Engineering is a branch of science and technology concerned with building and designing, as well as the use of engines/structures to make scientific discoveries (Engineering). It is the cornerstone of the STEM section of education, which focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students are able to have a STEM based education as early as middle school, which allows them to have a deeper understanding of the core curriculum (Engineering).
Engineers are often thought about as cheaters. They are well known to attempt to design a cheaper product and market it at a higher cost. Engineers can get away with cheating their designs, most of the time. Although when a simple mistake, such as choosing a cheaper material to build an item, does not turn out as expected, the results can be deadly.
For example, April 14, 1912, a ship named Titanic was on its way from England to The United States, and collided with an iceberg (Harish). The ship was said to be unsinkable, making the ship desirable in the public’s eye. There were close to 2200 passengers and crew members, and only 705 of those survived the tragedy of the gigantic ship sinking (Harish).
It was not only the icebergs fault for why the ship has sank, but also the engineers who designed it. The engineers cheated to make the production cheaper by choosing cheaper material and cutting corners. After a long and thorough investigation, the fault fell on the engineers.
The watertight compartments were not sealed properly. They were supposed to be sealed individually, but by choosing the cheaper route, protectionist and engineers decided to seal them by compartments from floor to ceiling (Harish). They also realized that the ship was made from low quality iron, which fell apart upon the impact of the iceberg. By choosing a lower grade metal, the production of the ship and its products would be cheaper (Harish).
Even after knowing this, Titanic was still advertised as being the first and only “unsinkable ship.” The naval architect, Thomas Andrews, was never recovered after the accident, and was assumed to have died along with 1500 other people (Harish). According to British History, Andrews and Captain Smith were to blame for the accident. Andrews cheated in his design, and Captain Smith failed to heed ice warnings (Louden-Brown).
The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster in Cape Canaveral, Florida would be another prime example of how an engineer’s plan failed, and had disastrous consequences to follow. The NASA space shuttle named Challenger was expected to make a long voyage into space, when just 73 seconds after takeoff exploded, resulting in a failed 10th attempt in the spacecraft’s mission (History). Seven astronauts were killed in this incident (History).
After an investigation of the explosion, it was discovered that two rubber O-rings, had failed due to cold temperatures that morning. The company that designed these rings, had ignored the warning signs and proceeded with production. NASA was also at fault for the explosion, because they were aware of the faulty O-rings, and did not take any action. NASA did not send astronauts into space for nearly two years after this tragedy (History).
The majority of the world watched both of those incidents as they fell apart. Engineers do not always cheat. But these are two prime examples of how cheating a project can have disastrous consequences. The ramifications of these engineers and design teams, ultimately ended up with multiple lost lives. Whether it be to save costs, or to quickly get a project done, cheating is not encouraged. Even the smallest missed detail can have consequences that cannot be reversed.
- “Engineering.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster,
- Harish, Ajay. “Why Did the Titanic Sink? An Engineer’s Analysis | SimScale Blog.” SimScale, SimScale, 16 Nov. 2018,
- Louden-Brown, Paul. “History – British History in Depth: Titanic: Sinking the Myths.” BBC, BBC,
- 3 Mar. 2011, www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/britain_wwone/titanic_01.shtml.
- History.com, A&E Television Networks, www.history.com/topics/1980s/challenger-disaster.