Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Difference between Science, Technology and Engineering

Science, Technology and Engineering

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 bewritten 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 themanipulation 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, 
Scientist studies Nature
Technologist manipulates Nature
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? Or do you feel that the Scientist is more important that the Engineer? Or do you think there is no difference between Science, Technology and Engineering? Please do give your views and comments.

A Gobbledygook Definition of ENGINEERING

Now I have 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: 
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


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2011
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 14 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. 

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முனுசாமி said...

Sir, Glad to communicate you, enjoyed reading your words. I agree the concept of your ideas but do you think that in our system of studies (B.E/B.Tech) in which we have the identification/categorization for Technology and Engineering is reflecting your definition. For example Study of Civil Engg comes under Engineering whereas study of Construction tech may come under technology though the syllabus does not particularly differentiate any aspects of your concern.

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Hi Munusamy,
Thanks for your comments. Well I feel all construction activity comes under (Civil) Engineering whereas the various techniques (technologies) used for construction work comes under technology. I also feel that Civil Engineering is actually Engineering which merits a BE degree. Earlier B. Sc. (Tech) / B. Tech. degrees were awarded for Technologies like Chemical Technology, Textile Technology etc and B.Sc.(Engg) / BE for all Engineering Disciplines like Mechanical, Civil, Electrical Engineering. I wonder why, nowadays, they award a TECHNOLOGY degree for an ENGINEERING discipline (eg) B. Tech. in Mechanical Engineering.

Anonymous said...

whats the actual meaning of bachelor of engineering and bachelor of technology

Anonymous said...

whats the actual meaning of bachelor of engineering and bachelor of technology?