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Engineering Quotes

Some popular engineering and technology-related quotation

By the editors of gecc

"The engineer is the key figure in the material progress of the world. It is his engineering that makes a reality of the potential value of science by translating scientific knowledge into tools, resources, energy and labor to bring them into the service of man ... To make contributions of this kind the engineer requires the imagination to visualize the needs of society and to appreciate what is possible as well as the technological and broad social age understanding to bring his vision to reality." Sir Eric Ashby (1958)

"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'" Isaac Asimov

"One of the things that we learned in all this is that our focus on profitablility may not have been the central thing we should have looked at. There are many new businesses building up now that don't focus on profitability, and that's certainly a change." Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale on growing a business vs. trying to make money

"Tell the truth. All the time. About everything. What's the alternative to radical honesty? Waste. Wasted time, wasted money, wasted possibilities—a wasted life." Brad Blanton, President of the Radical Honesty network

"Engineers participate in the activities which make the resources of nature available in a form beneficial to man and provide systems which will perform optimally and economically." L. M. K. Boelter (1957)

"Never express yourself more clearly than you think." Niels Bohr

"The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth." Niels Bohr

"An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes, which can be made, in a very narrow field." Niels Bohr

"[Computer Science Grads] are averaging five or six offers each, even the mediocre students." Gaetano Borriello, CS professor, Seattle Times 3/15/99

"Engineering is not merely knowing and being knowledgeable, like a walking encyclopedia; engineering is not merely analysis; engineering is not merely the possession of the capacity to get elegant solutions to non-existent engineering problems; engineering is practicing the art of the organized forcing of technological change... Engineers operate at the interface between science and society..." Dean Gordon Brown; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1962)

"The biggest problem in the world could have been solved when it was small." Witter Bynner

"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true." James Branch Cabell

"The very existence of flame-throwers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done.'" George Carlin

"These days, unless you devote an enormous amount of time to anticipating the future, you won't have any future." Ron Chernow, business biographer

"A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking." Unknown

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." Confucius

"I love fools' experiments. I am always making them." Charles Darwin

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." Charles Darwin

"A mathematician is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn't there." Charles Darwin

"The story of civilization is, in a sense, the story of engineering—that long and arduous struggle to make the forces of nature work for man's good." L. Sprague DeCamp (1963)

"One of the biggest challenges a fast company faces in this world of merger mania is to leverage the credibility, name, and presence of megacompanies—and to do it without becoming captured by them." Tim DeMello, Chairman and CEO of Streamline Inc.

"You now are seeing fewer starry-eyed entrepreneurs—and more opportunists who are looking for places to create value, but who don't expect to be running the company for the next 50 years. I call these roving bands 'opportuneurs'—hybrids of opportunistic businesspeople and entrepreneurs." David Dorman, Chairman, President, and CEO of PointCast Inc.

"The ideal engineer is a composite ... He is not a scientist, he is not a mathematician, he is not a sociologist or a writer; but he may use the knowledge and techniques of any or all of these disciplines in solving engineering problems." N. W. Dougherty (1955)

"If you come in with a creative idea, an extraordinarily creative idea, you usually come out with money... There is a real premium for creativity right now." Timothy Draper, Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, on how to get venture capital (AP 6/3/99)

"Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration." Thomas Edison

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." Albert Einstein

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." Albert Einstein

"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?" Albert Einstein

"You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother." Albert Einstein

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." Albert Einstein

"Gravitation can not be held responsible for people falling in love." Albert Einstein

"When you sit with a nice girl for two hours you think it's only a minute. But when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it's two hours. That's relativity." Albert Einstein

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." Albert Einstein

"There are always two parties, the party of the past and the party of the future; the establishment and the movement" Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Engineering is the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences gained by study, experience, and practice is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind." Engineers Council for Professional Development (1961/1979)

"Whoso neglects learning in his youth loses the past and is dead for the future." Euripides

"If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried." Unknown

"Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it." Unknown

"All those startups are desperate for a little guidance... What we're really needing here are high-level executives to run technology companies... We need experienced second-time entrepreneurs." Shawn Feinour, PricewaterhouseCoopers

"The engineer has been, and is, a maker of history." James Kip Finch (1960)

