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Registration is NOT the answer
Ratsky   10/4/2011 3:22:46 PM
I was first registered in FL in 1973.  I didn't need to be registered for my main line of work (EE employed in electronics industry) but got it for a sideline consulting business (in HVAC, family business).  Despite moving around the country (I call myself a "technomad") I maintained my registration in FL for convenience plus the parochial attitudes of the Boards in various states made it difficult to transfer. Around 2000, the FL Board decided to implement a mandatory biennial continuing education requirement.  This included 3 hours of class on the Board's rules & regulations (which rarely changed) and 3 hours of something else; the sticker was these courses had to be taken from someone who had paid the Board to become a licensed CE provider.  Since the Internet was already fairly mature for these types of things, numerous people and organizations opened shop as "Florida-Certified PE CE providers."  For the first couple of biennial renewal cycles, I played this silly game and paid my extortion fees for training that was of absolutely no use to me professionally.   The third time (2006?), I had just taken a full week course (40 hours) of training on a new CAD system (at the insistence of my employer); that was both considerably more hours than required, and actually relevant to my engineering skills.  I did take the silly on-line course of R & R of the Board for $35; the only change the Board made that cycle was to redesign the required impression-type seal (no thought given to something important, like electronic signatures) to force every single Florida PE to buy a new obsolete-technology seal.  The Board rejected my renewal application because the CAD company (one of the very biggest in the world) hadn't paid their $250 to the state to become a "certified provider."  Incidentally, at that time, by their rules, i could have gotten a PHD in EE from MIT, and THAT wouldn't be accepted either (no $250 from MIT)!  (the next year they decided to accept any course from an accredited engineering school).  I decided to let them suspend my registration rather than continue to tacitly support this rotten system.  By the way, with all of the "improvements" in the "quality of the engineering profession in the state of Florida" due to CE, enforcement activities rose every year, with more and more "CE-trained engineers" being cited for substantive rules violations every year, and in many cases sanctioned or expelled.

With this as an example of the incredible stupidity and bureaucratic nonsense that pervades ALL state Boards of Professional regulation, why does anyone think that MORE of this would improve the public image of engineering?  By the way, as a Life Member of IEEE, I have always found that the IEEE Code of Ethics is both stronger and more relevant than that of ANY PE organization! Just MHO....

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Re: Journalism vs.Scientist Vs Engineering
ervin0072002   10/4/2011 2:34:59 PM

I do not agree with what he says at all. See there is this issue with engineering not working without prior knowledge. Yea i give thumbs up to the first engineer to figure out that throwing a rock at someone hurt.... But generally how many engineers have invented a diode without a mathematician figure out geometry, then a physicist(scientist) apply that geometry to solid state physics, figure out band gap, find out that this band gap changes when matrix is not pure etc.... I could go on forever. Let’s go back to basics that an engineer is a physicist that can do the same thing using less math. At the end of the day an engineering success is an engineer correctly applying scientific knowledge and an engineering failure being an engineer incorrectly applying that same knowledge. As for grammar we all need improvement.

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Re: Journalism vs.Scientist Vs Engineering
SPociask   10/4/2011 1:33:10 PM
Mike C., although you make some very good points, I have to point out that the Liberal Arts are equally important and shouldn't take a backseat to the STEP skills. Ironically, there is no better proof of this than simply reading the paragraphs that you just posted. It's fraught with basic grammar, punctuation and spelling errors, almost to the point of embarrassment. I understand that not everyone is proficient at everything, but if you are going to make such a long and strongly opinionated comment regarding Liberal Arts skills vs. STEP skills amongst Americans, you really should have made some effort to make your writing of at least average quality. I agree with the point you are making, but the way you expressed it is almost an excellent example for those that have an opposing view.

Nothing personal... just sayin'...

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Distinguishing Between Scientists & Engineers
Dougsdad   10/4/2011 12:32:09 PM
Engineers should be registered. 

 Someone can work in a law office for 10 years and still not call themselves an attorney.  Another could work in the class room, yet not be a teacher.  A medical assistant is not a doctor.

But, if a person can use a computer to design a machine or circuit or building, they can call themselves ENGINEER. They may not be able to sign and seal buildings but anything else is fair game.

That's why there is confusion amongst lay people and the press.

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Re: Journalism vs.Scientist Vs Engineering
Walter   10/4/2011 12:16:11 PM
The media gives everyone a promtion just to be on the safe side.  Technicians become engineers, engineers become scientists.  Any woman who has ever had her picture in a magazine becomes a model and if she had her picture on a cover she becomes a super model.

They have to be careful in dealing with the medical profession, though.  If the engineers would jump all over them like the AMA would, attitudes would change.  Of course it doesn't help that 2/3 of US engineers haven't bothhered to register as professional engineers.

