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THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY IN CAIRO

ENGR 1001/101 – Introduction to Engineering
Chapter 1: History of Engineering
Crucial Definitions:
+ Origin of the Word “Engineering”:
The term Engineering is derived from the Latin word “ingenium” which means “ingenuity”
and other synonyms such as “cleverness”, “intelligence”, “dexterity”. Engineering is also
derived from the Latin word “ingeniare” which means to “invent” and other synonyms such
as “devise”, “plan”, “design” …etc.
+ Definition of “Engineering”:
The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) defines engineering as:
“the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences gained by
study, experience, and practice is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize,
economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind.”
Both the engineer and scientist are thoroughly educated in the mathematical and natural
sciences, but the scientist primarily uses this knowledge to acquire new knowledge, whereas
the engineer applies the knowledge to design and develop usable devices, structures, and
processes. In short, the scientist seeks to know, the engineer aims to do.
As
stated
by
Theodore
von
Kármán
(1881 –
1963,
a HungarianAmerican mathematician, aerospace engineer, and physicist): “Scientists explore what is;
engineers create what had not been.”

ENGR 1001 – Chapter 1: “History of Engineering” – Dr. Hany Fayek

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“The engineers of ancient Egypt sought to build the tallest. . A.Ropes .Levers . Hence.The Greeks . the aforementioned statement is of great responsibility encompassed by limited time of study and research.The Egyptians .Public water supplies . In a broad sense.Irrigation networks got more sophisticated due to the annual flooding of the Nile .Wheeled cart is said to have first appeared .The Greeks are best known and remembered for their abstract “logic” and their ability to “theorize” and “synthesize” the knowledge of the past related to predecessor humankind civilizations.Rollers . The palaces.Engineering in the Early Civilizations: 1.Dams .Wooden sledges . + Objective of Chapter 1: “History of Engineering” Briefly trace the development of engineering from the earliest recorded times to the present day.Temples . ENGR 1001 – Chapter 1: “History of Engineering” – Dr. However. one can only briefly outline the highlights of engineering history. its roots can be traced to the dawn of civilization itself. broadest.Pyramids.Transportation systems (ship building due to the existence of the river Nile) .Earth ramps .History of Engineering: Engineering did not exist by royal command/order or created by legislative announcement.Canals for flood control . and its progress parallels the progress of mankind.Copper chisels 3. it has evolved and developed as a practical art and a profession over more than 50 centuries of recorded history.City walls .Hammurabi (first legislation in the history of mankind) 2.Experts in “planning” and “Construction” . and most durable structures the entire world would ever witness.The Mesopotamians . and tombs were designed as symbols of triumphant and everlasting power.Tower of Babel . Hany Fayek 2 . temples. Undoubtedly.

Temples. Hany Fayek 3 .Roads (the Appian Way) . i.Arenas .Romans devoted their engineering efforts for public works as compared to their predecessors. 4. (The Acropolis: overlooking the city of Athens) Tunnels and trenches A “trench” is a type of excavation or depression in the ground that is generally deeper than its width and narrower than its length. Experts in “Navigation” → (Pharos: first light house in the world and the port of Alexandria and the Pharos is still one of the seven wonders of the world) Breakwater Statues.Town halls (for informal public meetings) .Wooden bucket wheels .Romans were “practical builders” who “relied more on experience” than on mathematical logic and science. and shrines. . but gave little attention to “experimentation” and “verification” and on “practical applications”.Bridges . Additionally.Public forums (for public speeches and elections) .Aqueducts ENGR 1001 – Chapter 1: “History of Engineering” – Dr.Romans are the most famous engineers of antiquity . .The Romans .- - - Art Literature Philosophy (lateral ways of thinking and observing matters from various perspectives) Focused on “theory”.Baths . artificial harbor builders” by virtue of Greece being a peninsula and cut by many mountainous terrain or topography which made land transportation and communication very hard to achieve. (Herodotus: well known to be the “Father of History”) Greeks are well known to the “first harbor builders.e. Greece consists and numerous islands.

and encircling wide ditches spanned by a single bridge for each fortress and castle .Cannons and gun powder .D.D.Engineering in the Twentieth Century: ENGR 1001 – Chapter 1: “History of Engineering” – Dr.Catapults . 1750 – 1900 E.B.Advancements in Engineering: A.Spinning wheel .Engineering progress was noticed mainly within the structural and architectural engineering domains.Improved water wheels . 1300 – 1750 D.Hinged rudder ships .The “Middle Ages” are approximately referred to the “eight centuries” following the fall of the Roman Empire .Spring wheel (smoother ride and lower noise as compared to solid or spoke wheels) .Relatively few advances in engineering were accomplished .Cathedrals with stained glass windows . energy saving.Engineering in the Middle Ages: . Hany Fayek 4 .Massive fortresses and castles with thick walls.The Advancement of Science: CIRCA A. and power-enhancing machines and devices .Developments in the “processes” of: Iron casting Manufacture of textiles Making paper C. tall protective towers.Windmills .