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Engineering can be defined as 'the putting together of things.'(Internet source, 'What is engineering?') This definition has summarized a profession that dates back to ancient times. Many things have been accomplished by early engineers. The great pyramids in Egypt for example are an engineering marvel still today. The massive structures look simple but they took great skill to construct. The complex ventilation systems and rooms took brilliant engineers to design. The people in that era had very few tools to help them build the pyramids so engineers had to devise a way to lift the ponderous stones and place them where they were needed. Engineering has many applications, and is one of the most widely used and needed professions in the world.

The building of the great pyramids is just one small facet of engineering. Engineering is not one broad profession but is a profession consisting of several specialized branches. Historically, engineering can be divided into four primary disciplines. These are civil, mechanical, chemical, and electrical engineering. Additionally

engineering is a cornerstone of nuclear technology, mining, and environmental control. Each of the four primary disciplines have a long and rich history.

Civil engineering is the oldest of the four disciplines. It involves the construction and design of all types of structures and facilities. The construction of bridges, road, canals, airfields, buildings, and tunnels are all structures which require the skills of a civil engineer. Most projects involving a civil engineer are for public use. Civil engineering can be broken down even further into fields such as structural engineering, sanitary engineering, and irrigation engineering. More recent specializations include municipal and traffic engineering. In many ways civil engineering has not changed as far as buildings and structures are concerned.

The Romans were one of the first peoples to include massive construction and complex transportation systems into their daily life. The Roman people used the knowledge of civil engineering to construct the first paved roads, aqueducts, sewage systems, and ports for ships. Incredibly, they accomplished these feats without the aid of machines or modern technology. These facilities were as impressive then as They are now. Many of them have withstood the test of time and are in existence even today.

The second discipline is Mechanical engineering. It is based upon the inventions of the early 19th century. It involves the testing of all types of industry machines and engines. This field of study is concerned with the design and development of all things

mechanical. There a several subdisciplines such as agricultural engineering, automotive engineering, and marine engineering among others. Without the expertise of people involved in this highly skilled branch of engineering, we would be experiencing a more

primitive and difficult way of life. Mechanical engineering along with civil engineering provide society with a better standard of living.

Mechanical engineering evolved many centuries after civil engineering. It's roots are imbedded with the advent of the Industrial Revolution. Mechanical engineering is a direct offshoot of the Industrial Revolution. With inventions of machines such as the

steam engine and the locomotive, there became a need for an advanced field to develop and produce new and complex machines.

The newest of the four main engineering disciplines is chemical engineering. This is a field involving the conversion of fossil fuels such as oil and petroleum into products we use in our everyday life. This branch of engineering deals with the design of equipment and processes concerned with the manufacturing of oil-derived products by means of harnessing the power of chemical reactions. Chemical engineering is different from other classes of engineering because it makes use of a third science that the other three lack. This is the science of chemistry. This highly scientific field is also based upon the laws physics and fundamental rules of mathematics.

With the invention of the internal combustion engine, created by mechanical engineers, a need developed for experts to deal with the chemicals involved with the operations of such machines. It was in this time period that chemical engineering made its place among the other engineering fields. Although chemical engineering is relatively

young, it is a recognized profession. Its first founders and creators lived a century ago. People have experimented with chemicals for hundreds of years but they were sometimes labeled as witches or demons. Those years are in the past now and chemical engineers are

some the most respected people in the field of engineering.

The fourth discipline is Electrical engineering. Electrical engineering covers the design, installation, and maintenance of electrical systems. Electrical engineering is the largest and most diverse field of engineering. This fourth discipline relies on electricity and the energy produced by it. Electrical engineers have created some of the most popular inventions of modern times. They have invented the television, computer, robotics, radar, lasers, and telecommunications.

Electrical engineering evolved during the latter part of the 19th century. The increasing availability of electricity to the public stimulated the technology used by electrical engineers. Electrical engineering doesn't have a long history like some other

fields because it could not exist without electricity. The pioneers of this discipline include Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein. Without such radical thinkers, electrical engineers might not exist today. There are several specialties included in the diverse field of

electrical engineering. This discipline can be divided into four branches: electric power and machinery, electronics, communications and control, and computers.

The field that captures my interest is an offshoot of electrical engineering. Computer engineering is a more recent specialty stemming from electrical engineering. This field, virtually unknown just a few decades ago, is now among the most rapidly growing fields of study. This division of engineering involves the design and manufacture of memory systems, central processing units, and peripheral devices. Computers are becoming as common as televisions in people's households. The need for a computer is growing and so is the ability of computer engineers to meet those needs. Computers are

becoming an integral part of everyday life. Newer technology is allowing computer engineers to become more proficient in the way they design and manufacture computers. Computers are able to make extremely large calculations and do the most complex of math problems. 'Possibly the largest single calculation was accomplished by physicists at IBM in 1995 solving one million trillion mathematical problems by continuously running 448 computers for two years to demonstrate the existence of a previously hypothetical subatomic particle called a glueball.'(Encarta 97 'Computer' Timothy Law Snyder pg.3) Now computer engineers are developing ways to make calculations one hundred times faster. With the development of newer and faster computers, comes the creation of an easier and more comfortable standard of life.

The history of computing began with an analog machine created in 1623 by German scientist Wilhelm Schikard. His invention used 11 complete and 6 incomplete sprocketed wheels that could add, multiply, and divide. Another scientist, Blaise Pascal, invented a machine in 1642 that added and subtracted without outside assistance. Later, a

German mathematician, Gottfried Leibniz, enabled multiplication on Pascal's machine. In the early 19th century a French inventor, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, devised a loom that was a specialized type of computer. His machine punched cards to program patterns that made

woven fabrics by the loom. His looms are still used today, especially in the manufacture of fine furniture fabrics. The first mechanical computer that had the capacity to use decimal points was designed in the 1820's by British scientist Charles Babbage. He never

built his machine, but it was the first computer to have a 20 decimal capacity. He had plans for another machine, called the Analytical Engine, which could efficiently perform all arithmetic operations. Babbage never built ...

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