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Defintion of Engineering

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I pulled this from my archives from March 1999, from another Paul.

From: "Paul Feather" <pfeather(--nospam--at)>
To: "SEAOC list message" <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Subject: A pause for reflection


It is a great profession.  There is the fascination of watching a
figment of the imagination emerge through the aid of science to a plan
on paper. Then it moves to realization in stone or metal or energy.
Then it brings jobs and homes to men.  Then it elevates the standards of
living and adds to the comforts of life.  That is the engineer's high

The great liability of the engineer compared to men of other professions
is that his works are out in the open where all can see them.  His acts,
step by step, are in hard substance.  He cannot bury his mistakes in the
grave like the doctors.  He cannot argue them into thin air or blame the
judge like the lawyers.  He cannot, like the architects, cover his
failures with trees and vines.  He cannot, like the politicians, screen
his shortcomings by blaming his opponents and hope people will forget.
The engineer simply cannot deny he did it.  If his works do not work, he
is damned.

On the other hand, unlike the doctor his is not a life among the weak.
Unlike the soldier, destruction is not his purpose.  Unlike the lawyer,
quarrels are not his daily bread.  To the engineer falls the job of
clothing the bare bones of science with life, comfort, and hope.  No
doubt as years go by the people forget which engineer did it, even if
they ever knew.  Or some politician puts his name on it.  Or they credit
it to some promoter who used other people's money. But the engineer
himself looks back at the unending stream of goodness which flows from
his successes with satisfactions that few professions may know.  And the
verdict of his fellow professionals is all the accolade he wants.

Herbert Hoover

R. Paul Ransom, P. Eng.
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
<mailto:ado26(--nospam--at)> <>

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