You don’t have to be an engineer to have an opinion about engineering. Husbands, wives, friends, and neighbors of engineers all form their own ideas about the profession, and about the people who do it on a daily basis.
We've gathered a few famous thoughts on the subject, as well as a few that are lesser known. Some are insightful, some poetic, some flat-out funny. Many are drawn from uncharacteristically introspective engineers; more come from outside the profession. From physicists and engineers to movie stars and authors, we offer a view of engineering, from inside and out. Click on Albert Einstein's photo to start the slideshow.
“Scientists investigate that which already is. Engineers create that which has never been.”
Charles I totally agree that engineers like to solve problems and there is no doubt that if something is working smoothely they will definitely think why is it working this way is there any issue that nothing is wrong or everything is wrong that it is working properly . This is basically the mind set of engineers to dig down the problems and issues .
Bear in mind that most engineers do not understand the mathematics or physics required to produce breakthroughs in science such as E=Mc2
Nor should they be expected to. Their job is to take new information, be it a physics breakthrough, a more efficient power amplifier approach, new advancements in materials science, and incorporate them into product designs which provide advantages to the customers and markets in question.
My instinct says that the mathematicians and physicists who do basic research may be among the poorest choices to design product "updates" or to apply practicality to new products designed to optimally solve real world requirements given price, size, etc, restraints.
An engineering education teaches you what you technically do not know. If you feel some new development may have an application in an "upgrade" or "new thing" you are working on, go sit with the gent who discovered it until you extract enough knowledge to make the judgement yourself. If you require the size of a baseball, and the research expert starts getting nervous when the size is downgraded to that of a basketball, then you have your answer. At least for your existing project.
The ignorance comes, as I suspect, from a real problem with critical thinking skills. We used to call it common sense, but alas, not so common any more. Your observation is absolutley correct. Unfortunately I have absolulely no idea how to bring back critical thinking into education. My only true idea about that is to stop shifting children into such idealized study plans and let them truly innovate on their own. Children do that automatically when left alone to experiment. They rarely get the solutions they anticipate, but they sure get the learning they need.
Letting kids just be kids, instead of the "budding offspring" we are trying to create, allows them a much better facility of using their brains to actually create. In other words, they become engineers because we don't force them to become that.
I have been a tutor for thirty years, maybe a mentor to a few of them, and I am seeing the genius within my granddaughter come alive when I let her lead me into where to go rather than forcing her to follow me. This is science happening in real-time. It is a miracle of our brains and we need to let it continue for our own benefit.
I can't prove this, TunaFish#5, but I suspect a lot of people (like my lawyer friend) don't know the difference between an engineer and a mechanic. Part of it comes from the common abuse of the word "engineer" -- as in "sanitary engineer" or "building engineer." The lines get blurred.
Today I read in Automation World Magazine a quote from the CEO of Rockwell Automation, Mr. Keith Nosbusch, saying the same thing that I have been asserting for several years, but in a slightly different context: "Real customer value is created when raw data is converted to information then into knowledge and ultimately into wisdom".
My assertion has been that raw data is of marginal value until it can be assembled into knowledge, which becomes valuable when it leads to insight and understanding.
The quote came from an article that was discussing "big data" and the potential to gain some benefit from it. My feeling is that in the string of articles in this December 2013 issue there was a great deal of "sunshine" created but not a whole lot of information presented. I am sure that a few recall the comments about "sunshine", so I won't elaborate on that.
But the important reality is that we understand that the data by itself is not a big benefit.
The question of whether engineers could have foreseen the shortcut maintenance procedures that led to the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979 will probably linger for as long as there is an engineering profession.
More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the country’s worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
If you’re an embedded systems engineer whose analog capabilities are getting a little bit rusty, then you’ll want to take note of an upcoming Design News Continuing Education Center class, “Analog Design for the Digital World,” running Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.