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Engineering provides the building plans to (re)produce, process or control an artifact. Its practitioners are called engineers.

At the start of an engineering project, engineers must find the constraints placed on the construction of an artifact. Constraints can include the money available, the wishes of future users of the artifact, and physical or technical limits. These constraints we call specifications or requirements.

Engineers borrow from physics and mathematics to find suitable solutions to the problem at hand. They apply the scientific method in deriving their solutions. If multiple options exist, engineers weigh different design choices on their merits and choose the solution that best matches the requirements.

Engineers try to project how an artifact will perform to its specification. They use, among other things: computer simulations, destructive tests and stress tests. Testing ensures the artifact will act as predicted.

It is a myth that engineer originated to describe those who built engines. In fact, the word derives from the Latin, "ingeniosus," the root of the modern English word 'ingenious'. An engineer was thus a clever, practical, problem solver. The term later evolved to include all fields where the skills of application of the scientific method are used.

The main difference between technology and science is that the former is well understood and yields practical results while the latter tries to explain new and unexplained phenomena. Engineers work on technology while scientists work on science.

Fields of engineering

Some engineering related topics are:

What are our priorities for writing in this area? To help develop a list of the most basic topics in Engineering, please see Engineering basic topics.


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Last edited December 17, 2001 4:28 pm by 212.153.190.xxx (diff)