Engineering turnover in the UK was £1.1 trillion (for the year ending March 2012) which was 24.5% of UK turnover. So clearly engineering is big and important to the economy of industrialised countries. But what it is? That’s a harder question to answer! In 2013 almost two-thirds of the public could cite the engineering development of the last 50 years that has had the greatest impact on them – that compares with slightly more than one-third in 2010 so more people are beginning to recognise engineering when they see it. Can you cite the engineering development that has had the greatest impact on you? If so, post a comment (use the ‘Leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the page).
What is Engineering? As well as being the title of this post it is also a website that attempts to answer the question. You will find the classical answers there and elsewhere, i.e. that engineering is about taking the resources able in nature and converting them into products (e.g. buildings, computers, medical devices and planes) and services (e.g. water, electricity and communications) for society. Engineers are problem-solvers who communicate and organise the implementation of solution which might be how to create a zero emission car or a carbon-neutral public building. The best engineers look for elegant solutions so I rather like the no.2 definition that you get when you Google the question, i.e. ‘the action of working artfully to bring something about’.