Engineering versus Science

I put the ‘engineering’ term first because I am in the engineering field. And perhaps I am also a ‘scientist’ by a very broad definition. So let’s see how engineering is different from science. And I’ll also point out to some interesting things about engineering.

Engineering is the application of mathematics, science, technology and experience to create a system for a purpose, usually to assist and serve the society.

Engineering does not need to be strictly bonded to scientific knowledge, laws or theories. Engineering can work without the need to understand the full scientific knowledge underneath the design or system.

Engineering  focuses on predictive power and ease of application. For example, the ‘estimation’ is required to measure how strong a bridge is against a gale or tornado. Or how the bridge can support massive traffic from one end to the other without ever collapsing.

Engineering-based research have special emphasis on product and service. At the end of the day, the research would relate to practical application. For example, the development of a coding algorithm can be implemented in wireless systems to increase data rate. Or the developed energy harvesting shoes can be used straight away by consumers.

Scientific-based research focuses on scientific discovery, breakthrough or understanding. It does not need to be applied to any product. For example, the research on Higgs boson or gravitational wave helps us better understand our world but these information would not make us (so far) to be able to manipulate them to create any tangible thing.

Engineering creates technology. But engineering also uses technology to create more technology.

There is no such thing as an ideal technology. There are always trade-offs.





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