Gordon Rogers'
The Nature of Engineering


Gordon Rogers proposed an overarching theory about what engineering, or more generally technology, is and has put this into the context of broader human knowledge.

The theory delineates science, engineering and technology and describes the essential differences between technology and that of science being science answers the 'why' question and technology the 'how'. Science developed when theories and verifiable experiments began to be carried out on natural phenomena. Technology evolved out of craft and technics when coherent theories were developed for what had been logical reasoning and rules of thumb. This distinction allows an appreciation of the different but complimentary roles of science and technology. Science aims to establish better theories while engineering's goals are to improve the efficiency of our products and constructions.

The theory examines the basis of creativity in engineering through the process of engineering design. It broadens to examine the ethical problems raised by technology and how decisions are maded in the technological sphere and examines the way society can exercise broad control.

Finally, he speculates on the role of the engineers in the future and concludes that technology can enhance the lives of the poorer countries not only the favoured few. He also notes that engineering and technology can enhance individual lives by creating the time needed for people to engage in other activities to understand the physical world through scientific endeavour, explore their feelings about human world though arts, music and poetry, reflect on the mysteries of life though philosophy and religion, and attempt to wrestle with human relationships through literature and psychology.


G. F. C. Rogers,

The Nature of Engineering - a philosophy of knowledge
The MacMillan Press Ltd, 1983
ISBN 0 333 34741 2