500.101 What Is Engineering?
Spaghetti Bridge Contest, November 7, 1999
What is engineering? The word itself comes from the Latin ingenerare, to create. According to Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary, engineering is "the application of mathematical and scientific principles to practical ends, as in the design construction, and operation of economical and efficient structures, equipment, and systems." This definition is not wrong, but it doesn't begin to describe the many components of engineering.
So what, really, is engineering? It's art and communication, politics and finance, modeling and simulation, invention, approximation, measurement and estimation, and more. It's a way to think about problems. This course (500.101) will introduce you to the engineering way of thinking. A unique element of this course is it's Virtual Laboratory - a set of simulated laboratory experiments that you can perform over the WWW.
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