Monday, December 9, 2013

What is Engineering?

Inspired by a number of lovely ladies in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields, I have decided I want to try my best to write a bit about the amazing area in which I studied. Maybe this will turn into a bit of a series, maybe it will just be a few posts... I'm not sure yet. But for now, I just want to introduce you to my other hobby (and career)... science!

I studied Engineering at the University of Guelph, and I loved it! And as much as I love talking about the details of it all, I think it's best to start at the beginning... what even is Engineering?

I tend to explain it as simple as this: Engineering is the application of science and math.

Engineers use the discoveries of scientists and mathematicians to develop solutions to everyday problems, both big and small. This is why there are so many different kinds of engineering, because no matter what the industry, there are always ways to improve, and problems to be solved. Engineers are also very much involved in the innovation and design of these solutions. They don't just theorize an idea, they design it, and hopefully get to see it implemented.

For a more concrete idea, here is an example of what an environmental engineer might do: Let's say you are looking to buy a piece of land. You get it inspected to be safe, and discover that there are tons of toxins in the soil because it used to be the site of an old paint manufacturing plant. You love the location though, so you still buy it, but it needs to be cleaned in order to make the land safe to live on. This is where an engineer would be the perfect person to help. An engineer (or likely a team of engineers) would develop the safest and most effective way to clean the soil for the land owner. And after lots and lots of work, ta-da, clean land, and a happy new land-owner.

Of course that is just one small example, from about a million different examples I could have given. But I wanted to give a bit of a non-traditional example, because most people already know about how engineers can design bridges and sky scrapers.

This is just a small peek into what engineering is, and it's something I do hope to talk about more! If you are curious now, and just can't wait, here are a few sites I would recommend visiting:

University of Guelph - Engineering FAQ
What is Engineering - Amazing Video
10 Reasons to Love Engineering - Here

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