When earlier presenting a very general introduction to science and research (see: here! ), I stated my conviction that scientists and engineers work as partners in creating new advances in products and technologies for all of us. I will briefly explain this viewpoint, and then will direct you to 2 thrilling videos that vividly show this profound collaboration.
What is science for? What do scientists do?
Scientists search for the truth and seek to understand everything. Research investigations by scientists are a major part of their work, and these are aimed at gathering evidence (i.e., data) that answers research questions. Scientific research is conducted in universities and small or large industries, and often utilizes specialized instrumentation and methodologies (see: “Instrumentation” and “Methodology” ). Besides experiments in laboratories, scientific research also takes place in the field, hospitals, computer centers, and large special facilities.
Typical results of this research include determining causes and effects, understanding mechanisms at all levels, defining sequences of changes, determining structure, and, relating structure to functions. After carefully evaluating all the data resulting from investigations, research findings and conclusions often are published within professional journals and presented at annual science meetings.
What is engineering for? What do engineers do?
Engineers of all kinds generally work on practical matters needed for the design, construction, modification, and improvement of discrete objects or processes that ultimately will be produced commercially. Typical goals of engineers are to make some product cheaper to manufacture and operate, more efficient, longer lasting, faster or slower, more attractive, quieter, easier to use, more precise, etc. To accomplish these goals, they must have much knowledge and understanding about materials, manufacturing processes, friction and lubricants, corrosion and coatings, compatibilities, ergonomics, aesthetics, etc. Working experience also is very important here!
Engineers often seek patents rather than publications. After carefully evaluating all aspects of their conclusions for a new or modified commercial product, the manufacturer will select one set of choices for trial production and evaluation. If any of the predicted properties and features of the finished product do not match expectations, then further engineering must be undertaken for refinement of the design. The end point is commercial production and widespread usage.
Relationships between the activities of scientists and engineers.
Engineering mostly depends upon there being some previous scientific research, and basically begins where science leaves off. It also can begin with an amateur invention. Customers of any new or improved product only see the final output of both science and engineering together. This final result clearly is due to a strong partnership between scientists and engineers, even though they do not often work in a side-by-side manner.
Scientific research often constructs models or theories that can determine or explain something that nobody can know for certain (e.g., how small can a transistor be?). Based upon knowledge of physics, engineers determine how small transistors can be made with today’s technology. These different aspects of transistors certainly are related, but also are rather separate.
Nowadays, scientists and engineers both use computers to a prominent extent. Typical usage of computation includes data collection, designing and planning, 3-D and 4-D modeling, theoretical changes and testing, quantitating relationships, and, all analyses of experimental data.
Amazing videos you must see!
Striking examples of the duality between scientists and engineers are shown in both of the 2 following videos. I urge you to watch these twice! You should first watch only for your amusement, and then watch a second time again to see how scientists and engineers both played important roles in creating the amazing new devices shown. You might want to show these remarkable stories to your family and recommend them to your friends!
A constructed robot is an artificial bird that flies by flapping its wings!
In the video, “A Robot that Flies Like a Bird”, Markus Fischer shows a fantastic construction made with engineers at the Festo Corporation, a global manufacturer of components and systems for industrial automation and control technology. This is a robot that flies similarly to a living bird, but has no feathers, no heart or brain, and doesn’t eat. Scientific research knowledge first was used to model all the forces and aerodynamics for the flight of real birds by flapping of their wings. Then engineering investigated and decided on the many practical details needed to actually construct the robotic model bird, get it to fly by flapping its wings, and control its flight; those efforts included such engineering details as how long and wide the wings must be, dynamic angles of the flapping wing surfaces, how rapidly must the wings flap, what are the limits for weight to still permit flying by flapping, what role does the tail play, etc., etc. What this new robot will lead to remains to be seen!
A flying human known as the “Jetman”!
Yves Rossy was driven to try to fulfill the ancient human dream of being able to fly, so he used his aeronautical knowledge and sky-diving experience to propose a way to do that. Working with many detailed known parameters for powered flight, he and engineers at Breitling, a Swiss manufacturer of technical watches and chronographs, designed a set of light rigid wings containing 4 high-tech small powerful jet engines; after strapping this onto his back, he can fly with directional control only via movements of body contours (i.e., position of head, arms, and legs, and, torsional shaping of his body). He launches his flight by diving out of a helicopter, and usually lands with a special parachute system. Watch the video, “Flying With Jetman”, to learn about making this new machine, see his amazing flights, listen to stories of his adventures, and laugh at his great sense of humor; he is a most fascinating man and a daring pioneer! Note that a number of other videos about the Jetman also are available on YouTube.
These 2 exciting videos directly illustrate how science and engineering work together as strong partners. Contributions from both professions are vitally important, and can dramatically reveal the human spirit!
GO BACK TO HOME PAGE OR SCROLL UP TO MENU UNDER THE WEBSITE TITLE