Engineering as a
Reflections and Questions
(a review of the first unit)
technology is developed by people
what do they have?
what do they need?
- what technologies already
exist to build on?
- how much science do they use
- whom do they work for?
demand pull--need results in new
- growing population
- changing economics
- availability of natural
- war and other conflicts
- how much of technological
development is driven by profit
technology push--somebody invents something and creates a new need
what technology do the people in power want and not want
what are their ethical views and what do they think the public good is
what are the issues involved in engineering
becoming a profession?
- what is the definition of a
- licensing and other
- serving the good of
- how has it evolved into a
profession from just a regular job--focus on change
- what are causes and
effects? why did engineering become a profession? how did it
change from apprenticeship based to school based
- step 1. technological
breakthroughs: technology was
becoming more complicated and required specialists
- influence of industrial
revolution in Europe, new nation needed to be unified
- step 2. the need for more
- step 3. classroom is a
more efficient way of learning
- classroom was needed for
- educational trend towards
more useful eduction, eg. Morrill Act
- engineering is becoming
more scientific and more theoretical
where is technology going and how does that affect the future of
difference and relationship between technology and science--and how it
has changed over time
definitions of technology and science
transition from local ingenuity to craft-based engineering to
the development of engineering as a profession and what it means to be
apprenticeship vs. engineering schools
how the U.S. went from being a third-world country to being a leader in
responsibilities of engineers to society, including morals, ethics,
responding to public concerns, looking at larger consequences
how society pushes engineering in new directions including regulation
example of nuclear power--what
does it show us about modern
of gps and cell phones:
- engineers have to worry
about more dangerous risks and byproducts
- affects a lot more people
- people are afraid of
technologies they don't understand
- public mistrust of
technology because of past bad experiences
- technology has become so
complex that it is riskier
- based on lots of advanced
- very complex and
interconnected large systems
- the company can track where
you are by
the gps system included in your cell phone
- required for the 911 system
- gps was developed for
purposes, then released for civilian use
- technologies become
integrated into other systems much faster than they used to
- technology is so integrated
people's lives, if you don't have the technology or understand it you
are increasingly left out
- we become increasingly
if this is what modern engineering
like how did it get there?
historians are interested in how and
why things change over time
blacksmith at Dacusville Farm Days
what is engineering, what is technology?
how did engineering become a profession?
- relationship between science and technology
- craft-based vs. science based technology
- is computer science science or engineering?
is Florman too negative in saying that engineers
to be more widely educated? Why does he think that?
- look at the different parts of the
- how the need for engineers changes over time
more recent changes)
- rise of engineering education
- in what ways is engineering a
ways is it different from the classical idea of a profession?
relationship between technology and society:
how society affects technology
what special problems do engineers face?
- society makes demands on engineering eg.
- pressure put on engineers to solve problems
can't solve (technological
- Consider smoking causes cancer--do you
persuade people not to smoke, invent a safer cigarette, or find a cure
- can the same person keep track of the big
the technical details? (complexity, thinking about the impact of what
you are doing)
- make sure you are clear on Florman's
- what kinds of issues are matters of
rather than matters of law or matters of personal morality?
- what is Florman suggesting when he says
get more involved in politics?
- what do you do when experts disagree?
Problems at the warhead assembly and disassembly plant
this page written and copyright Pamela
last updated 9/14/2005