Thursday, February 24, 2011
Beam Me Up, Scotty!
Now, now, calm down. I'm married to an engineer. I love you guys. You fix things that I can't figure out even when they're working correctly. You create things I've only imagined and you actually make them work. Engineers are awesome. Without you there'd be no cars, no computers, no rockets, no cell phones and no spaceships. Engineers are cool. If you're studying engineering, then this is a darn fine week to be an almost-engineer. Purdue University started the week with hot chocolate for everyone, followed by a Giant Jenga Tower competition and a little Human Tetris. The whole purpose of this week is to celebrate engineering and encourage others to take an interest in and be proud of engineers. Now, if I went to Purdue, I'd seriously be considering an engineering major (hot chocolate, people) but I honestly couldn't find much else "fun" happening this week for the rest of us.
There are some events sponsored by engineering schools like MIT that are being held at local museums to give their students a chance to share their passions with kids. This is great, but I still wouldn't know about any of this stuff unless I happened to wander upon it by accident. None of it is exciting. It's dry and boring and stereotypically what people think of when they think of engineers. You need a little panache, an image to stir the masses. No, not a cutesy little diagram of a brain with gears or a car morphing from a Model T into a Porsche. What you guys need, is Scotty. The King of Engineers. Scotty could fix anything and he could do it in less time than was humanly possible. He could climb through Jefferies tubes and patch together The Enterprise while lying on his back with only inches of room and the entire ship threatening to shake apart. He made engineering cool.
I know, you're thinking "Yeah, but he's not real. There's no Scotty and there's no Enterprise. We don't know how to do build that stuff." My answer is this... "You don't know how to build it, yet." That is what makes engineering exciting. Not what you guys do, but what you will do in the future. So stop holding banquets and hanging out at museums. Do something fun! What you guys do is amazing. You are the real-life Scottys of the world. Share the your enthusiasm with others and if all else fails, there's always hot chocolate.