Science & Technology in Action

4th Edition

Engineers and Scientists – Building our Future

Steps to Engineering

Engineers and scientists work close together in many fields. This lesson reviews the different types of engineering and how they contribute to the scientific world.
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Lesson excerpt

The world of engineering and science
Engineering bridges the world of science and the real world. It turns ideas into reality and is often seen as the application of science. From research to real world applications, engineers constantly discover how to improve our lives by creating bold new solutions that connect science to life in unexpected, forward thinking ways.

A simple example can illustrate this. Ohm’s Law is well known to students of physics. The current in a conductor is directly proportional to the voltage and inversely proportional to theresistance (E = IR). Using the correct units, we interpret this to mean that if a current of 1 ampere flows through a resistance of 1 ohm then a potential difference of 1 volt is produced across the resistor. This is a piece of scientific knowledge, usually discovered in a laboratory while conducting an experiment. This is exactly what Georg Ohm did when he first formulated his Law in 1826, and in recognition of his work the unit of resistance is named after him.

Engineers enable us to utilise this application of Ohm’s law in our everyday lives. For example, when heating our homes, we can decide how hot we would like an electric fire to be. A mobile phone also generates heat in this way but, in contrast, we need to control the heat generated to ensure safe use of mobile phones.

In the following sections we look at some of the work being done by engineers in Ireland today.

Engineers saving lives
Engineers work with medical teams, doctors, surgeons and nurses to design new biomedical devices that are beneficial to those who are suffering from medical conditions and help save peoples lives.Biomedical and biomechanicalengineers are involved in the design and production of innovations such as artificial limbs and hips, heart monitors, pacemakers, splints for fractured bones and other artificialimplants. In today’s busy world, many people suffer from vascularproblems that is, problems relating to blood vessels and the circulatory system. When such problems have to do with the heart (cardiovascular) the consequences can be very serious.