Engineering Science

Science leads to applied science leads to technology--NOT SO (or not always)

What are the possible relationships between science and technology:

Physics couldn't tell you anything useful about aerodynamics until after World War II.  Therefore aviation is a good example of the complex ways in which engineers use science. Systematically vary the relevant parameters and learn the relationships (eg. between wind shape and lift).  Represent the results as a mathematical relationship or as a table of data

The invention of the airplane:

 Langley Aerodome--National Air and Space Museum

 Wright Brothers flight, National Air and Space Museum

the Wright brothers had a terrible time interesting anyone in their success--the U.S. military did not purchase its first plane until 1909

 French Spad WWI fighter--National Air and Space Museum

there was a need for research also, or at least coordination, and it almost instantly outgrew the resources of amateurs like the Wright brothers or even the small firms that were building aircraft.
NACA's first employee

 NACA's first wind tunnel

detail from Diego Rivera mural at Detroit Institute of Art

Development of Aeronautical Engineering:

 Ford Trimotor, National Air and Space Museum

 Sikorsky's first helicopter

research became more complex.

 X-15--National Air and Space Museum

Engineering science is systematic experimentation aimed at seeing the overall patterns, not just solving specific practical problems.  It may be simply empirical work, but it aims at describing patterns, hopefully in equations.

this page written and copyright  Pamela E. Mack
 History 122
last updated 10/12/2005