What is Engineering?: Crash Course Engineering #1

What is Engineering?: Crash Course Engineering #1

You live in a world of creations. All of the things you see around me were created
by people. The technology that’s being used to record
me, and watch me, were likewise created. And not by lone geniuses, but by whole teams –
sometimes entire generations – of clever designers. Those designers were engineers. And engineers are, when it comes right down
to it, creators. The word “engineering” itself comes from
the Latin ingenium, meaning “cleverness”, and
ingeniare, meaning “to design or devise”. And that makes sense, since you have to be
clever if you’re going to solve the problems
that engineers face every day. Now, you might think of engineering as a kind
of science – and that’s not wrong. But it’s more useful to think of science as a tool, a
tool that engineers use – along with mathematics –
to perform their unique duties. Throughout this course, we’re going to show you
just what you can accomplish through engineering. Math is at the core of engineering, but what’s
more important are the ideas and the applications. They help us understand how we use math to
solve problems. So we’ll be teaching you some math, but
also the concepts that those equations explain,
in their own way. We’ll survey what we’ve already achieved,
explore what we’re still discovering, and dream
about what we hope to make possible. And we’ll show you the ideas you can use
to engineer great things! We want you to be inspired and as interested
in engineering as we are. That’s what this course is all about. I’m Dr. Shini Somara and this is Crash Course
Engineering. [Theme Music] Imagine you’re walking through town,
maybe on your way to class, or to the gym, or
to a meeting for work. And right there on the pavement you come across…a
blob. Of…something. It’s fairly large, and blue, and jiggly. Pretty strange, right?
What do you do? Well, you’re a curious person, and you know a little
something about scientific inquiry, so you want to
use science to study the blob. Maybe your background is in chemistry. So you might analyze the blob’s molecular
structure or the chemical components in it, to try
and figure out what the blob is made of. Or maybe the blob is moving or making sounds,
and you think it might be alive. So you might try to see how it responds to,
say, water or a poke with your pen. Maybe you even decide to remove a sample of
it to learn about the blob’s biology. You could even look at it from the perspective
of physics and see how it operates in motion. Maybe this goo has some special properties. Any of these responses would be approaching
the situation as a scientist. You’re curious about the blob and want to
understand it. That’s science. Scientists ask questions about the nature of the
universe, from our expanding knowledge of space, to
the tiniest particles found in the tip of your pencil. But engineers want to take the answers to
those questions and solve problems. Because, in the process of designing clever things,
what engineering really does is solve problems. And the good news is, you already know how
to think like an engineer. You’ve dabbled in engineering if you’ve
ever wondered what you can do with something. You’ve used your engineer’s mind if you went
outside on a snowy morning and built a snowman,
after figuring out the packing properties of the snow. I’m not saying you should put that on your
resume, but you do get a thumbs-up! So, from an engineering perspective, your
response to the mysterious sidewalk blob
would be a little different. But it may depend on what kind of engineer
you are. Today, engineering is much broader and more
varied than it used to be. That’s because engineering originally referred
specifically to military engineering. Military engineering involves designing and building
military works, along with ways of communicating and
transporting people and things. Think of catapults, trebuchets, and siege
towers. These types of war machines and military structures
have been found as far back as 11th century BCE,
by the Babylonians and Assyrians. You needed a good engineer if you want to
storm a castle. So from the perspective of this field, the
main problem that an engineer might want to
solve is simply how to destroy the blob. Or to protect yourself from it. Now, the first of the modern field of
engineering to emerge after military engineering
was civil engineering. This branch had its official start around
the 18th century. Like the name implies, civil engineering was used
for civilian purposes, rather than military ones. It focuses on building structures of all kinds,
along with highways, sanitation systems, and
even entire cities. Under this branch of engineering, we might want to
study the blob, to figure out what properties it has that
can be used to solve problems of daily civilian life. Like maybe the blob’s goo is better insulating
material than what’s currently in your house. Or maybe it turns out to be really elastic, or waterproof,
or have some other property that could make it useful
in construction, infrastructure, or urban planning. The 19th century led to an increasing focus
