ANIL MITRA PHD, COPYRIGHT © 1985, rev. 2004

















2.1        MODULE 1 BASICS





3.1        Basic and Engineering Methods

3.2        Biological and Chemical Division

3.3        Materials Division

3.4        Civil, Environmental and Resource Division

3.5        Mechanical, Energy and Industrial Division

3.6        Electrical and Information Division

3.6.1        Alternative classification for Electrical Engineering

3.7        World Order and Military Division










































4.6.1        Nature of Electrical and Information Engineering

4.6.2        History of electrical engineering

4.6.3        Functions of Electrical Engineering

4.6.4        Branches of Electrical Engineering

4.6.5        Electrical Engineering Education

4.6.6        Professional Organizations

4.6.7        Careers in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Information Science




Modern Engineering includes technology, but is also concerned with development and understanding of technological systems and the products, affects and appropriateness of technology. It is also concerned with non-technological approaches

Technical engineering is the activity of transforming and transporting:

1. Materials and forces of nature

2. Energy and information, which are technical measures of utility

This statement excludes reference to value and method. To complete our understanding of modern engineering, we should identify its values, its societal and environmental objectives and its tools


In a sense engineering has no values – is value neutral. Technically, engineering can be equally employed for destructive as well as good purposes. This attitude is found and bred in an atmosphere of extreme specialization and technical competition

However, it is widely recognized that in many areas modern civilization is close to or has exceeded the carrying ability of the environment and the planet. Technical competition has bred unhealthy and hostile social environments. Hence it is now commonly accepted that engineers and engineering must be concerned with value

Minerals and other materials, energy, the physical environment - water, land, air, space and the social environment, are valuable resources. Their preservation is important. It is no longer valid to simply regard human beings as the users of the environment. Individuals, society, and the environment are a system of mutual interactions. It is the system which is to be understood and preserved. In some future era, perhaps not in the distant future, we will be concerned with preservation of the solar system and beyond

Even when technology is used for good, there can be unforeseen ill effects. The engineer needs to understand the capacity of the environment. Not all effects can be predicted. The engineer must look out for effects of technology: awareness is essential

Not only should the engineer be concerned that natural resources and environmental quality be preserved, but the products of engineering should contribute to the beauty of human environment. Lovins has pointed out how properly designed landscapes can enhance harmony and carrying ability. The engineer must be a practical architect and an artist

An engineer concerned with social design should also be concerned with practical philosophy. Humans evolved as nomads and we probably still retain a nomadic nature. It is not necessary to seek a return to the nomadic life. However, we can recognize human fundamental ability to accept the power of natural forces and the arbitrary element of natural phenomena. It is costly in not just an economic sense, but also in a spiritual sense to design for one-hundred percent security. One-hundred percent design cuts humans off from themselves and their environment. One-hundred percent design increases uniformity, reduces variability, creativity, and hence adaptability

Communication is important. Interesting, brief, organized presentation has immediate appeal. The modern dry style of technical communication is unnecessary. Accuracy and regard for foundations and value make information really useful. Poetry of form and value can transform an audience to action, and enhances engineering as an enjoyable activity


Transform resources to make life rewarding and enjoyable

Monitor humans and our environment for adverse effects of technology

Protect human beings and the environment against pollution. Better:

Implement appropriate systems to maintain and preserve a beautiful and hospitable environment

Train and educate engineers in the tools and values of engineering – in many societies engineering is organized as a profession. Extensive training and practice is required before becoming a full member of the profession


1. Conceptual and creative design, experience, practice and technical design. Application and computer enhancement of graphic, technical skills in all phases of design; decision making and optimal analysis

2. Technical design involves physical sciences: mechanics, electromagnetism, energy, chemical and nuclear; materials-metals, ceramics, earth, textiles, polymers, etc. These automatically involve modern science, mathematics, large- and small-scale quantitative simulation and optimization where appropriate

3. Science of living systems: biology, ecology

4. Science of intelligent and emotive organisms: psychology, systems and information science, artificial intelligence, knowledge engineering including CAE, CAT, CAD, CAM [computer aided education, technology, design and manufacturing] and robotics

5. Science of complex and partially understood systems: operations research, probability and statistics, decision theory, catastrophe and fuzzy analysis

6. Science of social systems: group psychology, sociology, economics and political science

Application of energy and entropy principles, economic and general equilibrium theory to recyclability and renewability of resources, finding stable equilibrium of society within environment

7. Resource sciences [distribution, resource discovery, extraction] for: food, clothing, shelter technology [minerals, metals, chemicals, fuels - chemical and nuclear.] Includes: geography, geology, geophysics, explosives, agriculture, husbandry, ocean and atmospheric sciences

8. Technological process: manufacturing, unit operations, extraction, preservation, distribution, etc

9. Communications: art, science, technology


[1] Satish Kumar, ed., The Schumacher Lectures, Harper, 1980

[2] Diane Cowley, ed., Graduate Programs in Engineering and Applied Sciences, Peterson’s Guides, 1985



…was the first recognized branch of engineering with application to weapons and support, from which came


Civil engineering is concerned with civil works such as roads, conduits, bridges, buildings, sanitation, and foundational works - usually large static structures. With highways and the Industrial Revolution came machines and


…this can also trace an inheritance to military engineering. Mechanical engineering comprised two elements: [1] structural and fluid analysis which it shares in common with civil, with the difference that mechanical systems are essentially kinematic, dynamic; and [2] energy analysis arising out of the power considerations of dynamic systems. Out of this grew mechanical engineering concern with power engineering, refrigeration, heating and controls. In a sense mechanical engineering is central to the traditional engineering of the industrial world - manufacturing engineering. There arose a number of


Minerals and metals



Naval and ocean

Industrial and management

Power including fossil

Nuclear and solar

Engineering design

Engineering mechanics

Electrical machines

Biomechanics and biomechanical and then biomedical


Of course each branch has many sources. There are many crosscurrents of interaction. Subsequently, some of the branches grew by inclusion of new principles, special methods, new applications, ideas and inventions. As an example:


…grew from the rise of electrical machinery and may be said to have begun with the simplifying approach to circuits and machines of Charles Steinmetz, “the father of electrical engineering.” Subsequently, electrical engineering became so important in power engineering, that power and energy are often considered part of electrical engineering. Later, with the development of radio and applications to communication, electronics including vacuum tubes and transistors and application to communication, instrumentation, arrays for data and information processing and called computers, thee fields became part of electrical engineering. As applications, technology and science grew, some of these fields, such as computers, branched out. Currently electrical engineering is the largest branch of engineering: as of 1985 the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers with 250,000 members, is the largest professional organization in the world


There is no unique principle for or any constancy to the way in which the individual sciences and technologies within engineering are originally placed and subsequently grouped

It may be according to association: public health and environmental engineering are traditionally part of civil engineering because of civil engineering’s concern with sanitation. However, medical and chemical principles are required

It may be according to where related technologies exist: thus industrial engineering began and often continues in mechanical engineering

It may be according to where the basis principles are found. Power engineering and energy are largely electro-mechanical [recall that thermal science, thermodynamics is usually part of mechanical] and may be found associated with either mechanical or electrical engineering. As the chemistry of combustion, as in fluidized beds, becomes important in the context of pollution control; furnace design, traditionally part of mechanical engineering, becomes of interest to chemical engineers. Because of the thermal and energy aspect, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning [HVAC] as well as refrigeration are part of mechanical engineering

It may be according to the type of system to which application is found. Thus, controls are primarily of interest in mechanical, electrical, chemical and guidance technologies

It may be according to physical or climate. Rural applications of engineering are usually agricultural and civil while mechanical, electrical and communications technologies are usually imported. Thus rural and primitive and remote regions applications are often, by force of routine, part of civil or agricultural engineering. Mechanical, electrical, communications technology is largely industrial and urban. Cold regions engineering, which includes topics such as materials and systems behavior at low temperatures and ice mechanics, is a specialty found in places like Alaska, Siberia and the Antarctic

It is clear that the categories in engineering are not fixed. Nor, in practice, are there absolute schemes which define the categories. We have seen that the boundaries to the divisions are somewhat circumstantial. This is inevitable because the schemes of subdivision are not [nor need they be] consistent. Some schemes are:

The fundamental science involved

The nature of type of system

The aspect of the system considered

The type or level of technology

The type or level of concept [matter, energy, information, intelligence]

The application

Mutual interaction between different categories

Supporting theory: mathematical, statistical… other tools

Administrative convenience: economics, size, pooling of resources


While there is obviously a large number of schemes by which division occurs in practice, it does not follow that these schemes are to be emphasized. Rather, in absence of some compelling reason, they should be de-emphasized. Nor should complete unity be emphasized: it does not exist. The extremes of absolute unity and narrow specialization are both uneconomical

A single, all-encompassing engineering is uneconomical because:

Too large a commitment is required of the trainee; difficulty of administration due to size and diversity of discipline; disruption of intra-communication within unified disciplines

While too narrow specialization is undesirable because:

The cost of training is high; cost of maintaining and administrating separate divisions, especially where unity does exist; cost of communication between specialists and specialty areas - disruption of intercommunication among separate disciplines - this includes difficulty of transferring expertise and of learning new fields

Optimal economy is probably obtained by a dual scheme:

1. Division of branches of engineering according to fundamental principles into a few basic branches

2. Division of engineering knowledge into:

A. A common core of fundamental skills including basic science and fundamental engineering and applied sciences; skills, tools, values and topics of general interest, determined by practice and need. Enhances intercommunication, transference of expertise, new learning, unity

B. Special and advanced topics, design, state-of-art tools and technologies according to the branch

This economy is recognized and reflected by groupings of industries, research and development [RandD] establishments, and divisions within education, large corporations and laboratories. In practice other divisions occur by function [research and development, production …], administration, and circumstance. Cross-fertilization and the need for evolution in time are enhanced by the existence of different groupings and principles of grouping in different institutions and in the existence of specialist individuals and institutions, as well as generalist individuals and institutions. The existence of multiple principles of organization, in practice, makes for good cross-communication, cross-fertilization of ideas, creativity and adaptability to new and unknown and unforeseen needs. It is not necessity, but the interaction between plentitude with variety and necessity which is the source of invention

How is this proposed optimal economy reflected in education?

