1.the practical application of science to commerce or industry
2.a room (as on a ship) in which the engine is located
3.the discipline dealing with the art or science of applying scientific knowledge to practical problems"he had trouble deciding which branch of engineering to study"
1.(MeSH)The practical application of physical, mechanical, and mathematical principles. (Stedman, 25th ed)
1.someone whose occupation involves training in a specific technical process
2.a person who uses scientific knowledge to solve practical problems
3.(American)the operator of a railway locomotive
1.plan and direct (a complex undertaking)"he masterminded the robbery"
2.design as an engineer"He engineered the water supply project"
EngineeringEn`gi*neer"ing, n. Originally, the art of managing engines; in its modern and extended sense, the art and science by which the properties of matter are made useful to man, whether in structures, machines, chemical substances, or living organisms; the occupation and work of an engineer. In the modern sense, the application of mathematics or systematic knowledge beyond the routine skills of practise, for the design of any complex system which performs useful functions, may be considered as engineering, including such abstract tasks as designing software (software engineering).
☞ In a comprehensive sense, engineering includes architecture as a mechanical art, in distinction from architecture as a fine art. It was formerly divided into military engineering, which is the art of designing and constructing offensive and defensive works, and civil engineering, in a broad sense, as relating to other kinds of public works, machinery, etc. -- Civil engineering, in modern usage, is strictly the art of planning, laying out, and constructing fixed public works, such as railroads, highways, canals, aqueducts, water works, bridges, lighthouses, docks, embankments, breakwaters, dams, tunnels, etc. -- Mechanical engineering relates to machinery, such as steam engines, machine tools, mill work, etc. -- Mining engineering deals with the excavation and working of mines, and the extraction of metals from their ores, etc. Engineering is further divided into steam engineering, gas engineering, agricultural engineering, topographical engineering, electrical engineering, etc.
EngineerEn`gi*neer" (?), n. [OE. enginer: cf. OF. engignier, F. ingénieur. See Engine, n.]
1. A person skilled in the principles and practice of any branch of engineering; as, a civil engineer; an electronic engineer; a chemical engineer. See under Engineering, n.
2. One who manages as engine, particularly a steam engine; an engine driver.
3. One who carries through an enterprise by skillful or artful contrivance; an efficient manager. [Colloq.]
Civil engineer, a person skilled in the science of civil engineering. -- Military engineer, one who executes engineering works of a military nature. See under Engineering.
EngineerEn`gi*neer" (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Engineered (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Engineering.]
1. To lay out or construct, as an engineer; to perform the work of an engineer on; as, to engineer a road. J. Hamilton.
2. To use contrivance and effort for; to guide the course of; to manage; as, to engineer a bill through Congress. [Colloq.]
definition of Wikipedia
Bachelor of Engineering • Bachelor of Science in Architecture • Bachelor of Science in Engineering • Biomedical Engineering • Chemical Engineering • Clinical Engineering • Engineering Psychology • Engineering, Biomedical • Engineering, Chemical • Engineering, Clinical • Engineering, Genetic • Engineering, Hospital • Genetic Engineering • Genetic Engineering of Proteins • Hospital Engineering • Human Engineering • Maintenance and Engineering, Hospital • Master of Science in Engineering • Protein Engineering • Sanitary Engineering • Software Engineering • Tissue Engineering • aeronautical engineering • architectural engineering • automotive engineering • business re-engineering • chemical engineering • civil engineering • computer engineering • computer-aided engineering • electrical engineering • electrical engineering industry • engineering and design department • engineering school • engineering science • engineering sensor • general mechanical engineering • genetic engineering • hydraulic engineering • industrial engineering • marine engineering • mechanical engineering • military engineering • naval engineering • nuclear engineering • precision engineering • re-engineering • software engineering
aeronautical engineer • aerospace engineer • agricultural engineer • army engineer • automotive engineer • civil engineer • efficiency engineer • electrical engineer • engineer's chain • field service engineer • flight engineer • heating engineer • highway engineer • hydraulic engineer • locomotive engineer • marine engineer • mechanical engineer • metallurgical engineer • military engineer • mining engineer • naval engineer • railroad engineer • rocket engineer • sea-going engineer • seagoing engineer • ship construction engineer • ship's engineer • software engineer • structural engineer • systems engineer
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(ENSOC) • University of Colorado Engineering Management Program • University of Engineering and Technology (Peshawar) • University of Engineering and Technology, Taxila • University of Michigan College of Engineering • University of Rochester College of Arts Sciences and Engineering • University of Texas at San Antonio College of Engineering • Usability engineering • Velammal Engineering College • Vidya Vardhaka College of Engineering • White box (engineering) • White box (software engineering) • Windows Hardware Engineering Conference • Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy
technique spécifique (fr)[Classe...]
