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  • The public: not a clue about engineering?

    Discussion in 'The Leisure Lounge' started by GarethW, Aug 5, 2012.

    1. Camid

      Camid Well-Known Member

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      check this out - a wonderful talk about this issue.

       
      Last edited by a moderator: Jun 17, 2016
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    3. MDR

      MDR Active Member

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      I always fantasize about TV shows showing engineers at work instead of lawyers, crime scene investigators, etc. The inaccuracies of portrayal would likely drive me nuts, but it would be nice to have it out there to inspire the public.
       
    4. jalatty

      jalatty Member

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      Hello all. I don't actually post on here very often. I am more of a trawler but this topic is very near and dear to my heart.

      Actually, having worked in both the USA and UK and having a number of French/German friends in the industry, I would have to agree with this quote but would substitute "UK" for "Europe". I am generalizing here but in the USA, if you tell someone you are an engineer, they think, NASA, skyscrapers, etc. In the UK, they think of repairing fridges or fixing your car. In France/Germany, it is a title similar to that of Doctor so, in fact, they lean the other direction, probably more so even than in the USA.

      As for what we do, we solve problems. But this could be said of a number of professions and trades. What sets engineers apart is, usually, the highly technical aspect of the work.
       
    5. andysuth

      andysuth Member

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      The last program originating in US with an Engineer as the lead Character was "Prison Break", I think.

      I found it amusing that he couldn't memorise all the information he needed but he memorised the key to decrypting his full sleeves tattoos.

      There was something recently where the main bad guy was a "Mechanical Engineer" but was OTT Schitzo, wore funny contact lenses and obviously was British (as all bad guys tend to be).

      -AS, CEng.
       
    6. andysuth

      andysuth Member

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      There are more people in UK with the "EurIng" title than in Germany or France. (Data was correct a few years back, maybe has changed now, will check FEANI and reply).

      I think this is symptomatic of the lack of respect for engineering.

      I have the right to use "EurIng" but believe it to be superfluous as I think its interchangable with "CEng" after the name. I only applied for the title because I was going into business with someone with a PhD and was fed up of me being the brains of the operation but all the high profile stuff being addressed to the "Dr.".

      It didn't work.....

      EurIng Andy Southern.
       
    7. bonner motorsport

      bonner motorsport New Member

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      Too right

      As a licenced aircraft engineer and a machinist I totally understand what you mean when you say the public generally don't have a clue about the diversity of engineering as a skill. I have always said engineering is merely learning to utilize and manipulate your surroundings in a technical manner to achieve a goal or solve a problem. As far as I am concerned I think that engineering should be a compulsory subject in secondary schools as a general subject to give people an understanding of the various electro mechanical devices they will inevitably use on a daily basis. After all engineering in particular really does separate us from cavemen more than any other skill set that I can think of. Everyone should have a common understanding of basic principles behind it all, this could result in a much more productive future for us all.
       
    8. cwarner7_11

      cwarner7_11 Well-Known Member

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      One of the things that I have maintained for years about engineering education is that the most important thing one learns in engineering school is a way of thinking- how one approaches problems, specifically. You can always refer back to the text book for details on calculus or strength of materials or dynamics or stress and strain. What you can not get from the text book is how you approach a problem. I see this as a universal characteristic of the engineers I have known and admired over the years, which really defines the difference between the engineers and the "suits". The problem is, I don't really know how to explain this to the "suits" (or, for that matter, the general public)...
       
    9. Dana

      Dana Well-Known Member

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      I like it. A high school (or even earlier) class using The Way Things Work as a textbook. Make it required for everybody, and some will like it and get interested in engineering as a career. Even those who find it uninteresting will find it more relevant than memorizing dates and names of dead politicians.
       
    10. Rufus.Neethling

      Rufus.Neethling New Member

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      I do have to agree. Here in South Africa the term "Engineer" is also misappropriated for someone who is actually a "Technician", but that I can live with. My passion for my chosen field of engineering (Mechanical in several of its incarnations, be it Statics, Mechanics, Dynamics, Fluid Mechanics or Thermodynamics) is actually motivating me to try and "bring engineering to the masses". All kinds of engineers have a very essential role to play in everyday life when it comes to safety, cost savings and just general efficiency, making our profession actually as important as or more important than that of a Medical Doctor, Lawyer or other professional who gets a whole lot more compensation for their contributions to society. The "image" of an engineer needs to be "glamourised" more in the public eye.

      Just on a little different, but related, topic, I have always had the opinion (and been argued with regarding this) that the OLDEST PROFESSION in the world, is NOT the one commonly mentioned, but rather ENGINEERING ... From the earliest times, humans HAD to be ENGINEERS, and in particular MECHANICAL ENGINEERS of all incarnations, to survive at all ... But maybe that is just my professional pride talking ...

      Thanks for a great question and forum, GarethW!
       
    11. dhernandez135

      dhernandez135 New Member

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      i think that when people hear the word engineer they automatically think of one of two things, first, like Ntopliff mentioned earlier, people think of an engineer as a train conductor. and second, they don't know exactly what kind of engineer, but the word brings to their mind that an engineer is making great money has a wealthy life style. people don't really understand. I mentioned to someone once when I first got into this field that I would be an engineer and he said, "I have a cousin that also drives trains." I had to explain that I was a structural engineer and I tried to explain what it was that I did. not drive trains.

      I am originally from Mexico and it was even hard to explain there what kind of engineer I was. the language was not a problem since i am bi-lingual, its the fact that they have a different understanding of what exactly an engineer really is. but in mexico the engineers do have a higher standing in society.
       

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