• Question: Is there any link between different forms of engineering apart from science and mathematics.

    Asked by zoha to Ant, Dan, Matt, Mike, Steph on 19 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Matt Maddock

      Matt Maddock answered on 19 Mar 2012:

      I think there’s a certain way of thinking that is common to all engineers; a way of seeing problems and breaking them down into parts, of identifying solutions and thinking all the way around a subject to find the best answer.

      You don’t have to be an engineer to think like that, of course, and you can and will learn to think that way if you go into training for engineering.

    • Photo: Dan Veal

      Dan Veal answered on 19 Mar 2012:

      Absolutely. Take something like building and launching a satellite, i guarantee you every single type of engineer is involved in the process at some point.

      Mechanical eng: design, test the satellite, build/test the launcher.
      Electrical eng: help design and test, build the electronics, solar panels, keeping power to the satellite so the sensors and experiements work
      Propulsion: responsible for the fuel, power, how to get the rocket into space
      Systems engineer: responsible for overview of all different parts of the satellite – like a conductor making sure all the designs from different types of engineers go together and work
      Thermal engineer: responsible for keeping right temperautre on satellite once in space (it’s very harsh, can be -100 or -200 C in space when in the earth’s shadow, so making sure nothing fails from the cold) and making sure things like motors, electronics, thrusters, actuators don’t produce too much heat where you affect experiments or fry the spacecraft.

      i could go on. And it’s not just space or satellites, every project has many different types of engineers working all together on it. engineering is a very team oriented job, which is great fun because lots of heads together help find problems and find solutions.