total; set; whole; integer; whole number[Classe...]
sciences et techniques (fr)[Thème]
business, craftsmanship, employment, job, line, line of work, occupation, profession, professional skill, trade, vocation, workmanship - employment, exercise, usage, use, utilisation, utilization - design, plan, style - human, human being, individual, man, mobile portal, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul, wireless portal[Hyper.]
apply - apply, employ, exercise, use, utilise, utilize - apply, practice, use - apply, lend oneself - engineering, technology - applied scientist, engineer, technologist - contrive, devise, direct, engineer, invent, mastermind, orchestrate, organise, organize, plan out, reason out, run, think of, think out, think up - engineer - applied science, engineering, engineering science, technology - technologically[Dérivé]
ensemble (réunion d'éléments) (fr)[Classe...]
sciences et techniques (fr)[termes liés]
ressource économique et géographique (fr)[ClasseParExt.]
art; artistic creation; artistic production[ClasseParExt.]
(service; department; ward)[Thème]
learn, read, study, take - study - disciplinary - contrive, devise, direct, engineer, invent, mastermind, orchestrate, organise, organize, plan out, reason out, run, think of, think out, think up - engineer - engineering, technology - applied science, engineering, engineering science, technology - technologically[Dérivé]
facteur de production (fr)[ClasseParExt.]
pedestrian; walker; footer[Classe]
métier : étude et recherche (fr)[Classe...]
(machinery), (mechanisation; mechanization)[termes liés]
pedestrian; walker; footer[Classe]
écrire un roman (fr)[Classe]
ensemble (réunion d'éléments) (fr)[Classe...]
facteur de production (fr)[ClasseParExt.]
(service; department; ward)[Thème]
sciences et techniques (fr)[termes liés]
being, organism - causal agency, causal agent, cause, reason - plan - design, plan, style - profession - application, practical application - bailiwick, discipline, field, field of study, study, subject, subject area, subject field[Hyper.]
folk, people, persons[membre]
individualise, individualize, personalise, personalize - personate, personify - personhood - mortal - arrangement, handling, ordering, organisation, organization - orchestration - organisation, organization - administration, brass, establishment, governance, governing body, organisation, organization - applied scientist, engineer, technologist - labor organizer, organiser, organizer - conceiver, mastermind, originator - directing, directional, directive, guiding - engineering, technology - engineer - technical, technological - technological[Dérivé]
carry on, contrive, devise, direct, engineer, invent, mastermind, orchestrate, organise, organize, plan out, reason out, run, think of, think out, think up - établir le plan de (fr) - engineering, technology - applied science, engineering science[Dérivé]
personne aidant (fr)[ClasseParExt.]
métier : sciences exactes (fr)[Classe]
(experimentation), (subject)[termes liés]
railroad train, train[membre]
engineer (n.) [American]
engineer (v. tr.)
appliquer son esprit à qqch (fr)[Classe]
composer un texte écrit (fr)[Classe]
(fancy; picture o.s.; visualize; imagine o.s.; visualise; imagine; conceive of; ideate; envisage; picture), (anticlimax; disappointment; chagrin; humiliation; mortification), (inspiration), (fancy; picture o.s.; visualize; imagine o.s.; visualise; imagine; conceive of; ideate; envisage; picture), (fantasy; fancy; imagination; phantasy), (creator), (ideally; imaginarily)[Thème]
roman : type d'œuvre (fr)[Thème]
cerebrate, cogitate, think - action, activity, busyness, employment, occupation, pursuit - arrangement, arranging, transcription - administration, disposal - body - human, human being, individual, man, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul - union representative - creator[Hyper.]
planning - planner - design, plan, scheme - plan, program, programme, schedule - contriver, deviser, planner - coordinate, organise, organize - contrive, devise, direct, engineer, invent, mastermind, orchestrate, organise, organize, plan out, reason out, run, think of, think out, think up - organise, organize, stage - devise, get up, machinate, organise, organize, prepare - form, organise, organize - administer, administrate - engineer - engineering, technology - applied science, engineering, engineering science, technology - organise, organize, unionise, unionize - initiate, originate, start - conceive, conceptualise, conceptualize, gestate[Dérivé]
écrire un roman (fr)[Classe]
arrangement, handling, ordering, organisation, organization - orchestration - eestvedamine, eestvõtmine, korraldustöö, organiseerimine (et) - administration, brass, establishment, governance, governing body - applied scientist, engineer, technologist - labor organizer, organiser, organizer - conceiver, mastermind, originator - directing, directional, directive, guiding[Dérivé]
engineer (v. tr.)
ensemble (réunion d'éléments) (fr)[Classe...]
sciences et techniques (fr)[termes liés]
design, designing - planning - design - architectural plan, plan - conception, design, excogitation, innovation, invention - architect, designer, master builder, structural engineer - contriver, deviser, planner - engineer - applied scientist, engineer, technologist - technical, technological - contrive, devise, direct, engineer, invent, mastermind, orchestrate, organise, organize, plan out, reason out, run, think of, think out, think up - engineering, technology - applied science, engineering, engineering science, technology[Dérivé]
design, plan, style[Hyper.]
engineer (v. tr.)
Engineering is the discipline, skill, and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes.
The American Engineers' Council for Professional Development (ECPD, the predecessor of ABET) has defined "engineering" as:
The creative application of scientific principles to design or develop structures, machines, apparatus, or manufacturing processes, or works utilizing them singly or in combination; or to construct or operate the same with full cognizance of their design; or to forecast their behavior under specific operating conditions; all as respects an intended function, economics of operation or safety to life and property.
One who practices engineering is called an engineer, and those licensed to do so may have more formal designations such as Professional Engineer, Chartered Engineer, Incorporated Engineer, Ingenieur or European Engineer. The broad discipline of engineering encompasses a range of more specialized sub disciplines, each with a more specific emphasis on certain fields of application and particular areas of technology.
Engineering has existed since ancient times as humans devised fundamental inventions such as the pulley, lever, and wheel. Each of these inventions is consistent with the modern definition of engineering, exploiting basic mechanical principles to develop useful tools and objects.
The term engineering itself has a much more recent etymology, deriving from the word engineer, which itself dates back to 1325, when an engine’er (literally, one who operates an engine) originally referred to “a constructor of military engines.” In this context, now obsolete, an “engine” referred to a military machine, i.e., a mechanical contraption used in war (for example, a catapult). Notable exceptions of the obsolete usage which have survived to the present day are military engineering corps, e.g., the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Later, as the design of civilian structures such as bridges and buildings matured as a technical discipline, the term civil engineering entered the lexicon as a way to distinguish between those specializing in the construction of such non-military projects and those involved in the older discipline of military engineering.
The Pharos of Alexandria, the pyramids in Egypt, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Acropolis and the Parthenon in Greece, the Roman aqueducts, Via Appia and the Colosseum, Teotihuacán and the cities and pyramids of the Mayan, Inca and Aztec Empires, the Great Wall of China, the Brihadeshwara temple of Tanjavur and tombs of India, among many others, stand as a testament to the ingenuity and skill of the ancient civil and military engineers.
The earliest civil engineer known by name is Imhotep. As one of the officials of the Pharaoh, Djosèr, he probably designed and supervised the construction of the Pyramid of Djoser (the Step Pyramid) at Saqqara in Egypt around 2630-2611 BC. He may also have been responsible for the first known use of columns in architecture.
Ancient Greece developed machines in both the civilian and military domains. The Antikythera mechanism, the first known mechanical computer, and the mechanical inventions of Archimedes are examples of early mechanical engineering. Some of Archimedes' inventions as well as the Antikythera mechanism required sophisticated knowledge of differential gearing or epicyclic gearing, two key principles in machine theory that helped design the gear trains of the Industrial revolution, and are still widely used today in diverse fields such as robotics and automotive engineering.
Chinese, Greek and Roman armies employed complex military machines and inventions such as artillery which was developed by the Greeks around the 4th century B.C., the trireme, the ballista and the catapult. In the Middle Ages, the Trebuchet was developed.
The first steam engine was built in 1698 by mechanical engineer Thomas Savery. The development of this device gave rise to the industrial revolution in the coming decades, allowing for the beginnings of mass production.