Mike C
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Journalism vs.Scientist Vs Engineering
Mike C   10/4/2011 11:47:59 AM
I agree with the general concept that journalists seem to have a difficult time dealing with the differances between science and engineering, however the issue is far deeper than this simple dichotomy. The real issue is the near complte lack of understanding of either science or engineerring in the general US population. Over the years with the lack of what has poorly been described as STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) education in the US for a favoring of the liberal arts there has been a general lack of understanding in all NON STEM feilds of what the feilds of Engineering, Science, Math and Technollogy contain.

The Show Mc Gievr and its likes have not helped the situation, nor has the geek veiw of the genral TV portralya of the feilds.

I have been and engineer for over 30 years and love the feild. I stopped explaining anything about it (outside of scouting) since the fundamental lack of basic knowledge forces the topic nearly to the 1+2 = 2 stage. What at times in itself provokes a negative response.

I do however enjoy the perks of the practical background the feild has brought to me. My neighbor is a retired A+P and aircraft fabricator. We have done backyard projects that completely confuse our wives, and entertain the neighbor kids. We have made the requisite potato cannons, tennis ball cannons small trebuchants, worked with the local kids on making radios from crystal sets and so on.

This is beside fixing fences and gates so they work and such. While we have a ball few of the older folks get it and have no interest in learning anything.the kids do and we have fun with them. So all is not lost until you get to the schools where the Math teachers have no clue why they teach math.

The situation I have seen in the teaching profession is a determined effort to manitain the stauts qou and complain for more money to fix the "problem " rather than just hiring folks who know the subject. The teach credential has become a usless bit of drivel designed to bolster the psychology and liberal studies departments which would otherwise atrophy due to lack of demand.

Ohwell In 52 now working on a retirement plan. When I do that I will open an after hours education site to teach real math science and engineering not the feel good crap that is passed off as such today.

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Surrounded by Scientists
SE   10/4/2011 10:58:48 AM
I work in electronics in a university but not in an engineering department.  I am surrounded by a sea of scientists.  Generally, engineering here is considered a subset of science, an application of the science, something any good experimentalist scientist can do.  Although these scientists' theory tends to be quite good, practice is lacking and what they have is antique.  I cringe when someone walks in with a design they did.  In fact, I have imposed a rule that I will not look at a circuit using components or concepts older than the person using them (e.g. 741 op amps, ±15V supplies) or lacking in basics (e.g. bypassing, grounding).

These are the scientific sources of the engineering quotes we hear.  If it is in their field, it is probably accurate.  However...

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Engineer vs. Scientist
TRCSr   10/4/2011 10:54:33 AM
I would like to add to some of the previous comments about the use of the term "engineer". If you ask most people what an engineer is they will probably answer "one who drives a train". The application of the term engineer to so many varied occupations is a large part of the problem, in my opinion. Building maintanence people, railroad workers, building construction workers, and so on are called engineers. This dilutes the true value of the real design engineer. Maybe it is time for someone to produce another title for the design engineer that distinguishes us from the other "engineers".

Also, many in the scientific profession need to be educated about the function and worth of the engineer. I worked for 30 years in a research facility that employed both scientists and engineers. I found that many of the PhD scientists viewed the engineers as no more than technicians. In fact, one told me that, as far as he was concerned, I was no more important to his work than the Textronix salesman! Because of this, he would not include me on the patent for a very important medical instrument that he received many dollars in royalties for. And management would not back me up in getting my name included on the patent because he was a scientist and I was just an engineer! I would have left that job right then if it wasn't for the fact that I enjoyed the work so much and felt that I was doing a real service to society.

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Scientist vs Engineer
HarryB   10/4/2011 10:52:42 AM
The difference is obvious. If you have an engineering degree, you are an engineer.

If you have any other degree, or none... you are a scientist. BobPease was an Engineer, Jim Williams was a Scientist. A Rose, by any other name would smell as sweet...

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Re: Engineering and science
SparkyWatt   10/4/2011 10:30:23 AM
As an Engineer for 30 years, I consider myself a scientists, and have seen plenty of engineers who do very pure research.  It probably helps that I have spent a good amount of time in an academic environment.

I have also seen a lot of scientists that are very good engineers.

The real distinction that can be made (if any) is that engineers work with applied knowledge, scientists with fundamental.  And the line is very blurry.

Having said that, I agree that the word "science" was misused in the article cited.  Creating that drill and capsule was not a research project by any stretch of the imagination.  Neither is creating a bridge that spans a broad river.  There are engineers who couldn't do research if they tried.  They are just too focused on the methods they were taught to move beyond them.  They still design great buildings, refrigeration systems, and computers.  Creating the rockets that went to the moon is in the grey zone.  There was some fundamental knowledge that needed to be uncovered before the practical work was finished.  I have seen engineers work for years studying the properties of oil/water mixtures.  That is science (they were working on more efficient pipelines, so, yes, they were engineering).

You can't completely separate the two.  Engineering is applied science, and many people work both sides of the coin.

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