Science vs. Technology (Engineering), Scientists vs. Engineers

A couple of days ago, Sung Cheung in the Energy (Energy industry expertise) Group of introduced a post “The Anti-Engineering Crowd” within a discussion “The Dark Side of Green“. When I wrote a comment on his post, I agreed with his comment that “Engineers Vs Scientists do see things differently”, but “something the author mentioned in the post is not exactly correct. ”

First, both of science and technology play extremely important role in the world. The target or function of science is to find the truth behind the phenomena. While, that of engineering is to find the optimum solutions to a certain problem. As we know, there are a lot of empirical equations in engineering, which could be obtained by scientific methods but may not be science.

Second, science is more theoretical while engineering is more practical. There are much more constraints to engineering than those to science. For every engineering project, we must consider the budget at first.

Third, science is more strategical but engineering is more tactical. Science could explain some sort of phenomena with common characteristics. Engineering has to solve a certain problem the project faces to.

In the post “The Anti-Engineering Crowd“, the author said “they (scientists) can toy around with ideas and models and concepts, normally without consequence for being wrong.” I cannot agree with this at all. If the engineers made some mistakes in a project, the bridge may fall down, or the computer may not work. If the scientists drew wrong conclusions, the world may go the wrong direction. I am not sure whether the theory of global warming is correct. Now the governments and scientist have spent a lot of money and energy on this issue. Also, engineers have taken a lot of efforts to reduce the effects of global warming, such as CO2 sequestration projects. There is still argument on global warming issue, especially people found out that some scientists manipulated the data on global warming recently. If the theory was completely wrong, all the efforts we have done are nothing. That is the worse and more enormous consequence than that caused by an engineering project.


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