With the rise of engineering as a profession in the eighteenth century, the term became more narrowly applied to fields in which mathematics and science were applied to these ends. Similarly, in addition to military and civil engineering the fields then known as the mechanic arts became incorporated into engineering.
Electrical engineering can trace its origins in the experiments of Alessandro Volta in the 1800s, the experiments of Michael Faraday, Georg Ohm and others and the invention of the electric motor in 1872. The work of James Maxwell and Heinrich Hertz in the late 19th century gave rise to the field of Electronics. The later inventions of the vacuum tube and the transistor further accelerated the development of electronics to such an extent that electrical and electronics engineers currently outnumber their colleagues of any other Engineering specialty.
The inventions of Thomas Savery and the Scottish engineer James Watt gave rise to modern Mechanical Engineering. The development of specialized machines and their maintenance tools during the industrial revolution led to the rapid growth of Mechanical Engineering both in its birthplace Britain and abroad.
Chemical Engineering, like its counterpart Mechanical Engineering, developed in the nineteenth century during the Industrial Revolution. Industrial scale manufacturing demanded new materials and new processes and by 1880 the need for large scale production of chemicals was such that a new industry was created, dedicated to the development and large scale manufacturing of chemicals in new industrial plants. The role of the chemical engineer was the design of these chemical plants and processes.
Aeronautical Engineering deals with aircraft design while Aerospace Engineering is a more modern term that expands the reach envelope of the discipline by including spacecraft design. Its origins can be traced back to the aviation pioneers around the turn of the century from the 19th century to the 20th although the work of Sir George Cayley has recently been dated as being from the last decade of the 18th century. Early knowledge of aeronautical engineering was largely empirical with some concepts and skills imported from other branches of engineering.
The first PhD in engineering (technically, applied science and engineering) awarded in the United States went to Willard Gibbs at Yale University in 1863; it was also the second PhD awarded in science in the U.S.
Only a decade after the successful flights by the Wright brothers, there was extensive development of aeronautical engineering through development of military aircraft that were used in World War I . Meanwhile, research to provide fundamental background science continued by combining theoretical physics with experiments.
Engineering, much like other science, is a broad discipline which is often broken down into several sub-disciplines. These disciplines concern themselves with differing areas of engineering work. Although initially an engineer will usually be trained in a specific discipline, throughout an engineer's career the engineer may become multi-disciplined, having worked in several of the outlined areas. Engineering is often characterized as having four main branches:
Beyond these four, sources vary on other main branches. Historically, naval engineering and mining engineering were major branches. Modern fields sometimes included as major branches include aerospace, petroleum, systems, audio engineering, architectural, biosystems, biomedical, industrial, materials science and nuclear engineering.
New specialties sometimes combine with the traditional fields and form new branches. A new or emerging area of application will commonly be defined temporarily as a permutation or subset of existing disciplines; there is often gray area as to when a given sub-field becomes large and/or prominent enough to warrant classification as a new "branch." One key indicator of such emergence is when major universities start establishing departments and programs in the new field.
For each of these fields there exists considerable overlap, especially in the areas of the application of sciences to their disciplines such as physics, chemistry and mathematics.
Engineers apply the sciences of physics and mathematics to find suitable solutions to problems or to make improvements to the status quo. More than ever, engineers are now required to have knowledge of relevant sciences for their design projects. As a result, they may keep on learning new material throughout their career.
If multiple options exist, engineers weigh different design choices on their merits and choose the solution that best matches the requirements. The crucial and unique task of the engineer is to identify, understand, and interpret the constraints on a design in order to produce a successful result. It is usually not enough to build a technically successful product; it must also meet further requirements.
Constraints may include available resources, physical, imaginative or technical limitations, flexibility for future modifications and additions, and other factors, such as requirements for cost, safety, marketability, productibility, and serviceability. By understanding the constraints, engineers derive specifications for the limits within which a viable object or system may be produced and operated.
Engineers use their knowledge of science, mathematics, logic, economics, and appropriate experience or tacit knowledge to find suitable solutions to a problem. Creating an appropriate mathematical model of a problem allows them to analyze it (sometimes definitively), and to test potential solutions.
Usually multiple reasonable solutions exist, so engineers must evaluate the different design choices on their merits and choose the solution that best meets their requirements. Genrich Altshuller, after gathering statistics on a large number of patents, suggested that compromises are at the heart of "low-level" engineering designs, while at a higher level the best design is one which eliminates the core contradiction causing the problem.
