Tuesday, February 28, 2017

National Science Day Musings

Today – February 28 – is observed as “NATIONAL SCIENCE DAY in India.

On the 28th of February 1928 – celebrated Indian Scientist Sir CV Raman discovered a phenomenon of scattering of photons – which was later known as “Raman Effect” after his name. 

After two years – in 1930 – Sir CV Raman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for this remarkable discovery and this was the first Nobel Prize for India in the field of Science. 

To mark the discovery his famous phenomenon – “National Science Day” is celebrated in India on the 28th of February every year.

Do you know the meaning of the term “SCIENCE”...?

Do you know the difference between ScienceTechnology and Engineering...?

Can you tell me:

What is the difference between a Scientist  Technologist  and  an Engineer...? 

I remember that I had been asked a similar question about the definition of Science, Engineering and Technology many years ago when I used to conduct an induction training program – and – in response – in addition to answering the question – I had written a blog post on the subject.

Let me delve into my academic writing journal archives and pull out this article which I had written long back  around 9 years ago  in the year 2008 – during my Professorship days...

Meaning and Definition

From my Academic Writing Archives:

Here is an article I wrote during my teaching days, while conducting an induction training program, around 9 years ago, in the year 2008...


Long back  during my teaching days – when I was talking to some youngsters undergoing an induction training program – I realized that they did not know the difference between Science, Engineering and Technology. 

Some of the trainees had degrees in Technology (B.Tech. / M.Tech.), some had degrees in Engineering (B.E. / M.E.) and a few had degrees in Science (B.Sc., B.S., M.Sc., M.S). 

I called two trainees.

One had a B.Tech. (Bachelor of Technology) degree in Electrical Engineering.

The other had a B.E. (Bachelor of Engineering) degree in the same discipline.

I asked then what was the difference between a B. Tech. degree and a B.E. degree...?

They were clueless. 

By the way – in addition to BE and B. Tech. – in earlier times – some Universities awarded the B.Sc. (Engineering) and B.Sc (Technology) degrees to Engineering/Technology Graduates too.

I asked all the trainees if they knew the difference between Science, Engineering and Technology...?

No one seemed to know. 

Tell me  do you know the difference between Science, Engineering and Technology...?

In many research organizations  like DRDO – even Engineers and Technologists are designated as Scientists

Do you know what is the difference between Science, Technology and Engineering...?

Can you tell me what is the difference between a Scientist  Technologist – and  an Engineer...

Let me try to elaborate  in as simple a way as possible.


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 Scientist is to publish a research paper. 

Nowadays, the sheer manner in which so many papers are churned out it seems that many research papers are seen to be written and not written to be seen.

Of course, a genuine Scientist will try and ensure that a research paper must be written to be seen and not seen to be written


Technology is the practical application of science.

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

The principal goal of a Technologist is to produce some physical change in the world


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 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. 

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 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. 

Science pertains more to Academic Education  whereas Engineering is related to Skill Development.

It will primarily be Engineers who can make the recent Make in India” campaign a success – of course – with support from Scientists and Technologists.
So we can infer that the Engineer is the one who is most useful to society and humankind  isnt 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:

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


India could not capitalize on its Scientific Developments since our Engineering and Technology were weak. 

There is no use pursuing scientific research without strong engineering capability and robust technological base

There is no use inventing and discovering new things if you cannot utilize your inventions and discoveries for the benefit of mankind.


I think I will 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 

Now – Dear Reader – you tell me – who do you think is most useful to society – a Scientist – a Technologist  or – an Engineer...?

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