on the machinery industry, which gave rise to
the branch of mechanical engineering. Which I must say, as a mechanical engineer
myself, is a fine discipline! This branch focuses on machinery and mechanical
systems, from robots to engines. Thomas Savery and Thomas Newcomen, two English inventors who are credited with creating the steam engine in the early 1700s, were both mechanical engineers. And so was James Watt, the Scottish scientist
who made their design much more efficient by
recapturing the steam in the engine. The industrial revolution was led by mechanical
engineers like them. Then, electrical engineering was a natural
progression, once we were able to generate
electricity and create electronics. Dating back to the 19th century, electrical
engineering deals with devices and systems that can range anywhere from microchips and
cell phones to the giant power station generators
that help supply energy to big cities. Electrical and mechanical engineering
often come together to create some pretty
fantastic inventions. If you want a robot that can move about like we
do, you’re going to need a mechanical engineer
to set up the “skeleton” of the machine. Then, to give it a “heart” of electricity,
you’ll need an electrical engineer to provide
power to the robot with electronics. And if you want it to act like us too, you’ll
need someone skilled in computer science. But engineering doesn’t stop there. Another field was founded in the late 19th
century: chemical engineering. These engineers have quite a wide focus, not
only designing and operating chemical plants that
do things like refine oil and distill alcohol. They also deal with food, medicine, the environment,
and much more. They’re involved not only with the
preservatives and artificial flavors found in
the pizza pocket you ate last night, but also with the medicine you took the
next day to help your upset stomach. Together, civil, mechanical, electrical, and
chemical engineering are often seen as the four main
branches of engineering in the modern world. But there are many more fields that specialize
even further. We have aerospace engineers building machines
that fly in the air and space; nuclear engineers harnessing the energy
released from nuclear reactions; and biomedical engineers creating medical
equipment and devices to solve clinical problems. The list goes on! And one branch that supports all of them is
industrial engineering. Engineers in this field design and optimize
the facilities, equipment, and systems that many
other engineers use to create their products. Think of them as the support class of the
engineering world. They provide the all-important groundwork
for many of our engineering advances. We’ll need some industrial engineers to help us with
our factory when we start manufacturing our cool new
products based on whatever this blob is made of. With the power of engineering at our fingertips, we’ve
already been able to do some pretty amazing things. We’ve built spaceships that have sent people
to the moon and given Mars a few rovers, which are
fantastic works of engineering themselves. We’ve made artificial hearts to pump blood
through the human body and artificial limbs
to replace the ones that were lost. We’ve designed giant skyscrapers that wave
at the clouds and show the world just how
high we can reach. And we’ve only just begun! In the future, it’s very possible that we’ll
see advances like an artificial pancreas that
would effectively cure Type 1 Diabetes. And new nanotechnology that will show the
might of being small, and rockets that will finally send
people to Mars to hang out with those rovers. This and much more could all come from engineering. Maybe one day you’ll be the one to create
something truly amazing! As for the blob you found on the pavement,
I don’t know what that thing is. Maybe it’ll turn out to be a huge wad of
used chewing gum. Or maybe it’s a new lifeform. No matter what, it won’t be the first, or
last, mysterious object you’ll encounter
as a student of engineering. The world is full of strange things with great
potential for solving problems. When you use your engineering mind, everything
suddenly seems both perplexing and exciting. So, over the next forty-odd weeks, we’ll
show you how to build things. Design things. We’ll show you how to solve problems. We want you to be able to make things better
and figure out what’s next for the world. Because we all live in a world of creation,
and we want you to be a creator. Next time, we’ll continue our journey by
diving deeper into civil engineering. We’ll learn more about its history and the types
of work that civil engineers do, getting you one step
closer to being an engineering master of the universe. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you then! Crash Course Engineering is produced in association
with PBS Digital Studios. You can head over to their channel to check
out a playlist of their latest amazing shows, like The Origin of Everything, Infinite Series,
and Eons. Crash Course is a Complexly production and
this episode was filmed in the Doctor Cheryl C. Kinney
Studio with the help of these wonderful people. And our amazing graphics team is Thought Cafe.

