The boundary between science (as the study of natural phenomena) and engineering (as the development and study of man-made artifacts) has become much more porous and in certain areas has virtually vanished. Historically, the University of Chicago has had a major international presence in science, but with a few special exceptions, has not systematically developed programs in engineering. With this important and evolving paradigm shift in the relationship between science and engineering, there are important questions regarding how the University should respond. These questions arise both because of exciting and important new areas of investigation at the science/engineering interface and because a lack of an explicit investment in engineering may hamper the development of our science.Does science need engineering because engineering problems lead to important intellectual scientific questions or because engineering provides the tools needed by the scientists to carry on their research? Perhaps a bit of both.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
The Necessity of Engineering for Science
Last month the University of Chicago faculty received an email from new president Robert Zimmer and soon-to-be-provost Thomas Rosenbaum about discussions on creating a program in Molecular Engineering.