I’d say engineering is multi-disciplinary applied science. It’s the practical version of the theory. Best description I can come up with the difference between them is that an Engineer makes the call on what level of detail is needed. Using the earlier example, the Physicist spends a week figuring out where the ball bearing shot from a gun will land, taking into account skin friction, drag, wind, temperature and pressure corrections etc. The Engineer scribbles on a couple of sheets of paper for 30 minutes before the test.
After firing, the bearing travels for 300 ft. The Physicist is within 2 feet of the point of impact and the Engineer is within 10. The competition was to be within 20…
Did it matter that the Physicist was closer?
I don’t mean to be critical of either the science or engineering, but it’s a different path. I’ve worked with chemists, but the “practical” physics major is an engineer. Other disciplines it varies, as there are chemical engineers, which are much closer to chemists. You’ve got architects, who aren’t structural engineers, but get to make things pretty…
There were a lot of people who started at Davis in engineering, the bigger challenge is connecting the workload with the outcome… That being said, I’m okay with being well paid because I stuck through it and went through the weeding process. My paycheck is rewarded by supply and demand of engineers… So it’s an interesting call for me.
Not sure how engineering ranks against STM (not sure what T and M are, math? technology?) in perception for kids growing up. It’s always been a kind of nebulous thing because it’s so broad in application in reality. Figure it’s as diverse as art, but the only way I could see making a similar point would be highlighting that your math and science questions are frequently engineering questions. Trains, projectiles, etc. Just don’t try to convince kids cost estimates are fun. That’s how you end up with MBAs.
–G. Taylor, P.Eng.