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WHAT SKILLS ARE ENGINEERING EMPLOYERS LOOKING FOR?

With around 1in 10 university graduates embarking upon a career in engineering each year, it's important that you are aware of the necessary skills and qualities that engineering employers are looking for to give yourself a competitive advantage over the other candidates. One of the beauties of working in this industry is that there are a wide range of jobs available to suit all types of personalities and levels of expertise. Some positions demand a high level of academic achievement, some relying more on technical expertise. Incorporated engineers and engineering technicians need to have a high level of attention to detail, reasoning ability, the skills and knowhow to make things happen and strength of character to manage others. On the other hand craft workers and operators will need basic mathematical ability, resilience, patience and of course, manual skills. Regardless of the role in which you will be working, there are a common set of intangible skills that employers look for across all engineering disciplines:

· Effective communication skills– with an increase in the documentation and instructions that engineers use in the workplace, clear and concise communication is a requirement.

· Interpersonal skills– you need to know how to effectively work as part of a team and work with customers to identify needs and provide solutions.

· Technical knowledge– whatever technical expertise is vital to your job, you need to understand how to apply this to solving practical problems.

· Organizational skills– being able to prioritise tasks, manage your time effectively and resource planning are key skills for engineers.

· Enthusiasm and commitment– learning new skills is part of every engineer's role, so you need to be adept at assimilating a lot of new information.

More importantly, employers are looking for evidence that you take an active interest in and have an understanding of the engineering industry. Furthermore, that you have the motivation, drive and ambition to make an impact within their company.

Unit III

SCIENCE AND SCIENTIST

Text A

SCIENCE, ITS DEFINITION AND HISTORY

Before you read

I. Comment on the statement: «Science is a powerful engine by which the genius of the few is magnified by the talents of the many for the benefits of all».

II. Now read the text and answer the questions:

1) What is the origin of the word «science»?

2) Define the word «science» in a broad sense.

3) How is science defined in a narrower sense?

4) What was science associated with in the 19th century? Why?

5) Who was the word «scientist» coined by and when was it coined?

6) What is the role of experiment in testing of all knowledge?

7) Name two major groups of scientific fields. What do they study?

8) Give your own definition of «science».

9) What is the difference between basic and applied research? Give your own example of applied research in the field of science you are doing your research.

10) How could you answer the question: «What is the use of basic research?»

Science is the practice where people, usually as collectives, make controlled observations and testable predictions. This is done in the hopes of constantly refining their models and understanding of the world.

Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning «knowledge») is an enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the world. An older and closely related meaning still in use today is that of Aristotle, for whom scientific knowledge was a body of reliable knowledge that can be logically and rationally explained.

Since classical antiquity science as a type of knowledge was closely linked to philosophy. In the early modern era the two words, «science» and «philosophy», were sometimes used interchangeably in the English language. By the 17th century, « natural philosophy» (which is today called «natural science») had begun to be considered separately from «philosophy» in general. However, «science» continued to be used in a broad sense denoting reliable knowledge about a topic, in the same way it is still used in modern terms such as library science or political science.

Science is in modern use, often treated as synonymous with «natural and physical science», and thus restricted to those branches of study that relate to the phenomena of the material universe and their laws, sometimes with implied exclusion of pure mathematics. This is now the dominant sense in ordinary use. This narrower sense of «science» developed as a part of science became a distinct enterprise of defining «laws of nature», based on early examples such as Kepler's laws, Galileo's laws, and Newton's laws of motion. In this period it became more common to refer to natural philosophy as «natural science». Over the course of the 19th century, the word «science» became increasingly associated with the disciplined study of the natural world including physics, chemistry, geology and biology. Several other major areas of disciplined study and knowledge exist today under the general rubric of «science», such as formal science and applied science.

