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Is there engineering

  1. Jan 31, 2005 #1
    Could someone tell me which engineering program requires least physics?

    1. Electrical

    2. Industrial

    3. Mechanical
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 31, 2005 #2


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  4. Jan 31, 2005 #3
    all three require physics, least is incorrect
  5. Jan 31, 2005 #4
    when you speak in general, least or most stand for nothing
  6. Feb 1, 2005 #5


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    It depends on what country are you referring to. Here, an Industrial Engineer (I am studying this program) is the same that an Electrical Engineer or Mechanical Engineer. All these branches belong to Industrial Engineering. Later, after two or three years, you get specialized in one of these topics: Mechanics, Electricity, Electronics, Materials, Energy, Organzation.

    So that, between Electrical and Mechanical engineering (as I know them here), I would say that both of them requires a large effort in physics:

    -Electricity: you should deal with Electromagnetic and Circuits Theory. It requires a lot physics and calculation skills. But perhaps, the formulae is easier than other parts of the physics engineering.

    -Mechanics: A good mechanical engineer/student must know about resistance of materials and elasticity. Both of them are heavily charged with formulation, although they are used as integral expressions (i.e Navier-Bresse equations).

    In my case, I am specialized in Energy, although I think it would be englobed into some part between the mechanical and aerospace programs in USA. This discipline is the heaviest charged one in engineering. I have to deal with partial differential equations every time, and concepts of fluids and heat must be very solid in your head.
  7. Feb 1, 2005 #6


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    Physics is really just math anyways. Its more like a study of how to apply math to real life problems.

    In my physics classes I learned far more about calculus than in the calculus classes themselves. It was really unfortunate that the physics professor needed to spend his time (that he graciously donated in the student center 3 evenings a week) to teach calculus so we could compete his class but he did an awesome job. Had I been able to take his two classes before the real calculus classes then they would have been an absolute breeze.

    Now Quantum Physics is different because....well I'm still lost once it goes past the 2-slit interference patterns...but it is a pretty specialized field that wouldn't be needed for most engineering aside from a science credit.

    With a good professor and decent textbook any subject is easy enough to master as a good student. The problem is in professors (sometimes obsessed with research) who don't realize the shortcomings of their textbooks or related classes and the tacit assumptions that go with it. At the school I went to it was very frustrating, without a visit to the professor outside class to clear up 1 or 2 assumptions the brightest 6-8 of us felt like idiots for not being able to solve some of the homework at all. Then all we could do is become angry at the text for being terse and making those assumptions that would keep us working on simple problems for hours to no end.

    With a good professor and modest notes from class any subject should be easy enough to apply yourself to and master well enough. If not, a good tutor would be easily worth the money to ensure you learn what's presented and get good marks. I never joined one but ended up hanging around a couple fraternities just to chat with the previous years students to clear up the assumptions made in the textbooks, cheap tutoring and something they did as part of their community.

    Some science classes will likely be part of any degree program. With the right attitude and willingness to seek the answers you should have no issues passing anything with high marks. My advice is to be willing to examine the underlying assumption that the textbook and professor are the sole answer to the subject matter. When instead sometimes a different perspective from a different teacher or textbook is incredibly valuable to learning something well.

    [soapbox mode off]

  8. Feb 1, 2005 #7

    Tom Mattson

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    It most certainly is not. There is no experimental side to mathematics.
  9. Feb 1, 2005 #8
    I guess that depends on whether you would count Theoretical Mathematics or stick to discrete.
  10. Feb 2, 2005 #9

    Tom Mattson

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    I don't follow your dichotomy of theoretical mechanics vs. discrete ("discrete" what, by the way?), but my comment refers to the fact that mathematical truths follow from axioms and definitions. All checks for validity are internal; there needn't be any checks with the outside world. That's why mathematics is not science.
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