Dedicated to solutions costing less than the problem.


What is Engineerology?
By Jerry Costello
October 28, 2011
blue prints

Engineerology is a study of engineering. The word combines the word engineer with the suffix -ology. Engineerology could mean the scientific study of engineering which is different than a general study of engineering. Science mostly involves itself with discovery, so a true scientific study into engineering would involve itself in engineering discoveries. A general study usually won't go through the validation process of the scientific method. A general study will ordinarily do research up to and only the intent on making a report.

This caused me some consternation. Is engineerology going to be a general study or a scientific study?

I have decided that I can only be responsible for making reports. Any claims I make must follow the accepted scientific methods for proof. The best I can do is to propose my claims as hypotheses.

With that said, let’s get on with what engineerology as something of a general study of engineering and my first claim.

When I did some research on engineering I once came across a statement that read something like this:

Engineers have to solve the problem without it [the solution] costing a fortune.
This was the one thing that seemed to make or break the career engineer. Is this the most important thing in engineering? My answer is “Yes!” In fact I feel so strongly about this that I propose that the definition of engineer be modified to:

The profession that uses engineering techniques and scientific discovery data to solve problems in such a way that it costs less to solve the problem than to allow it to exist.


Please allow me to explain how this came about.

Sometimes I come across words in the dictionary that I think are poorly defined. One such word is “engineer.” The definition of engineer was passed down from 14th century France for the person who designed and operated military engines. Back then catapults were known as military engines. Like so many words in the dictionary this one gets its definition though its history and how people use it. Unfortunately, the word engineering didn’t get a proper upgrading when a philosophy for engineering began to develop. When I look over what little I can find about engineering philosophy I find things like “doing good for society,” or “advancing society,” or some such thing, while the idea that an engineer is doing all this within a budget goes almost unnoticed. However, in the real-world I have never heard of an engineer commenting on management’s concern for society or advancing for the good of Mankind. I only hear of budget cuts, financial constraints, and hiring freezes that justify why the engineer can’t hire extra help or purchase extra equipment.

Well, it doesn’t take rocket science to see what is really important here: Engineer’s make it so we can get it cheap!
It says nothing about this in any dictionary I’ve looked through.

Here is what the English World Dictionary says:

Engineering is “The profession of applying scientific principles to the design, construction, and maintenance of engines, cars, machines, etc (mechanical engineering), buildings, bridges, roads, etc (civil engineering), electrical machines and communication systems (electrical engineering), chemical plant and machinery (chemical engineering), or aircraft (aeronautical engineering).”

To me this isn’t a very good definition. It only says what engineering has produced in order to solve problems without the solution costing more than can be afforded. Sure, engineers do other things such as, choose colors, forms, and materials when making their design, however, none of this matter’s as much as choosing a method that gets the job done within the budget(s). I mean, since when did a manager come in to the engineer’s office (or cubical) and say, “Spend all the money and time you want on this project!”
Consider the following as a bit of engineers’ knowledge or engineerology.

Sales and marketing surveys point to a particular product to be made. Managers tell the engineers to make the product so cheap that everyone can buy one. The manager then tells sales and marketing to convince everyone they absolutely have to have one. Then the manager raises the price so high that only a few can afford it.

From the point of view of the engineer his or her management practice is like the bi-polar mental patient.

However, from the management’s point of view their decision makes perfect economic sense. Economics comes into play anytime there is a scarcity. The purpose of having a company is to be profitable. If a company can produce something so cheap that it costs nearly nothing to produce, yet so in demand that everyone is willing to mortgage their house just to get it, then the company makes its greatest profit by only creating a limited supply. Thus, the item is scarce or limited in supply as well as high in demand. The results is only the few can afford it.

When you put this group together it’s called a business.

Engineers do not have to be this frustrated. I don’t believe that they would be if from the very start they understood that engineering was more about budget than design.

In the old days, before science, building something was pretty much hit or miss. Experimenting was more trial and error and probably mostly error. In any case it was costly. Science changed all that. The methods of science quickly tossed out the unworkable and honed in something engineers could use. With correct and reliable data coming in (to the engineers) costs of producing new things plummeted. I say it was because of plummeting costs that made our modern mechanized world.

I hope this clarifies what engineerology is, or at least is suppose to be; a study of engineering. However, I am dedicating it to a study of engineering which solve problems cheaper than living with the problem.