Though I’m generally disappointed at Microsoft Word’s very minimal, ethnocentric dictionary and frequent squiggly red graffiti on anything I type, this morning I found it enlightening.
In the past decade or so, a series of new words incorporating ‘engineering’ have found their way in to the public lexicon. For instance:
Geoengineering - the deliberate modification of earth’s environment on a large scale to suit human needs and promote habitability Bioengineering - the application of engineering principles and techniques to problems in medicine and biology, as the design and production of artificial limbs and organs (though more recently includes proteins and other molecules) Nanoengineering - the practice of engineering on the nanoscale
Each of these fields either did not exist a few decades ago or else was so limited as to not warrant a name. The rise of new ‘engineering’ terms signals our increasing ability to understand, manipulate, and design our environment.
Weather is no longer something that simply happens to us. The Chinese are seeding clouds to provide rain for farms. Biology is no longer static. Researchers are working on super-efficient mechanical blood cells, hard drives for the brain, and designer enzymes. Material inputs are no longer fixed either. Labs all over the world arrange atoms in novel ways to create materials with new, desirable properties.
What other new fields of engineering have risen in the past decades or so? What we will be the next new field of engineering?