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Mechanical vs. Electrical engineering vs. Bioengineering

  1. Jul 23, 2012 #1
    I'm trying to decide between these three majors. I'm in community college right now and plan on transferring next year God willing. I have taken almost all my math, physics, and chem courses and a bio class. I have also taken the following engineering classes at my college to help me decide: circuits, statics, and materials. However, I was interested in all of the courses I have taken so far including the bio classes. I've done well in all of those courses always at the top of the class. Relating to ME, I like classical mechanics, thermodynamics, aerodynamics, and fluid mechanics. Relating to EE, I liked learning about the physics of all the components (like capacitors, inductors, transistors, ...) and I liked designing circuits. Relating to bio, I liked pondering about evolution, ecology, and cell characteristics. I like pure physics and math, but I want to build and design. I'd like to know if there is any engineering field for quantum physics which I am also interested in. I like biomimetics (especially with designing airplanes) where they imitate designs observed in nature like the ornithopter (an aircraft that flies by flapping its wings) which I think is mostly related to ME major. I also like to find better ways to design circuits to save energy for like a dishwasher persay or deliver maximum power or speed for like a processor in a computer. I've heard for example about photonics where they make circuits that use photons of light and small mirrors for data transfer.
    What keeps me away from bioengineering is that they use engineering to design for biological applications, but I am more interested in using biology and what is observed in nature in engineering.
    I would really appreciate any suggestions on what major I should choose and why.
    Thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 24, 2012 #2
    You have a young mind and are probably interested in many things. I'm guessing you could pick any of those majors for undergrad and be able to enjoy your time. However, having an interest in engineering topics is not necessarily the same as enjoying the day to day tasks of an engineer. Spend some time doing solid modeling, drafting, tinkering, writing computer programs, soldering circuits, repairing the washing machine, building a computer, etc. There are plenty of hobby books out there to guide you through the different areas. That might help motivate you one way or the other.
  4. Jul 25, 2012 #3
    I have a pretty good idea what bioengineers and electrical engineers do day to day, but I don't have a good idea what mechanical engineers do. Could you tell me how the day to day tasks of a mechanical engineer is?
    Thanks for the prompt reply
  5. Jul 28, 2012 #4
    Mechanical Engineer's at my job do minor tasks to complete a big project.

    For an example, we have a product...and we may be doing a upgrade to it.

    This upgrade may include some electrical upgrades and some mechanical upgrades.

    You would be tasked with possibly the following: Modeling it in the company's 3d modeling program, putting the model into the assembly to see if there is any interference issues, running a simulation of it. *The previous statements can also be accomplished by a "Mechanical Designer". Depending on how big the company is.

    A Mechanical engineer would run a anaylsis on this upgrade.

    Prototyping would then come along and you may have to assist in problems that occur during the prototype phases.
  6. Jul 31, 2012 #5
  7. Aug 1, 2012 #6
    I'm like the OP, minus biology.
    I have a very big interest in both electrical and mechanical. My biggest concern though is that I keep reading that EE is much harder than ME. What makes it so? Obviously the core curriculum for both paths are identical, but what in EE makes it more "intimidating?"
    I know the whole schpill about "Some find 'X' interesting and 'Y' boring so 'X' is easier for some." But what is it about the EE classes that makes students think it's more difficult. Do those classes require higher level math or is it the course load per class?
    I guess you might be able to tell that I'm leaning toward EE but I'm a little intimidated by what I've read and heard from EE students at my school.
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