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Engineering is the practice of using , , and the engineering design process to solve technical problems, increase efficiency and productivity, and improve systems. Modern engineering comprises many subfields which include designing and improving , , , , materials, and systems.definition of "engineering" from the

Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University

The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more specialized fields of engineering, each with a more specific emphasis on particular areas of applied mathematics, , and types of application. See glossary of engineering.

The term engineering is derived from the ingenium, meaning "cleverness" and ingeniare, meaning "to contrive, devise".

The American Engineers' Council for Professional Development (ECPD, the predecessor of ABET) has defined "engineering" as:

Engineering has existed since ancient times, when devised inventions such as the wedge, lever, wheel and pulley, etc.

The term engineering is derived from the word engineer, which itself dates back to the 14th century when an engine'er (literally, one who builds or operates a ) 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 ). Notable examples of the obsolete usage which have survived to the present day are military engineering corps, e.g., the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The word "engine" itself is of even older origin, ultimately deriving from the Latin ingenium (), meaning "innate quality, especially mental power, hence a clever invention."Origin: 1250–1300; ME engin < AF, OF < L ingenium nature, innate quality, esp. mental power, hence a clever invention, equiv. to in- + -genium, equiv. to gen- begetting; Source: Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Random House, Inc. 2006.

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 discipline of military engineering.

Ancient era
The pyramids in , of , the Acropolis and in Greece, the , and Colosseum, Teotihuacán, and the Brihadeeswarar Temple of , among many others, stand as a testament to the ingenuity and skill of ancient civil and military engineers. Other monuments, no longer standing, such as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Pharos of Alexandria, were important engineering achievements of their time and were considered among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The six classic were known in the ancient Near East. The wedge and the (ramp) were known since times.

(1999). 9781575060422, .
The , along with the wheel and axle mechanism, was invented in (modern Iraq) during the 5th millennium BC. The mechanism first appeared around 5,000 years ago in the , where it was used in a simple ,
(2024). 9789048190911, Springer Science & Business Media.
and to move large objects in ancient Egyptian technology.
(1990). 9780486264851, Courier Corporation.
The lever was also used in the water-lifting device, the first crane machine, which appeared in Mesopotamia , and then in ancient Egyptian technology .
(2024). 9781404205604, The Rosen Publishing Group. .
The earliest evidence of date back to Mesopotamia in the early 2nd millennium BC,
(1999). 9781575060422, .
and during the Twelfth Dynasty (1991–1802 BC).
(1991). 9780195113747, Oxford University Press.
The screw, the last of the simple machines to be invented,
(2024). 9780822529941, Twenty-First Century Books. .
first appeared in Mesopotamia during the period (911–609) BC. The Egyptian pyramids were built using three of the six simple machines, the inclined plane, the wedge, and the lever, to create structures like the Great Pyramid of Giza.
(2024). 9780822529965, Runestone Press. .

The earliest civil engineer known by name is . As one of the officials of the , , he probably designed and supervised the construction of the Pyramid of Djoser (the ) at in Egypt around 2630–2611 BC.

(2024). 9781134563883, . .
The earliest practical machines, the and , first appeared in the , in what are now Iraq and Iran, by the early 4th century BC.
(2024). 9789401714167, Springer Science & Business Media.

Kush developed the during the 4th century BC, which relied on animal power instead of human energy.

(1981). 9780435948054, Unesco. International Scientific Committee for the Drafting of a General History of Africa. .
were developed as a type of in Kush to store and contain water as well as boost irrigation.Fritz Hintze, Kush XI; pp. 222–224. were employed to build during military campaigns. Kushite ancestors built during the Bronze Age between 3700 and 3250 BC.
(2024). 9780313325014, Greenwood Publishing Group.
and were also created during the 7th centuries BC in Kush.
(2024). 9780521867467, Cambridge University Press. .
(2024). 9780203482766, Taylor & Francis. .

developed machines in both civilian and military domains. The Antikythera mechanism, an early known mechanical ," The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project ", The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project. Retrieved July 1, 2007 Quote: "The Antikythera Mechanism is now understood to be dedicated to astronomical phenomena and operates as a complex mechanical "computer" which tracks the cycles of the Solar System." and the mechanical inventions of , are examples of Greek 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 of the Industrial Revolution, and are widely used in fields such as and automotive engineering.