1. Engineering schools are divided into departments [branches]

2. The engineering curriculum requires

A. A core common to all branches

B. Special, advanced topics, etc. within each branch

3. Cross-fertilization is enhanced by different groupings and principles of grouping: academic departments, learning centers and computation centers [perhaps common to the entire educational institution], specialty, research institutes, engineering mechanics and science, design divisions, schools, etc

In part it is recognized that research [both fundamental and applied] and education are not only equal partners but part of a composite and overlapping process. Further beneficial cross-fertilization occurs when different teaching styles and emphases occur

4. Cross-communication and fertilization is furthered by an additional formal requirement or option in the curriculum of

C. One or more of both engineering specialties and non-engineering specializations

In some institutions the option may be nonexistent or difficult to exercise

5. Cross-interaction and adaptability occurs in an environment

A. Differences among educational institutions. Such differences include alternate groupings and differences in emphasis according to “teaching” and “research”. In the somewhat false debate between teaching vs. research and effect on the student, the fundamental ability, drive and vitality of the student to learn, create and produce should not be forgotten. The student should not be treated as merely a “consumer” but also as a “producer”

B. Interaction with industry. The needs of industry should be reflected in both curriculum and applied research

C. Needs of industry must not dominate the curriculum. Other needs are the system of mutual interactions: people, industry, society, environment, planet, higher values, and the future. Such needs are met by innovative and alternative but carefully designed pathfinder programs and by pure and fundamental research, and the existence of, at least partially, autonomous applied science research laboratories

Another principle permitted by judicious administration is a freedom within which talent grows and sustains its own vitality. Such administration may grow from a group of mature equals who recognize among them a superior administrative and visionary talent. This administration then provides freedom from excess internal and external pressure, freedom from the usual normative standards, and is willing to take some risk in forming essential evaluations of individuals

We suggested an optimal economy of division according to a core common to all engineering and division of advanced topics, design, etc., into a few basic branches according to fundamental principles. The remaining task is to:

1. Define the core

2. Choose the principle[s] of division

3. List the basic branches according to these principles

4. List further divisions according to practice


A rational selection of the core would follow the two ideas: [1] Principles of economy in division suggested earlier; [2] inclusion of fundamental and commonly used areas to enhance transference of ideas and individuals among fields. It is natural that the emphasis of different aspects of the core will vary among institutions and among programs. The core suggested here is an approximation and enhancement of these ideas and what obtains in educational institutions. It is a reorganization of the “Tools of Modern Engineering” outlined earlier:

2.1         MODULE 1 BASICS

Sciences: physical, life, social

Humanities: art and philosophy

Essential mathematics, computers, probability and statistics

Creativity and rigor in the basics

Philosophy of value and resources



Creativity and search “approaches”

Modeling [includes physical] and application of basics and rigor

Practice and transition to application and codes

Visual approaches and graphics

Computer applications


We choose the following principles for division of engineering into basic branches:

1. Organizational principles

Primary: According to level of concept used in identifying typical systems

Secondary: Level of interaction energy

2. Practice


1. Systems with microscopic or molecular structure; that is, materials sciences and engineering such as metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, textiles; chemical engineering

2. Systems with large scale or “engineering” structure - defines parts of civil and mechanical engineering

3. Systems viewed as resources - defines mineral, mining, petroleum, agricultural, mariculture, environmental resources, human power, self-actualizing systems engineering

4. Systems with motion and material change and energy - defines parts of mechanical, electrical, chemical, naval engineering; also materials processing

5. Systems with information, intelligence and emotion - defines computer science and systems and engineering [often part of electrical engineering according to the alternate organizational principle], information science, artificial intelligence, data processing, knowledge engineering, robotics, applied psychology, self-actualizing systems. Genetic engineering [which also involves molecular structure]

6. Systems seen in a social or value-related context: urban and rural, highway planning; waterways planning; architecture; health care systems engineering; welfare systems; systematic politics and applied ethics: arms control and peace enforcement, resource distribution, applied sociology and economics

Obviously: not all branched are included. Some branches and subdivisions occur in more than one location

There may be objections to some categories included. Note that many topics exotic to engineering are routinely treated by engineers. Further, we started with the idea that engineering is concerned with transforming and transporting systems and we arrived at the point where engineering is seen as a very inclusive field. What’s in a name? Our conclusion shows the unity of human enterprise

By a process of seeking the essential values and knowledge “behind” engineering, we find that at certain levels engineering has much in common - its social values and goals - with other fields. Such fields include resource planning, health care delivery, social design and environmental conservation, aspects of political planning when understood as part of the global process. When we consider the tools of engineering [including science, art and practice], we find further common ground. There is a science and an art to the other fields. Though the science may be different and the proportion of science and art is not important, there is a wide variation within traditional engineering. Finally, the method of engineering practice, DESIGN, can be used in other fields. As we will see, design includes a concern for values and needs which lie behind the method - the method that includes creativity and analysis and evaluation. Thus, we arrive at a modification of engineering: it will encompass those fields which are amenable to its method - the DESIGN METHOD. This is a very broad definition, but a rational one based in appropriate principles and need for consideration of the complete system of interactions - a need which may remain unrecognized and implicit in a sparsely populated planet, but becomes essential and explicit to viability as the carrying capacity is approached. This process of generalization [1] includes other fields and there may be objection to use of the word “engineering”, but note that engineer derives from the same Latin source as genesis or creation; [2] the adoption of a broader synthesis and synthetic approach may be discerned but is by no means complete; hence is not fully reflected in the next topic “modern academic divisions of engineering:; and [3] traditionalists may object to the intended broadening. However, the synthesis is necessary at appropriate levels to ensure the wholeness and application of our values. The wholeness is implicit in the meaning, though not in the practice, of universality

Computer-assisted design programs … commercial and governmental

Or plural: sciences, natures, types, aspects

Economy is not interpreted as money-value; a linear quantification scheme is not sought

These fields are driven by the interface between science, mathematics, and engineering practice. These topics or fields are ephemeral and are partially the result of economic and related opportunity

In a traditional environment, institutional structure is relatively uniform. A rapidly evolving social/technological/scientific environment is best served by a variety of institutional structures


The seven basic divisions below are a compromise between practice and the logical structure of division according to level of concept. A number of branches could appear in more than one place

Some subdivisions are also given. A few will appear more than once while others will be implicitly present

3.1         Basic and Engineering Methods

General engineering

Applied/engineering science, physics or mechanics

General engineering, design; methods, systems engineering

3.2         Biological and Chemical Division

Agricultural engineering

Biomedical engineering

Chemical engineering

Food engineering

3.3         Materials Division

Materials science and engineering; includes composites

Ceramics science and engineering

Metallurgy and metallurgical engineering

Polymer science and plastics engineering

Textiles science and engineering

3.4         Civil, Environmental and Resource Division

Architecture and architectural engineering

Environmental engineering

Environmental resources engineering

Geological, mineral/mining and petroleum engineering

Geotechnical engineering

Structural and construction engineering

Transportation and highway engineering

Regional, rural and urban planning

3.5         Mechanical, Energy and Industrial Division

A number of mechanical-related divisions are included: many were originally part of mechanical engineering; some such as systems and parts of power could be placed in other divisions or separately

Aerospace engineering

Engineering design

Energy and propulsion engineering

Industrial and management engineering

Mechanical systems engineering and design

Mechanics and thermal science

Nuclear engineering

Ocean, marine and naval engineering

Solar engineering

Systems engineering

Technology management and policy

3.6         Electrical and Information Division





Electro-physics and devices

Power and light systems

Communications systems

Computer systems and data processing

Systems engineering

Consumer electronic systems

Interdisciplinary systems applications


Professional organizations


3.6.1        Alternative classification for Electrical Engineering

Electro-physics and devices

Power and light




General systems

Consumer electronic systems

3.7         World Order and Military Division

World system


Integrated approach

World order

Applied philosophy of material, human and social needs

A theory of events vs. a theory of [human] nature

Resolution of conflict

Military division

Paradoxes of peace

Military science


General mobilization




Detailed descriptions of the subfields within the seven major divisions of engineering will now be given. The first division, basics and engineering methods, and the seventh division, world order and military division, are of special interest as unified divisions

The basics division emphasizes the core of engineering information and method. Within that division general engineering presents a skeleton curriculum of a general engineering program. The emphasis in such a program would enhance communication among the engineering disciplines and between engineering and other disciples such as science and philosophy which are essential to understanding the systems an engineer works with. The emphasis in such a program includes treatment of a unified human/society/environment system as the system of interest and approaches to working with/within the context of this system. A careers and specialization section provides specialty information as well as techniques to enhance the viability of graduates. There will be value to an effort of university, government and industry to jointly implement such programs. The number of such programs would not be large and the candidates for such programs would have special talents. These programs could be geographically distributed, each with a somewhat different emphasis, and could be run as or with an advanced degree program. Along with engineering physics, the advantages of such programs would be economy, transfer of science and technology, awareness of the world as a unified system of interactions and approaches to enhancement of this system and not just its subsystems

