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Can a Mechanical Engineer help society?

  1. Jul 10, 2010 #1
    Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??

    I really much into in how science and technology, math and physics can help society in a practical way(i dont mean that theoretical dosent do any good so dont come with that). Some times i feel science is used just to make unnecesary needs for people. Personally if my country wouldnt be that violent i could walk to school with no problem, without using a car, but i know that ambulances are very necessary, and a lot of things like that. Well i wana work with renowable energy, and how we generate the electricity that we use every day. So can a degree in Mechanical Engineering help me with that?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 10, 2010 #2
    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??

    Perhaps a degree in electrical engineering would suit you better.
     
  4. Jul 10, 2010 #3
    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??

    Definitely. Power generation is really mechanical engineering territory. When I hear the words "power generation," electrical engineering is not the first thought that follows.
     
  5. Jul 10, 2010 #4
    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??

    Also nuclear engineering is a good choice for 'clean' energy. Even if you dislike fission, you can take a research route and work fusion -- just be prepared for a long, arduous journey to that Ph.D.

    Aerospace could let you work on wind turbines, and probably hydroelectric/tidal plants if you sell yourself as someone who can model fluid flow.

    Electrical lets you build photovoltaic cells, and also work on electric engines.

    The point, of course, is that you have a wide variety of engineering subdisciplines to choose from... and yes, mechanical is among them.
     
  6. Jul 10, 2010 #5
    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??


    Thanks for the info =). I really would like to specialize in that Area.
     
  7. Jul 10, 2010 #6
    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??

    Well that maybe for Europe, China, USA, Russia, but i live in a 3rd world country(El Salvador)
    So there is no nuclear engineering here, and we we are not planing in building nuclear stations, and not even think about fusion. Also no aerospace here. Maybe the the combo avaible for me is electro/mechanical.

    Also is really fusion possible?¿
     
  8. Jul 10, 2010 #7

    Astronuc

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    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??

    It is usually the goal of engineering to do something useful. Engineering is afterall - applied physics.
     
  9. Jul 10, 2010 #8

    Astronuc

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    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??

    One might consider then Brasil, Argentina or Chile. Brasil and Argentina both have nuclear energy programs.
     
  10. Jul 10, 2010 #9
    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??

    Thats totally great, specially in this time with global warming, pollution, overpopulation.
     
  11. Jul 10, 2010 #10
    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??

    Yes, but the reason it's an active area of research is because we haven't yet made it economical. I haven't kept up on the latest fusion developments, but I believe we still have to put more energy into sustaining the reaction than we get from the energy released by the reaction.

    It's a shame you live in a 3rd world country; perhaps you should consider programs in other countries such as the United States or the European Union?
     
  12. Jul 10, 2010 #11
    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??

    That is a bit of a misleading statement, although I agree that mention of "power generation" does evoke "mechanical" thoughts. Any future work, in the field of renewable energy, is going to require equal efforts in both the mechanical and electrical engineering domains. Sure, there are many past applications where the power generation, delivery and usage are completely mechanical, but that has now changed. Now there are some applications (e.g. solar to the electrical grid) where the power generation, storage, delivery and usage are completely electrical, and most real world systems and applications require both mechanical and electrical systems.

    Also, nuclear energy is extremely important too, but I say less about that since it is not my area of expertise.

    I think a person can enter this area of renewable energy with either a mechanical or electrical engineering degree, but either way, knowledge and expertise is required in both areas. Fortunately, anyone who can learn one subject, should have no trouble learning the other. The fundamentals tools of math and science are very similar in each area.
     
  13. Jul 10, 2010 #12
    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??

    Absolutely.

    Engineering is not as narrow as some seem to think. A mechanical engineering degree is a flexible degree and you can work in any number of fields, including power generation.

    I knew an aeronautical engineer who held a very responsible position at an oil refinery, usually a bastion of chemical engineers.

    So, keep your interests and education broad and you can do just about anything that you want to do.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2010
  14. Jul 11, 2010 #13
    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??

    Thanks a lot
     
  15. Jul 11, 2010 #14
    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??


    Should i go for ME and EE?
     
  16. Jul 11, 2010 #15
    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??

    Well i plan to study in my country the bachelor degree and then look for a Phd or Master in other country, and the best ones are USA and EU. I also want to become a skilled labor migrant, dont want to go to live in another country wihtouth helping it.
     
  17. Jul 11, 2010 #16
    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??

    Yeah they are the more advanced in LA.
     
  18. Jul 11, 2010 #17
    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??

    That is too much of a personal choice for me to say one way or the other. As crazy as this may sound, I see more similarities than differences between the two fields. As an electrical engineer, I'm required to understand mechanical engineering issues all the time. Thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, ordinary dynamics and acoustics are all things I've studied in school and needed to understand in my job. The reason why I say there are more similarities than might at first be obvious is because the mathematics is essentially the same in both fields. For example, when I learned fluid dynamics, which requires vector calculus and understanding of fields, it was easy because I had already learned electro-magnetics, which required the same. I had already paid my dues, so to speak. I think the same (in reverse) would be true for a mechanical engineer.

    There is of course much to learn in any chosen field that goes beyond the basics. However, the bottom line is that a college BS degree in engineering only provides you with the fundamentals. You will build up your real expertise throughout your life after that, whether it be on the job and/or in grad school.

    My usual recommendation in these situations is to tell people to follow their passion. You should know in your heart which path is correct for you. You really don't know exactly where either path will lead anyway, since the end-goal is too far down the field. Best to choose the path that will keep you motivated, and excited to keep running, and you will need to run hard at times.

    If you really are finding the choice too close to call, then very well, I say go for EE. But, I only say that because I'm biased as an EE.
     
  19. Jul 11, 2010 #18
    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??


    Thanks for taking your time and helping choose the career path. The thing is that i want to work with renewable energy and be able to make a solar car or build a Electric vehicle.
     
  20. Jul 11, 2010 #19
    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??

    Keep in mind that no matter which engineering path you choose, the first 2 years (approximately) of ANY engineering curriculum will be essentially the same. So you have plenty of time to choose or change your mind. But use that time wisely: talk to as many people as you can from each different field; talk to professors in each field to see what they are researching and see what interests you; join clubs if possible so you can associate with people from different walks of engineering.

    Also, the internet is your friend! Frequently visit the different engineering forums here at PF and see what people are talking about in there. Go to university websites and visit the webpages of the different departments to see what they are working on. And keep asking questions. You will get many answers from many people; some you will like, some you will not like, but take all of the answers into consideration.

    Good Luck :smile:
    ~Casey
     
  21. Jul 12, 2010 #20
    Re: Can a Mechanical Engineer help society??

    Million thanks casey =)
     
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