Henry Petroski- "Engineering is not science"

Henry Petroski, famous structural engineering professor and author about failure analysis, has a neat opinion piece in IEEE Spectrum in which he argues that Engineering is Not Science:

Scientists might argue that the government needs to invest in basic scientific research that will lead to unspecified discoveries about energy, water, and waste. Although a good deal is already known about those things, it certainly would not hurt to know more, but what would really move things forward would be investments in engineering.

Throughout history, a full scientific understanding has been neither necessary nor sufficient for great technological advances: The era of the steam engine, notably, was well into its second century before a fully formed science of thermodynamics had been developed.

Issac Asimov similarly said: “Science can amuse and fascinate us all, but it is engineering that changes the world.” This sentiment deeply inspires me and closely fits my personal perspective – I’m much more of an engineer at heart than a scientist. I really appreciate pieces like this that emphasize the practical impact of our work.