A Definition of Engineering

In two days, I will finally have the right to place “B.S Mechanical Engineering” after my name. (I won’t be holding a diploma with that title for several more weeks, however – the cardboard tubes they’ll give us during Commencement will have a noticeable lack of diploma.) Over the past four years, my concept of engineering has definitely changed.

I think my original idea of what an engineer did and was developed from my parents (engineers who built cool stuff), from popular media like Star Trek, Stargate, and Jules Vernes’ works (engineers who saved the ship/team/world from imminent destruction), and from my fascination with 18th and 19th century inventors (engineers who were engineers before there were engineers). I thought it was awesome, and so I wanted – you might say was conditioned – to become an engineer. After all, who wouldn’t want to invent (current technical term: “design”) really cool, innovative stuff that would save the world, and possibly end up on a space shuttle in the process? And best of all, engineering and science were quantifiable; they could be described in numbers and figures, and everything could be predicted or simulated.


Continue reading


Coffee and Whiteboard Markers

Hmmm. I’m not sure about the new header; I tried to change the theme colors to not-green but that wasn’t really an option.

So. This has been a good week. For example: Yesterday I left work early (I had overtime from other days) and went to a kind of welcome-back-Expedition-16 thing at JSC. And I shook hands with Peggy Whitson. Yeah. And on Tuesday I went to a Bible study small group that was pretty awesome, and today I made a coffeecake, just because I needed the complete excess of sugar and because I could. I haven’t had a decent oven for almost a year.

Continue reading