Text B

HISTORY OF SCIENCE

While descriptions of disciplined empirical investigations of the natural world exist from times at least as early as classical antiquity (for example, by Aristotle and Pliny the Elder), and scientific methods have been employed since the Middle Ages (for example, by Alhazen and Roger Bacon), the dawn of modern science is generally traced back to the early modern period during what is known as the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries. This period was marked by a new way of studying the natural world, by methodical experimentation aimed at defining «laws of nature» while avoiding concerns with metaphysical concerns such as Aristotle's theory of causation.

Rapid accumulation of knowledge, which has characterized the development of science since the 17th century, had never occurred before that time. The new kind of scientific activity emerged only in a few countries of Western Europe, and it was restricted to that small area for about two hundred years.

This modern science developed from an older and broader enterprise. The word «science» is from Old French, and in turn from Latin scientia which was one of several words for «knowledge» in that language. In philosophical contexts, scientia and «science» were used to translate the Greek word epistemē, which had acquired a specific definition in Greek philosophy, especially Aristotle, as a type of reliable knowledge which is built up logically from b premises, and can be communicated and taught. In contrast to modern science, Aristotle's influential emphasis was upon the «theoretical» steps of deducing universal rules from raw data, and did not treat the gathering of experience and raw data as part of science itself.

From the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment, science or scientia continued to be used in this broad sense, which was still common until the 20th century. «Science» therefore had the same sort of very broad meaning that philosophy had at that time. In other Latin influenced languages, including French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, the word corresponding to science also carried this meaning.

Prior to the 18th century, the preferred term for the study of nature among English speakers was «natural philosophy», while other philosophical disciplines (e.g., logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and aesthetics) were typically referred to as «moral philosophy». (Today, «moral philosophy» is more-or-less synonymous with «ethics».) Science only became more bly associated with natural philosophy than other sciences gradually with the b promotion of the importance of experimental scientific method, by people such as Francis Bacon. With Bacon, begins a more widespread and open criticism of Aristotle's influence which had emphasized theorizing and did not treat raw data collection as part of science itself. An opposed position became common: that what is critical to science at its best is methodical collecting of clear and useful raw data, something which is easier to do in some fields than others.

The word «science» in English was still however used in the 17th century to refer to the Aristotelian concept of knowledge which was secure enough to be used as a prescription for exactly how to accomplish a specific task. With respect to the transitional usage of the term «natural philosophy» in this period, the philosopher John Locke wrote in 1690 that «natural philosophy is not capable of being made a science». However, it may be that Locke was not using the word «science» in the modern sense, but suggesting that «natural philosophy» could not be deduced in the same way as mathematics and logic.

In many cases, science continued to stand for reliable knowledge about any topic, in the same way it is still used today in the broad sense in modern terms such as library science, political science, and computer science. In the more narrow sense of science, as natural philosophy became linked to an expanding set of well-defined laws (beginning with Galileo's laws, Kepler's laws, and Newton's laws for motion), it became more popular to refer to natural philosophy as natural science. Over the course of the 19th century, moreover, there was an increased tendency to associate science with study of the natural world (that is, the non-human world). The study of human thought and society would come to be called social science by the end of the century.

Through the 19th century, many English speakers were increasingly differentiating science (i.e., the natural sciences) from all other forms of knowledge in a variety of ways. The now-familiar expression «scientific method,» which refers to the part of how to make discoveries in natural philosophy, was almost unused until then, but became widespread after the 1870s. The word «scientist» meant to refer to a systematically working natural philosopher, (as opposed to an intuitive or empirically minded one) was coined in 1833 by William Whewell. Discussion of scientists as a special group of people who did science grew in the last half of the 19th century. Whatever people actually meant by these terms at first, they ultimately depicted science, in the narrow sense of the habitual use of the scientific method and the knowledge derived from it, as something deeply distinguished from all other fields of human activity.

By the 20th century, the modern notion of science as a special kind of knowledge about the world was essentially in place. It was used to give legitimacy to a variety of fields through such titles as «scientific» medicine and engineering. Over the 20th century, links between science and technology also grew increasingly b.

