Overview of this session • What is engineering? • Engineering disciplines • Challenges • Brief history of engineering • Science and engineering • Engineering failures
What is engineering? An art, a science, a craft, a trade, a profession, a creative process, a way of doing things??? All of these, some of these, something else???
Definitions of engineering Traditionally the definition of engineering involved taming or harnessing the forces of nature for the betterment of humans.
Triumphs of Engineering • The book introduces you to the romance of engineering. It will also help you to realise how great is the debt we all owe to the patient, and often dangerous work of the men who combat or control nature with steel and stone – with brains and courage. • Engineering is one of the great civilising forces of our time. By damming broad rivers the engineer irrigates vast tracts of arid land, thus turning them into fruitful farms. • Controlling and Harnessing Nature You will learn in this chapter how the engineer forces rivers to irrigate the land and to produce power in the form of electricity; how he brings water to the crowded cities of the world; how, by reclaiming the sea, by building lighthouses and in many other ways, he defies and conquers Nature.
Institution of Professional Engineers, New Zealand. Engineers will translate into action the dreams of humanity, traditional knowledge and the concepts of science to achieve sustainable management of the planet through the creative application of technology. Engineers will translate into actio
Early origins of engineering • The strength of engineering lies in the depth of its foundations. The hundred generations of conscientious artisans who built those foundations preserved the technical knowledge they had learned from their forebears, refined it, added to it, and passed it on to posterity (Ferguson 1992)
Early ‘engineering’ achievements • Irrigation projects and levee banks in the Tigris – Euphrates rivers area in Mesopotamia, commencing round 3000 BC • Egyptian pyramids from about 2700 BC • A large dam in Egypt dating back to around 3000 BC • The Great Wall of China started about 300 BC • Roman era aqueducts and roads from about 400 BC
The Significance of Engineering • Engineering has always been very important to society, for the provision of infrastructure and technological advances. • Engineering has been equally significant as other foundations of society such as medicine, law and commerce.
Public health role Chart of Typhoid Deaths in Philadelphia (1886 - 1943) and Improvement in Public Water Supply. http://www.phillywater.org/WQ/chlorine.htm
What do engineers do? • Engineers research, design, create, develop, produce, supervise, operate, maintain and manage an enormous diversity of infrastructure, products, systems and technologies used by people to live and work in an increasingly complex world. • Many of these products of engineers’ work are obvious, but it is worthwhile listing just some well-known ones. Now, look at the following list and ponder just how primitive our world would be without them:
A few examples of engineers’ work • Highways, streets, railways, bridges, buildings, port facilities, airports, cars, aeroplanes, ships, traffic management, air traffic control, radar, water supply, sewerage systems, wastewater treatment, mines, quarries, metal refining, manufacturing, factories, assembly lines, oil refineries, agricultural machinery, air conditioning, elevators, chemical production, plastics, food processing, paper manufacture,oil refineries, corrosion protection, power stations, electricity transmission, telecommunications, information technology, computers, robots, mobile phones, radio, television, space exploration, satellites, global positioning systems, weapon systems, medical technology, artificial human parts, solid waste management, pollution control, contaminated site rehabilitation, etc etc
Engineering disciplines • Civil • Mechanical, electrical • Chemical, mining, aeronautical • Environmental, biomedical, software, electronic, mechatronic,
Specialities within a discipline • For example, in civil engineering • structural • hydraulic • geotechnical, • transportation • coastal • municipal • construction
Engineering as a profession • What constitutes a profession? • Long period of study, expert knowledge, control of professional practice, code of ethics, control over membership, high standards, service to public, • Primary professional body is Engineers Australia • About 1/3 practising engineers in EA
Challenges for engineering • social, environmental responsiveness; • shedding the stereotypical image; • encouraging females to study (and staying in) engineering; • the expanding diversity of engineering; • education to meet today’s (and tomorrow’s) needs in a rapidly changing world; • identity, recognition and status; • ethical responsibilities in an increasingly corporate and financially-driven engineering workplace; • relationship of professional engineers with allied support professionals such as technologists; and • rapidly changing technology.
The Engineering stereotype • One of the most common criticisms of engineers is their preoccupation with technology and technical solutions to problems, as noted by Brian Lloyd, a former president of the Institution of Engineers, Australia and Dietrich Georg, editor of Engineers Australia, respectively: • ‘Many engineers find their greatest satisfaction in their technical achievements, and their greatest frustrations in their human relations’. • ‘Engineers must broaden their approach to their work. They need to come out of their technical boxes. If they don't they will be confined to the backrooms of their drawing offices and factories producing products or services for others, with little input in or influence over the political and social processes that determine the need for and use of those products and services’.
Some stereotypical attributes • Technical strengths: technical ability, numbers, calculations, spatial perceptions, analysis, mechanical aspects, detail • Temperamental strengths: sincerity, decisiveness, methodical persistence, motivation, preoccupation with detail not breadth or deeper issues • Temperamental weaknesses: intolerant of others views; impatience with others less rational or technically gifted; lack of human insight, tact, human skills, emotion; • Insensitivity to social issues: don’t recognise impacts of technology, belief that technology can solve all technical problems, pro-development
Engineering and science • Pure science – pursuit of knowledge about natural systems eg astronomy • Applied science eg medical research • Boundaries between engineering and science are disappearing
Scientific breakthroughs and Engineering disasters • Scientists launch new space rocket New treatment breakthrough by scientists Mysteries of universe unravelled by scientists Science puts boneless fish on the menu • Engineers search for disaster clues Engineers inspect wreckage of bridge Safety problems denied by engineers Engineers admit huge cost blowout on bridge
Learning through failure Some examples • Hyatt Regency walkway collapse -113 dead • Vaoint dam 2600 killed • Arianne 5 rocket - $500 million
Vaiont dam Italy www.land-man.net/vajont/vajont.jpg
Hyatt Regency walkways collapse http://ethics.tamu.edu/ethics/hyatt/hyatt2.htm
Summary: the modern engineer • A skilled professional • More likely to work in private sector • Often works in a multidisciplinary team • Needs to keep up with rapidly changing technology • May face complex ethical issues • Needs to be more responsive to society and environment