The distinction between science and engineering is clear. Science is the process of understanding what is. Engineering is the process of creating what has not been. Such descriptions have been credited to Einstein, Von Karman, and others. I suspect that few of us would disagree. The process of science yields understanding. The process of engineering yields artifacts.

In practice, engineering and science are sometimes intertwined. Having said this, I find the meaning of the phrase “engineering science” to be unclear. Does it describe a process? Is it a name given to engineering domain knowledge? Is it a branch of science? Most importantly, for me as a member of an engineering faculty, what is the relationship between engineering science and engineering?

As I try to decipher the meaning of engineering science, a thicket of related questions appear. Are we preparing our students...

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