Hi, I am FrauTech and I am a mechanical engineer. I blog over at Design. Build. Play. as well as at Engineer Blogs. I've been following the Science Blogging community for a couple years now and in fact it is this larger community that inspired me to try my hand at blogging. It's been very exciting to see science blogging gain in popularity and following. And while I've felt like these were my kind of people, the people who talk about how kickass their science is, I've wondered how and where I fit in.
One of the questions I'm constantly thinking about is, is engineering science? I pondered this question over at my own blog. I believe there are many engineers in academia or research labs who are doing science. But the typical engineer working in private industry does not necessarily do science as a part of their job on a daily basis. So when the fine folks here at Scientopia asked me to guest blog I was very honored but still unsure as to my place in the science blogging community. That was part of the reason several other blogging engineers and myself started Engineer Blogs.
One of the strange things we've found so far is the lack of engineers in the blogosphere. And I'd like to postulate some reasons for why this might be. It's no surprise science blogging can be a little life sciences heavy. This is probably because these topics are easy to understand and get interested in by people not necessarily in the field. Compare that to say, "pure" mathematics, and it's plain to see who's blogging and who's getting read. Back in the day there were all these great videos like Disney's Man in Space. America had its first pre-Obama Sputnik moment.
But now despite the closeness in the average person's life to computers, their iPhone, and complex and advanced automotive systems there seems to be less of an interest. I don't think this is engineering only, certainly scientists suffer the lack of interest in what they do and how they do it. My second explanation for the lack of engineers in the blogosphere is the kind of work they do and the fear in discussing it. Academia seems to me to be the last bastion of a place where people's jobs are protected enough that a certain percentage of them can speak out with no fear. But for private companies there's an emphasis on secrecy. Despite the recent ruling in favor of the fired employee who complained on Facebook I think the general trend is in the other direction. And this is why I blog under a pseudonym.
So where does this leave engineering in the science community? I think it can definitely be a part of the science blogging world, despite not always being research-oriented. And I think like many other less glamorous parts of science the only thing to do is to keep writing and keep persevering because if I love engineering this much certainly that must come across in my writing at least some of the time and maybe more engineers will come along and write about what they do and the online STEM community as a whole will be all the better for it.
Thanks for having me here and I look forward to having discussions and interacting with this community over the next couple weeks.