the stay, which will feature tours of the corporation's plants and interviews with company officials.