"Engineering is the art or science of making practical." Samuel C. Florman (1976)

"The beginning and endings of all human undertakings are untidy, the building of a house, the writing of a novel, the demolition of a bridge, and, eminently, the finish of a voyage. John Galsworthy

"It's not a lack of loyalty to walk away from stock that is worthless. It's common sense." Sam Garret, Austin, TX recruiter on the growing number of engineers who switch companies according to the next big IPO

"Engineering is the conscious application of science to the problems of economic production." H. P. Gillette (1910)

"Rational Greed" Phrase appearing in a TechWeb article (5/13/99) used to describe the salary demands of today's skilled job seekers.

"Engineers can't focus just on technology; they need to develop their professional skills-things like presenting yourself, speaking in front of a large group and working within a technology team." Laura Harmon, recent grad & system engineer at Lockhead Martin (eeTimes 8/14/99)

"It used to be (they) engineers were primarily driven by the sexy technology... but recently your seeing more of a shift in that community to 'show me the options.'" Ron Harris, Pervasive software, Inc.

"Engineering is an activity other than purely manual and physical work which brings about the utilization of the materials and laws of nature for the good of humanity." R. E. Hellmund (1929)

"Engineering is a great profession. There is the fascination of watching a figment of the imagination emerge through the aid of science to a plan on paper. Then it moves to realisation in stone or metal or energy. Then it brings homes to men or women. Then it elevates the standard of living and adds to the comforts of life. This is the engineer's high privilege." Herbert Clark Hoover, Engineer & President of the US from 1929-1932

"Engineering is the professional and systematic application of science to the efficient utilization of natural resources to produce wealth." T. J. Hoover and J. C. L. Fish (1941)

"The man who makes the experiment deservedly claims the honour and the reward." Horace

"May your glass be ever full. May the roof over your head be always strong. And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead." An Irish blessing

"Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way." William James

"Every cold empirick, when his heart is expanded by a successful experiment, swells into a theorist." Samuel Johnson

"Memo to the folks in Silicon Valley: You will have good jobs for 20 more years. By 2020, though, computer chips will be cheaper than bubble-gum wrappers, and PCs will be in museums." Michio Kaku, Prof. of Theoretical Physics at City College of New York

"Engineering is the art or science of utilizing, directing or instructing others in the utilization of the principles, forces, properties and substance of nature in the production, manufacture, construction, operation and use of things... or of means, methods, machines, devices and structures..." Alfred W. Kiddle (1920)

"Whatever your life's work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn can do it no better." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored." Abraham Lincoln

"Engineering is the practice of safe and economic application of the scientific laws governing the forces and materials of nature by means of organization, design and construction, for the general benefit of mankind." S. E. Lindsay (1920)

"No one is listening until you make a mistake." Unknown

"Before I got into business, I coached track. One thing I learned was that I not only had to manage my players' workouts; I also had to help manage their lives so that they would be ready to compete." Brian Maxwell, CEO of PowerBar Inc.

"You can see someone right out of school with a technology [that's hot] earning more than someone with experience but a technology that's less hot. That's not normal, but it's been the norm for the past two years," she said. Nan Mutnick of recruiting firm Mitchell/Martin. EETimes 1/28/99

"The central challenge for any company, regardless of its size, is to keep doing a better job for its customers. These megadeals have nothing to do with serving customers. So what's driving them? Greed, ego, and a dangerous can-you-top-this complex that I call 'little boys looking for bigger toys.'" Ralph Nader, Consumer Advocate

"Everybody hears Netscape, and they say, 'Oh, the browser company.' The fact is that Netscape doesn't make any money off the browser. We were the provider of great enterprise software. We were the largest seller of e-commerce software on the planet. But it's like Sun's Scott McNealy says, 'You are what you go public as.'"

"The activity characteristic of professional engineering is the design of structures, machines, circuits, or processes, or of combinations of these elements into systems or plants and the analysis and prediction of their performance and costs under specified working conditions." M. P. O'Brien (1954)

"There are two options for Internet companies, get bigger fast, or get smaller fast." DoubleClick CEO Kevin O'Connor on the importance of Web alliances. FC May '99

"Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul." Thomas Paine

"Chance only favours the prepared mind." Louis Pasteur

"To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research." Unknown

"I have hardly even known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning." Plato

"It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover." Henri Poincare

"This generation may be the one that will face Armageddon." Ronald Reagan, People Magazine 12/26/85

"Reality is more complex than it seems."