Ancient Chinese, Greek, Roman and armies employed military machines and inventions such as which was developed by the Greeks around the 4th century BC, Britannica on Greek civilization in the 5th century – Military technology Quote: "The 7th century, by contrast, had witnessed rapid innovations, such as the introduction of the hoplite and the trireme, which still were the basic instruments of war in the 5th." and "But it was the development of artillery that opened an epoch, and this invention did not predate the 4th century. It was first heard of in the context of Sicilian warfare against Carthage in the time of Dionysius I of Syracuse." the , the and the . In the Middle Ages, the was developed.

Middle Ages
The earliest practical machines, the and , first appeared in the during the Islamic Golden Age, in what are now Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, by the 9th century AD.Ahmad Y Hassan, Donald Routledge Hill (1986). Islamic Technology: An illustrated history, p. 54. Cambridge University Press. .
(2024). 9789004146495, Brill Publishers.
(1980). 9780442261344, Litton Educational Publishing, Inc.. .
(2024). 9789814304139, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
The earliest practical machine was a driven by a , described in 1551 by Taqi al-Din Muhammad ibn Ma'ruf in . Taqi al-Din and the First Steam Turbine, 1551 A.D. , web page, accessed on line October 23, 2009; this web page refers to Ahmad Y Hassan (1976), Taqi al-Din and Arabic Mechanical Engineering, pp. 34–5, Institute for the History of Arabic Science, University of Aleppo.Ahmad Y. Hassan (1976), Taqi al-Din and Arabic Mechanical Engineering, pp. 34–35, Institute for the History of Arabic Science, University of Aleppo

The was invented in India by the 6th century AD,

(2024). 9780801873942, The Johns Hopkins University Press. .
and the was invented in the by the early 11th century, both of which were fundamental to the growth of the . The spinning wheel was also a precursor to the , which was a key development during the early Industrial Revolution in the 18th century.
(2024). 9789004251793, Brill. .

The earliest programmable machines were developed in the Muslim world. A , a programmable musical instrument, was the earliest type of programmable machine. The first music sequencer was an automated player invented by the brothers, described in their Book of Ingenious Devices, in the 9th century. In 1206, Al-Jazari invented programmable /. He described four musicians, including drummers operated by a programmable , where they could be made to play different rhythms and different drum patterns.Professor Noel Sharkey, A 13th Century Programmable Robot (Archive), University of Sheffield.

Before the development of modern engineering, mathematics was used by artisans and craftsmen, such as , , instrument makers and surveyors. Aside from these professions, universities were not believed to have had much practical significance to technology.

A standard reference for the state of mechanical arts during the Renaissance is given in the mining engineering treatise De re metallica (1556), which also contains sections on geology, mining, and chemistry. De re metallica was the standard chemistry reference for the next 180 years.

Modern era
The science of classical mechanics, sometimes called Newtonian mechanics, formed the scientific basis of much of modern engineering.
(1969). 9780802016379, University of Toronto Press. .
With the rise of engineering as a in the 18th 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 became incorporated into engineering.

Canal building was an important engineering work during the early phases of the Industrial Revolution.

(1969). 9780873321013, M.E. Sharpe.

was the first self-proclaimed civil engineer and is often regarded as the "father" of civil engineering. He was an English civil engineer responsible for the design of bridges, canals, harbors, and lighthouses. He was also a capable mechanical engineer and an eminent . Using a model water wheel, Smeaton conducted experiments for seven years, determining ways to increase efficiency.

(2024). 9780226726342, University of Chicago Press.
Smeaton introduced iron axles and gears to water wheels. Smeaton also made mechanical improvements to the Newcomen steam engine. Smeaton designed the third Eddystone Lighthouse (1755–59) where he pioneered the use of '' (a form of mortar which will set under water) and developed a technique involving dovetailed blocks of granite in the building of the lighthouse. He is important in the history, rediscovery of, and development of modern , because he identified the compositional requirements needed to obtain "hydraulicity" in lime; work which led ultimately to the invention of .

Applied science led to the development of the steam engine. The sequence of events began with the invention of the and the measurement of atmospheric pressure by Evangelista Torricelli in 1643, demonstration of the force of atmospheric pressure by Otto von Guericke using the Magdeburg hemispheres in 1656, laboratory experiments by , who built experimental model steam engines and demonstrated the use of a piston, which he published in 1707. Edward Somerset, 2nd Marquess of Worcester published a book of 100 inventions containing a method for raising waters similar to a coffee percolator. , a mathematician and inventor who worked on pumps, left notes at the Vauxhall Ordinance Office on a steam pump design that read. In 1698 Savery built a steam pump called "The Miner's Friend". It employed both vacuum and pressure.

