Seeing the World Through the Eyes of an Engineer
Engineers see problems and find innovative solutions!
Elon Musk describes engineering as the closest thing to magic that exists in this world. Whilst seeing a robotic arm in action, witnessing the landing of Perseverance Rover on Mars, or driving across the Golden Gate Bridge feels magical, these are quite simply awe-inspiring engineering feats.
At the heart of every engineer is a problem-solver and an innovator. Engineers are logical, analytical, and creative. They have the ability to think through complex problems and to find real solutions that often change the way we live our lives. Every engineer has the potential to revolutionize!
A Rewarding Profession
Finding solutions that directly affect people makes for a rewarding career. British Space Operations engineer, Vinita Marwaha Madill, was part of the team that engineered the Gravity Loading Countermeasure Skinsuit project, a skinsuit that mimics the effects of gravity. Madill, a recent guest on Spotlight with Scientists in School, explained how astronauts faced the painful problem of losing 2-3% of their bone mass during a six-month mission and growing nearly 4-6 cm taller. The solution after 10 years of research and development was to build a suit that effectively squeezes an astronaut’s body gradually to prevent back pain and spinal elongation. Madill says, “It’s been amazing to see the suit being developed as a prototype so many years ago and then eventually being used in the space station in the last few years. It’s really exciting to see it making a difference, especially for the future of exploration, to improve astronaut’s health in space.”
Getting kids excited about engineering!
We need to ensure that we have enough skilled engineers for the future. There are several challenges facing our planet. We need access to clean water and proper sanitation. We need innovative ways to combat climate change. We need to produce sustainable agriculture. We need engineers to find solutions!
“We don’t need to wait until grad school to start exploring engineering with our children”, says Nina Nielsen, a Chemical Engineer and Presenter/Team Leader with Scientists in School.
Nina offers some helpful suggestions on how you can get your young scientist to start thinking like an engineer.
Be curious: Observe the things around you and wonder how they work (How does the toaster work? Why did that bird build its nest that way?)
Be an inventor: Solve puzzles, take things apart, put things together
Be a builder: Design things on paper/software/with building materials, test them and then improve them.
Do math! Find math in everyday activities and love it
Look up your local P.Eng. chapter and find local events: For example, Brampton Engineers holds a bridge building competition every year during National Engineering Month
Book a workshop with Scientists in School: We offer so many engineering-based workshops: Structures (Gr. 1, 3, 7), Simple Machines, Gears, Fluids, Systems, Forces, Energy (Gr. 1, 5, 7), and Electricity
Engineers have changed the way we live. From computers, to satellites, to elevators, to robots, engineers are vital to making everyday life better for the citizens of this planet.