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear." Ambrose Redmoon

"I enjoy... looking at charts about what sites are getting the most traffic. Everyone always looks at the top of the chart—I always look at the bottom because the bottom is where the opportunity is. You're not going to compete with Yahoo and Netscape at the top—it's the bottom where the opportunity is." Michael Robertson, CEO of in an interview with CNET News.

"The only way to unleash open communication is to convince people that honesty is about group learning, not individual criticism." William Rosenzweig, Director of the Venture Strategy Group

"I know a bunch of MIS (management information systems) majors who didn't do anything in college but party. But now they are making $8,000 more than me, and I got a high offer," Robert Ruotsi, mechanical engineer with GE who, three months after graduation is making $42,000 a year. Seattle Times 3/15/99

"All art is but imitation of nature." Seneca

"Trying is the first step toward failure." Homer Simpson

"Engineering is the science of economy, of conserving the energy, kinetic and potential, provided and stored up by nature for the use of man. It is the business of engineering to utilize this energy to the best advantage, so that there may be the least possible waste." Willard A. Smith (1908)

"Engineering is the professional art of applying science to the optimum conversion of natural resources to the benefit of man." Ralph J. Smith (1962)

"The life which is unexamined is not worth living." Socrates

"In the ills of men there is no sorer than necessity." Sophocles

"Progress, therefore is not an accident, but a necessity... It is part of nature." Herbert Spencer

"Engineering is the art of organizing and directing men and controlling the forces and materials of nature for the benefit of the human race." Henry G. Stott (1907)

"It is better to not be on the web than to be on and not know why." John Sumser

"It is not every question that deserves an answer." Publilius Syrus

"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." Alfred Lord Tennyson

"Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes." Henry David Thoreau

"[Engineering is] the art of directing the great sources of power in nature for the use and convenience of man". Tredgold in 1828 for the Institute of Civil Engineers

"Math was always my bad subject. I couldn't convince my teachers that many of my answers were meant ironically." Calvin Trillin

"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example." Mark Twain

"A man with a new idea is a crank until he succeeds." Mark Twain

"Scientists discover the world that exists; engineers create the world that never was." Theodore Von Karman, aerospace engineer

"In mathematics you don't understand things, you just get used to them." John von Neumann

"Engineering is the science and art of efficient dealing with materials and forces... it involves the most economic design and execution... assuring, when properly performed, the most advantageous combination of accuracy, safety, durability, speed, simplicity, efficiency, and economy possible for the conditions of design and service." J. A. L. Waddell, Frank W. Skinner, and H. E. Wessman (1933)

"I think most of us are looking for a calling, not a job. Most of us have jobs that are too small for our spirit. Jobs are not big enough for people." Nara Watson, Author

"It would be well if engineering were less generally thought of, and even defined, as the art of constructing. In a certain sense it is rather the art of not constructing; or, to define it rudely but not inaptly, it is the art of doing that well with one dollar which any bungler can be with two after a fashion." A. M. Wellington (1887)

"From a creative and business viewpoint, only about 25% of the Internet has been invented." Jake Winebaum, Chairman, Buena Vista Internet Group (Fast Company)

"But the more you avoid the truth, the steeper the price that you are likely to pay in terms of wasted effort, frustration, and even cynicism. It's a vicious cycle." Michael Wheeler, Professor of Management at the Harvard Business School

"We do have some issues with locating and retaining highly skilled individuals. Luckily, we are not a development shop and we work with vanilla technology, so most of our staffing needs are for operational or business people, not people with niche skills. We manage new technology introduction by bringing in consultants to handle the implementation and to train our staff how to maintain it. We try to always have two people familiar with any single piece of technology." John White on Atlanta. White is the manager of enterprise computing, Cluett, Peabody and Co., Atlanta.

"It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious." Alfred North Whitehead

"Furious activity is no substitute for understanding." H. H. Williams

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