Indeed, this is the most common characterization of scientists versus engineers.It reminds me of two books by the same author that my 6-year-old daughter owns: .
I remember running frantically through a college fair, asking every booth attendant the same questions: What’s an engineer? Or, when it would be helpful for scientists’ research to build something, do they just shrug and go home?
Someone approached me afterward to suggest that I expand the talk to include the public perception of engineers. I had assumed that engineers are kind of subsumed within the umbrella of science.
It was never a subject in school—those were social studies, English, gym—and now I had to choose between enrolling in the School of Engineering or the School of Everything Else. The only degrees my school offered were a Bachelor of Arts—which included clearly non-arts fields like chemistry and computer science—or a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. And how did it somehow become so prominent that it balanced against arts-and-sciences-and-politics-and-sociology-and-economics-and-philosophy? “Engineers build things,” she wrote, “and scientists understand things.” So, do engineers not understand what they build?
If the world could be divided into engineering and everything else, why had I never heard of engineering? One of the first answers someone gave me was that “engineers solve problems.” Neat. Like, they make a car, but then they think the car is magic?
” (Granted, this is sometimes because scientists are solving problems that engineers inadvertently created by asking “why? did the scientists think they could solve this problem?
”) The predominant feeling that I got from reading a Google search full of suggested answers, however, is that the distinction between science and engineering feels forced.
Among the activities often identified as characteristic of science are systematic observation and experimentation, inductive and deductive reasoning, and the formation and testing of hypotheses and theories.
How these are carried out in detail can vary greatly, but characteristics like these have been looked to as a way of demarcating scientific activity from non-science, where only enterprises which employ some canonical form of scientific method or methods should be considered science (see also the entry on science and pseudo-science).
While not technically misconceptions, these overgeneralizations are almost always inaccurate and can make it more difficult for the students who hold them to learn science.
Guide to Understanding Science 101 Conceptual framework Teaching tools Resource database Image library How Understanding Science is being used Correcting misconceptions Educational research Alignment with science standards You can highlight misconceptions about science that are promulgated in the media by starting a bulletin board that highlights examples of misconceptions found in the popular press for example, misuses of the word theory, implications that scientists always use "the scientific method," or that experimental science is more rigorous than non-experimental science.