“The bird is a blue-footed booby, which is on the cover of the first edition of a book called Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut. At the end of the book there is a part where there is a volcano with a natural spring, and it collects water. There’s not enough water to sustain the community of people that are living on this island, and one guy who’s supposed to be an engineer spends a lot of his time puzzling over how to improve this spring.”

“Engineering is also about creating something that meets some kind of identified need. So we talked about that as problem-solving. That’s what engineering is about: solving problems. So in this case, the shelf is too high. The object is designed, it’s manufactured, it’s bought. Now the shelves are accessible.” Explore more >>

“Engineering is through tinkering, through being playful with the world that’s around us. So, understanding fundamentally how things work to the point where I can start to wonder around ‘how can I hack them.’ That’s the first step: ‘how can I change them?' and ‘how can I make through a systematic process changes to these things I’m playing with to make them do what I want?’” Explore more >>

“It poses a sense of, ‘alright, we are taking all of these natural things but we are going to make sure that we can control what we put out even if we can’t control what we put in.’” Explore more >>

“When I got asked to say something that represented engineering, my first reaction was to go for the image of a mine, because my dad was a mining engineer and I spent a lot of my very early childhood playing in sandpits next to mines, which was nice.”

“This was my first conscious exposure to engineering. My parents had a very disorganised, rather drunken party when I was young, very small. And my boring uncle--who’s an engineer--who was just my boring uncle, that’s all I ever thought about him, he came to the party. They served food, and ran out of plates and bowls, and then they served a fruit salad. There were no bowls, so everyone was like, ‘how do we have salads if there are no bowls?’ So my uncle drunk his wine, took the fruit salad, and put it in his wine glass. I was like, ‘wow!’ And he said, ‘well, I’m an engineer.’ That was the first time I consciously thought, ‘woah, respect, boring uncle! An engineer!’ And so that made me think, engineers think naturally, they take what they got, they solve problems, they eat their fruit salads.” Explore more >>

“There’s something about improvement and interaction with the natural world that’s kind of fundamental to what it means to be doing engineering. And that’s changing nature, and of course there are consequences to doing that.”

“In engineering notebooks every page is signed by two people: signed by the person who did the work and signed by their supervisor, telling you perhaps all kinds of things. Taking responsibility for your work, or taking ownership for your work, or the types of oversight systems that are in place.” Explore more >>

“There’s not a single blade of grass that hasn’t been affected by some sort of engineering activity. So humankind and engineers and the way that we interact with everything can be seen as sort of, forms of engineering.” Explore more >>

“In the mid-2000s, there was this moment when at a global level, at a national level, there was this love affair with the idea of jatropha. Because it’s a shrub that can grow on marginal soil, and that doesn’t need a lot of inputs, that this was going to be the answer to biofuels. This was going to be the thing that you could have your food and you could have your fuel and you could grow it all.” Explore more >>