David Anderson

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100 thoughts on “What is Engineering?: Crash Course Engineering #1

  1. LoopKC says:

    Hello Interesting engineering and anyone that’s reading

    I’m a mechanical engineer looking for work. I wanna do big things and help out people as best I can.

    If anyone has any Job leads, or networking connections I could make. Please contact me!

    Thanks! Have a great day

    Kyle Christensen

  2. Shockwave _123 says:

    you have no team your team is poop ok

  3. Shockwave _123 says:

    go Raping your dad

  4. Gillian Randall says:

    Huh, for how many videos on materials engineering are on the playlist later, it feels weird that Materials Science and Engineering is not listed here as a fundamental or main area.

    Really quick overview for the curious:
    Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) covers engineering everything that is made of stuff.
    Primary areas are metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites with a bunch of everything else thrown in. We learn about material properties and performance, how those are dependent on micro and nano and chemical structure, and how to use processing to make a material with whatever the desired properties are. And also how to characterize all those things, which is a large part of where the "science" in the name comes from.

  5. Teena Shivani says:

    When she mentioned sending humans to Mars I got so excited aaaaaa! I wanna be an aerospace engineer 😅😙

  6. Esther O says:

    I hate how she has a british accent but says ‘math’ without the s. It just doesnt sound right.

  7. Powhatan Potts says:

    My most favorite subject is bioengineering.☺

  8. ULT Legacy says:

    Why is there a upside down star In 4:50

  9. demonic Lord says:

    My dream job is engineering 😀

  10. Angelcorrea Vlogs says:

    I wanna be this when I grow up a computer engineering I’ve been wanting to do this as a kid and am already achieving my goal

  11. Emmanuel Maayalo says:

    Wow this is my time to start studying before I go for university, I love this…..Looking forward to learn…..

  12. santiago moriano says:


  13. Jalen Mcgee says:

    its a hot pocket not pizza pocket

  14. Jeremy Garst says:

    I prefer the term "flavors" of engineering

  15. Arsela Mallick says:

    I have always been good at math, but I am not a practical person at all. And I also hate physics. ://// So confusing

  16. Michael Carroll says:

    The Romans were superb civil engineers. Think roads and aquaducts. It didn't begin in the industrial revolution.

  17. paul holditch says:

    I’m the 1,000th comment!

  18. jayyTeęe s says:

    Currently working towards civil engineering

  19. AVV says:

    Hey! If you’re a student considering engineering or are currently in engineering, please subscribe to my channel! I will be posting content that may answer your questions or help you relate to the life of an engineer in the making. I will be dropping a lot more content soon. Thanks

  20. king doggie says:

    This channel is an accurate representation of what this age of internet offers. For people with creative and innovative minds, is the best thing. I honestly feel that people don't appreciate the recourses of the internet enough because this is enough to jump start a young mind to pursue what he/she wants in life

  21. Big B says:

    Whenever I get into a new field of study, I always make unrealistic expectations of what I'm going to do by the end of learning it. For Computer Science, it was to make a video game from scratch (WIP actually and it's going pretty well!). So, I guess my unrealistic project for engineering will be to design a web-shooter from Spider-Man.

    I don't expect it to be able to swing me across any gaps, of course – my goal is simply to design something that attaches to the wrist, shoots the "hook" projectile, and retracts back into the device. I want to make it rechargeable, too – I love renewable energy! My current idea is to use an electric motor (for reeling the string back in), have a pressurized "tiny tank" to shoot the hook, use a bit of electrical engineering to make a pressure detection system, and develop an automated system to pump air back into the tiny tank.

    With prior knowledge of Computer Science and programming, I think that this will be a LOT of fun.

    Awesome episode! I'm going to binge about five or six more tonight while taking notes and eating cake! 😀

  22. king__vari says:

    Did anybody notice the upsidown star when she started explaining what mechanical engineering was???

  23. Petroleum Engineering Zero To Hero says:

    Petroleum Engineering Zero to Hero

  24. HARI SCOTT says:

    Hurting the blob is a good idea

  25. HARI SCOTT says:

    Cuz you dont know if it feels pain or how it reacts

  26. HARI SCOTT says:

    Wait i have a bad idea bout dis cuz we build things that hurt others too and im scared it will hurt us ;-;



  28. lametalk says:

    Does crash course has podcast?

