Engineering - The purposeful use of science

“Engineering is the purposeful use of science.” I remember Anant Agarwal defining it in MIT OCW’s introductory electronics video. As an electronics student at the time, this statement immediately struck a chord.

This is where science and art come together. While science provides an explanation of phenomenons, it doesn’t tell you what you should build. It will only tell you if something is possible. Sounds a lot like prime numbers. Easy to know if something’s a prime, but hard to find them. The physics behind sound could be deterministic, but that doesn’t help you compose the next Stairway to Heaven.

A lot of times, we get stuck on science. Which language/framework do I use? Where do I host it?

Those points are important too. However, also ask, what is it that I’m building, and why? I remember writing a 10 line python script that helped my dad organize his medicines. I still consider it to be more valuable than many of the larger applications that I’ve written.

What is your purpose behind engineering things?