I agree. "We got to make this square peg, go into that round hole, using only this." I often thought of how similar this is to all of those high school or engineering 101 projects where the object is to drop an egg from the roof and protect it using only rubber bands and straws. It's movies and goofy little tasks like this that inspire young engineers to start down that path towards the engineering profession.
One of my favorite engineering movies is October Sky. The "Rocket Boys" found a way to make their dream a reality. It reaffirms my belief that engineers are born as engineers and schooling just gives them additional respect. Worst engineering movie has to be Speed just for the ridiculous bus "jump" across the missing section of the interstate. A 12 ton bus does not stand a chance of jumping that far.
Here's yet another vote for Apollo 13. The whole movie is the team process of solving an engineering problem. On the caveman level, how about the engineering in Castaway? I saw it over the weekend for the 5th or 6th time. Again, probelm solving -- this time with very limited resources. I love how many uses he got out of the ice skates.
Beautiful Mind has to be up there among the best since the story line was so compelling, and Russell Crowe did such a great job showing where the combination of genious and paranoia can land you. On the totally stupid, but resourceful side--what about all those TV episodes of MacGyver and the Saturday Night crew's absolutely hysterical (granted, stupid) interpretation called MacGruber?
I'll vote with DOuglas on this one. Growing up in Huntsville, Alabama (the rocket city) and celebrating my 16th birthday the night Armstrong landed on the moon make it close to home. Second choice would be A Night To Remember, the 1953 version of the sinking of the Titanic.
My choice is Apollo 13. Two liquid oxygen tanks in the Service Module malfunctioned, aborting a moon landing, and forcing a sudden effort to get home. Getting breathable air was a major issue.
An engineering team at the flight center developed a solution on the fly. Square air cleaners from the Command Module are used in the Lunar Module. Manual course corrections are made with the module's igniter. Failure was not an option, as the flight director told them.
I have a soft spot for 1993's Falling Down, starring Michael Douglas and Barbara Hershey. Its going-postal theme notwithstanding, I think it really captured something about the engineering mindset and/or engineer as a cog in the SoCal defense-contractor machine. Or maybe it was just the good acting; Robert Duvall is in it too.
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