The future of the engineering profession

Among various recent trends in the engineering pro­fession computerization is the most widespread. The trend in modern engineering offices is also towards com­puterization. Computers are increasingly used for solv­ing complex problems as well as for handling, storing, and generating the enormous volume of data modern engineers must work with.

Scientific methods of engineering are applied in sev­eral fields not connected directly to manufacture and construction. Modern engineering is characterized by the broad application of what is known as systems engineer­ing principles.

Engineers in industry work not only with machines but also with people, to determine, for example, how machines can be operated most efficiently by workers. A small change in the location of the controls of a machine or of its position with relation to other machines or equipment, or a change in the muscular movements of the operator, often results in greatly increased production. This type of engineering work is called time-study engineering.

A related field of engineering, human-factors engi­neering, also known as ergonomics, received wide atten­tion in the late 1970s and 1980s when the safety of nu­clear reactors was questioned following serious accidents that were caused by operator errors, design failures, and malfunctioning equipment.

Human-factors engineering seeks to establish crite­ria for the efficient, humancentred design of, among other things, the large, complicated control panels that monitor and govern nuclear reactor operations.

1. What is the most widespread trend in the engineer­ing profession?

2. What are computers used for in modern engineering?

3. What approaches are used in modern engineering?

4. What is «ergonomics»?

5. What does human-factors engineering deal with?

24. Прочтите диалоги и выучите их:

A: I say, Boris, have you any idea what bionics is?

B: I certainly have, it is the science that studies living creatures in order to find principles applicable to engineering.

A: Yes, nature does things better than man.

B: But man has learned to improve on nature in many ways.

A: Boris, what do you know about bionics?

B: It is a comparatively new science that studies the mysteries of biological machinery. A bionic can copy a lot from nature.

A: As far as I know there is a close analogy between a biological organism and an electrical system.

B: You’re quite right, and I suppose the greatest advances in bionics will be electronic in nature.

A: I think so.

25. Английский юмор:

Technical Precision

A cat got into the pipeline system when it was drained. In the report the plumbing technician wrote in the graph “Type of Work”: “Called ‘kitty, kitty, kitty’ – 5 times a minute.” In the graph “Time Consumed by Operation” he wrote: “60 minutes (5 times a minute – 300:5=60).”