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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
Krmn
(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

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

Art
Literature
Philosophy (lateral ways of thinking and observing matters from various
perspectives)
Focused on theory, but gave little attention to experimentation and
verification and on practical applications. (Herodotus: well known to be
the Father of History)

Greeks are well known to the first harbor builders, i.e. 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. Additionally, Greece consists and numerous islands.
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, Temples, and shrines. (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.

4- The Romans
- Romans are the most famous engineers of antiquity
- Romans were practical builders who relied more on experience than on
mathematical logic and science.
- Romans devoted their engineering efforts for public works as compared to their
predecessors.
- Arenas
- Roads (the Appian Way)
- Bridges
- Town halls (for informal public meetings)
- Baths
- Public forums (for public speeches and elections)
- Wooden bucket wheels
- Aqueducts

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

B- Engineering in the Middle Ages:


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

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