Can Engineering Save The World?

Engineering is responsible for many of the things that surround us in our everyday life. It helps provide our homes and schools, our food and water, our cars and computers, our planes and trains, our energy and electricity, and enables our standard of living. It is seldom visible but has always been vital to how we live.

The discipline of engineering has grown over the centuries to cover many areas of specialism, from small to large and from simple to complex, and shows no sign of slowing down.

There are, as you can imagine, many definitions of engineering but a simple description is that it is the art of turning theory into practice to fulfil a purpose.

Similarly, there are many types and disciplines of engineering such as civil, chemical, computing, electrical, mechanical, medical and technical.

Regardless of category, engineering has influenced our development and success as a society and will, no doubt, continue to shape and create the future.

Engineering is often mentioned in the context of science, technology and mathematics and seen as a core subject for students to learn to gain an understanding of the world.

Throughout the history of engineering one of its key strengths has been the ability to develop practical solutions based on the rational and objective assessment and application of facts.

Engineering, however, has entered a new era where the need to provide whole system resource efficient solutions is of primary importance, not least to ensure the future of the planet.

Similarly, it must balance its traditional narrow focus on specialist knowledge with a greater understanding of how integrated and interdependent the world has become as a result of technology and the merging of traditionally separate disciplines.

Engineering has proved its ability to contribute to economic growth but now faces the challenge of generating sustainable economic growth in a world where the population is growing, demand for raw materials is increasing and traditional resources are reaching a stage of depletion.

Engineering will continue to pursue deep levels of expert knowledge and drive development, but today’s task is to do so in a way that provides a strategic understanding of the whole while still managing separate specialist discrete disciplines.

Global challenges such as climate change, exploring and finding new sources of energy, and the provision of clean drinking water for millions of people desperately need engineering solutions on a grand scale like never before.

SO, engineering has contributed to our social and economic development for many centuries but now needs to meet more global and complex challenges to ensure a sustainable future.

What do you think?

Can engineering save the world?

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