When ambitions start flying, it is only the engineer who provides her wings. But such wings are woven both with likes of hard ribs and fibers making say ailerons in aero planes, together with the soft concepts that provide them the due strength and elevation. While scientists may study the wings for understanding the mechanism as to how wings provide due lift, only the Engineers will get involved to construct them for realizing the relevant functions. Gordon Lindsay Glegg, in The Design of Design (1969) provides the simile: “A scientist can discover a new star but he cannot make one. He would have to ask an engineer to do it for him”.
If you see a car on road, an aero plane in the sky, both at least endorse an engineer is somewhere involved in manufacturing the power train, collating monocoque structures in which the chassis is integral with the body, and another producing the fuel for these to fly. The preparations do not end there. There are engineers who must ready the runway for them to run on the road or fly in air, the communication system that must connect them with the base, and so on. There is more. Some more engineers were at work to fabricate the instruments which monitor the fuel stocks, the distance, or the height in sky, the engine rpm, or the elevation at any time. The community of engineers is there in every spate of human activity which signifies a system that Works! Be it a car that flies! (Terrafuga car is an example). The context of all such ingenuity is the power that empowers the Engineers to operate for the societal development reality.
True. As Engineers operate at the interface between science and society, they have the ability to organize forces of technological change. T. J. Hoover clarifies: engineers enable a “systematic application of science to the efficient utilization of natural resources to produce wealth”.
The modus operandi of engineering is strategic; yet guided by an iterative goal of simplification and complexification. Viz. in case of the study of wings the engineer makes the choice of a suitable method of attack, that intricate problems are reduced to simple phenomena, those are easily solved, and replicated in the form of prototypes that work like natural stuff. In that process the engineers endeavour to create newer systems taming nature. Like Ornithopters – the aircrafts that more closely mimic birds and insects than fixed wing aircraft in that they achieve both thrust and lift by flapping their wings (see exemplar). These must be strengthened with Roboting systems etc. To affect these realities, we may need a software memory of say the order of say 1029 Tera Bytes, such that one can recreate the functions perpetually. Gustave Eiffel as quoted in The Tallest Tower: Eiffel and the Belle Epoque (1975) expresses: ..beauty is that the essential lines of a construction be determined by a perfect appropriateness to its use. Fortunately, only such a talent can be handy in making newer ambitions to take off….
Dr. P. Thareja
Professor and Dean
Faculty of Engineering and Technology