Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

I'm going to sound like an idiot for asking this, but

  1. May 22, 2006 #1
    What exactly is engineering. Before I thought it was just stuff like fixing machine's and things like that, but now I know I'm totally wrong with that conclusion.

    A teacher at my school has a major in engineering, so I could ask him. but if you guys could help me out that would be great also :)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 23, 2006 #2

    wolram

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    A locomotive operator. have a look in wiki
     
  4. May 23, 2006 #3

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Among other things, engineers typically design machines.
     
  5. May 23, 2006 #4

    FredGarvin

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Engineers do a lot of different things. Engineers can be designers, analysts or managers. In other environments like in production facilities, engineers can design and oversee the production processes. There are a lot of "engineers" that really aren't, but their company gives them or they give themselves the title to make them seem more important. And sometimes, they can just be plain paper pushers. I know it sounds very vague, but the title really does encompass a lot of different positions.
     
  6. May 23, 2006 #5

    Danger

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    As Fred mentioned, you have to take a close look at what a person actually does, and what his/her training is, to determine if that's the proper title. For instance, the 'Sanitation Engineer' who picks up your garbage every week probably doesn't have a degree from MIT.
     
  7. May 23, 2006 #6

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    My understanding of engineering is that it is a knowledge of basic applied physics. Stresses, momentum, hydraulics, mecahnics, heat exchange - etc etc. all the things that make the world we live in operate.

    Engineers ensure that bridges can withstand stresses, that pistons in backhoes can lift tons of dirt, that buildings withstand winds, that breakwalls withstand waves, etc.
     
  8. May 23, 2006 #7

    brewnog

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I've always liked this definition:

    Someone who uses their imagination, scientific principles, and technical experience to solve a problem within economic constraints.

    Obviously it's a bit ambiguous, but pretty much every product you see around you has been engineered.
     
  9. May 23, 2006 #8
    Well, I guess when asking what engineering is, it's like asking how many colours of green there are, quite a lot :p

    Thanks for the multiple definitions. And brewnog, I like your definition the most, it sounds philosophical to me :)
     
  10. May 31, 2006 #9
    "Engineering is the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences, gained by study, experience, and practice, is applied with judgement to develop ways utilize, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind" As defined by ABET (the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology)
    It can also be defined as an activity:
    "An innovative and methodical appplication of scientific knowledge and technology to produce a device, system or process, which is intended to satisfy human need(s)"
     
  11. Jun 4, 2006 #10
    Do most of you consider computer engineering to be a valid branch of engineering?
     
  12. Jun 4, 2006 #11

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yes, I consider Computer Engg - which is not Computer Science - to be an area of engineering. It too is an application of more fundamental sciences, namely Computer Science, Math and Physics.
     
  13. Jun 4, 2006 #12

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Read this :
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=577714&postcount=7
     
  14. Jun 4, 2006 #13
    Engineers are like scientists, except they make money.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: I'm going to sound like an idiot for asking this, but
  1. [ask] nanotechnology (Replies: 1)

Loading...