Engineering (from Latin ingenium, meaning "cleverness" and ingeniare, meaning "to contrive, devise") is the application of scientific, economic, social, and practical knowledge in order to invent, design, build, maintain, research, and improve structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes.
The discipline of engineering is extremely broad, and encompasses a range of more specialized fields of engineering, each with a more specific emphasis on particular areas of applied science, technology and types of application.
Aerospace Engineering is the primary branch of engineering concerned with the research, design, development, construction, testing, science and technology of aircraft and spacecraft. It is divided into two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. Aeronautics deals with aircraft that operate in Earth's atmosphere, and astronautics deals with spacecraft that operate outside the Earth's atmosphere. Founded by dreamers and pioneers such as Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the field reached its maturity with launching of first artificial satellite, first man in space and first step on the Moon.
An audio engineer is concerned with the recording, manipulation, mixing and reproduction of sound. Many audio engineers creatively use technologies to produce sound for film, radio, television, music, electronic products and computer games. Alternatively, the term audio engineer can refer to a scientist or engineer who develops new audio technologies working within the field of acoustical engineering.
Modern automotive engineering, along with aerospace engineering and marine engineering, is a branch of automobile engineering, incorporating elements of mechanical, electrical, electronic, software and safety engineering as applied to the design, manufacture and operation of motorcycles, automobiles, buses and trucks and their respective engineering subsystems.
Biomedical engineering (BME) is the application of engineering principles and design concepts to medicine and biology for healthcare purposes (e.g. diagnostic or therapeutic). This field seeks to close the gap between engineering and medicine: It combines the design and problem solving skills of engineering with medical and biological sciences to advance health care treatment, including diagnosis, monitoring, and therapy. Biomedical engineering has only recently emerged as its own study, compared to many other engineering fields. Such an evolution is common as a new field transitions from being an interdisciplinary specialization among already-established fields, to being considered a field in itself. Much of the work in biomedical engineering consists of research and development, spanning a broad array of subfields (see below). Prominent biomedical engineering applications include the development of biocompatible prostheses, various diagnostic and therapeutic medical devices ranging from clinical equipment to micro-implants, common imaging equipment such as MRIs and EEGs, regenerative tissue growth, pharmaceutical drugs and therapeutic biologicals.
In the field of engineering, a chemical engineer is a professional who works principally in the chemical industry to convert basic raw materials into a variety of products, and deals with the design and operation of plants and equipment to perform such work. In general, a chemical engineer is one who applies and uses principles of chemical engineering in any of its various practical applications; these often include 1) design, manufacture, and operation of plants and machinery in industrial chemical and related processes ("chemical process engineers"); 2) development of new or adapted substances for products ranging from foods and beverages to cosmetics to cleaners to pharmaceutical ingredients, among many other products ("chemical product engineers"); and 3) development of new technologies such as fuel cells, hydrogen power and nanotechnology, as well as working in fields wholly or partially derived from Chemical Engineering such as materials science, polymer engineering, and biomedical engineering.
Industrial engineering is a branch of engineering which deals with the optimization of complex processes or systems. It is concerned with the development, improvement, implementation of integrated systems of people, money, knowledge, information, equipment, energy, materials, analysis and synthesis, as well as the mathematical, physical and social sciences together with the principles and methods of engineering design to specify, predict, and evaluate the results to be obtained from such systems or processes. While industrial engineering is a traditional and longstanding engineering discipline subject to (and eligible for) professional engineering licensure in most jurisdictions, its underlying concepts overlap considerably with certain business-oriented disciplines such as operations management.
Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings. Civil engineering is the second-oldest engineering discipline after military engineering, and it is defined to distinguish non-military engineering from military engineering. It is traditionally broken into several sub-disciplines including architectural engineering, environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, geophysics, geodesy, control engineering, structural engineering, earthquake engineering, transportation engineering, earth science, atmospheric sciences, forensic engineering, municipal or urban engineering, water resources engineering, materials engineering, offshore engineering, aerospace engineering, quantity surveying, coastal engineering, surveying, and construction engineering. Civil engineering takes place in the public sector from municipal through to national governments, and in the private sector from individual homeowners through to international companies.
Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. This field first became an identifiable occupation in the latter half of the 19th century after commercialization of the electric telegraph, the telephone, and electric power distribution and use. Subsequently, broadcasting and recording media made electronics part of daily life. The invention of the transistor and, subsequently, the integrated circuit brought down the cost of electronics to the point where they can be used in almost any household object.
Mechanical engineering is the discipline that applies the principles of engineering, physics and materials science for the design, analysis, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the design, production, and operation of machinery and tools. It is one of the oldest and broadest of the engineering disciplines.
Marine engineering broadly refers to the engineering of boats, ships, oil rigs and any other marine vessel or structure. Specifically, marine engineering is the discipline of applying engineering sciences, mostly mechanical and electrical engineering, to the development, design, operation and maintenance of watercraft propulsion and on-board systems; e.g. power and propulsion plants, machinery, piping, automation and control systems etc. for marine vehicles of any kind like surface ships, submarines etc. Marine engineers and naval architects are similar professions. However, whereas naval architects are concerned with the overall design of the ship and its propulsion through the water, marine engineers are focused towards the main propulsion plant, the powering and mechanization aspects of the ship functions such as steering, anchoring, cargo handling, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, electrical power generation and distribution, interior and exterior communication, and other related requirements. In some cases, the responsibilities of each industry collide and is not specific to either field. Propellers are examples of one of these types of responsibilities. For naval architects a propeller is a hydrodynamic device. For marine engineers a propeller acts similarly to a pump. Hull vibration, excited by the propeller, is another such area. Noise reduction and shock hardening must be the joint responsibility of both the naval architect and the marine engineer. In fact, most issues caused by machinery are responsibilities in general.
Petroleum engineering is a field of engineering concerned with the activities related to the production of hydrocarbons, which can be either crude oil or natural gas. Exploration and Production are deemed to fall within the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry. Exploration, by earth scientists, and petroleum engineering are the oil and gas industry's two main subsurface disciplines, which focus on maximizing economic recovery of hydrocarbons from subsurface reservoirs. Petroleum geology and geophysics focus on provision of a static description of the hydrocarbon reservoir rock, while petroleum engineering focuses on estimation of the recoverable volume of this resource using a detailed understanding of the physical behavior of oil, water and gas within porous rock at very high pressure.