The world order and military division is an approach to analysis and resolution of what may be the basic problem of the modern world and some of the basic conflicts underlying this problem. Clearly engineering and its methods have a role but inclusion of this field in engineering may be questioned. One response is that many aspects of the question are routinely part of modern engineering and its method. Another is that in part the problem is the excess and inefficiency of technology. However, the fundamental response is that the approach to the question must be whole and include a full understanding of needs and requirements of the world: whether the result is regarded as philosophy or engineering [includes science] is irrelevant, but their separation will never resolve the problem. In the context of modern institutions such a program could equally be placed in the context of engineering or other appropriate disciplines. This would resolve the paradoxes of modern academic engineering [body without integration] and philosophy [integration without purpose] in relation to the world



A general engineering program would include:         Tools

See “Core of Engineering Knowledge” discussed earlier; includes science, information, intelligence, life, materials], analysis [includes optimization and control]         Design

See “Engineering Design”, “Mechanical Engineering”, “Mechanical Systems Engineering and Design”; includes economics, problem solving, materials selection         Elements of Engineering Systems and Systems Engineering

See “General Engineering Design” and “Systems Engineering”         Human and Environmental Factors

See “Civil, Environmental and Resource Division” and “World Order and Military Division”; includes social, cultural and environmental factors; values of resources see “Technology Management and Policy”         Careers and Specialization

Specialty and advanced topics; general and specific purpose agencies, industries, governmental research, university research; trends; viability; professional development and registration; learning; personnel interactions; sources of information; legal questions; product and personnel marketing


In engineering design is the process of solving problems. It is difficult to give a definition which will include all engineering design and exclude all other problem solving. However the mainstream activity is relatively clear and there is value to characterization. A discipline can be characterized according to its objective or its nature. The objective of engineering design is the satisfaction of a need [want] for a component, product or system. The nature of engineering design is that, generally:

The problem is utilitarian or commercial

The solution process is methodology oriented

The solution should satisfy appropriate constraints. By contrast, it could be said that for an inventor or scientist obtaining the solution is most important

Traditionally engineers designed components and products, but modern design is much broader. As examples, it includes systems such as software systems, health care systems, and watershed management plans. Engineering design is better characterized by its method: the steps typically include a precise statement of design requirements and constraints, determination and analysis of alternative solution ideas and selection, after several iterations, of the solution that best satisfies the constraints. While the felt need may be qualitative and vague, the requirements usually take the form of ranges for technical specifications and solution ideas are specific systems. Creativity, invention, experience and practice are involved. Since specifications and potential solutions are interdependent, iteration has already begun; further ongoing discussion and iteration with the customer, the party who originated the need, may be part of the process. Analysis often involves analytical and experimental and scientific creativity and does involve one or more forms of modeling: experiential [including physical modeling], physical-analytical/numerical, linguistic/symbolic, pictorial/graphic. Here, the word “best” means optimal – usually in an economic sense. The constraints include technical feasibility, economics, time and human factors. In mechanical design stress, strength, stiffness, static and dynamic [vibration] stability and weight may be requirements, objective for optimality, or constraints. Broadly, legal, governmental, environmental, social/cultural, ethical, and aesthetic and various other factors must be considered. The final product of a design department will be a complete specification including drawings and description as appropriate. Written, spoken and graphic communication is essential. Teamwork and planning, and directing the work of others is also necessary. The computer is often used in various aspects of design

For knowledge needed for general engineering design see systems engineering. The categories are system component behavior and system modeling and design methods

Design careers are in government, industry and private practice


Systems engineering and operations research [SE and OR] are similar fields. Both deal with modeling complex systems with a view to improving and optimizing performance. The systems dealt with are often stochastic in behavior. In either case, human decision- making is involved and humans are usually part of the system elements. The tools are similar: modeling by synthesis of components and environment or by measure and prediction; optimization methods. The difference is weak but, in so far as it is significant, may be characterized by stating that operations research is concerned with operations: performance of given systems; while systems engineering is additionally concerned with synthesis of engineering systems. Thus systems engineering is concerned with design

Operations research had its origins in the extension of mathematical methods from the relatively simple arena of the natural sciences to the operations arena of the Second World War. The origins of systems engineering are in the design of complex electrical systems such as telephone exchanges and power networks, and its methodology has origins in the design of highly complex, extremely competitive systems such as military and commercial aircraft

The methodology and science of complex systems has a certain independence of origins and specific applications. Modern application is to complex engineering systems, economic systems, social/welfare systems, transportation, and management in general and of the systems engineering design process itself

No one individual would possess the entire range of knowledge specified as required. A design team would possess the essentials and learn, measure for the remaining parts

Fields of knowledge required for systems engineering and operations research include:         System Modeling - Analytic Methods


Structural, machine, vehicle, fluid, control, chemical bio-…, human and human/machine, electrical and computer, manufacturing, tribology, industrial, education, socio-economic, political, communication, sensing, propulsion, energy conversion, legal


Ocean, land, urban, atmosphere, space, …         System Modeling - Synthetic Methods

Sampling and testing, forecasting, simulation, reliability, economics

Management, CAD/CAM, display, robotics         System Theory and Techniques

Information theory, game theory, decision theory, programming, queuing and Markov processes, feedback, adaptive and learning control, simulation, testing and reliability, probability, numerical analysis and logic         System Design

General design procedure

System engineering of management of design

Careers are in government, private sectors and universities


Engineering physics, or applied physics, is concerned with

1. Two way transfer of new information and technology between basic science, especially physics and engineering

2. Development of such information and technology specifically for transfer

Examples: Studies of surfaces and materials using lasers, electron and ion beams, neutrons; development of solid-state laser devices; laser and ion beam studies of fluids and gases; precision measurements of fundamental constants; design of accelerators, fusion experiments, experimental reactors; computational physics; and space, planetary physics and astronomy

Research in engineering physics is closely associated with research in electrical, mechanical, aerospace, nuclear and materials engineering

Careers are usually in universities, government research laboratories, high-technology oriented industry         ENGINEERING MECHANICS

See Mechanics and Thermal Science



Agricultural engineering encompasses engineering solutions to problems in agriculture including production, handling, processing, quality control and use of agro-products: food, feed and fiber

A recent area of interest is microprocessor and microcomputer control of biological and physical systems of agriculture. Examples are computer-controlled environmental systems for product storage, greenhouse ventilation, and animal environments

The field includes management of soil, air and water resources for agriculture

Subfields are energy and power, farm machinery, food processing, irrigation and fertilizers, forest engineering, aqua-cultural engineering, international agricultural development

Careers in industry, government, education… In industry: research and development engineers for machinery, equipment, buildings and other facilities. In regulatory agencies and consulting firms: for solution and control of environmental pollution and waste management. In universities: teaching, research and extension service to farmers


Defined as application of engineering concepts, techniques, methods to biology and medicine         Subfields

Bioengineering is quantitative study, theoretical and experimental of structural and functional properties of components such as cells, tissues, organisms of biological systems as well as organization into integrated organisms. Career opportunities in universities and biomedical research

Medical Engineering/Biomedical Technology is development, application and evaluation of instrumentation, computers, materials, diagnostic and therapeutic devices, artificial organs and prostheses, medical information systems for use in medical research and practice. Careers in universities, government, industries

Clinical Engineering is improvement of health-care in hospitals and clinics using engineering approaches. Health-care systems engineering deals with analysis of concepts such as socioeconomic and psychosocial determinants of health, and design and implementation of [economically] optimal health-care delivery systems… Careers in private and public health-care delivery systems, private industry, health planning agencies, state, central/federal and international health organizations

Biomechanics, biomechanical-, Biochemical-, Agro-bio- and Genetic Engineering are emerging as subspecialties in biomedical engineering: analysis of cellular and sub-cellular and macrostructures; application of engineering to production processes and their control in agriculture, environmental protection and industry. Whereas agro-bio- may deal with development of hybrids by selection, genetic- deals with the problem at the molecular level. The latter is controversial and developmental. Careers in industry, government and private research


Chemical engineering, where chemistry, physics and basic engineering are used to solve environmental, biomedical, societal or technological problems from application of chemistry         Subfields

Subfields include petrochemicals and polymers, process control and optimization, unit operations, transport phenomena and thermo-fluids. Applications include process synthesis, optimization and control, energy technology: resource development and conservation, environmental technology: quality assessment and control, materials such as for semiconductors and biotechnology including efficient production, materials shortages [recycling/reprocessing], alternate materials including non-petroleum stocks for chemical industry, electrochemical processes, kinetics and catalysis, chemical reactor engineering, separation, corrosion, rheology and particle technology

Careers for specialists [doctorates] are in oil, chemical, pharmaceutical, metals, polymers and ceramics, pulp and paper, food, electronics industries. However, virtually every major industry employs chemical engineers. Applications also exist in treatment of hazardous waste and transport of hazardous waste chemicals


Food engineering concerns application of engineering to production, storage, small- and large-scale processing including cooking and preservation, quality control, distribution and use of food

Related areas are: agricultural science including food science and technology, nutrition science and chemistry, resources, psychology and art of food; agricultural engineering, biomedical engineering and chemical engineering; home economics, hotel management and catering

Careers wholesale, canning, hotels, catering


Occasionally included as part of the chemical division


Material science studies the relation between the structure and properties of materials, factors controlling the micro-molecular structure of solids, processes for altering the structure and properties of solids including testing, the effect of use, wear, and environmental conditions on the structure and properties of solids. It is a multifaceted discipline encompassing ceramics, composites, metals, polymers and plastics. Other materials include natural ones: wood, bamboo, straw; rock, stone; leather, bone, shell; papers and boards, etc., and include construction and/or decoration [gems, pearls, etc.] In addition to the subfields, unifying principles are sought; novel materials for special applications and innovative methods to prepare materials in ways and forms not known previously. Materials engineering is the application of materials science for solution of engineering problems

