Henry Petroski


On his book The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems

Cover Interview of March 26, 2010

In a nutshell

The Essential Engineer is about the similarities and differences between scientists and engineers, and between science and engineering, and how they relate to contemporary technological issues.  The book provides historical background to the distinctions between science and engineering and considers their relevance for solving today’s global problems.

I emphasize that science, in its purest form, working alone, is not likely to solve problems relating to climate and energy issues; it is important for science and engineering to work together in meeting the technological challenges that face the world.

The Essential Engineer also describes opportunities that have been presented to scientists and engineers today in the form of a host of challenges and prizes offered to stimulate research and development in important areas of need.  (These range from the mundane, say the search for a more efficient battery, to the exotic, say space travel and exploration as private enterprise.)