  29. CIVIL MCQs ssk says:


  30. BRENDA VALDEZ says:


  31. BRENDA VALDEZ says:


  32. BRENDA VALDEZ says:

    jk just kidding

  33. John Smith says:

    Have you made a video about military engineering.

  34. Mahokro says:

    I like physics alot, especially building, so people were like do mechanical engineering!
    I was very reluctant to do so, since I didnt know exactly what it is, but after this one ep, I think I like it 😀
    tnx crash course!

  35. 64bit Ninja says:

    Was there a tf2 reference

  36. Andyman Sand says:

    No, engineer means a person who knows and works or makes engines

  37. Turbofnis says:

    I absolutely love these engineering series!
    Will you guys do a video on Maritime Engineering in these series?

  38. D. G. says:

    Its easy to talk about it.

  39. Bestest Inventions says:

    7:04 Team Fortress – "support class"

  40. SyrpiC00L says:

    guys dont forget the epic theme song!

  41. Elisha May Topia says:

    Material Engineering student here

  42. Conrad Harrison says:

    Matter of perspective. Did mechanical engineer have the ingenuity to invent and bring steam engine into being, or was it ingenious humans who had the ability to bring steam engine into being, and as a consequence we described them as engineer. In the modern world seems they get the title before actually contribute anything.

  43. Noor Khan says:

    This was an amazing video, very insightful! kudos to the makers!

  44. Ejionye Emmanuel says:

    You are so awesome. please dont forget we engineers in metallurgy and materials

  45. Skyblue Electronics says:

    Great content check out our channel for more content like these.

  46. Conner Heim says:

    anyone hi

  47. mosquitobight says:

    An engineer is basically a salaried inventor. The customer gives you the specs. You slap together a prototype. The customer throws it back in your face. You modify the prototype. The customer throws it back in your face with slightly less force. You repeat until hopefully you get something the customer doesn't throw back. Deadlines and cost estimates are like bus schedules and weather predictions; they don't mean a thing.

  48. Maku - Kun says:

    Can somebody explain what civil engineer do because I want to become a civil engineer but I don't know why but I really want it I know its weird

  49. Nooby Noob says:

    7:05 heavy mixed with engine lol nice tf2

  50. Adalyn Bailey says:

    this is so boring can you make it a little better is mean seriously.

  51. Kaylee Dork says:

    Teacher: Why do you want to be a Engineer?

    Me: because I want to storm a castle!!

    Teacher: ………..HUH⁉⁉⁉

  52. Slidwitch says:

    7:05 Why is Heavy wearing an hard hat?

  53. E M says:

    This is a very excellent learning channel for young and old users. If you're new to this channel i recommend to watch this.

  54. Ryl says:

    I am in the right place. Since I'm having difficulty in what type of engineering I'll get this senior high. Thanks!

  55. Sebastián Anselmo Carretero says:

    Isn't civil engineering older, since you'd need a CITY for your seige weapons to be useful?

  56. aslam vahora says:

    Lets do a crash course on urban design and planning
    Please and Thank You

  57. Cloud Strife says:

    4:51 Yeyyyy, Im inspired as a mechanical engineering student!!

  58. BuddhaBebop says:

    symmetra is that you? no seriously theres a pokemon and a tf2 reference why wouldnt the host also be one?

  59. BuddhaBebop says:

    where might i find more in depth videos on engineering? im considering an engineering degree and i need something deeper

  60. April Kaye Soriano says:

    Wasn't mining engineering the inception of engineering?

  61. Catherine Ives says:

    how is taking a sample of a living thing ok? It's like an alien coming across you and taking a chunk of your body to study you. Civil Engineering started in the 18th century? So how where ancient buildings and structures built then?

  62. Kekero says:

    well, Civil engineering is actually pretty much as old as military, for example the irrigation networks that and the hanging gardens of Babylon possible. or just any irrigation in general. if you want to get into the rest of civil engineering look no further than the Romans. Rome was famous for its aqueducts and water systems, and invented methods of construction still used till this day they mastered city planning. sorry if i seem nitpicky but still a great video for engineering.

