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Thanksgiving – Engineering

As an exercise in almsgiving over the next 40 days, this webpage will joyfully give up its praise and thanks for one aspect of life, and not always necessarily a religious one.

Necessity is the mother of invention… anon.

Ever since humankind happened upon fire by chance, and desired a means of harnessing it at will, there has been a need for the services of engineers. Early inventions, such as the pulley, the lever and the wheel now look like children’s toys alongside modern counterparts yet their enduring application make them ideal examples of the true essence of engineering – the art of working with basic mechanical principles in order to develop useful tools and objects.

In the middle ages the term “engineer” related solely to the military world, with the development of bigger, faster, more powerful and mobile weaponry the great driver of change. Thankfully the era from the industrial revolution through to present day has added new fields of endeavour to the profession, so much so that we now have civil, aeronautical, audio, mechanical, biological, robotic, chemical, mining and electrical engineers, and the list is only continuing to grow.

At heart it is still all about service; a problem needs to be solved and engineers come up with a solution. Often it is not glamorous work but the real beauty lies in the intricacy of the design and build, and in the pain or frustration that is avoided by finding the problem’s solution. Think of the engineers that designed the Panama Canal and shaved weeks off of a trading ships’ travel time. In the not too distant future how grateful will all those who quiver at the thought of injections be when medicine patches will replace needles?

There are of course occasions when engineers do get to step up their game and safeguard the design and builds of something truly beautiful like the Millau Viaduct, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao or the Porsche Spyder.

For this, and for so much other beneficial work, we pay tribute to all those children who dipped deeply into their bucket of lego or meccano sets, and emerged out the other side with an engineering degree. The world is a better place for you having taken up the challenge to create technology and products which help make our lives easier.

Millau Viaduct

The Millau Viaduct in France

Previous thanksgiving article: Charm

The season of Lent asks of us for sacrifice and the foregoing of many things, but an attitude of joy and gratitude should not be amongst them.

As an exercise in almsgiving over the next 40 days, this webpage will joyfully give up its praise and thanks for one aspect of life, and not always necessarily a religious one.

At the outset it should be made clear the viewpoints expressed here are a matter of individual opinion. If any one item doesn’t coincide with your own personal tastes then why not seek to better it with some thanksgiving of your own rather than a critique? You are always welcome to do so at the Archdiocesan website feedback mechanism.

So we invite you to come, walk with us awhile, and be thankful as we journey together to Calvary and beyond to Easter.

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