(2024). 9780836921670, Ayer Publishing.
Iron merchant , who built the first commercial piston steam engine in 1712, was not known to have any scientific training.

The application of steam-powered cast iron blowing cylinders for providing pressurized air for lead to a large increase in iron production in the late 18th century. The higher furnace temperatures made possible with steam-powered blast allowed for the use of more lime in , which enabled the transition from charcoal to coke.

(1992). 9780901462886, Maney Publishing, for the Institute of Materials.
These innovations lowered the cost of iron, making and iron bridges practical. The puddling process, patented by in 1784 produced large scale quantities of wrought iron. , patented by James Beaumont Neilson in 1828, greatly lowered the amount of fuel needed to smelt iron. With the development of the high pressure steam engine, the power to weight ratio of steam engines made practical steamboats and locomotives possible. New steel making processes, such as the and the open hearth furnace, ushered in an area of heavy engineering in the late 19th century.

One of the most famous engineers of the mid-19th century was Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who built railroads, dockyards and steamships.

The Industrial Revolution created a demand for machinery with metal parts, which led to the development of several . Boring cast iron cylinders with precision was not possible until John Wilkinson invented his boring machine, which is considered the first . Other machine tools included the screw cutting lathe, , and the metal planer. Precision machining techniques were developed in the first half of the 19th century. These included the use of gigs to guide the machining tool over the work and fixtures to hold the work in the proper position. Machine tools and machining techniques capable of producing interchangeable parts lead to by the late 19th century.

The United States Census of 1850 listed the occupation of "engineer" for the first time with a count of 2,000.

(1997). 9780195046052, Oxford University Press.
There were fewer than 50 engineering graduates in the U.S. before 1865. In 1870 there were a dozen U.S. mechanical engineering graduates, with that number increasing to 43 per year in 1875. In 1890, there were 6,000 engineers in civil, , mechanical and electrical.

There was no chair of applied mechanism and applied mechanics at Cambridge until 1875, and no chair of engineering at Oxford until 1907. Germany established technical universities earlier.

(1982). 9780198581598, Oxford University Press.

The foundations of electrical engineering in the 1800s included the experiments of , , and others and the invention of the electric telegraph in 1816 and the in 1872. The theoretical work of James Maxwell (see: Maxwell's equations) and in the late 19th century gave rise to the field of . The later inventions of the and the further accelerated the development of electronics to such an extent that electrical and electronics engineers currently outnumber their colleagues of any other engineering specialty. Chemical engineering developed in the late nineteenth century. 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 process design while aerospace engineering is a more modern term that expands the reach of the discipline by including design. Its origins can be traced back to the aviation pioneers around the start of the 20th century 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 Josiah Willard Gibbs at in 1863; it was also the second PhD awarded in science in the U.S.

(2024). 9781881987116, Ox Bow Press.

Only a after the successful flights by the , 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.

Main branches of engineering
Engineering is a broad discipline that is often broken down into several sub-disciplines. Although an engineer will usually be trained in a specific discipline, he or she may become multi-disciplined through experience. Engineering is often characterized as having four main branches: Journal of the British Nuclear Energy Society: Volume 1 British Nuclear Energy Society – 1962 – Snippet view Quote: In most universities it should be possible to cover the main branches of engineering, i.e. civil, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering in this way. More specialized fields of engineering application, of which is ... The Engineering Profession by Sir James Hamilton, UK Engineering Council Quote: "The Civilingenior degree encompasses the main branches of engineering civil, mechanical, electrical, chemical." (From the Internet Archive)
(2024). 9780852297612, Popular Prakashan. .
chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.

Chemical engineering
Chemical engineering is the application of physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering principles in order to carry out chemical processes on a commercial scale, such as the manufacture of commodity chemicals, specialty chemicals, , , , and .

Civil engineering
Civil engineering is the design and construction of public and private works, such as (airports, roads, railways, water supply, and treatment etc.), bridges, tunnels, dams, and buildings. Civil engineering is traditionally broken into a number of sub-disciplines, including structural engineering, environmental engineering, and . It is traditionally considered to be separate from military engineering.

Electrical engineering
Electrical engineering is the design, study, and manufacture of various electrical and electronic systems, such as broadcast engineering, electrical circuits, generators, , /electromechanical devices, electronic devices, electronic circuits, , optoelectronic devices, systems, telecommunications, , , and .

Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is the design and manufacture of physical or mechanical systems, such as power and systems, / products, , products, engines, , , , vacuum technology, vibration isolation equipment, , robotics, turbines, audio equipments, and .

Bioengineering is the engineering of biological systems for a useful purpose. Examples of bioengineering research include bacteria engineered to produce chemicals, new medical imaging technology, portable and rapid disease diagnostic devices, prosthetics, biopharmaceuticals, and tissue-engineered organs.

Interdisciplinary engineering
Interdisciplinary engineering draws from more than one of the principle branches of the practice. Historically, naval engineering and mining engineering were major branches. Other engineering fields are manufacturing engineering, acoustical engineering, corrosion engineering, instrumentation and control, aerospace, automotive, computer, electronic, information engineering, petroleum, environmental, systems, audio, software, architectural, agricultural, biosystems, biomedical,Bronzino JD, ed., The Biomedical Engineering Handbook, CRC Press, 2006, geological, textile, industrial, materials, and nuclear engineering. These and other branches of engineering are represented in the 36 licensed member institutions of the UK Engineering Council.

New specialties sometimes combine with the traditional fields and form new branches – for example, Earth systems engineering and management involves a wide range of subject areas including engineering studies, environmental science, engineering ethics and philosophy of engineering.

Other branches of engineering

Aerospace engineering
Aerospace engineering covers the design, development, manufacture and operational behaviour of , and .

Marine engineering
Marine engineering covers the design, development, manufacture and operational behaviour of and stationary structures like and .

Computer engineering
Computer engineering (CE) is a branch of engineering that integrates several fields of computer science and electronic engineering required to develop computer hardware and . Computer engineers usually have training in electronic engineering (or electrical engineering), , and hardware-software integration instead of only software engineering or electronic engineering.

Geological engineering
Geological engineering is associated with anything constructed on or within the Earth. This discipline applies sciences and engineering principles to direct or support the work of other disciplines such as civil engineering, environmental engineering, and mining engineering. Geological engineers are involved with impact studies for facilities and operations that affect surface and subsurface environments, such as rock excavations (e.g. ), building foundation consolidation, slope and fill stabilization, risk assessment, groundwater monitoring, groundwater remediation, mining excavations, and exploration.

One who practices engineering is called an , and those licensed to do so may have more formal designations such as Professional Engineer, Chartered Engineer, Incorporated Engineer, , European Engineer, or Designated Engineering Representative.

In the engineering design process, engineers apply mathematics and sciences such as physics to find novel solutions to problems or to improve existing solutions. Engineers need proficient knowledge of relevant sciences for their design projects. As a result, many engineers continue to learn new material throughout their careers.

If multiple solutions exist, engineers weigh each design choice based on their merit and choose the solution that best matches the requirements. The task of the engineer is to identify, understand, and interpret the constraints on a design in order to yield a successful result. It is generally insufficient to build a technically successful product, rather, 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, productivity, and serviceability. By understanding the constraints, engineers derive for the limits within which a viable object or system may be produced and operated.

Problem solving
Engineers use their knowledge of , , , , and appropriate experience or to find suitable solutions to a particular problem. Creating an appropriate mathematical model of a problem often allows them to analyze it (sometimes definitively), and to test potential solutions.

More than one solution to a design problem usually exists so the different have to be evaluated on their merits before the one judged most suitable is chosen. Genrich Altshuller, after gathering statistics on a large number of , suggested that 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: , , , destructive tests, nondestructive tests, and . Testing ensures that products will perform as expected but only in so far as the testing has been representative of use in service. For products, such as aircraft, that are used differently by different users failures and unexpected shortcomings (and necessary design changes) can be expected throughout the operational life of the product.

Engineers take on the responsibility of producing designs that will perform as well as expected and, except those employed in specific areas of the , will not harm people. Engineers typically include a factor of safety in their designs to reduce the risk of unexpected failure.

The study of failed products is known as forensic engineering. It attempts to identify the cause of failure to allow a redesign of the product and so prevent a re-occurrence. Careful analysis is needed to establish the cause of failure of a product. The consequences of a failure may vary in severity from the minor cost of a machine breakdown to large loss of life in the case of accidents involving aircraft and large stationary structures like buildings and dams.

Computer use
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 .

One of the most widely used in the profession is computer-aided design (CAD) software. It enables engineers to create 3D models, 2D drawings, and schematics of their designs. CAD together with (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 manufacturing (CAM) software to generate machining instructions; manufacturing process management software for production engineering; EDA for printed circuit board (PCB) and circuit for electronic engineers; MRO applications for maintenance management; and Architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) software for civil engineering.