Engineers typically attempt to predict how well their designs will perform to their specifications prior to full-scale production. They use, among other things: prototypes, scale models, simulations, destructive tests, nondestructive tests, and stress tests. Testing ensures that products will perform as expected.
Engineers take on the responsibility of producing designs that will perform as well as expected and will not cause unintended harm to the public at large. Engineers typically include a factor of safety in their designs to reduce the risk of unexpected failure. However, the greater the safety factor, the less efficient the design may be.
The study of failed products is known as forensic engineering, and can help the product designer in evaluating his or her design in the light of real conditions. The discipline is of greatest value after disasters, such as bridge collapses, when careful analysis is needed to establish the cause or causes of the failure.
As with all modern scientific and technological endeavors, computers and software play an increasingly important role. As well as the typical business application software there are a number of computer aided applications (Computer-aided technologies) specifically for engineering. Computers can be used to generate models of fundamental physical processes, which can be solved using numerical methods.
One of the most widely used tools in the profession is computer-aided design (CAD) software which enables engineers to create 3D models, 2D drawings, and schematics of their designs. CAD together with Digital mockup (DMU) and CAE software such as finite element method analysis or analytic element method allows engineers to create models of designs that can be analyzed without having to make expensive and time-consuming physical prototypes.
These allow products and components to be checked for flaws; assess fit and assembly; study ergonomics; and to analyze static and dynamic characteristics of systems such as stresses, temperatures, electromagnetic emissions, electrical currents and voltages, digital logic levels, fluid flows, and kinematics. Access and distribution of all this information is generally organized with the use of Product Data Management software.
There are also many tools to support specific engineering tasks such as Computer-aided manufacture (CAM) software to generate CNC machining instructions; Manufacturing Process Management software for production engineering; EDA for printed circuit board (PCB) and circuit schematics for electronic engineers; MRO applications for maintenance management; and AEC software for civil engineering.
||This section may contain original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding references. Statements consisting only of original research may be removed. (July 2010)|
Engineering is a subject that ranges from large collaborations to small individual projects. Almost all engineering projects are beholden to some sort of financing agency: a company, a set of investors, or a government. The few types of engineering that are minimally constrained by such issues are pro bono engineering and open design engineering.
By its very nature engineering is bound up with society and human behavior. Every product or construction used by modern society will have been influenced by engineering design. Engineering design is a very powerful tool to make changes to environment, society and economies, and its application brings with it a great responsibility. Many engineering societies have established codes of practice and codes of ethics to guide members and inform the public at large.
Engineering projects can be subject to controversy. Examples from different engineering disciplines include the development of nuclear weapons, the Three Gorges Dam, the design and use of Sport utility vehicles and the extraction of oil. In response, some western engineering companies have enacted serious corporate and social responsibility policies.
Engineering is a key driver of human development. Sub-Saharan Africa in particular has a very small engineering capacity which results in many African nations being unable to develop crucial infrastructure without outside aid. The attainment of many of the Millennium Development Goals requires the achievement of sufficient engineering capacity to develop infrastructure and sustainable technological development.
All overseas development and relief NGOs make considerable use of engineers to apply solutions in disaster and development scenarios. A number of charitable organizations aim to use engineering directly for the good of mankind:
Scientists study the world as it is; engineers create the world that has never been.
There exists an overlap between the sciences and engineering practice; in engineering, one applies science. Both areas of endeavor rely on accurate observation of materials and phenomena. Both use mathematics and classification criteria to analyze and communicate observations.
Scientists may also have to complete engineering tasks, such as designing experimental apparatus or building prototypes. Conversely, in the process of developing technology engineers sometimes find themselves exploring new phenomena, thus becoming, for the moment, scientists.
In the book What Engineers Know and How They Know It, Walter Vincenti asserts that engineering research has a character different from that of scientific research. First, it often deals with areas in which the basic physics and/or chemistry are well understood, but the problems themselves are too complex to solve in an exact manner.
Examples are the use of numerical approximations to the Navier-Stokes equations to describe aerodynamic flow over an aircraft, or the use of Miner's rule to calculate fatigue damage. Second, engineering research employs many semi-empirical methods that are foreign to pure scientific research, one example being the method of parameter variation.
