Scientists Say: Engineering | Science News for Students

Scientists Say: Engineering

This field of research uses math and science to solve problems
Jun 4, 2018 — 6:30 am EST
female engineer

Making electronics is one example of engineering, but engineering can apply to lots of other jobs too. Engineering is about using science and math to take on practical issues. 

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Engineering (noun, “IN-gin-EAR-ing””)

This is a field that uses math, science and technology to solve practical problems. Engineering goes along with those three other fields in the acronym STEM. (STEM stands for “science, technology, engineering and math.”) People who work in engineering are called engineers. Engineers usually specialize to work in a specific area. A structural engineer, for instance, might help design buildings or bridges. Software engineers develop and test new computer programs. Biomedical and chemical engineers design new drugs to treat disease and new ways to make them. And civil engineers help plan and maintain large systems for everyone to use, such as roads, sewers and dams.

In a sentence

Scientists used engineering to design a new plant-inspired pipette that can move tiny drops of liquid, one at a time.

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Power Words

computer program     A set of instructions that a computer uses to perform some analysis or computation. The writing of these instructions is known as computer programming.

engineer     A person who uses science to solve problems. As a verb, to engineer means to design a device, material or process that will solve some problem or unmet need.

engineering     The field of research that uses math and science to solve practical problems.

field     An area of study, as in: Her field of research was biology. Also a term to describe a real-world environment in which some research is conducted, such as at sea, in a forest, on a mountaintop or on a city street. It is the opposite of an artificial setting, such as a research laboratory. 

liquid     A material that flows freely but keeps a constant volume, like water or oil.

pipette     A fluid-collection tool used in chemistry and some biology labs. It may consist of just a thin tube into which fluid is drawn by suction. Once the fluid is inside, the top is closed to hold the liquid inside until someone is ready to dispense it.

STEM     An acronym (abbreviation made using the first letters of a term) for science, technology, engineering and math.

technology     The application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry — or the devices, processes and systems that result from those efforts.