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Inspiring an Engineer

  1. Sep 9, 2010 #1

    my gf is a soon to be mechanical engineer who feels she lacks a certain passion for her field. I was wondering if anyone knew of any good books, lectures, online videos, whatever that you feel really ignite a passion for engineering (specifically mechanical engineering) or give one a sense of the importance and grandeur of the discipline. Any help appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 9, 2010 #2
    My feeling is that if someone gets to nearing the end of obtaining a degree in their chosen field and they haven't found passion yet, then it's probably not going to happen. Still, it's worth a try. I would consider what you know about her personally and try to identify a subfield of mechanical engineering that might tie in with one of her interests.

    I suggest a targeted approach rather than your suggestion to take a broad approach with the grandeur of the discipline, or the importance of engineering in general. Surely, she has learned enough to be aware of these things. It seems like she needs her own personal connection to something.

    If it ends up not being possible for her to get excited about the technology, there is always a business or management path open to her.
  4. Sep 9, 2010 #3


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    I wonder if what she's feeling is due to being burned out from school? I remember my last year or so in college, I felt a strong malaise from being sooooo sick of jumping through hoops like a circus animal (aka taking classes :wink:).

    Although Feynman was a physicist, not an engineer, reading his books may be inspiring for her (and anyone). His enthusiasm for science is infectious.
  5. Sep 9, 2010 #4
    That's a good point. It is very common to people to get burned out in their last year of college. Perhaps working in industry is all she needs to get passion back. I guess the critical question is whether she ever had passion about engineering, science and math etc.
  6. Sep 9, 2010 #5
    I find Henry Petroski to be an inspiring writer. His recent book The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems, to be a pretty good read. He makes a good case for why engineering is a valuable discipline.
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