As stated by Fung et al. in the revision to the classic engineering text, Foundations of Solid Mechanics:
"Engineering is quite different from science. Scientists try to understand nature. Engineers try to make things that do not exist in nature. Engineers stress invention. To embody an invention the engineer must put his idea in concrete terms, and design something that people can use. That something can be a device, a gadget, a material, a method, a computing program, an innovative experiment, a new solution to a problem, or an improvement on what is existing. Since a design has to be concrete, it must have its geometry, dimensions, and characteristic numbers. Almost all engineers working on new designs find that they do not have all the needed information. Most often, they are limited by insufficient scientific knowledge. Thus they study mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and mechanics. Often they have to add to the sciences relevant to their profession. Thus engineering sciences are born."
Although engineering solutions make use of scientific principles, engineers must also take into account safety, efficiency, economy, reliability and constructability or ease of fabrication, as well as legal considerations such as patent infringement or liability in the case of failure of the solution.
The study of the human body, albeit from different directions and for different purposes, is an important common link between medicine and some engineering disciplines. Medicine aims to sustain, enhance and even replace functions of the human body, if necessary, through the use of technology.
Modern medicine can replace several of the body's functions through the use of artificial organs and can significantly alter the function of the human body through artificial devices such as, for example, brain implants and pacemakers. The fields of Bionics and medical Bionics are dedicated to the study of synthetic implants pertaining to natural systems.
Conversely, some engineering disciplines view the human body as a biological machine worth studying, and are dedicated to emulating many of its functions by replacing biology with technology. This has led to fields such as artificial intelligence, neural networks, fuzzy logic, and robotics. There are also substantial interdisciplinary interactions between engineering and medicine.
Both fields provide solutions to real world problems. This often requires moving forward before phenomena are completely understood in a more rigorous scientific sense and therefore experimentation and empirical knowledge is an integral part of both.
Medicine, in part, studies the function of the human body. The human body, as a biological machine, has many functions that can be modeled using Engineering methods.
The heart for example functions much like a pump, the skeleton is like a linked structure with levers, the brain produces electrical signals etc. These similarities as well as the increasing importance and application of Engineering principles in Medicine, led to the development of the field of biomedical engineering that uses concepts developed in both disciplines.
Newly emerging branches of science, such as Systems biology, are adapting analytical tools traditionally used for engineering, such as systems modeling and computational analysis, to the description of biological systems.
There are connections between engineering and art; they are direct in some fields, for example, architecture, landscape architecture and industrial design (even to the extent that these disciplines may sometimes be included in a University's Faculty of Engineering); and indirect in others.
The Art Institute of Chicago, for instance, held an exhibition about the art of NASA's aerospace design. Robert Maillart's bridge design is perceived by some to have been deliberately artistic. At the University of South Florida, an engineering professor, through a grant with the National Science Foundation, has developed a course that connects art and engineering.
In Political science the term engineering has been borrowed for the study of the subjects of Social engineering and Political engineering, which deal with forming political and social structures using engineering methodology coupled with political science principles. Financial engineering has similarly borrowed the term.
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Conference of Engineers at the Menai Straits Preparatory to Floating one of the Tubes of the Britannia Bridge, by John Seymour Lucas, 1868
|Activity sectors||Applied sciences|
|Competencies||Mathematics, scientific knowledge, management skills|
|Education required||Engineering education|
An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, safety and cost. The word engineer is derived from the Latin roots ingeniare ("to contrive, devise") and ingenium ("cleverness").
Engineers are grounded in applied sciences, and their work in research and development is distinct from the basic research focus of scientists. The work of engineers forms the link between scientific discoveries and their subsequent applications to human needs.
Engineers develop new technological solutions. During the engineering design process, the responsibilities of the engineer may include defining problems, conducting and narrowing research, analyzing criteria, finding and analyzing solutions, and making decisions. Much of an engineer's time is spent on researching, locating, applying, and transferring information. Indeed, research suggests engineers spend 56% of their time engaged in various different information behaviours, including 14% actively searching for information.
Engineers must weigh different design choices on their merits and choose the solution that best matches the requirements. Their crucial and unique task is to identify, understand, and interpret the constraints on a design in order to produce a successful result.
Engineers apply techniques of engineering analysis in testing, production, or maintenance. Analytical engineers may supervise production in factories and elsewhere, determine the causes of a process failure, and test output to maintain quality. They also estimate the time and cost required to complete projects. Supervisory engineers are responsible for major components or entire projects. Engineering analysis involves the application of scientific analytic principles and processes to reveal the properties and state of the system, device or mechanism under study. Engineering analysis proceeds by separating the engineering design into the mechanisms of operation or failure, analyzing or estimating each component of the operation or failure mechanism in isolation, and re-combining the components. They may analyse risk.
