with Ed Insel
On Monday we started class with some brief introductions. I shared a general description of engineering jobs I’ve held and the types of assignments and career progression engineers enjoy.
Our first topic is the most fundamental core engineering skill: maintaining good records. Two-student teams were shown samples of lab notes from Alexander Graham Bell, Albert Einstein, Linus Pauling, Charles Darwin, and the Manhattan Project. Each team came up with observations about legibility, analysis, and writing style. I gave each student their own Engineering Journal, the kind most often found in engineering (as opposed to the style used by basic research groups). As a whole group we took what they had learned and came up with a list of “rules” we are going to follow. They’re not rigorous, and they couldn’t withstand a patent challenge, but they address basic journal-writing discipline and are a good place to start.
Homework for Next Session
Their first homework assignment deals with conducting a literature review. Research is not synonymous with “Google” or “Wikipedia”! For my generation the big challenge was finding published information, but what we did get was peer-reviewed and reliable. This generation can access vast amounts of information but must decide which data is reliable. Their assignment is:
Email me their results by midnight Friday so I can compile them. In next week’s warm-up we’ll compare our findings to see if search results really are biased by our online profiles.