Thursday, March 4, 2010


Science, Technology and Engineering

“Engineering” Musings



If you look around you, you will find students pursuing studies for degrees in Science (B.Sc., B.S., M.Sc., M.S), degrees in Technology (B.Tech. / M.Tech.) or degrees in Engineering (B.E. / M.E.).

Tell me, do you know what is the difference between Science, Technology and Engineering…or can you tell me what is the difference between a Scientist, a Technologist and an Engineer…? 

Let me try to tell you, in as simple a way as possible...


The principal goal of a Scientist is to publish a paper.

Now-a-days, the sheer manner in which so many papers are churned out it seems that many papers are seen to be written, not written to be seen.
Of course, a genuine Scientist will try and ensure that the paper must be written to be seen and not seen to be written. Science is the reasoned investigation or study of natural phenomena with the objective of discovering new principles and knowledge of natural phenomena.


The principal goal of a Technologist is to produce some physical change in the world. 
Technology is the practical application of science.

Technology includes the skill, technique and knowledge of the manipulation of nature for human purposes, using scientific results and knowledge.

The principal goal of an Engineer is to design, create and produce new tools, machines and systems for practical human means by exploiting technology.

        In order to exploit technology, the engineer applies scientific principles to practical ends such as the design, manufacture, and operation of efficient and economical structures, machines, processes and systems. Thus, Engineering is the professional art of using technology (the practical application of science) for achieving the optimum conversion of the resources of nature for the benefit of humankind.


In a nutshell, a Scientist studies nature, a Technologist manipulates nature, and an Engineer exploits technology for human purposes.

While Scientists may, at times, may conduct scientific studies for the sake of discovery, Engineers and Technologists always try to have in mind the ultimate benefit of humankind and results of their work are invariably beneficial for human purposes.

Engineering is the art of optimally using technology and is primarily concerned with how to direct to useful and economical ends the natural phenomena which scientists discover and formulate into acceptable. Engineering therefore requires the creative imagination to innovatively apply technology in order to obtain useful applications of natural phenomena. It seeks newer, cheaper, better technologies of using natural sources of energy and materials.
So it looks like the Engineer is the one who is most useful to society and humankind, isn't it?

Dear Reader, do you agree?
Please do give your views  - I will look forward to and appreciate your comments.

Now I tried to tell you in as simple a way as possible, but if you prefer Gobbledygook read on – The American Engineers' Council for Professional Development has defined Engineering as follows: [Engineering is] The creative application of scientific principles to design or develop structures, machines, apparatus, or manufacturing processes, or works utilizing them singly or in combination; or to construct or operate the same with full cognizance of their design; or to forecast their behavior under specific operating conditions; all as respects an intended function, economics of operation and safety to life and property.

I think I’ll end with a quote: "A good scientist is a person with original ideas. A good engineer is a person who makes a design that works with as few original ideas as possible. There are no prima donnas in engineering." - Freeman Dyson


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