All about Engineering and Technology
Learn all about how these two disciplines affect our daily lives, and enter a fun engineering photography competition.
Thanks to our mastery of engineering and technology, the world is changing at a lightning quick pace, much quicker than ever before.
In the last 40 years alone, we’ve managed to build the tallest tower ever – the 829.8-m-tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai, we’ve created a permanent home in space – the International Space Station, and can access information anywhere in the world using the Internet. Just think how amazing that is!
What is engineering?
Engineers design and create things like machines, structures and processes. They use a combination of maths and science to make these things work (or make them work better!).
Engineers change the world around us and come up with technologies and creative solutions to make our lives more comfortable, and make the world a better place. Let’s take a look at some of the ways engineering and technology impacts our daily lives, without us even noticing.
Four surprising ways engineering and technology affects our daily lives
Without sewers our cities would reek of poop! Before 1858, people living in London would dump their waste straight into the River Thames. But during one hot summer, the city experienced the Great Stink. This was when blistering sun heated up the human waste on the river banks, and so a huge pong, plus nasty diseases like cholera, spread throughout the city. This convinced the government the employ civil engineer Joseph Bazalgette to create the city’s first ever sewerage system. Thanks to his work, the pong was gone!
The job of chemical engineers is to change raw materials into products that we use in everyday life. They help to produce food and drink, pharmaceutical products (like tablets and face cream), and even some of the clothes on your back! In 1935, Wallace Carothers discovered that crude oil could be made into a new kind of plastic fabric that was named nylon. The new material had many useful properties like being durable, resistant to heat and easy to dye. Today it’s not only used in clothes but everything from carpets to toothbrushes!
The Wright Brothers made the first ever successful flight on 17 December 1903 in North Carolina, USA. Their plane travelled just 37 meters before it hit the ground. It wasn’t until 28 September 1924 that the first around the world flight took place. The brothers’ skills in mechanical engineering made it possible to travel to foreign countries in a matter of hours, making the world seem like a much smaller place!
The first programmable electric computer was developed in 1943 so that British code breakers could read secret German messages during World War Two. It was the size of a living room. Since then, electronics engineers have continued to develop quicker and smaller technologies, so that these days, you can fit your very own supercomputer (a mobile phone) in your pocket. Amazing!
Cool jobs in engineering and technology
Engineers affect almost every area of our lives, from our buildings and electronics, to managing our water, gas and electricity supplies. Let’s take a look at some of the coolest jobs you can do as an engineer…
Roller Coaster Engineer
Have you ever visited a theme park and thought how cool it would be to create your own roller coaster? Well that’s the job of engineers – from designing them to analysing the speed and weight of the cars to make sure they are safe and run smoothly. What a scream!
3D printing specialist
The future is all about 3D printing. As the technology becomes more widespread, it’ll be used to print everything from food to prosthetic limbs. Engineers such as software specialists and machine programmers will be in high demand to run this new tech.
Sending machines to space
From designing the powerful rockets to send deep into space to building and programming rovers that can sniff out water on planets like Mars, engineers are at the centre of space exploration and at the heart of what companies like space organisations like NASA do. Out of this world!
Calling all budding young photographers – the IET Engineering & Technology Junior Photographer of the Year competition is back and bigger than ever!
Do you love taking photos? Are you excited about the way the world works? Then this comp is right up your street!
To enter, all you need to do is take images of engineering-related subjects that truly capture the exciting, imaginative and fast-developing face of engineering and engineers today.