Examples of applications are to energy [materials for engines, batteries, transmission lines, photovoltaic materials, production of materials by economical and energy efficient methods], aircraft and sports industries [lightweight materials including composites], computer hardware, and communications

Employment can be found in high-technology industries including transportation and energy systems, computer hardware development, aerospace groups; research and development laboratories


Ceramics are inorganic nonmetallic materials, generally processed at high temperature. Ceramics are of interest because of special properties such as insulation, hardness, semi conductivity, refractoriness, bonding, chemical inertness and stability, optical properties, porosity, aesthetic. Products include glass, cement, electronic materials from ferrites to insulators and semiconductors, refractory materials, white-wares, consumer products, abrasives, structural products, and nuclear products. New applications include fiber optics for information and image processing and transmission, applications in electronics, carbides and nitrides for structural applications in engines and space because of strength, weight and heat resistance: higher temperatures in engines mean improved efficiency and performance, bio-ceramics in medical technology and prosthetics: replacement parts for living organisms

Ceramics engineering and science include the materials science of ceramics [see Materials Science and Engineering], application to ceramics products, incorporation or applications of ceramics in other components, machines, products or systems

Employment is available in the ceramics industry with a 1985 estimated need of 1500 ceramics engineers a year


This field is the materials science and engineering materials systems which are heterogeneous either inherently or by design. The importance of the field is that when two or more materials are joined together, perhaps in innovative ways, the resulting material has combinations of properties [strength/weight, hardness-ductility, etc.] that the original materials did not have. Further, composites may be economically competitive with other advanced materials. Composites can be placed in four categories: particulate; fiber and laminar and composite structures

Examples of composites: Particulates: concrete - a mixture of gravel or sand in cement; asphalt - bitumen and sand or gravel; cemented carbides - brittle tungsten carbide particles bonded in a ductile cobalt matrix for precision machine tools; abrasives – Al2O3, SiC, BN [aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, boron nitrate], or diamond particles bonded in a glass or polymer matrix for grinding and cutting wheels; electrical contacts - to combine wear resistance and conductivity; carbon black in a vulcanized rubber matrix - improves strength, stiffness, hardness, wear and heat resistance of rubber; foundry molds and cores - refractory, insulating grains such as silica sand bonded in an organic or inorganic resin

Fiber reinforced composites: natural wood; fiber glass - glass fibers dispersed in a polymer; fiber reinforced concrete - uses metal or natural [straw, etc.] fiber; super conducting composites Nb3Sn [niobium sulfate] wires which superconductor but are brittle in copper; advanced composites such as graphite fiber in polymer [light, strong: aerospace, automotive, sporting] and Kevlar, a polymer with excellent mechanical properties in epoxy [tough: aerospace including space shuttle, boat hulls, sporting]

Laminar composites: plywood - an odd number [to minimize warp] of layers of veneer wood plies so that the grain is at right angles in each alternating ply; applications to hard surfacing, cladding and bi-metallic materials. Composite structures: reinforced concrete - concrete reinforced by steel rods since concrete is very weak in tension; reinforced tires - use nylon, Kevlar or steel wire, and improves strength and life; sandwich structures - such as cardboard - a corrugated core in the middle bonded to flat thick paper on either side; honeycomb structures faced by sheets

Employment is in high-technology related industries, aerospace, automotive and sports industries, government


Metallurgy and metallurgical engineering are the science and engineering of metals and alloys. Alloys are combinations of metals but usage includes nonmetallic additives such as carbon in plain carbon steel. Main groupings are:

Nonferrous alloys: aluminum with copper, manganese, silicon, magnesium, zinc in amounts of usually ten percent and less with excellent tensile strength and density; hence useful when weight is an important factor. Magnesium with amounts of aluminum, cerium, manganese, zinc, and zirconium is lighter than aluminum [1.7 vs. 2.7 g/cm3]. Beryllium is lighter than aluminum [1.84 g/cm3], stiffer than steel [E = 42x106 psi], high strength-to-weight ratio, maintained at high temperatures. Beryllium is expensive, brittle, reactive, and toxic and requires special treatment such as vacuum casting and forging, and powder metallurgy. Copper alloys are heavier than steels, lower strength-to-weight than aluminum and magnesium alloys, but better resistance to fatigue, creep and wear. Many copper-alloys have excellent ductility, corrosion resistance, electrical and thermal conductivity. Copper alloys are also decorative. Pure copper is red; copper-zinc produces yellow, and nickel a silver color. Nickel and cobalt alloys have high strength and corrosion resistance at high temperatures. Nickel alloy has good formability and cobalt alloy has excellent wear resistance and, because of resistance to body fluids, is used for prosthetic devices. Zinc is as heavy as steel as and weaker than many aluminum alloys and melts at 420C., but because of ductility and super-plasticity has applications in roofing, forming of complex panels, and cabinets. Zinc is also used in batteries. Titanium is relatively lightweight [4.5 g/cm3] and strong [up to 200,000 psi] and resistance to corrosion and contamination is excellent up to 535¡c. Commercially pure titanium is used for its corrosion-resistance in heat exchangers, piping, reactors, pumps and valves in the chemical and petrochemical industries. Other alloys are used for their strength and fracture toughness as components for airframes, rockets, jet engines and landing gear. Zirconium alloys are similar to titanium alloys and in addition to uses in the chemical industry is used for its low neutron absorption cross-section and corrosion resistance in nuclear reactor cores. The refractory metals - tungsten, molybdenum, tantalum and niobium have high melting points [3410¡, 2610¡, 2996¡, 1470¡ C., respectively] and hence potential for high temperature service. They find a variety of applications in aerospace and electronic components

Ferrous alloys based on iron-carbon alloys primarily are plain carbon steels, tool steels [high carbon and alloying metals] and alloy steels, stainless steels, and cast irons. The hardness of tool steels is due to high carbon and heat treatment: heat treatment can be enhanced by alloying elements. Steels generally have 0.1-1% carbon, 0.3-2% manganese, 0.15-2.2% silicon, up to 3.75% nickel; up to 2% chromium, up to 0.13% sulfur, 0.3% molybdenum and 0.25% vanadium. This range includes mild and structural steels and tool steels. Stainless steels are alloyed with at least 12% chromium; a layer of chromium oxide provides excellent corrosion resistance. By controlling alloying elements and heat treatment, a variety of structures and properties can be produced. Cast irons are iron-carbon-silicon alloys with 2-4% carbon and 0.5-3% silicon. The five types of cast iron are grey cast iron [with graphite flakes that cause low strength and ductility]; white cast iron, a hard, brittle, unmachinable alloy; malleable cast iron [with graphite nodules that permit good strength, toughness and ductility] produced by heat-treating white iron; ductile or nodular cast iron [with spheroidal graphite cased by addition of small amounts of magnesium to molten iron and with similar properties to malleable cast iron]; and compacted cast iron which is intermediate in structure and properties between grey and ductile irons and is produced by addition of magnesium during solidification

Metallurgy and metallurgical engineering include extraction of metals from their ores, heat treatment and alloying and relation between structure and properties, wear and corrosion, and selection of metal alloys for application including synthesis of new alloys, and metals testing

Current metallographic techniques include transmission electron microscopy, which permits micro-structural and micro-chemical analysis at atomic or near atomic levels, auger spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance [NMR], x-ray diffraction, mass spectroscopy, and other spectroscopic methods

Basic subject matter includes chemical thermodynamics [such as, thermo-chemical reactions and phase diagrams], transport properties and phenomena [such as, diffusion and heat flow], and materials structure [crystal structure and defect structure]. Other subject matter includes phase transformations and strengthening mechanisms in solids, deformation and fracture behavior of materials, theory of alloy phases, solidification processing, analysis of metallurgical operations including energy efficient extraction, physical chemistry of metallurgical reactions and solutions

Modern areas of research include chemical and extractive metallurgy; physical metallurgy which deals with physical properties of metals such as microstructure, electrical and magnetic properties; and mechanical metallurgy, which deals with the interrelationship of such factors as strength, ductility, and susceptibility to fracture including micro-structural and design considerations

Applications include extraction, forming such as forging and drawing, foundry-casting, welding, machining, application to structures including considerations of strength, stiffness, ductility, other features of plasticity, corrosion resistance, weight, wear resistance, temperature resistance. Electrical applications include strength/mechanical considerations, conductivity and superconductivity. Metallurgical techniques: as an example in powder metallurgy appropriately alloyed powders are sintered at high temperatures to produce components requiring little or no machining - an application is to beryllium alloys which are brittle and highly reactive. New metals is another application - as an example, consider amorphous metals which are non-crystalline, glasslike materials with unusual strength and corrosion properties

Employment is in the extraction industry, diverse applications and research and development industries, universities, government


Polymer science and engineering deal with the synthesis, characterization, formulation, processing and application of very large molecules. Polymers can be categorized as thermoplastic, thermosetting and elastomers. Thermoplastics are generally viscoelastic in behavior; that is, strains are both elastic [time independent and reversible] and viscous [time dependent and nonreversible]. The viscosity associated with the viscous or plastic behavior decreases with temperature and can be worked at high temperatures. Thermoplastics are made of linear polymer chain molecules. Because the molecular structure is not significantly changed at elevated temperatures, thermoplastics can be reworked. Thermosetting polymers are formed, usually at elevated temperatures, by a condensation reaction [between two chains] in which a by-product such as water is released. The result is a network molecule because of which thermosetting polymers are not viscous and hence cannot be reworked at elevated temperatures. At normal temperatures, thermosetting polymers are brittle while thermoplastics are ductile. Elastomers are formed from long coiled molecules and can hence deform elastically by enormous amounts. Elastomers can also deform by a viscous, temperature-dependent mechanism. This can be prevented by cross-linking. Vulcanization joins the coiled chains with sulfur atoms. Polymer science deals with the relationship between structure and properties such as elasticity, viscosity, and also other properties such as ductility, thermal conductivity and heat conductivity, resistance to corrosion, light and wear, color and formability. These characteristics are controlled by choice of monomer, cross-linking and additives. Additives include pigments, stabilizers [prevent environmental/ultraviolet deterioration], antistatic agents, flame retardants, lubricants and plasticizers [improve formability], fillers [increase volume/change characteristics, such as carbon black particles in rubber improves strength and wear-resistance] and reinforcers [fibers which improve mechanical behavior as in fiber glass], blowing agents [foam materials with low density and excellent insulation], and coupling [to improve the bonding with inorganic fillers and reinforcers]

