“Engineering is things that augment the human to almost extend what people can do. In really simple terms, this footstool makes us taller, extends reach.”

“Doing engineering for me is creating value, tools creating value. The immediate question comes up, ‘how do you do that and by what kinds of things are engineers creating value?' 'And what kind of value?’” Explore more >>

“This is a television series that shows many engineering marvels. And I thought that the title was really good: ‘Impossible Engineering.’ So for me engineering is really making the impossible possible. And what I added, which is ‘using systematic and rigorous understanding.’” Explore more >>

“I quite like it because this is from the 1870s, I think, and you can see that this guy is, it feels like quite a modern photo. The way it’s set up, it’s kind of stylised, and this way of demonstrating power, demonstrating mastery. If we look at the guy, you can’t see it very well, but he looks in command.” Explore more >>

“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.”

“This never delivered, at least not this particular project, fundamental understanding of thrust. But it worked. Maybe that’s the point. Does it do what it’s supposed to do? And who cares about fundamental understanding?” Explore more >>

“Engineering associates a lot, for me, with design. And if you look up the dictionary for ‘design,’ it says, ‘purpose, planning, or intention that exists, or is thought to exist,’ which is an important thing, ‘behind an action, fact or material object.’ And I’m quite interested in designs that are not obvious from the look of it.” 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 >>

“I get interested in the end-user and the particular uses that things that are engineered get used for, and not always designed in from the start. There’s nothing stopping this guy from sitting on this stool and browsing through books. Or even going around the corner and dragging a chair from a desk and standing on that. Different ways to achieve the same results, and it’s how a person is positioned. If you’re a student, or a library staff, or a health and safety officer, you might do different things with different objects but still get the same result.”

“If you look at how engineers solve problems, because engineering is also about problem solving, you see that when they have a choice, when they are facing a certain problem, engineers tend to get the humans out of the picture. That’s why I’ve given this example in the photo, right? Suppose that they are given the problem of solving a traffic jam at the crossroads in a city. One way of doing that is not by solving it by technology, but by introducing a social system. You put a police officer there, or traffic man, who organises, who rules the traffic. A more advanced system from an engineering point of view is the traffic light. They want to get the humans, who are error-prone, out of the picture.” Explore more >>

“All of these tanks contain essentially homogenous mixtures that have been brought together from a bunch of varying sources. Modesto brings in grapes from all over California and outside of California to create something that consumers will recognise consistently as being the same wine.” Explore more >>

“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.’” Explore more >>