In recent years the use of computer software to aid the development of goods has collectively come to be known as product lifecycle management (PLM).

Social context
The engineering profession engages in a range of activities, from collaboration at the societal level, and smaller individual projects. Almost all engineering projects are obligated to a funding source: a company, a set of investors, or a government. The types of engineering that are less constrained by such a funding source, are , and engineering.

Engineering has interconnections with society, culture and human behavior. Most products and constructions used by modern society, are influenced by engineering. Engineering activities have an impact on the environment, society, economies, and public safety.

Engineering projects can be controversial. Examples from different engineering disciplines include: the development of , the Three Gorges Dam, the design and use of sport utility vehicles and the extraction of . In response, some engineering companies have enacted serious corporate and social responsibility policies.

Engineering is a key driver of innovation and human development. Sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, has a 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.

Overseas development and relief NGOs make considerable use of engineers, to apply solutions in disaster and development scenarios. Some charitable organizations use engineering directly for development:

  • Engineers Without Borders
  • Engineers Against Poverty
  • Registered Engineers for Disaster Relief
  • Engineers for a Sustainable World
  • Engineering for Change
  • Engineering Ministries International Home page for EMI

Engineering companies in more developed economies face challenges with regard to the number of engineers being trained, compared with those retiring. This problem is prominent in the UK where engineering has a poor image and low status. There are negative economic and political issues that this can cause, as well as ethical issues. It is agreed the engineering profession faces an "image crisis". The UK holds the compared to other European countries, together with the United States.

Code of ethics
Many engineering societies have established codes of practice and codes of ethics to guide members and inform the public at large. The National Society of Professional Engineers code of ethics states:

In Canada, engineers wear the as a symbol and reminder of the obligations and ethics associated with their profession.

Relationships with other disciplines

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 or more precisely "engineering scientists".

In the book What Engineers Know and How They Know It,

(1993). 9780801839740, Johns Hopkins University Press.
asserts that engineering research has a character different from that of scientific research. First, it often deals with areas in which the basic or are well understood, but the problems themselves are too complex to solve in an exact manner.

There is a "real and important" difference between engineering and physics as similar to any science field has to do with technology.Walter G Whitman; August Paul Peck. Whitman-Peck Physics. American Book Company, 1946, p. 06 . Ateneo de Manila University Press. Philippine Studies, vol. 11, no. 4, 1963. p. 600 Physics is an exploratory science that seeks knowledge of principles while engineering uses knowledge for practical applications of principles. The former equates an understanding into a mathematical principle while the latter measures variables involved and creates technology.Puttaswamaiah. Future Of Economic Science . Oxford and IBH Publishing, 2008, p. 208.Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Cynthia L. Breazeal. Biologically Inspired Intelligent Robots. SPIE Press, 2003. . p. 190 For technology, physics is an auxiliary and in a way technology is considered as applied physics.C. Morón, E. Tremps, A. García, J.A. Somolinos (2011) The Physics and its Relation with the Engineering, INTED2011 Proceedings pp. 5929–34 . Though physics and engineering are interrelated, it does not mean that a physicist is trained to do an engineer's job. A physicist would typically require additional and relevant training.R Gazzinelli, R L Moreira, W N Rodrigues. Physics and Industrial Development: Bridging the Gap . World Scientific, 1997, p. 110. Physicists and engineers engage in different lines of work.Steve Fuller. Knowledge Management Foundations. Routledge, 2012. . p. 92 But PhD physicists who specialize in sectors of engineering physics and are titled as Technology officer, R&D Engineers and System Engineers.

An example of this is the use of numerical approximations to the Navier–Stokes equations to describe aerodynamic flow over an aircraft, or the use of the finite element method to calculate the stresses in complex components. Second, engineering research employs many semi-empirical methods that are foreign to pure scientific research, one example being the method of parameter variation.

(2009). 9781443808132, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. .

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 innovation and 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 complex system, device, a gadget, a material, a method, a computing program, an innovative experiment, a new solution to a problem, or an improvement on what already exists. Since a design has to be realistic and functional, it must have its geometry, dimensions, and characteristics data defined. In the past engineers working on new designs found that they did not have all the required information to make design decisions. Most often, they were limited by insufficient scientific knowledge. Thus they studied , , , and . Often they had to add to the sciences relevant to their profession. Thus engineering sciences were 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 the environment, ethical and legal considerations such as patent infringement or liability in the case of failure of the solution.

