What is Engineering?

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) (external link), defines engineering as follows:

Engineering is the profession in which knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences, gained by study, experience, and practice, is applied with judgement to develop ways to utilize, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind.

The difference between engineering and science can become obscure because of the similarities and the fact that engineers and scientists, along with technicians and mechanics, often work together in teams. Their goals often overlap so that their differences are unimportant. In general, scientists create knowledge. 

Engineers use that knowledge to create systems, devices, materials, and consumer goods, through analysis, synthesis, and design.  The products of engineering are so vast, we often forget where and how they were developed and produced. A few examples include: appliances, airplanes, rockets, computers, semiconductors, integrated circuits, cell phones, the internet infrastructure, telecommunications equipment, transportation systems and infrastructure, microprocessors, food and chemical processing systems, water and waste treatment systems, and energy productions systems.

Engineering is sometimes referred to as the stealth profession. Some estimates say that engineers account for 50% of the US GDP.

Some Wilmington area companies that rely heavily on engineering are: BASF, Chemtex, Corning Optical Fiber, DAK America, Elementis Chromium, General Electric, International Paper, IKA-Works, Invista, Progress Energy (CP&L), US Army Corps of Engineers, Wilmington Machinery, and numerous local consulting engineers.

 


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