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Old 21st March 2011, 05:41 PM   #11601
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Originally Posted by DF96 View Post
I seem to spend a lot of time trying to explain physics to engineers, so they know why the thing they are trying to do does not work.
Interesting. I do the exact same thing here with physicists and superconducting magnets.

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In the UK, and I suspect elsewhere too, the training of engineers contains far too little physics and maths. Instead, they are just taught to plug numbers into formulas and follow 'engineering rules'.
Actually, that is supposed to be the definition of engineering...the following of rules. But I agree with you that more physics and math is needed. I fear intuition however, cannot be taught.
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As a result, much of the innovation in engineering is actually done by physicists.
And much of the high energy physics innovation is actually done by engineers. Well, ok, sometimes a chemist (Ray Davis).

It's actually a two way street...and it should be. Both groups bring a lot to the table. Here, the physicists bring really cool thinking to the table, and engineers have to figure out how to do it..
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(OK, I admit it, I am biased; I am a physicist).
I won't hold that against you...

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That's a shame. There was a time when British engineering was on par with or better than any in the world.
John
The British post office was responsible for a huge quantity of understandings when it comes to e/m, waveguides, radar... The state of scientific edu in general, seems lacking a bit..

I kinda feel the same way about analog and e/m theory in the USA..

Cheers, John
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Old 21st March 2011, 06:20 PM   #11602
jlsem is offline jlsem  United States
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The British post office was responsible for a huge quantity of understandings when it comes to e/m, waveguides, radar... The state of scientific edu in general, seems lacking a bit..
Actually my education was mechanical engineering. My father warned me to stay away from EEs.

My field of interest at the time was internal combustion engines and of course other than Pratt and Whitney, the forefront of that field was at Rolls Royce and Bristol during the 30s and 40s when most of the great innovations occurred.

As for me, I never finished my degree, having decided on another course after my junior year, much to the consternation of my father and some of my professors. But I certainly enjoyed all of that basic background in math and physics.

John
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Old 21st March 2011, 07:57 PM   #11603
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My comments here are mostly hoping to give better understanding of 'misunderstandings' between many contributors here. When Ed Simon made his first response on the topic, I berated him for causing even MORE dissent here, with his strong personal opinions on who IS and who IS NOT a qualified engineer. I was arguing the other way, trying to unite everybody. Oh well.
John,

I don't think I have ever stated who or what I think an engineer is. I have stated the stupidest words you will hear some days are "I am an engineer and I know that XXXXX"

In some states you must pass the Professional Engineering exam to call yourself an engineer. Most places having a degree from an accredited college is sufficient. What many people do not know is how accreditation is done. It is not done by the government. Organizations such as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Middle States Commission on Higher Education, or a few others set the standards for their member institutions. There are actually non-accredited schools often called diploma mills, who often have much lower standards.

So where you go to school often counts for much.

ES
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Old 21st March 2011, 09:44 PM   #11604
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John,

I don't think I have ever stated who or what I think an engineer is. I have stated the stupidest words you will hear some days are "I am an engineer and I know that XXXXX"

In some states you must pass the Professional Engineering exam to call yourself an engineer. Most places having a degree from an accredited college is sufficient. What many people do not know is how accreditation is done. It is not done by the government. Organizations such as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Middle States Commission on Higher Education, or a few others set the standards for their member institutions. There are actually non-accredited schools often called diploma mills, who often have much lower standards.

So where you go to school often counts for much.

ES
Actually I get lots of emails from people offering me any degree for a reasonable fee

jan didden
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Old 21st March 2011, 10:27 PM   #11605
jlsem is offline jlsem  United States
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Why pay when you can get the third degree here for free?

John
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Old 21st March 2011, 11:13 PM   #11606
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Why pay when you can get the third degree here for free?

John
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Old 21st March 2011, 11:22 PM   #11607
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I too have met physicists who barely knew which end of a soldering iron to hold. Sadly, some EEs too! I'm pleased to hear that other countries have not degraded their education as we have.

I once read somewhere that the engineering institutions in the UK did a review after WW2, because they realised that most of the innovations in EE (e.g. the magnetron) had been developed by physicists, not EEs. They decided to include much more science in engineering training. Unfortunately over the succeeding decades they seem to have slowly reverted to their old ways. We have a big problem with secondary schools too, as science and maths have been watered down there as well. I first studied calculus at age 15, now it is age 17 in most schools. When I started at university I already had three years calculus, now it would be one or possibly none. In addition, health and safety fears severely limit school lab experiments so students arrive at university with very poor practical skills.
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Old 21st March 2011, 11:36 PM   #11608
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Hi Jan,

Glad to see that vol.1 is out .Thanks.

............maybe vol,2 should have an article about dealing with the huge ego's found on this thread. They seem to forget that this is a diy site and some feel that that their level of education is of prime importance and humility seems to take second place. I have never seen so much rudeness and chest pounding in any other thread or forum.

Jam
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Old 21st March 2011, 11:56 PM   #11609
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In some states you must pass the Professional Engineering exam to call yourself an engineer. \ES

Not sure about that, PE has specific legal meanings like being able to sign off on drawings, etc.

I'm in the rainforest in Costa Rica right now listening to live "music".
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Old 22nd March 2011, 09:20 AM   #11610
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I once read somewhere that the engineering institutions in the UK did a review after WW2, because they realised that most of the innovations in EE (e.g. the magnetron) had been developed by physicists, not EEs. They decided to include much more science in engineering training. Unfortunately over the succeeding decades they seem to have slowly reverted to their old ways.
The idea that innovations in Electronics (in the UK, 1930s-40s) were dominated by physicists stands up to very little scrutiny.

The example [Magnetron] is s DEVICE, very properly developed by physicists. But innovations in Engineering Electronics - Circuit-based applications - which at the time meant RADAR, Television, Stereophonic Sound, and Computers for example, were turned into reality by real Engineers - those who apply science, and are capable practitioners of the Art of Electronics (in the Horowitz & Hill definition).

In the UK at that time were at least two Engineers of that type, full worthy of respect, even at this distance:

Alan Blumlein, whose circuits and developments we still use on a daily basis [Long-tail pair, sterophonic sound, television circuits, early radar]

The Alan Blumlein Homepage

and Tommy Flowers, who turned Alan Turing's architectures into a 1943 valve computer:

Tommy Flowers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Flowers in particular was motivated to gain his education outside of the mainstream school-university standard-course sausage-machine. [Flowers took night classes in Electrical engineering during a mechanical apprenticeship]. I think that this is very characteristic of outstanding engineers - they will find the knowledge & skills from whatever unconventional source, and are quite independent of the general level of available instruction.

Naturally, good instruction is very necessary to generate "ordinary" engineers - plodders to develop and draw ordinary objects for uncritical mass-market business. BUT these are not actually required in the UK today - there's very little for them to do! Those that need their Engineering presented to them in term [semester] -sized doses may as well go and be a bank clerk.

Real Engineers will emerge, regardless of educational standards. It is enough for a young engineer to find something worth taking to pieces, for the journey to begin.
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