Richard Feynman described science in the following way for his students: The principle of science, the definition, almost, is the following: The test of all knowledge is experiment. Experiment is the sole judge of scientific 'truth'. But what is the source of knowledge? Where do the laws that are to be tested come from? Experiment, itself, helps to produce these laws, in the sense that it gives us hints. But also needed is imagination to create from these hints the great generalizations — to guess at the wonderful, simple, but very strange patterns beneath them all, and then to experiment to check again whether we have made the right guess.

Basic classifications

Scientific fields are commonly divided into two major groups: natural sciences, which study natural phenomena (including biological life), and social sciences, which study human behavior and societies. These groupings are empirical sciences which means the knowledge must be based on observable phenomena and capable of being tested for its validity by other researchers working under the same conditions. There are also related disciplines that are grouped into interdisciplinary and applied sciences, such as engineering and medicine. Within these categories are specialized scientific fields that can include parts of other scientific disciplines but often possess their own terminology.

Mathematics, which is classified as a formal science, has both similarities and differences with the empirical sciences (the natural and social sciences). It is similar to empirical sciences in that it involves an objective, careful and systematic study of an area of knowledge; it is different because of its method of verifying its knowledge, using a priori rather than empirical methods. Formal science, which also includes statistics and logic, is vital to the empirical sciences. Major advances in formal science have often led to major advances in the empirical sciences. The formal sciences are essential in the formation of hypotheses, theories, and laws, both in discovering and describing how things work (natural sciences) and how people think and act (social sciences).

Scientific method

A scientific method seeks to explain the events of nature in a reproducible way, and to use these findings to make useful predictions. This is done partly through observation of natural phenomena, but also through experimentation that tries to simulate natural events under controlled conditions.

Basic and applied research

Although some scientific research is applied research into specific problems, a great deal of our understanding comes from the curiosity-driven undertaking of basic research. This leads to options for technological advance that were not planned or sometimes even imaginable. This point was made by Michael Faraday when, in response to the question «what is the use of basic research?» he responded «Sir, what is the use of a new-born child?» For example, research into the effects of red light on the human eye's rod cells did not seem to have any practical purpose; eventually, the discovery that our night vision is not troubled by red light would lead militaries to adopt red light in the cockpits of all jet fighters. Basic research is the search for knowledge. Applied research is the search for solutions to practical problems using this knowledge. Finally, even basic research can take unexpected turns, and there is some sense in which the scientific method is built to harness luck. The Bohr model of the atom, like many ideas in the history of science, was at first prompted by (and later partially disproved by) experimentation.

Based on observations of a phenomenon, scientists may generate a model. The models need not be completely abstract: when modeling, the problems can be simplified. Once a mathematical solution is known, it can be re-used elsewhere in science. This is an attempt to describe the phenomenon in terms of a logical physical or mathematical representation. As empirical evidence is gathered, scientists can suggest a hypothesis to explain the phenomenon.

Once a hypothesis has survived testing, it may become adopted into the framework of a scientific theory. This is a logically reasoned, self-consistent model or framework for describing the behavior of certain natural phenomena. A theory typically describes the behavior of much broader sets of phenomena than a hypothesis; commonly, a large number of hypotheses can be logically bound together by a single theory. Thus a theory is a hypothesis explaining various other hypotheses. Theories are formulated according to most of the same scientific principles as hypotheses.

While performing experiments, scientists may have a preference for one outcome over another, and so it is important to ensure that science as a whole can eliminate this bias. After the results of an experiment are announced or published, it is normal practice for independent researchers to double-check how the research was performed, and to follow up by performing similar experiments to determine how dependable the results might be.

What do you think about when you hear the words «science», «technology», «achievement»? A man or a woman who sits at the desk and investigates the cell structure of life forms in an attempt to penetrate the mystery of creation? An engi­neer who tries to work out a design of cars which run on solar energy? Or maybe you think about mobile phones, computers, television and other technological advances we enjoy in a modern society ?

1. But science became the science in the modern sense only some centuries ago. The history helps us follow different stages in the development of science. This is very important otherwise we cannot be sure that one day past inventions will not be repeated.

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