Because they are light and easily fabricated, they are used in vehicles, aircraft, appliances and building construction. Because of their barrier characteristics and inertness, they are used to package food. Other applications are toys, decoration, coatings, paint, adhesives, tires, textiles

Employment is in chemical, oil, aerospace, textiles industries, universities and the government


Textiles study is the materials science and engineering of natural and synthetic fibers. It includes the manufacturing processes, machines, process dynamics, management; control and evaluation of physical and environmental factors affecting qualities of yarns and fibers. It includes mechanical and chemical aspects of preparation, coloration and finishing

Employment is in textiles manufacturing, fiber and machinery industries, research and development laboratories, government agencies, universities



Architectural engineering is essentially the civil engineering of buildings coupled with architecture. It encompasses basic architecture, structural engineering, environmental systems including heating, ventilation and air conditioning [HVAC], construction processes and construction management. Included is economics and optimization

Employment is found in building industry including construction and construction management firms, government agencies, educational institutions, many other industries such as oil companies, structural engineering consulting firms


In addition to architectural, environmental, geotechnical, structural, transportation and water resources engineering which are described elsewhere, civil engineering also includes:         Photogrammetry and Surveying         Hydraulic and Coastal Engineering

Conception and design of systems and structures for water-power development, flood control and irrigation projects, river and harbor development, coastal and ocean engineering, hydraulic aspects of water pollution control and waste-water treatment systems         Construction Engineering

Management and engineering required to plan and execute construction projects and control their cost and timely completion

Civil Engineering itself is planning, design, construction, economics and social and environmental impact of systems and physical factors related to public and private works


Environmental engineering is the management of environmental resources - air, water, land, space - to protect human wealth and well-being in personal, work, and hostile, alien environments. It includes environmental quality control, life support systems, sanitation and public health, solid waste management, management of hazardous wastes, water quality treatment [effluent from private, municipal, industrial, agricultural and military systems] and control, air quality control and air pollution control devices. [Heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and air pollution control equipment design and installation is included in mechanical engineering.] Environmental systems for buildings include mechanical equipment for buildings, air conditioning and heating, acoustics, plumbing, and electrical systems

Employment is found in consulting engineering firms, all levels of government, and firms with pollution control needs or products


Geological engineering is the application of geology to engineering works such as building of highway foundations, dam construction, mining, and petroleum production

Employment can be found with soils engineering or groundwater hydrology firms or mining and petroleum companies, U.S. Government


The mining engineer is responsible for development, design, maintenance and operation of all phases of mining of metals and minerals. Emphasis is traditionally on equipment, but management, prospecting, construction of works, supply of energy and water, initial processing and analysis of ore are also important. Mining engineering is the precursor to petroleum engineering. Modern emphasis is on efficiency and improved technique and systems engineering of operations

For mining engineers, employment can be found with oil and gas companies, exploration companies, steel and aluminum companies, other minerals companies, research and consulting firms and services, government agencies including Forest Service, Bureau of Mines, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Nuclear Regulatory Commission


Petroleum engineering is the application of engineering concepts, methods and techniques to explore and drill for, produce and extract petroleum from underground reservoirs. Applications include drilling engineering which involves mechanics of solids and fluids and mechanical design of equipment; production engineering which is concerned with surface equipment, subsurface pumping methods and automated production techniques; and reservoir engineering which includes pressure testing of wells and is concerned with flow of fluids through rocks and methods to extract maximum recovery of petroleum by various techniques, often simulated by mathematical models. A petroleum engineer’s knowledge includes rock mechanics, well-logging, reservoir simulation through computer modeling, and geological relationships of reservoir rocks to flow through porous media

Research areas include enhanced recovery of petroleum in existing fields by newly developed methods including chemical flooding, thermal flooding and miscible displacement techniques. Applications include use of petroleum engineering principles to extraction of heat energy from the earth, in situ leaching of uranium ore from rocks, and solution mining of salt domes for strategic storage of petroleum

Employment is available with oil companies and mining companies, gas companies, exploration companies, consulting firms and the government


This subfield of civil engineering deals with earth defined as soil, rock and associated human-made byproducts. It includes adaptation of earth for construction as in dams, containments for groundwater and other natural resources and human-made products, as the host of an underground facility, as a support or foundation for construction projects. Geological, porosity, biological, thermal behaviors are important. Design and construction principles are necessary. Geotechnical structures must be designed for seepage, slope stability and environmental loadings such as gravity, wind, earthquakes, storm waves offshore, ice loads in cold regions, extreme pressures on the deep-sea floor, vacuum conditions on the moon, and structural and building loads

Recent applications are design of North Sea oil production facilities, construction of the Alaska pipeline, mining of tar sands in Alberta and oil shale in Colorado, development of national nuclear waste depository, engineering of spacecraft routings for moon landing

Careers in teaching, research, industry, government, private consultation and construction


Structural engineering includes:

1. Structural analysis: application of theoretical and applied mechanics and structural theory to load and stress, including fatigue, to deflection, stability and vibration [includes fatigue] analysis of building, bridge, shell and other civil works structures

2. Application of structural analysis, and optimization to design and evaluation of structures

3. Properties of structural materials: steel, concrete, masonry, wood, soils

4. Types of structures and structural elements, methods of fabrication, evaluation of safety, reliability and performance

5. Probabilistic methods

Applications: bridges, buildings, offshore platforms, containment vessels, reactor vessels, dams

Employment: consulting and construction firms, industry, government and national laboratories, educational institutions, teaching


Transportation engineering is involved with planning, design, operation of facilities used for movement of persons, animals and livestock, other goods and systems

Applications: highways, railroads, inland waterways, airports, continuous flow systems such as pipelines, belt conveyors and aerial tramways. Includes highway planning and design construction, traffic engineering, rai8lroad maintenance engineering, design of airports

Employment: governmental agencies responsible for highways, waterways, airports, consulting firms providing specialized planning and design to the government, railroad and pipeline companies


Water resources are concerned with use, development and distribution of surface and groundwater on local, regional, national and international levels. Distribution includes transportation and storage on the surface or in aquifers. Water resource systems and management policies are designed to respond to a broad range of hydrologic events, from floods to droughts

The basic science in this field is hydrology. Other related disciplines are physics, meteorology, biology, mathematics, statistics and stochastic processes. Mathematical models emphasize either the physical aspects of the precipitation-stream flow phenomena, or their stochastic characteristics, or both. Empirical approaches are also possible

Employment is in educational institutions, consulting firms, government agencies


The objective: provision of human, social and environmental needs over time. See discussions on Design for General Method. See discussion on World Order and background information for design file for Values

The following approaches are possible:     System planning     System optimization

Regional subdivision

Temporal division - Five year plans



Mechanical engineering is the use of mechanics, thermodynamics and materials properties in the synthesis and design of machines, systems and controls for power transportation, industry and other applications. The use of mechanics, thermodynamics and material properties implies booth experimental and theoretical aspects including related mathematical and numerical and computer techniques to determine which of various solution-ideas best meets the design specifications. Mechanical engineering design includes the use of theoretical and empirical knowledge relating to thermomechanical performance of machine and power system elements and synthesis of such elements to form machines, systems [including power] or controls. Mechanical engineers may work in research in basic science and applied mathematics, design and development, production, maintenance and operation or marketing

Among basic areas recognized by American Society of Mechanical Engineers are applied mechanics, automatic controls, bioengineering, fluids engineering, heat transfer, lubrication, materials and ocean engineering. A number of mechanical engineering areas are basic to many industries. These areas include mechanical design, materials handling, plant engineering and maintenance, production engineering and safety and management. Recently computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing [CAD and CAM] have become recognized as important fields         Careers

Careers for mechanical engineers are in universities, government, and such industries as automotive, aerospace, coal, petroleum, pressure vessel, piping and boilers, food and chemical processing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning [HVAC], machine tool, precision machining and machine fabrication and construction, rail transportation, shipping and shipbuilding, materials handling and textiles. Implicit in the above are propulsion systems for the transportation industry [auto, rail, air, space, water and ocean, and submarine]. The energy conversion industries also employ large numbers of mechanical engineers: diesel and gas engine manufacturing; furnaces and heat exchangers; pumps, fans, blowers and compressors; hydraulic, gas and steam turbines; all phases of electric power generation including fuel handing and electromechanical [alternator, generator and motor] conversion         The Diversity of Mechanical Engineering

The mechanical engineering disciplines encompass a broad spectrum of basic science and application. A number of its areas have developed into disciplines in their own right. These include aeronautical, nuclear and chemical engineering and the principles of mechanical engineering continue to find application in these and other fields such as mining, agricultural, industrial and production, electrical [especially power] and computer engineering, as well as materials sciences and engineering. A number of these disciplines are often found in combinations with mechanical engineering within a single department. Although the various disciplines have valid identities by virtue of the quantity and breadth of application, such an arrangement can take advantage of the underlying unities of the mechanical engineering-related disciplines. In fact, a useful unity is obtained if we generalize this concept to electromechanical related disciplines         Mechanical Engineering and Related Disciplines

