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December 9, 2010 AT 12:48 pm

Engineering Is Not Science

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Engineering Is Not Science @ IEEE Spectrum

Science is about understanding the origins, nature, and behavior of the universe and all it contains; engineering is about solving problems by rearranging the stuff of the world to make new things. Conflating these separate objectives leads to uninformed opinions, which in turn can delay or misdirect management, effort, and resources….

Engineers welcome any and all available scientific knowledge, but they needn’t wait for scientists to give them the go-ahead to invent, design, or develop the machinery to advance technology or to check it when it runs out of control. Without understanding this, we will continue to underfund the engineering needed to solve our greatest problems.


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8 Comments

  1. Science and Engineering are very much complimentary. I use engineering skills to build the instruments and it the results of that instrument that contributes to the science.

  2. How can you not be an engineer without being a scientist to some degree? ——————–

  3. @mail – follow the link (we removed part of your comment)

    “Henry Petroski, a professor of engineering and history at Duke University, is the author of 14 books and numerous articles. His most recent book is The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems (Knopf, 2010)”

  4. That reminds me of this comic from Cowbirds in Love.

  5. funny…my engineering degree says Bachelor of SCIENCE!

  6. Reminds me of my favorite Wondermark shirt.
    http://www.topatoco.com/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=TO&Product_Code=WON-ENGINEERING&Category_Code=

  7. My engineering degrees all say “Science” or “Philosophy” 🙂 .

    Seriously, I recommend any of the books written by Henry Petroski – including those that aren’t oriented toward “traditional” engineering (he’s a civil engineer so there’s a lot of bridge stuff). He’s written very good histories of pencils, book shelves, and toothpicks.

  8. Science isn’t engineering but scientists can do engineering and engineers can do science. And both disciplines benefit in the long run.

    I wonder where ‘materials engineering’ fits, particularly when one must do research and experiments to create & understand the materials being created…

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