Difference between Scientist and Engineer

Key Difference: A scientist is a person that works in a specific field to acquire or uncover knowledge. The main job of a scientist is to research using the scientific method and to uncover previous unknown things about a certain subject. An engineer is a person that applies scientific knowledge, mathematics and imagination to develop real life solutions for technical problems. The purpose of an engineer is to design equipment or models that serve real life purpose with the aims of reducing cost.

The terms scientist and engineer are confused and are used synonymously many times, specially in news articles. For many there is no difference between the two terms, while to others there is a huge difference as to the tasks that are performed by these people. Scientists are believed to work in the scientific field and to acquire knowledge, while engineers work in a physical field to use knowledge to develop real-life applications. So, it can be said that scientists understand how something works and why, while engineers use that knowledge and create something work able out of that. In many places, both the terms overlap, with many scientists helping build real life applications and many engineers contributing to the development of something scientific.

A scientist is a person that works in a specific field to acquire or uncover knowledge. The main job of a scientist is to research using the scientific method and to uncover previous unknown things about a certain subject. A scientist could be an expert in one subject or various subjects that may or may not overlap. For example, chemical scientists work to uncover new chemicals by mixing previously known ones or try and understand the nature of chemicals and how they react and why. Scientists are responsible for understanding the nature of an object and why does it act the way it does and what would happen if it were changed or altered.

It can be said that majority of scientists work is conducted indoors in a lab. However, this is not always true; there are many scientists that work outdoors. There is a sub category in science that is known as applied science. An applied scientist works with the aim of developing new technologies that could serve for practical methods. Scientists conduct the research behind the new technology and how it can be made to be more practical in usage. Scientists are broadly defined into two categories: theoreticians and experimentalists. Theoreticians develop new models to explain existing data and predict new results, while experimentalists test new data by using mathematics and measurements.

An engineer is a person that applies scientific knowledge, mathematics and imagination to develop real life solutions for technical problems. The purpose of an engineer is to design equipment or models that serve real life purpose with the aims of reducing cost. These days many engineers are automatically associated with computers or futuristic gadgets, which is one of the many different fields in engineering. Engineers must design while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety, and cost. The term ‘engineer’ is derived from Latin ‘ingeniare’ and ‘ingenium’, meaning “to contrive, devise” and “cleverness”, respectively.

Engineers are closely related to scientists as they dabble in applied sciences using already researched and developed materials to develop new equipment that can be used in daily life. For example: a scientist discovers foam, an engineer takes that foam and builds a comfortable chair.” They have more work in research and development. The U.S. Department of Labor explains the job of engineers as, “The work of engineers forms the link between scientific discoveries and their subsequent applications to human needs and quality of life.”

The major difference between the scientists and engineers lie in what they do with information. Scientists are responsible for discovering new things and trying to link them together. Scientists answer the questions who, what, when, where, how. Now, engineers take the answers provided by scientists and try to work them in every day life with the aim of bettering the human lives and making it easier. These days, many functions of engineers and scientists are overlapping.

Image Courtesy: thepickledhedgehog.com, mechanical-engineers.regionaldirectory.us

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