RES.LL-004 | Spring 2022 | Non-Credit

LL EduCATE: Introduction to Engineering Concepts


As you can tell, there are many different ways to approach the “intentional art of problem solving” that is engineering. Each of the engineering subfields provides different tools and techniques to address different problems, although they all share core skills and a common development process. Regardless of which engineering subfields you find interesting, hopefully you can see what a powerful tool engineering can be to address today’s Big Problems. For example, we will need environmental engineers to work on decarbonization for climate change, biomedical engineers to work on new cancer treatments, and mechanical engineers to create advanced prosthetics. We will need civil engineers to build the next generation of infrastructure, nuclear engineers to propel safe fusion and fission power, and electrical engineers to design new solar panels for renewable energy. We will need software engineers and computer scientists to build the automation for self-driving cars and data scientists to find new pharmaceutical therapies. These Big Problems will help define the next generation of our lives.  

Ask yourself: what might you do as an engineer to solve these problems? What experiments might you design? What teams might you build? Could you bring together your engineering peers to tackle these Big Problems? 

These Big Problems may seem daunting or even insurmountable, but it’s important to remember that every Big Problem is just made up of Smaller Problems. Additionally, you will be collaborating with many team members to complement each other on your skill sets as you work through those Smaller Problems. By applying yourself to the art of engineering you can make a difference on the Big Problems and the Smaller Problems too. Remember how we defined engineering, at the beginning? 

Engineering is the art of intentional problem solving, using mathematical and scientific principles, to produce an optimized solution. 

So, if you have a problem to solve, go out and apply your engineering skills! Use engineering to find the best way to cook hard-boiled eggs, like MIT graduate J. Kenji López-Alt, or to get every last drop of ketchup out of a bottle, like Dr. Kripa Varanasi at MIT. We hope that you can use the resources in this lesson and the skills you have learned from the experiments to bring engineering practices into your lives and, if you want, pursue engineering as a career. We at MIT Lincoln Laboratory thank you for taking the time to participate in this course, and wish you all the best in your future engineering endeavors. Happy problem solving!

On completion of the course, download your Certificate of Completion (PDF).

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