Many engineers use computers to produce and analyze designs, to simulate and test how a machine, structure, or system operates, to generate specifications for parts, to monitor the quality of products, and to control the efficiency of processes.
Most engineers specialize in one or more engineering disciplines. Numerous specialties are recognized by professional societies, and each of the major branches of engineering has numerous subdivisions. Civil engineering, for example, includes structural and transportation engineering, and materials engineering includes ceramic, metallurgical, and polymer engineering. Engineers also may specialize in one industry, such as motor vehicles, or in one type of technology, such as turbines or semiconductor materials.
Several recent studies have investigated how engineers spend their time; that is, the work tasks they perform and how their time is distributed among these. Research suggests that there are several key themes present in engineers’ work: (1) technical work (i.e., the application of science to product development); (2) social work (i.e., interactive communication between people); (3) computer-based work; (4) information behaviours. Amongst other more detailed findings, a recent work sampling study found that engineers spend 62.92% of their time engaged in technical work, 40.37% in social work, and 49.66% in computer-based work. Furthermore, there was considerable overlap between these different types of work, with engineers spending 24.96% of their time engaged in technical and social work, 37.97% in technical and non-social, 15.42% in non-technical and social, and 21.66% in non-technical and non-social.
Engineering is also an information intensive field, with research finding that engineers spend 55.8% of their time engaged in various different information behaviours, including 14.2% actively seeking information from other people (7.8%) and information repositories such as documents and databases (6.4%).
The time engineers spend engaged in such activities is also reflected in the competencies required in engineering roles. In addition to engineers’ core technical competence, research has also demonstrated the critical nature of their personal attributes, project management skills, and cognitive abilities to success in the role.
Engineers have obligations to the public, their clients, employers and the profession. Many engineering societies have established codes of practice and codes of ethics to guide members and inform the public at large. Each engineering discipline and professional society maintains a code of ethics, which the members pledge to uphold. Depending on their specializations, engineers may also be governed by specific statute, whistleblowing, product liability laws, and often the principles of business ethics.
Some graduates of engineering programs in North America may be recognized by the Iron Ring or Engineer's Ring, a ring made of iron or stainless steel that is worn on the little finger of the dominant hand. This tradition began in 1925 in Canada with The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer, where the ring serves as a symbol and reminder of the engineer's obligations for the engineering profession. In 1972, the practice was adopted by several colleges in the United States including members of the Order of the Engineer.
Most engineering programs involve a concentration of study in an engineering specialty, along with courses in both mathematics and the physical and life sciences. Many programs also include courses in general engineering. A design course, sometimes accompanied by a computer or laboratory class or both, is part of the curriculum of most programs. Often, general courses not directly related to engineering, such as those in the social sciences or humanities, also are required.
Graduate training is essential for engineering faculty positions and some research and development programs, but is not required for the majority of entry-level engineering jobs. Many experienced engineers obtain graduate degrees in engineering or business administration to learn new technology and broaden their education. Numerous high-level executives in government and industry began their careers as engineers.
Accreditation is the process by which engineering program are evaluated by an external body to determine if applicable standards are met. The Washington Accord serves as an international accreditation agreement for academic engineering degrees, recognizing the substantial equivalency in the standards set by many major national engineering bodies. In the United States, post-secondary degree programs in engineering are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In much of Europe and the Commonwealth professional accreditation is provided by Engineering Institutions, such as the Institution of Civil Engineers,the Institution of Mechanical Engineers or the Institution of Engineering and Technology from the United Kingdom.
In many countries, engineering tasks such as the design of bridges, electric power plants, industrial equipment, machine design and chemical plants, must be approved by a licensed professional engineer. Most commonly titled Professional Engineer is a license to practice and is indicated with the use of post-nominal letters; PE or P.Eng. These are common in North America, European Engineer (Eur Ing) in Europe. The practice of engineering in the UK is not a regulated profession other than the control of the titles of Chartered Engineer (CEng) and Incorporated Engineer (IEng). The title CEng is in use in much of the Commonwealth. Many engineers in the UK also include semi skilled trades to engineering technicians. This is seen by some as a misuse of the title, giving a false image of the profession. A growing movement in the UK is to legally protect the title 'Engineer' so that only professional engineers can use it, a DirectGov petition, has been started to further this cause.