  63. Quan Mack says:

    I gave this a like because a pokemon template was used in the animation

  64. robert roberts says:

    a lot of people are engineers but can't actually make anything. any idiot can use a computer.

  65. robert roberts says:

    politicians hate us. we're much cleverer than them.

  66. Benjamin Calloway says:

    That TF2 reference was gold!

  67. Lingyuzi Alufai says:

    So social workers and sociologists are social engineers in that sense. They solve problems concerning equality and rights…

  68. WeirdoMouse 8541 says:

    If a blob of an unknown substance is randomly in front of you, please take proper procations in case it is Venom or something similar. Thank you!

  69. Michael Pilibosian says:

    My grandpa was a principal/lead engineer designed the Jeep HVEE for world war 2; Then designed the modern day city bus 🚌 after that he designed hummers and went in automotive engineering made millions.

  70. Rosay 3 says:

    tbh before i thought engineering was like just drawing and crafting or what so ever but now that i think about it, it involves geometry and math well i mean ofc but tbh i don't have any problem with learning math or geometry what will have a problem my brain is gonna explode but i've always wanted to be an engineer ik it's hard and all but i mean… take a risk 🙃 i'm all about risking (not really but okay) anyway i'm still in high school (9th) grade and this is the last trimester and i'm moving to 10th grade but i'll go through advanced…( idk y i write all of this but i mean…. ehhhh)

  71. Damon Coetzee says:

    We don’t get snow

  72. all inone says:

    "Engineering is Magic".

    – Elon Musk (2018)

  73. MinecraftHello says:

    Its Great! Because I Love Building

  74. Yousuf Eslam says:

    I wouldn't say engineering is creating. Since creating means starting from nothing. I would call it making.

  75. Kindral Kaare says:

    Who came here bcause you want to be a engineer

  76. Eff Sanchez says:

    Why am I watching this? I don’t even like Math.

  77. WKGames says:

    6:42 who noticed Hank Green?

  78. Sire Miro says:

    I failed the test lol

  79. Morsana Ahmed says:

    ey… how about Textile Engineering? you haven’t said anything about it. Doesn't it relate? or what? i dont know actually. can you tell?

  80. WhyNot says:

    How i explain the difference between Mathematicians and Engineers. Mathematics learn a lot of books so they could eventually understand them and understand their background. Mechanical Engineering: forget history, learn these massive books and how to use them, make no mistakes, make everything cheap and reliable. If you do anything different then smarter guys before you, we will burn you at stake if you do anything better we will steal your ideas. Steal anybody’s ideas. Quit, start your own company, be a sell out, get married and forget everything because now you are rich.

  81. HollywoodF1 says:

    No engineer is a Flat Earther.

  82. Demob Job Ltd says:

    Check out our latest video! Don't forget to like, comment and subscribe 😉

  83. Trueantitheist says:

    Scientists solve mysteries and discover things, engineers take those discoveries and apply them, this beautiful relationship is what makes our modern world tick.

  84. Glacial Claw says:

    What about a Mechatronics Engineer?

  85. KXD says:

    Engineering Is The Most Overhyped Profession Ever

  86. War Never Changes says:

    She looks like a Dark Elf I made in Morrowind once

  87. i'm okay :D says:

    gets 3x more intresting. great vid!

  88. Cosmo TaB says:

    maybe u should ENGINEER a razor and shave your beard…….

  89. Danny says:

    I like your YouTube videos. Keep up the good work. Anybody who has cooked a meal for themselves is a Cook, Anybody who has figured out how to do something is an Engineer.

  90. Becca The Lesbean says:

    I'm a high school student right now looking into engineering, specifically nuclear engineering. Even though I'm kind of bad at math. But this series is really good! It's helping me with looking into this stuff 🙂

  91. pok Lee says:

    Computer engineer

  92. Yash Nanda says:


  93. Khalim Harris says:

    geez… the most beautiful geeky, coolest, and "inspiring" doctor… ever.

  94. Forest Dewberry says:

    Sorry that this is off topic but she has an absolutely beautiful accent

  95. Julian Anderton-Richmond says:

    we are at scool

  96. Daniel Rodgers says:

    ugh… this would be good if the host didn't completely suck. She Sucks. Can you do this over with a Good host. She sucks

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