Key Text

The CLIOS Process: A User’s Guide (PDF)

Assigned Readings

2 Systems: Classes of systems (technical, sociotechnical, engineering systems) Churchman, Charles West. “Thinking.” Chapter 1 in The Systems Approach. New York, NY: Delacorte Press, 1979. ISBN: 9780385289986.
3 Systems: Sociotechnical systems and introduction to complexity

Forrester, Jay W. “Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems.” Technology Review 73, no. 3 (1971): 52-68.

One of our goals in ESD.04J / 1.041J is to teach you about systems thinking. To do so, we will introduce the ideas of some of the “Giants” of the systems field. You already have been introduced to the work of Churchman in the first reading. In this reading, we introduce you to some of the thinking of Professor Jay Forrester of MIT.

5 Project: Introduction to Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF), the big issues and questions, introduction to resources

“Nuclear Power: Half Life.” The Economist, November 11, 2006, pp. 81.

Howe, Peter J. “Undersea Cable Could Bring ‘Green’ Power to Hub.” The Boston Globe, February 14, 2007.

Baird, Andrew. “False Hopes and Natural Disasters.” The New York Times, December 26, 2006.

Frank, Thomas. “TSA to Track Rail Shipments with Toxic Cargo.” USA Today, January 22, 2007.

Emery, Theo, and Matthew L. Wald. “Chemical Train Derails in Kentucky, Evacuations Are Ordered.” The New York Times, January 17, 2007.

14 Systems: Models and frameworks

Sussman, Joseph. “Models and Frameworks.” Chapter 10 in Introduction to Transportation Systems. Norwood, MA: Artech House Publishers, 2000. ISBN: 9781580531412.

———. “Modeling Concepts.” Chapter 11 in Introduction to Transportation Systems. Norwood, MA: Artech House Publishers, 2000. ISBN: 9781580531412.


Systems: Risk assessment

Project: Discussion of P3

Morgan, Granger. “Risk Analysis and Management.” Scientific American 269, no. 1 (1993): 32-38.

Bohnenblust, Hans. “Risk-based Decision Making in the Transportation Sector.” In Quantified Societal Risk and Policy Making. Edited by Richard Jorissen and P. J. Stallen. New York, NY: Springer, 1998. ISBN: 9780792349556.


Perrow, Charles. “Complexity, Coupling, and Catastrophe.” Chapter 3 in Normal Accidents: Living with High-risk Technologies. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999. ISBN: 9780691004129.

19 Project: Team meeting with Department of Energy secretary to finalize strategic alternatives Wald, Matthew L. “A New Vision for Nuclear Waste.” Technology Review 107, no. 10 (2004): 38-44.
20 Systems: CLIOS stage 3 — implementation Freeman, R. Edward, Andrew C. Wicks, and Bidhan Parmar. “Stakeholder Theory and ‘The Corporate Objective Revisited.’” Organization Science 15, no. 3 (2004): 364-369.
21 Systems: Scenario planning


“New York’s Transport: Tunnel Vision.” The Economist, April 19, 2007.

Holley, Joe. “Chauncey Starr; Physicist Wrote Noted Paper on Everyday Risks.” The Boston Globe, April 23, 2007.

“Government Renews Focus on Cross-Nevada Rail Line to Nuclear Dump.” Jackson Hole Star Tribune, April 27, 2007.

Wack, Pierre. “Scenarios: Uncharted Waters Ahead.” Harvard Business Review 63, no. 5 (1985): 73-89.

26 Class summary, systems recap, student evaluations

Drucker, Peter F. “Managing Oneself.” Harvard Business Review 77, no. 2 (1999): 64-74.

Griffin, Michael. “Speech by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin: System Engineering and the Two Cultures of Engineering.”

Peter Drucker is arguably the inventor of modern management. He has been writing on this subject since the 50s in a highly prolific and clear manner. He has his fans (including me) and his detractors (“it’s all really obvious”). In a subject like this one, in which the management of your own talents, those of your group members and those on other groups, will be central to your overall success, we thought you should be exposed to Drucker’s thinking.

While this kind of article is never “on the test”, there are some very valuable lessons contained therein. Why don’t you take a half-hour and read it?

Project References

MIT Energy Research Council, Robert C. Armstrong, and Ernest J. Moniz. Report of the Energy Research Council. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2006. (PDF - 2.4 MB)

Buy at MIT Press Nye, David E. Consuming Power: A Social History of American Energies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999. ISBN: 9780262640381.

Buy at MIT Press Hoffman, Peter. Tomorrow’s Energy: Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and the Prospects for a Cleaner Planet. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780262582216.

National Research Council. Risk and Decisions: About Disposition of Transuranic and High-Level Radioactive Waste. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2005. ISBN: 9780309095495.

MIT Nuclear Energy Study Advisory Committee. The Future of Nuclear Power: An Interdisciplinary MIT Study. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2003. (PDF)

National Research Council. Nuclear Wastes: Technologies for Separations and Transmutation. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 1996. ISBN: 9780309052269.

Additional Resources

Ackoff, Russell L. “The Art and Science of Mess Management.” Interfaces 11, no. 1 (1978): 20-26.

Ritchey, Tom. “Wicked Problems: Structuring Social Messes with Morphological Analysis.” Swedish Morphological Society, 2005. (PDF)

Sussman, Joseph M. “Collected Views on Complexity in Systems.” MIT Engineering Systems Division Working Paper Series. (PDF)

Radiation Quantities and Units

Engineering Systems References (PDF)

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Design Assignments
Written Assignments