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March 26, 2013

Nationally acclaimed engineering historian to lecture at OHIO on March 28 

Henry Petroski, Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and Professor of History at Duke University, will lecture on the similarities and differences between engineers and scientists from 3:30-5 p.m. on Thursday in Ohio University’s Baker University Center Theatre.

A nationally renowned engineering historian, Petroski notes that engineers and scientists are often grouped under the single title, “scientists,” but this masks some fundamental differences in how the “two scientific cultures” think and what they do. To further complicate the matter, the methods and goals of engineers and scientists often overlap in the real world of research and development.

Petroski notes that the situation is not helped by the mass media and by popular culture, which, when they make a distinction at all, often promote professional stereotypes that are not helpful for developing or aiding an informed public, discriminating politicians, and enlightened public policy.

Presented by Ohio University’s Fritz J. And Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology, his talk will employ historical examples such as the electrical engineer Charles Steinmetz, who was also a mathematician, and the prototypical scientist Albert Einstein, who was also an accomplished inventor.

The lecture, which is part of the Stocker Lecture Series, is free and open to the public.

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