In the United States, licensure is generally attainable through combination of education, pre-examination (Fundamentals of Engineering exam), examination (Professional Engineering Exam), and engineering experience (typically in the area of 5+ years). Each state tests and licenses Professional Engineers. Currently most states do not license by specific engineering discipline, but rather provide generalized licensure, and trust engineers to use professional judgement regarding their individual competencies; this is the favoured approach of the professional societies. Despite this, however, at least one of the examinations required by most states is actually focused on a particular discipline; candidates for licensure typically choose the category of examination which comes closest to their respective expertise.
In Canada, the profession in each province is governed by its own engineering association. For instance, in the Province of British Columbia an engineering graduate with four or more years of post graduate experience in an engineering-related field and passing exams in ethics and law will need to be registered by the Association for Professional Engineers and Geoscientists (APEGBC) in order to become a Professional Engineer and be granted the professional designation of P.Eng allowing one to practice engineering.
In Continental Europe, Latin America, Turkey and elsewhere the title is limited by law to people with an engineering degree and the use of the title by others is illegal. In Italy, the title is limited to people who both hold an engineering degree and have passed a professional qualification examination (Esame di Stato). In Portugal, professional engineer titles and accredited engineering degrees are regulated and certified by the Ordem dos Engenheiros. In the Czech Republic, the title "engineer" (Ing.) is given to people with a (masters) degree in chemistry, technology or economics for historical and traditional reasons. In Greece, the academic title of "Diploma Engineer" is awarded after completion of the five-year engineering study course and the title of "Certified Engineer" is awarded after completion of the four-year course of engineering studies at a Technological Educational Institute (TEI).
The perception of engineering varies across countries and continents. In the United States, continental western Europe, eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Latin American and Canada engineering and engineers are held in very high esteem. British school children in the 1950s were brought up with stirring tales of 'the Victorian Engineers', chief amongst whom were the Brunels, the Stephensons, Telford and their contemporaries. In Canada, a 2002 study by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers revealed that engineers are the third most respected professionals behind doctors and pharmacists. In the Indian subcontinent, Russia and China, engineering is one of the most sought after undergraduate courses, inviting thousands of applicants to show their ability in highly competitive entrance examinations. In Egypt, the educational system makes engineering the second-most-respected profession in the country (after medicine); engineering colleges at Egyptian universities require extremely high marks on the General Certificate of Secondary Education (Arabic: الثانوية العامة al-Thānawiyyah al-`Āmmah)—on the order of 97 or 98%—and are thus considered (with colleges of medicine, natural science, and pharmacy) to be among the "pinnacle colleges" (كليات القمة kullīyāt al-qimmah).
The definition of what engineering is varies across countries. In the UK "engineering" is defined as an industry sector consisting of employers and employees loosely termed as "engineers" who range from semi skilled trades to chartered engineers. In the US and Canada, engineering is defined as a regulated profession whose practice and practitioners are licensed and governed by law. In some English speaking countries engineering has been seen as a somewhat dry, uninteresting field in popular culture and has also been thought to be the domain of nerds. For example, the cartoon character Dilbert is an engineer. In science fiction, engineers are often portrayed as highly knowledgeable and respectable individuals who understand the overwhelming future technologies often portrayed in the genre. Several Star Trek characters are engineers. One difficulty in increasing public awareness of the profession is that average people, in the typical run of ordinary life, do not ever have any personal dealings with engineers, even though they benefit from their work every day. By contrast, it is common to visit a doctor at least once a year, the accountant at tax time, the pharmacist for drugs, and, occasionally, even a lawyer.
In companies and other organizations in the UK there is a tendency to undervalue people with advanced technological and scientific skills compared to celebrities, fashion practitioners, entertainers and managers. In his book The Mythical Man-Month, Fred Brooks Jr says that managers think of senior people as "too valuable" for technical tasks, and that management jobs carry higher prestige. He tells how some laboratories, such as Bell Labs, abolish all job titles to overcome this problem: a professional employee is a "member of the technical staff." IBM maintain a dual ladder of advancement; the corresponding managerial and engineering / scientific rungs are equivalent. Brooks recommends that structures need to be changed; the boss must give a great deal of attention to keeping his managers and his technical people as interchangeable as their talents allow.
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