Technology vs engineering

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

What is the difference between technology and engineering?
 

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  • #2
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Engineering is to technology as builder is to building.
 
  • #3
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Engineering is to technology as builder is to building.
I don't get it. A builder is a person who performs the process of building. Engineering is not a person who performs the process of technology.
 
  • #4
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To put my question into a context, it arose from the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) acronym. Why isn't it just SEM?
 
  • #5
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Why isn't it just SEM?
I think technology is a kind of materialized sum of all previous engineering. And while it is possible (?) to always start everything anew (re-engineer all) it is better to have a set of results to work with to spare on engineering. And to manage/refer those results we have 'technology'.
 
  • #6
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Perhaps engineering and technology have a similar distinction as between strategy and tactics. The former is a 'big picture' view of what the goals are while the latter encompasses the techniques of how to accomplish them.

Is it possible to have a technology without engineering or math? I'm thinking of our ancestors making the first stone tools ...
 
  • #7
CWatters
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Engineering is the application of technology (among other things).
 
  • #8
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Somewhat similar to the ideas above, my idea is that engineering is something that happens in an office or a lab, while technology is something that happens in a factory or at the terrain. Engineering brings a plan or a prototype, while technology brings the final product for the actual use.
 
  • #9
Baluncore
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Technology involves the mechanisms and devices through which energy or information flows.
Engineering is the economic application of available technology to permit the efficient flow of energy and information, to achieve a specified goal.
 
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  • #10
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I think engineers dislike calling computer programming engineering. Including programming and software under the heading Technology gets around that.

But remember, you are asking about language and why people choose words, not science. Therefore there are no right or wrong answers to the OP question.
 
  • #11
russ_watters
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To put my question into a context, it arose from the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) acronym. Why isn't it just SEM?
Because not everyone who works with technology is an engineer. Computer technicians, for example.
 
  • #12
russ_watters
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I think engineers dislike calling computer programming engineering. Including programming and software under the heading Technology gets around that.
Maybe. In my field a "designer" is not an engineer, but still works for an engineering company. So is that an E or a T job?

There are T jobs though, that are not even engineering adjacent.
 
  • #13
jack action
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Science: A science involved in studying phenomena or laws of the physical world; a general term of physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, and so on.

Technology: The organization of knowledge for practical purposes.

Engineering: The application of mathematics and the physical sciences to the needs of humanity and the development of technology.

Mathematics: An abstract representational system used in the study of numbers, shapes, structure, change and the relationships between these concepts.

Based on these definitions, my take on this would be:

Math gives you an abstract representation to organize your thoughts (ex.: derivatives & integrals). Science uses math to explain the world limitations (ex.: Newton's law or Ohm's law). Engineering uses science to develop methods to work efficiently with our environment (ex.: how to create lift with aerodynamics or methods to build a computer). Technology finds solutions for particular problems (ex.: creating a lighter, stronger, better material for an airplane wing or creating the most efficient use of a computer for geopositioning).
 
  • #14
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Science: A science involved in studying phenomena or laws of the physical world; a general term of physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, and so on.

Technology: The organization of knowledge for practical purposes.

Engineering: The application of mathematics and the physical sciences to the needs of humanity and the development of technology.

Mathematics: An abstract representational system used in the study of numbers, shapes, structure, change and the relationships between these concepts.

Based on these definitions, my take on this would be:

Math gives you an abstract representation to organize your thoughts (ex.: derivatives & integrals). Science uses math to explain the world limitations (ex.: Newton's law or Ohm's law). Engineering uses science to develop methods to work efficiently with our environment (ex.: how to create lift with aerodynamics or methods to build a computer). Technology finds solutions for particular problems (ex.: creating a lighter, stronger, better material for an airplane wing or creating the most efficient use of a computer for geopositioning).
I would summarize this by saying that technology is applied engineering, which is applied science, which is applied math. Would you agree?
 
  • #15
russ_watters
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I would summarize this by saying that technology is applied engineering, which is applied science, which is applied math. Would you agree?
No.
 
  • #16
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Technology is a very broad word, based (I think) on the word technical. So STEM could be shortened to T. But that makes a lousy acronym.
 
  • #17
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I would summarize this by saying that technology is applied engineering, which is applied science, which is applied math.
You can also say that everything is applied thinking, but that would make things rather difficult than clear.

Applied math is a tool for science, but every branch in science has a wide toolset of his own.
Applied science is part of engineering, but engineering alone is more than just applied science.(At least I have a small library about engineering - and nothing of that library would pass peer review.)
Applied engineering is part of technology: actually a leading part of it, but a knife does not consist only of edge.

I think sometimes it's better to concentrate on the differences than trying to hold everything in one fold.
 
  • #18
jack action
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I would summarize this by saying that technology is applied engineering, which is applied science, which is applied math. Would you agree?
I kind of agree more with @russ_watters and think it's an oversimplification, as the lines between each specialty can be blurry sometimes.

But if I would go with a simplification, I might use it the other way around:
  • Engineering is reverse-engineered technology;
  • Science is reversed-engineered engineering;
  • Math is reversed-engineered science.
If that makes any sense. People were selecting the perfect wood for making boats (technology), before knowing how to methodically design them (engineering), which they were doing before understanding the law of buoyancy (science), which they were probably understanding intuitively before putting numbers on it (math).

It all started with a guy with a rock hitting another rock, not a guy playing with numbers in his head. So technology should really be the starting point.
 
  • #19
Ranger Mike
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I'll take a swing at this one...


Science is the all encompassing study of all knowledge (as well as Theory) related to one subject.

Engineering is the practical application of this knowledge in a particular area. It defines the application, usually with measurements and mathematics.

Technology is a use to accomplish the particular application. It takes the defined application and creates it.

Mathematics is the language of Science and is a universal language.

Metrology is the Science of Measurement and Measurement is used to further define the application.
 
  • #20
Baluncore
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Science is the all encompassing study of all knowledge (as well as Theory) related to one subject.
Engineering is the practical application of this knowledge in a particular area. It defines the application, usually with measurements and mathematics.
So you mean the use of any knowledge is therefore Engineering.

I restrict Engineering to the economic management of energy flows. That is what Engineers do and where the term originates.
That cuts out things like agriculture, gardening, much software, and the manipulations of political science. Remember that Sociology and Education are also Sciences.
 
  • #21
Ranger Mike
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i would say Education is the practical application of Science. Same with Sociology. Farming..could be. Political Science is an art form.

i am only a 2D thinker Bal...can not walk and chew gum at the same time so this definition works for me..
 
  • #22
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a scientist thinks of a light bulb - an engineer calculates how many engineers it takes to screw in the light bulb - the electrical technologist screws in the light bulb - the electrician finds why the light bulb don't light and fixes it - the scientist looks at the accomplishment and thinks of a better way then the process repeats
 
  • #23
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The second type of meaning is called the connotative meaning. The connotative meaning of something has to do with what the word suggests to the individual, based on that person's experiences and emotional reactions and judgments associates with the word or what it refers to. Let's take the cat example.
 
  • #24
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What's the point of this discussion? These broad terms aren't defined precisely, and people don't use the definitions being given here.
 
  • #25
jack action
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What's the point of this discussion?
The same as any other discussion: Passing the time by playing with abstract ideas - just for the fun of it - while patiently waiting for death.
 

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