# Engineers the Oompah Loompahs of Science ?

1. Apr 12, 2012

### daric soldar

Engineers the "Oompah Loompahs of Science"?

Has anyone seen "The Big Bang Theory" episode where Sheldon basically loses his job, so he follows his other friends and tries to help them out with their work?

When he goes to Howard's lab with the other engineers, he refers to them as "Oompah Loompahs of Science." Although hilarious, I thought I'd like to get other people's opinions on this.

Did he say that because, perhaps, some scientists consider engineers either incapable of becoming scientists, or "sell-outs" because there are more jobs in engineering than in pure scientific pursuits?

Or are engineers simply "applied scientists" and we should chalk this discussion up to Sheldon being a so-and-so? ;)

- Matt

2. Apr 12, 2012

### Dr Lots-o'watts

Re: Engineers the "Oompah Loompahs of Science"?

Scientists tend to dig out information, whether it responds to an immediate problem or not. They'll mostly be working on long-term, higher risk activity, with applications that are not necessarily obvious. It's more exploratory.

Engineers work at solving an immediate problem. Less risky, and more short term. They tend to know a bit more where they are headed, thus it is less exploratory.

That's how I often sum it up.

Note: while engineers do serve scientists in some cases (design a particle accelerator to allow physicists to study collisions), scientists also serve engineers (provide information aiding electrical circuit design). It all depends on the specific project. On average, the relation is probably quite symmetrical.

Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
3. Apr 12, 2012

### 256bits

Re: Engineers the "Oompah Loompahs of Science"?

I would consider it to be that engineers are having all the fun and games in science as oompah loompah music is that associated with October Fest ( Beer fest ) where everyone just basicaly goes out and has a good time.

Now why the writers of the show thought that was laughable only they themselves would know.

4. Apr 12, 2012

### Q_Goest

Re: Engineers the "Oompah Loompahs of Science"?

Oompah Loompahs are the guys that do all the work with all those machines making candy. They all look the same so they are all 'faceless'. You work hard at machines doing practical things and remain an un-famous cog in the machinery when working as an Oompah Loompah!

5. Apr 12, 2012

### Staff: Mentor

Re: Engineers the "Oompah Loompahs of Science"?

It's a tv show.

6. Apr 12, 2012

### turbo

Re: Engineers the "Oompah Loompahs of Science"?

omg!

7. Apr 12, 2012

### leroyjenkens

Re: Engineers the "Oompah Loompahs of Science"?

Seems like a lot of engineers get into their field for the money while scientists get into their field because they enjoy science.

8. Apr 12, 2012

### 256bits

Re: Engineers the "Oompah Loompahs of Science"?

That would be a whole bunch of British engineers and related celebrating after having solved one of the great technological problems facing the world.

Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
9. Apr 13, 2012

### jhae2.718

Re: Engineers the "Oompah Loompahs of Science"?

Scientists just aren't awesome enough to be engineers.

10. Apr 13, 2012

### Redbelly98

Staff Emeritus
Re: Engineers the "Oompah Loompahs of Science"?

My impression is that engineers enjoy designing and building things that are useful.

That there is a demand for useful things, hence decent money flowing to those who design and make them, is merely a perk.

11. Apr 13, 2012

### Staff: Mentor

Re: Engineers the "Oompah Loompahs of Science"?

I wouldn't make too much of the money issue, at least for my industry (HVAC). Yeah, it's pretty good but billing rates for many contractors (experienced balancer: $130/hr, 10 year engineer:$100/hr) are better than for many engineers.

12. Apr 13, 2012

### wukunlin

Re: Engineers the "Oompah Loompahs of Science"?

i remember a few months ago someone was whining in the academics guidance forums about engineering "not getting enough respect" from scientists, made a few offensive analogies along the way

13. Apr 13, 2012

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Re: Engineers the "Oompah Loompahs of Science"?

Of course, what a contractor charges says nothing about what he takes home.

14. Apr 14, 2012

### Ivan92

Re: Engineers the "Oompah Loompahs of Science"?

Well put jhae! x) I think this summarizes everything. :D

15. Apr 15, 2012

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Re: Engineers the "Oompah Loompahs of Science"?

I would say staff professors are the Oompah Loompahs of Science.

Working engineers are the Oompah Loompahs of Engineering, as opposed to managers and directors.

I will never forget the advice given on a long flight from the NE to the NW, by a highly accomplished nuclear sub designer [I don't recall exactly what he did but he was very high on the food chain]. His advice was this: Never let them make you manager! If they do, your life as an engineer will be over.

16. Apr 15, 2012

### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
Re: Engineers the "Oompah Loompahs of Science"?

Yes - and as Evo mentioned, it's a TV show.

I know plenty of engineers who apply theory to practice, i.e., do a mix of theoretical development and application.

17. Apr 15, 2012

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Re: Engineers the "Oompah Loompahs of Science"?