While many engineering books speak to "doing" engineering, precious few focus on the concept of "being" an engineer. Hence, this book, which is a reflection on the human side of engineering. The contents are drawn from two different, but parallel, columns Ron Britton wrote for the Keystone Professional, the official magazine of Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba (formerly the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba). The Thoughts on Design column started in 2001 as an explanation of the opportunities provided by the award of one of the first Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Chairs in Design Engineering. The Engineering Philosophy 101 column came about in 2006, following a discussion relating to the philosophical foundations of engineering ethics. Consequently, this is a book about how one engineer has reacted to circumstances that involve engineers, either directly or peripherally, including engineering successes and failures. It reflects on how engineers should--and hopefully do--fit into and contribute to our ever-changing world, speaks to the privileges and responsibilities society has provided the profession in exchange for the right to self-government within that profession, and reflects on the constraints of professional practice and the creative possibilities that parallel those limitations.
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About the Author
Ron Britton became registered as a professional engineer in 1964, two years after graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He spent five years after his graduation working in industry with positions in Winnipeg, MB, Toronto, ON, and London, ENG. In 1967, he returned to school and obtained an MSc (University of Manitoba) and a PhD (Texas A&M). From that point on, he dedicated his life to academia, serving as a professor of engineering at the University of Manitoba. At various points throughout his career, he has served as President of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba, President of the Canadian Society of Agricultural Engineering, President of the Canadian Engineering Education Association, and President of the Canadian Society of Senior Engineers. He is also a Fellow of the Canadian Society of Agricultural Engineering, a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of Engineers Canada, and a 3M Teaching Fellow. In addition, he has been recognized as an Honorary Life Member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba, a Professor Emeritus of the University of Manitoba, and has received both the Medal for Distinction in Engineering Education and the Meritorious Service Award – Professional Service from Engineers Canada.