“Turns out there’s this big chunk of something called engineering that people actually haven’t spent that much time thinking about, by and large. So engineering for me is an opportunity to rediscover all the history that I already know and re-imagine it in light of things like engineering practices, engineering knowledge, engineering societies, all of the various kinds of engineers.”

“If documentation really is such a central part to engineering practice, then actually notebooks and things like that are just as much of a record of what engineering is about and what engineering does as are the kind of artefacts that we see out there.” Explore more >>

“The viaduct is an 18th century thing that can trace its origins back to Roman times. So viaducts as a technology were shaping society thousands of years before we coined ‘engineer’ as a word. So engineering’s kind of always been around human activity, human endeavour. And the way that we shape our socio-technical systems to create value, whatever value is.” Explore more >>

“I feel that there’s a lot of territories that philosophers of science haven’t attended much to. At least my understanding of philosophy of biology is a field that has focused a lot on evolution and a lot on explanation but much less on design and control and the implications of that. And what I often see when I talk to scientists, they emphasise these aims.” Explore more >>

“This is one of the first steam-powered ploughs brought into operation. You can see that it digs a very large furrow indeed. That’s because this is about making that entire landscape, having that landscape irrigated in a new way entirely. So this is about changing hundreds of acres of land and re-purposing it entirely.”

“I could have used all sorts of images. Engineering is the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Hoover Dam, Durham Cathedral, things like that. Or integrated circuits.” Explore more >>

“Engineers are changing the world in different ways. They are changing the the physical environment, but they are also changing our social environment. There is something here like buildings or infrastructure, but it’s about peoples, it’s about goals, it’s about culture, its processes, values. And that is the way for me that engineers primarily create value.” Explore more >>

“What actually touches on the comments about the Apollo missions, the ‘Earthrise’ picture, is one of the reasons that I like this. It put me in mind of the concept of ‘the overview effect’ The effect of having that image of the Earth sort of capture the fragility of life on Earth and how small Earth was in relation to the rest of the universe. That, for me, captures a lot of what I think about in engineering.” 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.”

“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 >>

“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 >>

“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 >>