Henry Petroski


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

Cover Interview of March 26, 2010


The larger context of The Essential Engineer is its relevance to the world of public policy and legislation.

Since so much of what is considered by lawmakers today is necessarily technological at heart, there is great value in a book laying out clear distinctions between science and engineering and their relationship to the important political and economic goals of innovation and global competitiveness. Legislation intended to promote and support innovation, for example, may have just the opposite effect if it encourages only science, at the expense of engineering, and this should be emphasized to political leaders and lawmakers.

Unfortunately, the distinct endeavors of engineering, invention, and technology are often subsumed under the single rubric “science” and so are not highlighted in their own right. This lack of attention to the true sources of innovation can jeopardize our nation’s future.  The Essential Engineer is one attempt to correct this situation.

© 2010 Henry Petroski