A broad classification of mechanical sciences and engineering can be as follows:

1. Energy and propulsion engineering

2. Industrial and management engineering

3. Mechanical systems engineering [including controls] and design

4. Mechanic and thermal science         Other disciplines related by method or content

5. Aerospace engineering

6. Engineering design

7. Nuclear engineering

8. Ocean, marine and naval engineering

9. Solar engineering

10. Technology management and policy         Energy, Fluid and Propulsion Engineering

Energy, fluid and propulsion engineering is concerned with appropriate [and where meaningful, optimal] use of natural energy resources. Use includes the concept of equitable distribution. The aspects of the field include:

1. Science: Basic and Applied

Thermomechanics, fluid mechanics, MHD, photovoltaic and thermionic science

2. Engineering: Development, Design and Deployment of Technology

3. Policy and Conservation

For design methods, see Engineering Design and for Employment see Mechanical Engineering. For a catalog of devices, see Design: this contains a partial list. These devices must be designed from various points of view besides energy: mechanical and controls, fluid flow and heat transfer. For mechanical and control aspects see Mechanical Systems Engineering and Design. See general references, Britannica article on Energy Conversion and Propaedia Outline Article 721 “Technology of Energy Conversion and Control”


This field has its origins in methods to make the workplace and production more effective: time and motion study, plan layout, quality control, inventory control, resource allocation; these aspects of productivity are analyzed in turn by the fields of human engineering and applied psychology, network analysis, statistics, queuing, programming. This subject matter is recognized as that of operations research

The field branched out into use of the systems and operations research approach to analysis and design of all phases of industry and management. The objective is creation of effective and efficient systems of management and industry for provision of engineering systems, products and services. The methods include those of systems engineering design and operations research. The approach is multidisciplinary and involves analysis, evaluation, synthesis, design and management of systems that range from a single component to very large and complex assemblages of resources of all types

Some of the areas in the forefront of the field are robotics, computer-integrated manufacturing, decision support systems, energy management, quality circles and participative management

Careers are in almost any type of enterprise: manufacture, service organizations such as insurance, banks, hospital; government agencies at city, state and federal levels. The job function is usually that of a management advisor - a technical resource person in contact with every phase of the organization


This field is the design and control of machine components, machines, mechanical systems, mechanical systems combined with, electro-, chemical-, thermal-, fluid- and bio-, and others

Thus, applications include machines such as gear drives; fluid power transmission; machine tools; mechanical interactions in a transportation system including dynamics of the vehicle-support system; electromechanical conversion for smooth and pulsed energy systems such as linear and rotary electromechanical drive and braking, power [all smooth] and welding and lasers [smooth or pulsed] and nuclear fusion, electromechanical ballistics [pulsed]; chemical reactors and mixers; heat exchangers, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, air pollution sampling and control devices; fluid control systems, hydraulic power systems and drives, pumps and hydraulic motors, compressors, blowers, fans, turbines; biomechanical applications including analysis of bodies of humans, animals, fish, birds and trees, etc. for normal, deficient and enhanced performance [including medicine, sports, conservation and resource and analysis and harvesting as well as use of analogy for application], prosthetics, and extensions and simulators including robotics. Controls including automation and feedback of all such systems

For employment, see Mechanical Engineering

Design and Controls

For design of mechanical systems see “Design”: the field includes CAD and CAM systems


Mechanics and thermal science provide the physical science basis of mechanical engineering. It is interesting to see how this relates to the more inclusive basis in science of engineering as a whole. We consider only physical science

The divisions of relevance are:

Mechanics, thermal science, chemistry, electromagnetic theory, quantum mechanics and nuclear physics; for the majority of the applications, especially in mechanical and chemical engineering non-relativistic descriptions suffice. For mechanical engineering related disciplines, mechanics, thermal science and chemistry in their discrete and continuum forms are sufficient. For the mechanical engineer who works with power technology, applied electromagnetic theory and nuclear physics may be useful. Because of the centrality of mechanics, thermal science and chemistry, there are a number of divisions or subdivisions in academic environments that focus on the theoretical and applied aspects of these topics

Mechanics is the study of the “effect” of forces on matter and includes motion and stress among the effects. Energy interactions are included in mechanics but a macroscopic approach requires a separate set of data or axioms to include the aspects of heat and chemistry. Topics include analytical dynamics and celestial mechanics; mechanics, heat and chemical interactions of such systems

Includes need for variety and modification of system alternatives, adaptation

Fluid power engineering is conveniently included; fluid mechanics is central to the mechanical aspects of energy engineering and may be included here or under mechanics as deformable media including fluids, solids and rheological materials and more specifically of metals, polymers, rocks and soils; applications to failure processes such as brittle fracture and crack formation and propagation, ductile fracture, fatigue and creep; experimental and computational approaches to discrete and continuum descriptions of thermomechanical and chemical phenomena and media; biomechanics; electromagnetism in deformable media; interpenetrating continuum mechanics, surface mechanics; inter body analysis in general including machine and mechanical system analysis; interactions in systems of mechanical and other effects; composite materials mechanics: energy and propulsion system analysis. Mechanics is an important ingredient in CAD and CAE and is relevant to CAM

Employment is in research and development divisions of mechanical, petroleum and general industries; government laboratories and research facilities including armed forces and Administration of Research; universities


Aerospace engineering is the science and design of craft for air and space travel and transport

Subfields include aerodynamics and heat transfer, aeronautics and astronautics including space and flight mechanics, navigation, guidance and control and orbital mechanics, airframes and structures, propulsion including thermodynamics

The process of design of air and space craft is very complex from the points of view of performance, safety and economics. The phases of design provide a conceptual and methodological elaboration of the concept of design. The phases are:

1. Marketing analysis

2. Conceptual design

3. Detailed design

4. Flight tested [prototype]

Applications include aircraft manufacturing in companies working with small private planes including gliders, to the largest commercial and military jet transport as well as helicopters, and from manufacturers of the smallest satellites to builders of the space shuttle

Employment is available with these industries as well as government laboratories including Defense and National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA], and at universities


This field, related topics and method have been described in:

1. Systems engineering and operations research

2. General engineering design section of basic engineering and methods division

3. Mechanical engineering

4. Mechanical systems engineering and design

5. “Design” and “Background to Design” files

6. “Study Topics” in “Engineering” file

A hierarchy of design in engineering:

Systems engineering

Engineering design

Mechanical engineering design

Mechanical systems design

Subsystems design

Component design

Review: design steps usually include a precise definition of design requirements, determination and analysis of alternative possible solutions, selection after several iterations of a satisfactory solution that will be feasible in the technical, economic, time, human factors senses and more broadly in the legal, political, environmental, social, aesthetic and other senses. For employment see Divisions 1-6 above


Nuclear engineering comprises activities relating to innovation, development and application of technology of the nuclear use cycle and associated maintenance and problem solving. Uses include fission and fusion power and propulsion. There are a number of developed and developing concepts, explosives [in the military domain], and applications of radio isotopes for radiation in medicine, processing and quality control and for various tracer applications. The functions of a nuclear engineer include:

1. Research and development - conception of new materials and processes, components and systems for nuclear facilities and development of rational [analytical-experimental] procedures for development, analysis, design and control of fusion and fission systems

2. Fuel management - specifying, procuring, and managing fuel throughout the use cycle [extraction to waste storage and disposal] with regard to factors of safety, processing for use and economics

3. Safety analysis under normal and abnormal operation and under hypothetical analysis; scenario development

4. Operation and tests

The education of a nuclear engineer includes a basic background in mathematics, physics, chemistry and basic engineering and advanced work in nuclear reactor physics and engineering, engineering sciences and design, mathematics, atomic and nuclear physics, and associated computer and laboratory experience as preparation for synthesis, analysis and optimization, design and use of nuclear systems. Ancillary areas include structural properties of reactor components, fluid and heat transfer properties of working fluids, reliability analysis and safety, economics of the fuel loading cycle, processing and radioactive wastes, and radiation surveillance and monitoring. Engineers are involved with the development phases of nuclear fusion power and will become more heavily involved when commercial development becomes feasible from the economic and safety viewpoints. The branches of nuclear engineering include nuclear power and fusion, nuclear naval propulsion, nuclear weapons, radio isotopes and nuclear waste management

Nuclear engineering has its origins in atomic and nuclear physics culminating in Fermi’s experimental nuclear reactor of 1942. The profession began in the Second World War Manhattan Project in which, in a relatively short period of time, were built gas diffusion plants, production reactors, chemical reprocessing plants, test and research reactors and weapons facilities. Engineers in the early programs had to learn a host of related subjects, from reactor theory and control to radio activity and behavior of materials under irradiation. These engineers were educated on the job by nuclear physicists and scientists, first through discussion and later through seminars, lectures and classes. Many had backgrounds in other engineering disciplines - mechanical, electrical, chemical, civil …. Nuclear engineering continues to be strongly interdisciplinary. In the late 1940s many potential peaceful uses of nuclear energy became evident, and two schools of reactor technology were established - one at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, and another at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. In 1950 the first university nuclear engineering program began at North Carolina State. By 1952 there were a dozen schools in the United States offering graduate programs, and by 1965 there were sixty-one programs. Around this time, in recognition of the worldwide availability of programs in nuclear engineering, the schools at Oak Ridge and Argonne were closed. The diversity of the programs made it desirable to develop a consensus among engineering educators about nuclear engineering education. A joint committee of the American Nuclear Society [ANS] and American Society for Engineering Education [ASEE] developed basic criteria. “The committee members came from industry, national laboratories, and universities with nuclear engineering programs. The Committee’s ‘Report on Objective Criteria in Nuclear Engineering Education’ had a major influence in shaping nuclear curricula around the world and did much to establish nuclear engineering as a distinct discipline.”

