Let Us Be Less Humble
In his Refractions column entitled “Engineering in the Shadows” (Prism, Summer 2018), Henry Petroski addressed the ever present issue of “the humble engineers and the overly confident scientists.” The fact of the matter is—and has always been—that scientists discover things that exist but that we don’t know about while engineers create things (products, processes, devices, systems) that do not exist in order to effectively and efficiently respond to the constantly evolving needs of women and men all over the world. Engineers are creative, imaginative, and innovative. BUT we engineers, individually and collectively, need to be more assertive in “blowing our engineering horn” loud and clear. Let us be less humble and more confident. This will also help engineering regain some of the “clout” that it has gradually lost during the past century compared with other professions, such as law and medicine. Yes, there is one Science Guy, but there are a heck of a lot of Cool Engineers out there who do great things for their fellow humans day in and day out!
Professor, Faculty of Engineering,
University of Ottawa
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada