Engineering … illustrated
I write a lot in this space about the need to get more young people from all backgrounds to consider engineering as a career. We rarely end up as a sexy occupation on television. That’s relegated to doctors, lawyers, and heck, even crime scene investigators and morticians. (I don’t think we can count MacGyver as an engineer, can we?)
Over the course of my career, I’ve seen the old science fairs blossom into much cooler events, buoyed by the FIRST robotics challenge and industry-led events like the National Fluid Power Association’s Chainless Challenge (originally the brainchild of Parker Hannifin). Making battling robots and using real-world components to build creative bicycles are exactly the types of things that will get kids excited about engineering as a career.
A smart, thoughtful book I recently ran across could be another vehicle for getting a young person in your life interested in engineering. It’s called Engineering in Plain Sight by Grady Hillhouse. While the thrust of this oversized, colorfully illustrated hardbound book is closer to the civil engineering side of things, I quickly got lost in its pages.
EIPS looks at the build environment through an engineer’s eyes, covering construction sites, roads and bridges, railways and tunnels, and municipal water systems. There are even chapters dedicated to communications equipment and the electrical grid. I learned so much, from things like local utility poles (which I’ve always been curious about) to dam construction. There’s even a nice section covering nearly every type of mobile machinery that one would encounter on a job site. The text never gets too deep into the technology, but explains it on a level that a high school student (or a kid at heart like myself) would appreciate.
The author explains in his forward how so much of “infrastructure spotting” is the joy of figuring out what various pieces and parts are for. This book helps connect many of the dots, and I think it would be a great way to steer a bit of STEM learning toward a curious kid in your life.
Paul J. Heney – VP, Editorial Director
On X (formerly Twitter) @wtwh_paulheney
Filed Under: DIGITAL ISSUES • DESIGN WORLD