Technological Cycles and their Impact on Science, Engineering and Engineering Education
Large information systems involving mechanisms of duplicating and selecting information have an important common feature -- their cyclic behavior. Technological development does not occur at a continuous steady pace but involves technological leaps and revolutions when an old technology is replaced by a technology of new generation within relatively short period of time. A technological revolution is followed by a longer period of more steady, incremental development. Similar cycles are known in economics, science, history, biology and other areas. We discuss the cyclic nature of the evolution of human knowledge and find that the inventiveness and flexibility of the engineering approach has played a highly positive role at the turning points of technological development. Engineering methodology has to adapt to changing conditions and its ability to learn quickly from both science and environment is one of the main recipes for overall success of engineering. The inventive and active nature of engineering profession is reflected in the realities of engineering education: future engineers do need to be taught science and economics but the styles of education adopted in science and engineering are not the same.
Keywords: Technological Evolution, Science, Engineering, Engineering Education
Dr. Alexander Y Klimenko
Senior Lecturer, School of Engineering, The University of Queensland