Canadian Consulting Engineer

Education Drives Excessive Calculations

Wow! The article, "Piling It On: Engineering Calculations Today," by RobertMote( August-September, p. 29-30) is marvelous. I also feel a bit guilty given that the fault was focused on the programs and...

October 1, 2009   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Wow! The article, “Piling It On: Engineering Calculations Today,” by RobertMote( August-September, p. 29-30) is marvelous. I also feel a bit guilty given that the fault was focused on the programs and programmers, not on the educators. The “young folks” who can manipulate the most recent programs (i. e. do the excessive and unexplained calculations) are driven by the education/training they receive. They are very good at getting “answers” out of complex analysis programs. They deal with those “answers” as they have been taught to do.

Clearly Mote is looking for solutions to problems, not answers to questions.

I intend to get to the bookstore to order Mote’s two books. I’d sure like to share a couple of beers with him. I think we are on the same page.

Professor Ron Britton, P. Eng.

Associate Dean (Design Education) Faculty of Engineering, University of Manitoba

Re: “Piling It On: Engineering Calculations Today.” The point of the article was made very well. Too many of us have been caught up in not seeing the forest for the trees. I sense that a lot of design engineers and reviewers, in all disciplines, are comforting themselves with a safety net that’s made up of building codes, regulations, standard details, procedures, etc. and not taking on a critical thinking role in developing or presenting solutions.

I think this quote is relevant to the topic: “Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.”

John Leonard, P. Eng.

Hatch Mott MacDonald, St. John’s, Nfld.


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