Despite the slowdown in the ordering of nuclear power plants in the last few years [1985], career paths are available to recent graduates in industry and government in the areas of reactor operations and design, quality control of components, safety and reliability, and health and environmental impact. The various nuclear engineering functions are performed for a variety of kinds of employers: [1] architectural, engineering, and construction firms, [2] reactor vendors and other manufacturing organizations, [3] electric utility companies, [4] regulatory agencies, [5] defense programs, [6] universities, and [7] national laboratories and industrial research laboratories


Although ocean engineering could, in large measure, be considered an amalgam of a number of branches dominated by mechanical engineering, it exists as a discipline because engineering in an “alien” environment is dominated by considerations and applications special to that environment. The alien aspect relates to the inability of humans to survive by their own bodily means for extended periods of time. The special considerations are waves, wind, current, corrosion, high pressure, and environmental, and the special applications are surface and subsurface transportation and stationary and semi-stationary structures

Ships were the earliest ocean engineering structures. Modern naval engineering includes submarine, modern naval vessels are complex systems. They must be designed for: function - military, cargo, petroleum and passengers; environment - surface of submarine; stability - flotation and attitude; load - waves, dynamic, weight and cargo, thermal stress, ice, buoyant, propulsion and control - power, drive and propeller or equivalent, rudder, efficiency: hull form and resistance

The frontier of ocean engineering today is in resources exploration and development - notably energy in the form of oil and gas. Some geologists believe that fifty percent of the undiscovered oil and gas in the world is underwater. Special problems are environmental loads prediction and measurement. Two special frontiers are [1] the Arctic - the two reasons: [a] as the site of large deposits of fossil fuels and [b] as the major United States and Soviet Union frontier, it is of increasing military importance. However, the Arctic environment is among the most hostile and the most fragile in the world. Engineering in the Arctic frequently needs new concepts and scientific foundations; and [2] the deep ocean environment - as a source of energy and scarce mineral resources. The deep ocean presents challenges and rewards similar to those of space exploration. Recently discovered seabed vents are inhabited by previously unknown life forms, fundamentally different from the known ones

Ocean engineering is also concerned with development of salinity and thermal gradient energy, wave energy, wind energy and solar energy at sea, use of ocean currents for energy, biomass energy and bio-culture for food. These are renewable resources

The needs of ocean engineering are diverse - ocean and air dynamics, structures, resources, thermodynamics and mechanics … and the applications and interrelations are many - transportation and military, resource exploration and development, others, economics, law, politics, operations research management and systems analysis and engineering

Jobs are available in industry, military and government in the fields mentioned above, specifically: transportation, tactical and resources


Solar engineering is concerned with the following applications of solar energy: building environmental control, industrial and related applications, power generation from direct and indirect solar energy

Building environmental control: active systems - collection, storage and heating systems; cooling - solar air condition, night cold storage and sky radiation systems, heat pumps; combined heating and cooling; control; conservation; passive systems - direct gain, collector-storage or trombe wall, greenhouse attachments; moving insulation and control; passive cooling design and systems

Industrial and related applications… [12] solar thermal-manufacturing, food processing and service industries, [2] irrigation, crop drying, data acquisition and small-scale power applications of photovoltaic physics, wind and other indirect sources in remote locations, [3] salt and pure water preparation

Power [and propulsion]… direct: solar energy: remote, central and small scale, space satellite and station, space central, device - thermal and photovoltaic. Indirect: wind, wave, ocean current, ocean thermal energy - system configurations, storage, on site use, small- and large-scale power generations. Collection systems, propulsion applications; solar sailing

Background need is economics - especially of energy and capital investment, solar theory and data - available solar radiation and indirect forms, thermal sciences - heat transfer, energy conversion. Since solar energy is strongly dependent on location, season and comparative economics, an individual contemplating employment in the field is often advised to obtain a general background in civil, mechanical, chemical or electrical engineering

Employment is available and is expected to improve as the economics of fossil fuels declines


This field is concerned with the general cause-effect relation among society, technology and environment: the “quality of life” in the future will be a function of our socio-technical choices. An understanding and public education in such cause-effect relations will provide a powerful tool in rational planning and implementation of policy as follows. The causal relation may be called “theory”. Scenarios of the future can be generated by synthesis; input to the theoretical “model” would consist of present data and potential policies. Consistent scenarios can be determined either by backward analysis from the generated scenarios or directly by forward analysis from the input. In this way achievable scenarios are related to policy. Each set of policy formulations determines a set of scenarios. For “robustness” the policies should be adaptive. Value determines “good” scenarios and, if appropriate, the “best”. Thus appropriate policies may be determined. Questions of “intangibles”, their origin and significance, and means will be included. How? In addition to technologists, physical scientists and economists - life and social scientists, artists, historians, philosophers, mystics [religious ones] will be included in the scenario formulation and evaluation process. Politics will enter either as a dynamic or decision making element

Technology management deals with all aspects of the resource use cycle. Public policy is concerned with the social and environmental uses, impacts, controls and constraints of the use. The social uses include energy, and information which have their own technologies. The following aspects of the use cycle are significant: [1] resource: exploration and assessment, value and extraction, [2] transformation and means: the means of transformation should be clean; manufacture should be human - the means are ends; capitalism, socialism, ownership, local use, degree of dependence, centralization are issues: briefly - they are questions of appropriateness, [3] ends or uses: where to use resources and products; needs of humans, now, future - analysis, exploration: welfare, conservation, science and exploration; value, and [4] waste management and recycling

Some specific areas are: energy management, engineering management, technology management, resources management and related public policies. Some special concerns: in addition to those implied in this discussion, are: new resources and interpretations, human resourcefulness; physical constraints - first and second laws of thermodynamics, recyclability, information processing and utilization capabilities, equilibria in complex systems; optimization and systems analysis of complex systems, distribution and use; appropriate technology, technology transfer,


Outline: nature, history, functions, branches, education, professional organization, careers

4.6.1        Nature of Electrical and Information Engineering

Electrical engineering is the branch of engineering dealing primarily with electrical and magnetic effects. Electronic effects are included. Through practice it has close ties with light and electron optics and acoustics and also with mechanical and nuclear engineering. In fact, a reasonable synthesis might be electromechanical engineering. However, that terminology has a specific meaning: devices involving electromechanical interactions. At the symbolic level there is nothing electrical about information. However, modern information storage, retrieval, processing, communication and display systems are highly electrical and electronic at the hardware level. Additionally, electrical engineering was, perhaps, the most abstract and mathematical of the branches of engineering and was thus a natural home for the development of computer science. Of course, this development has been highly multidisciplinary - it involved engineers, mathematicians, logicians … because of the needs of the theoretical base - electromagnetism, optics, acoustics, quantum electronics, and information science and system science. The electrical engineer is often highly involved with use and development of classical and modern mathematics

4.6.2        History of electrical engineering

The advances of electrical engineering have been associated with certain key inventions and discoveries, both practical and general. Five eras can be distinguished

The first era is of static electricity and magnetism, dating back to the ancients and up to Benjamin Franklin’s demonstration of the electrical nature of lightning about 1750. Applications in this era are minimal. An interesting feature from the natural world is the presence of magnetic material, magnetite [Fe3O4], in certain bacteria [to locate “down” since gravity is not strong enough to overcome Brownian effects] and as navigational devices in other creatures including chitons [relatives of clams and snails], bees and pigeons. The ancients, too, may have occasionally engineered a rough compass

The second era begins with the discovery of electrochemical deposition [Nicholson and Carlisle, 1800] and the electric battery [voltaic cell: Volta, 1800]. The latter provided a continuous source of appreciable amounts of energy at reasonably low voltage and was an essential component of early communication systems. The electric telegraph was patented in the United States by J. Groat in 1800. Joseph Henry invented a practical electromagnet in 1827 and the electromagnetic telegraph was conceived in 1831, proven practical in 1837 and patented in 1840 by Samuel F. B. Morse. This development led to the development of communications and the establishment of an electrical industry in the United States

The third era is the development of electrical power and lighting. It begins with the discovery of electromagnetic induction in 1830 by Faraday. This led to the development of the generators, transformers and motors of the heavy electrical industry. The development of the transformer in 1883 by Gaulard and Gibbs, and the poly-phase induction motor by N. Tesla in 1888 made practical high voltage, low loss, and long distance transmission of power. The standardization of frequency is also a significant development of the era occurring about 1891 in the United States [through the efforts of what was then the American Institute of Electrical Engineers] and in Europe. In the field of communications, the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. Thomas A. Edison pioneered in chemistry, dynamos, lighting, sound recording and reproduction. A very significant contribution by Edison was the organization of research - the basis of extensive developments of the twentieth century. Yet another development of Edison was the Edison effect - to become the basis of vacuum tube electronics … In the 1860s James Clerk Maxwell developed the macroscopic electromagnetic field equations, to become the theoretical base of physical light optics and of radio communication. Subsequently Heinrich Hertz [1890s] demonstrated radio waves and Marconi [1900s] developed practical wireless communication

The fourth era is the development of electronics and its application in communications and information. This era begins with the discovery of the Edison effect in 1883: when a voltage of the proper polarity is applied between two electrodes, one hot and one cold, placed in an evacuated enclosure, a current flows from the hot to the cold element in an external electrical circuit connecting the two - the thermionic effect. Lee de Forest introduced the use of a third element, the grid, in the vacuum tube in 1906. This opened up the possibility of new systems of communication and control, and indicated the possibility of the multi-element tube. It provided the basis for future developments in electronics

