Engineering History

"The story of civilization is, in a sense, the story of engineering - that long and arduous struggle to make the forces of nature work for man's good." - L. Sprague De Camp

This quote very well speaks of engineering. Engineering is infused into everything that we see. From bicycle to airplane, ceiling fan to big turbines, all these wonders of engineering are illuminating with aura of engineers who have put a lot of effort and energy in what we see today.

Engineering is an exciting career as you get to be a part of projects that might turn out be great achievements. History is filled with the names of people who with their engineering skills have contributed towards the betterment of their communities, countries, colleagues and civilizations by making machines, tools and countless other things. However, engineering is not something that have come up recently but a profession that have been able to hold its esteemed position till date.

Origin of Engineering

The word engineer has its roots in the Latin word ‘ingeniare’, which means to devise in the sense of construct, or craftsmanship. Several other words are related to ‘ingeniare’, including ingenuity. Engineering has existed since ancient times as humans inherited fundamental inventions such as the wheel, pulley and liver. These inventions have cohered with the modern definition of engineering, optimally utilizing basic mechanical principles to develop useful tools and objects.

Professional schools originated to provide training and education in areas of importance to society. Be it Gurukul system in India, study of medicine in Salerno, Italy, Montpellier, France; the study of law in Bologna, Italy, earliest days of universities, professional schools have been associated with institutions of higher education. As the society evolved and its needs turned more practical and more advanced, other streams also competed to qualify for participation in an academic environment, including engineering. Medicine and law, continue to be associated with universities as professional institutes in many countries owing its value to society. With the turn of needs and as the society evolved engineering gained its importance in the society.

Military that has always been an indispensable part of every country comprised the first engineers. Military engineers who were employed by the government concerned themselves with disciplines such as roads, bridges, and munitions. The first schools of engineering were founded in France in the middle of the 18th Century. By the turn of the Century, France had established military and polytechnic schools to Officers of the Indian Army Corps of Engineers received training at the Thomason College of Engineering Between 1934 to 1943, and even after the establishment of the School of Military Engineering (SME) at Roorkee in 1943, they continued to receive technical training at Thomason. In 1948 when SME was moved to Dapodi, Pune, It was given the status of University by Act No. IX of 1948 of the United Provinces (Uttar Pradesh) and was titled University of Roorkee. JawaharLal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, presented the Charter in November 1949, elevating the erstwhile college to the first engineering university of independent India. Soil scientist JagdishNarain was the first student to be admitted into the university under this act.

Engineers have diverse careers

Engineering as a career is quite stimulating one. Engineers achieve great things. Throughout history people working as engineers have contributed to their communities, countries, society and civilization by making tools, machines and such other things that has not only made possible optimal utilization of resources but has also helped people improve their lives and advance onto better and more civilized society.

Now, what is diversity in context of engineering? Generally, the concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It refers to the fact that each individual is unique. It also means recognizing our individual differences along the dimensions of gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs or other ideologies. Beside recognition it is also concerned with exploration of these differences in a safe, positive and fostering environment. Talking of Engineering it is not a small field but encompasses a large community of specializations such as archaeology, Information and technology, civil, architecture, electrical, mechanical and so on. All these diverse fields aim at exploration of underlying capabilities of the respective field and available resources. From information technology to medical science and mining, from building roads to space travel, engineers are working to make things happen Most people often think of engineers as nerdy, tech-savvy, science fair geeks who compute equations all day long. However, most people do not realize that engineers are some of the most innovative, creative and hardworking people and some have best jobs ever. Engineers have always been an indispensable part of every piece of technology that exists today. This includes items as diverse as ipads, bridges, pacemakers, cars or wastewater treatment system. Practically every item that we see around us, engineer has had a hand in its creation, development or improvement. Basically, our lives would be extremely boring without engineers. Be it engineers designing military technology or those designing roads, bridges, dams, electric lights, combustion engines or computers engineers has always made the society a better place to live. you might be wondering as to how then engineers are different from scientists. Perhaps in this context Albert Einstein put it best when he said, "Scientists investigate that which already is; engineers create that which has never been."