Fairman Rogers was a civil engineer who principally studied roads and bridges. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and worked as an engineer with the superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey. Rogers was appointed professor of civil engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, and he lectured about mechanics and physics at the Franklin Institute, as well as about road construction at Harvard.
Rogers joined the U.S. Cavalry in 1861 and served in Philadelphia. When the National Academy of Sciences was formed, he served as its treasurer and led an investigation of how ironclad ships might affect the magnetic function of compasses. Rogers later chaired the Committee on Instruction for the Academy of Fine Arts, where he applied scientific analysis artistic endeavors including horsemanship and equestrian sports.
In addition to being a founding member of the National Academy of Sciences, Rogers was a member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and a founding member of the Philadelphia Union League.