Medicine and biology
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. aims to sustain, repair, enhance and even replace functions of the , if necessary, through the use of .

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, and pacemakers. The fields of 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 with technology. This has led to fields such as artificial intelligence, neural networks, , and . There are also substantial interdisciplinary interactions between engineering and medicine. Institute of Medicine and Engineering: Mission statement The mission of the Institute for Medicine and Engineering (IME) is to stimulate fundamental research at the interface between biomedicine and engineering/physical/computational sciences leading to innovative applications in biomedical research and clinical practice.

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. Royal Academy of Engineering and Academy of Medical Sciences: Systems Biology: a vision for engineering and medicine in pdf: quote1: Systems Biology is an emerging methodology that has yet to be defined quote2: It applies the concepts of systems engineering to the study of complex biological systems through iteration between computational or mathematical modelling and experimentation.

The heart for example functions much like a pump, the skeleton is like a linked structure with levers, Minnesota State University emuseum: Bones act as 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 , 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, for example, , landscape architecture and industrial design (even to the extent that these disciplines may sometimes be included in a university's Faculty of Engineering). MIT World:The Art of Engineering: Inventor James Dyson on the Art of Engineering: quote: A member of the British Design Council, James Dyson has been designing products since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1970.

The Art Institute of Chicago, for instance, held an exhibition about the art of 's aerospace design. 's bridge design is perceived by some to have been deliberately artistic.

(1989). 9780691024219, Princeton University Press. .
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. quote:..the tools of artists and the perspective of engineers..

Among famous historical figures, Leonardo da Vinci is a well-known artist and engineer, and a prime example of the nexus between art and engineering.Bjerklie, David. "The Art of Renaissance Engineering." MIT's Technology Review Jan./Feb.1998: 54–59. Article explores the concept of the "artist-engineer", an individual who used his artistic talent in engineering. Quote from article: Da Vinci reached the pinnacle of "artist-engineer"-dom, Quote2: "It was Leonardo da Vinci who initiated the most ambitious expansion in the role of artist-engineer, progressing from astute observer to inventor to theoretician." (Bjerklie 58) Drew U: user website: cites Bjerklie paper

Business engineering deals with the relationship between professional engineering, IT systems, business administration and change management. Engineering management or "Management engineering" is a specialized field of concerned with engineering practice or the engineering industry sector. The demand for management-focused engineers (or from the opposite perspective, managers with an understanding of engineering), has resulted in the development of specialized engineering management degrees that develop the knowledge and skills needed for these roles. During an engineering management course, students will develop industrial engineering skills, knowledge, and expertise, alongside knowledge of business administration, management techniques, and strategic thinking. Engineers specializing in change management must have in-depth knowledge of the application of industrial and organizational psychology principles and methods. Professional engineers often train as certified management consultants in the very specialized field of management consulting applied to engineering practice or the engineering sector. This work often deals with large scale complex business transformation or business process management initiatives in aerospace and defence, automotive, oil and gas, machinery, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, electrical and electronics, power distribution and generation, utilities and transportation systems. This combination of technical engineering practice, management consulting practice, industry sector knowledge, and change management expertise enables professional engineers who are also qualified as management consultants to lead major business transformation initiatives. These initiatives are typically sponsored by C-level executives.

Other fields
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 using engineering methodology coupled with political science principles. Marketing engineering and financial engineering have similarly borrowed the term.

See also

  • List of aerospace engineering topics
  • List of basic chemical engineering topics
  • List of electrical engineering topics
  • List of engineering societies
  • List of engineering topics
  • List of engineers
  • List of genetic engineering topics
  • List of mechanical engineering topics
  • List of nanoengineering topics
  • List of software engineering topics


  • Glossary of areas of mathematics
  • Glossary of biology
  • Glossary of chemistry
  • Glossary of engineering
  • Glossary of physics

Related subjects

  • Controversies over the term Engineer
  • Earthquake engineering
  • Engineering economics
  • Engineering education
  • Engineering education research
  • Engineers Without Borders
  • Environmental engineering science
  • Environmental technology
  • Forensic engineering
  • Global Engineering Education
  • Green engineering
  • Industrial design
  • Open-source hardware
  • Planned obsolescence
  • Reverse engineering
  • Structural failure
  • Sustainable engineering
  • Women in engineering

Further reading

External links
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