The fifth era can be called the era of engineering research – of systems and later of miniaturization. From the base in production methodology, expansion in research engineering was rapid in the first half of the twentieth century. Industrial research laboratories expanded in size and number. The need to train young engineers in the new tools of the engineering industry led to appointment of research-oriented faculty and establishment of extensive and highly productive research laboratories. Research - problem solution at a hierarchy of levels - and design are essential tools for development of the students’ creative and inventive talents. The lapse of thirty years between invention and production, characteristic of the nineteenth century, has been shortened to several years and sometimes to several months. This can be attributed largely to better communication between engineers and scientists and to broadening of perspectives - contrary to popular belief, the modern university training of engineers and scientists is broader than it was twenty-five to fifty years ago, despite the proliferation of information. Since 1945 great advances have been made as a result [1] of developments such as the transistor [J. Bardeen, W. H. Brattain and W. Shockley] and subsequent miniaturization and large scale integration, and of electron optics, lasers and holography, [2] of federal support in electrical engineering research since the 1940s, [3] development of sciences of large scale [complex] systems, of information and control. Many ideas developed under the initiative, some associated with a military or a space effort… have now become established disciplines with commercial, peaceful application. These include: microwave and laser communications, interplanetary and satellite communications - made cheaper and more rugged by semiconductor and integrated circuits, computers and information systems - of great capacity and speed due to miniaturization and planetary radar and radio astronomy

4.6.3        Functions of Electrical Engineering

We will provide two levels of detail. The first is research, development and design, implementation; and management. The second is [1] basic research at the forefront of physics, other sciences, mathematics to extend knowledge applicable to electrical engineering, [2] applied research, based on the findings of pure research, and aimed at finding new applications and principles of operation, [3] developing of new materials, devices, assemblies, and systems suitable for existing and proposed product lines, [4] design of devices, equipment and systems for manufacture, [5] field testing of equipment and systems, [6] establishment of quality control standards for manufacture, [7] supervision of manufacture and production testing, [8] post-production assessment of performance, maintenance and repair, [9] engineering management or the direction of the previous functions as well as marketing and sales, [10] marketing engineers and sales engineers, and [11] consulting engineers and scientists. Consulting often involves study and recommending courses of action for specific problems in new fields. The need arises in areas where the rate of progress makes it difficult for workers in the field to keep abreast of proliferating information. Generally, the educational background required is highest for basic and applied research. In most major laboratories a doctorate is required to fill a leadership role in development of knowledge [research]. Design, product development, supervision of manufacture and quality control once called for a bachelor’s degree, but the majority of such positions are now filled by applicants with a master’s degree. In the high technology industries of modern electronics, an engineering background at not less than the bachelor’s level is required to assess competitive factors in sales engineering to guide marketing strategy

4.6.4        Branches of Electrical Engineering

A division can be made into devices and systems. An item below points out the basic devices and their physics… The remaining items are the main systems. The trend in modern universities is toward inclusion of multiple divisions in one academic unit. This permits the parallel development of hardware and systems and also enhances the development of a general science of complex systems. The branches are given in outlines:         Electro-physics and Devices

Electromagnetic applications: fields and waves, radio waves, microwaves, electromechanical systems and circuits, light optics, lasers, holograms, masers, x-ray optics and technology, electron optics, acoustics, electronic and photo-electronic devices, tubes, semiconductors and circuits, Josephson junctions, superconductors and other topics in quantum electronics, electrochemistry: materials processing, energy, applications, materials: conductive, magnetic, optic, insulating, semiconductor, plasmas         Power and Light Systems

Electromechanical systems: turbines, pumps, generators, motors, transmission lines, appliances

Power electronics

Engineering in the Mechanical, Energy and Industrial Division]

Lighting systems

Microwave systems

Power systems: planning, design, computer/control

Vehicle systems         Communications Systems

Cable communication systems, and

Radio communication [including telegraph, telephone, radio, television]

Laser and fiber optics communications

Satellite communications

Radar and sonar


Radio astronomy

Digital data communication

Communications and information science         Information Systems: Storage, Retrieval Display

Information and cognitive science and theory

Human-system interface

Computer control

Information systems and networks; technology

Research, applications and management         Computer Systems and Data Processing

Computer science

Computer architecture, systems, data processing [below]

Software engineering, languages and programming [also expert systems: see below]

Artificial intelligence [AI]/fifth generation

Expert systems

Parallel architectures

Simulation of intelligence

Image processing

Robotics and control [cybernetics]

Data processing

Scientific, engineering, statistical


Word processing


Applications to navigation         Systems Engineering of power, communications, information, data and combined systems         Consumer Electronic Systems

Radio, television, stereo equipment, video games, personal computers         Interdisciplinary Systems Applications

Medical, biological, geo and nuclear sciences

Laser physics, sonics and ultrasonics

Theory of control systems

Cognitive science

4.6.5        Electrical Engineering Education

The first courses in electrical engineering were introduced in the Physicals Department of Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT] in 1882 and were followed shortly by similar courses at Cornell University. By 1890 there were ten such courses in physics departments of major United States universities. The first separate department devoted to electrical engineering appeared in 1886 at University of Missouri. This was followed in 1891 by the founding of the department at University of Wisconsin by Dugald C. Jackson. A commanding figure in electrical engineering education for nearly fifty years, Jackson was head of the department at MIT when he retired in the late 1930s. In Europe, similar development of departments of electrical engineering occurred in the major universities of Great Britain, Germany and France

In the United States mathematics and science were paid little attention in electrical engineering education until about 1932, when the needs of radio and communications led to inclusion of higher mathematics and physics in most electrical engineering curricula. This requirement is, currently, most evident in courses preparing for a career in electronics and related systems. Because of the connection between electronics and computer science, there is a current [1985] trend to combine faculties and facilities of computer science and of electrical engineering into one department

A typical modern undergraduate curriculum in electrical engineering [San Diego State University 1982-1983] has the following requirements: general education 24 semester units [minimum]; American institutions, 6 units; science and mathematics, 32 units; basic engineering, 10 units; core electrical engineering, 30 units; professional electives, 27 units, including 9 units electrical engineering design, 3 units basic engineering, 1 unit electrical engineering laboratory [minimum]; physical education, 2 units; total 131 semester units. There are, generally, a number of pressures working both for and against specialization. Generally these forces are related to need, but some may be regarded as unhealthy when they relate excessively to special purpose or to upsetting appropriate balances. The drives to specialization are: needs of expertise, capabilities of faculty, self-centered nature of engineering faculty concerns

Forces against specialization are: needs of adequacy, holism and adaptability, and self-centered nature of non-engineering faculty concerns.14 As the master’s degree is required more and more for technical work, the undergraduate program should provide a general education in universality, method, core and electrical engineering, and a base for specialization in subject area and method. One concept, intermediate between a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, could be a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with a minor specialty in some sub-discipline. The minor specialty could be obtained by additional and advanced course work and recognized through award of honors or other appropriate mechanism

4.6.6        Professional Organizations

The major electrical and electronics engineering societies in the English-speaking world are Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers [IEEE] in the United States, and Institution of Electrical Engineers [IEE] and Institution of Electronic and Radio Engineers [IERE], both in Great Britain…The IEEE, headquartered in New York City with 240,000 members and over fifty serial publications, is the largest professional organization serving engineering and science. The IEEE was founded in 1884 as American Institute of Electrical Engineers. In 1912 Institute of Radio Engineers [IRE] was founded to serve the new field of electronics. The IRE welcomed members from the allied fields of mathematics and physics and was thus well prepared for the introduction of solid-state electronics and the stored-program digital computer. In 1963 the competition of AIEE and IRE merged to form IEEE. Association for Computing Machinery [ACM], 70,000 members, headquartered in New York, should be included… In Great Britain IEE was formed in 1871 as the Society of Telegraph Engineers and Electricians and was granted a royal charter in 1888 as IEE. For four decades after that, it confined its main focus to power and wire communications rather than electronics. This led to the granting of a royal charter to IEE in 1938. IEE now has an active program in electronics engineering … In India, Japan and Australia there are organizations in power and in telecommunications. There are national organizations in Europe and in the Soviet Union

Professional organizations serve a number of functions. They serve as a meeting ground, through committees, for charting the course of the discipline - both technically and professionally. They serve, to a degree, the interests of the profession and its members by representing them in public forums. They serve as meeting ground for pooling of resources among universities, industry and government. Through conferences, workshops, journals and monographs, they provide forums for exchange, criticism and dissemination of information. They serve the needs of education by production of curricular materials and, in the case of the engineering profession, support of the accreditation body [ABET: Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, in the United State]. They provide information on manpower data and needs. In conjunction with social policy makers, the professional societies are involved in decision making at local and national levels. In brief, professional organizations serve the needs of [1] the individual - as a source of state-of-the-art and comprehensive information, and as a means to be involved with the course of the profession as a whole, [2] the profession and [3] society

4.6.7        Careers in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Information Science

Careers are available with industries associated with production and use of materials, devices, components and systems of electrical engineering [see branches]. Additionally, positions are available with government, and universities. Positions are available in applications, interdisciplinary areas, and in software systems and hardware. “Economists estimate that employment in agriculture, manufacture and service occupations has now been surpassed by employment in the United States in occupations based entirely on the production, utilization and transfer of data and information.”


In the original version of this document there was a division entitled “World Order and Military Division”

It was information but not concept intensive; it provided the information in a hierarchic manner

I included the information out of an obsession for completeness, out of fascination with the technology, and due to the importance of good political-military decisions. In a world where there is a military, carving it away from civilian thought due to repugnance leads to bad decisions, bad policy

I am currently omitting the details of the division because I wish to devote time to other pursuits. I might come back to this topic at a later date

Some details are in Military Science and Engineering


ANIL MITRA PHD, COPYRIGHT © 1986, LATEST REVISION Wednesday, October 26, 2005