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Thread: Definition of the Engineering Method

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    Default Definition of the Engineering Method

    A mix of engineering and philosophy in one. Despite the title it's quite readable.

    In an effort to more clearly define the engineering method, this document attempts to draw distinctions between engineering and science. Part I, "Some Thoughts on Engineering," discusses strategies that engineers employ to solve problems, and the characteristics of the types of engineering problems. Part II, "The Principal Rule of the Engineering Method," gives a definition of the engineering method and provides examples which: (1) compare individual engineers; (2) establish a rule for judging the performance of an engineer; (3) compare the technological developments of various nations; (4) analyze several pedagogical strategies of engineering education; and (5) define the relationship between the engineer and society. Part III, "Some Heuristics Used by the Engineering Method," includes some simple rules of thumb, factors about safety, heuristics that affect the engineer's attitude toward his/her work, heuristics that engineers use to keep risk within acceptable bounds, and factors dealing with resource allocation. (TW)

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    In the book Nanosystems: molecular machinery, manufacturing, and computation by K. Eric Drexler includes some definitions of engineering in "Appendix A. Methodological Issues in Theoretical and Applied Science."

    It distinguishes the differences between Engineering, theoretical applied science, and theoretical physics.

    Page 498 "Theoretical applied science deals with the feasibility of classes of devices rather than with the implementation of specific designs [as in standard engineering], hence it need not provide a full and detailed specification for every proposal."

    Standard engineering is concerned with implementing specific designs, that are cost-efficient to be on the market and compete with other manufacturers in the near future.
    Theoretical physics is concerned with with experimenting and generating a unqie and true theory.
    Theorectical applied science combines engineering with theoretical physics. The goal is to theoretically design something with analysis that may not be able to be built with current engineering methods. If you design something that is theoretically possible to build, some time in the future it might be feasible to create a new product that would surpass current engineering methods.

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