Re: Electrical Engineering

Keith B Miller (
Mon, 24 Mar 1997 11:01:31 -0600 (CST)

This is actually Ruth Douglas Miller, an Electrical Engineer, responding:

Burgy wrote:
>Stven Schimmerich, in commenting to Bill Frix, mentioned that he did not
>see "Electrical Engineering" as a "science." As a physicist who once
>wandered over to the EE department to expand my knowledge, and came away
>much chastened (!), I have to disagree. Might as well say physics is not
>science because it is not geology. Or vice-versa.
>Properly taught, as it was at carnegie Tech 40 years ago (my tribe is
>better than your tribe, I know), engineering ought to be as much a science
>as any other. Else, we set up a ranking of disciplines, and only the top
>one (physics, of course) wins!
While there is a sense in which engineers explore new territory, we are not
given any kind of training in scientific method, experimentation, etc., and
we really hadn't ought to consider ourselves "scientists" at all. Granted
there are a couple EEs in my department who are closer to science (physics,
mostly) than most of us, but most engineers are _applying_ science. That
is, we don't fish up new data, we use it to build bridges and cars and

While I am one who particularly enjoys jesting about "rank" (EEs are above
MEs are above ChemEs are... :-) we need to keep in mind that science isn't
_better_ in any way than engineering--both pure and applied sciences are
needed in our explorations. Could the physicists examine quarks w/o
engineers to build the particle accelerators? :-)


Keith B. Miller
Department of Geology
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506