Engineering Quotes

“The road to success is always under construction”
Get it right….CIVIL ENGINEERS

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A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
- Douglas Adams

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Aeroplanes are not designed by science, but by art in spite of some pretence and humbug to the contrary. I do not mean to suggest that engineering can do without science, on the contrary, it stands on scientific foundations, but there is a big gap between scientific research and the engineering product which has to be bridged by the art of the engineer.
- British Engineer to the Royal Aeronautical Society, 1922.

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A good scientist is a person with original ideas. A good engineer is a person who makes a design that works with as few original ideas as possible
- Freeman Dyson

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A great bridge is a great monument which should serve to make known the splendour and genius of a nation; one should not occupy oneself with efforts to perfect it architecturally, for taste is always susceptible to change, but to conserve always in its form and decoration the character of solidity which is proper.
- Jean Peronnet

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An engineer is someone who is good with figures, but doesn’t have the personality of an accountant.
- An Arts graduate’s view of engineers

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Architects and engineers are among the most fortunate of men since they build their own monuments with public consent, public approval and often public money.
- John Prebble

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A theory may be so rich in descriptive possibilities that it can be made to fit any data.
- Phillip Johnson-Laird

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Engineering is the art of modelling materials we do not wholly understand, into shapes we cannot precisely analyse so as to withstand forces we cannot properly assess, in such a way that the public has no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance.
- Dr AR Dykes

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Engineering problems are under-defined, there are many solutions, good, bad and indifferent. The art is to arrive at a good solution. This is a creative activity, involving imagination, intuition and deliberate choice.
- Ove Arup

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Engineering refers to the practice of organizing the design and construction [and, I would add operation] of any artifice which transforms the physical world around us to meet some recognized need.
- GFC Rogers

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Engineers … are not mere technicians and should not approve or lend their name to any project that does not promise to be beneficent to man and the advancement of civilization
- John Fowler

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Engineers … are not superhuman. They make mistakes in their assumptions, in their calculations, in their conclusions. That they make mistakes is forgivable; that they catch them is imperative. Thus it is the essence of modern engineering not only to be able to check one’s own work but also to have one’s work checked and to be able to check the work of others.
- Henry Petroski

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Experience serves not only to confirm theory, but differs from it without disturbing it, it leads to new truths which theory only has not been able to reach.
- Dalembert

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From the laying out of a line of a tunnel to its final completion, the work may be either a series of experiments made at the expense of the proprietors of the project, or a series of judicious applications of the results of previous experience.
- HS Drinker

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Go for civil engineering, because civil engineering is the branch of engineering which teaches you the most about managing people. Managing people is a skill which is very, very useful and applies almost regardless of what you do.
- Sir John Harvey Jones

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He … insists that no mathematical formula, however exact it may appear to be, can be of greater accuracy than the assumptions on which it is based, and he draws the conclusion that experience still remains the great teacher and final judge.
- James Kip Finch

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He was living like an engineer in a mechanical world. No wonder he had become dry as a stone.
- Simone de Beauvoir

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His father loved him dearly, but his work, that of a civil engineer, had left him with but little time for his family. Energetic, active, and always taken up with some responsible work, he did not spoil his children with excessive tenderness.
- Mme Estafavia

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I am an old man now, and when I die and go to Heaven there are two matters on which I hope for enlightement. One is quantum electrodynamics and the other is the turbulent motion of fluids. And about the former I am rather more optimistic.
- Sir Horace Lamb

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Improvement makes strait roads: but the crooked roads without Improvement are roads of Genius.
- William Blake

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In practical work he can be ingenious with regard to modifying apparatus; he uses engineering rather than imagination.
- Head Teacher’s reference for a student applying to University

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It takes an engineer to undertake the training of an engineer and not, as often happens, a theoretical engineer who is clever on a blackboard with mathematical formulae but useless as far as production is concerned.
- The Rev EB Evans

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Let him not be grasping nor have his mind preoccupied with … receiving perquisites, but let him with dignity keep up his position by establishing a good reputation. No work can be rightly done without honesty and incorruptibility.
- Vitruvius

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Men build bridges and throw railroads across deserts, and yet they contend successfully that the job of sewing on a button is beyond them. Accordingly, they don’t have to sew buttons.
- Heywood Broun

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No greater care is required upon any works than upon such as are to withstand the action of water; for this reason, all parts of the work need to be done exactly according to the rules of the art which all workmen know, but few observe.
- Sextus Julius Frontinus

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Nor aught availed him now
To have built in heaven high towers; nor did he scape
By all his engines, but was headlong sent
With his industrious crew to build in hell.
- John Milton

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Nothing can be of great worth or holy which is the work of builders and mechanics.
- Zeno, Stoic Philosopher

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Nothing is so inspiring as seeing big works well laid out and planned and a real engineering organisation.
- Frederick Handley Page

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One has to watch out for engineers – they begin with the sewing machine and end up with the atomic bomb.
- Marcel Pagnol

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Phases of a Project:
1 — Exultation
2 — Disenchantment
3 — Search for the Guilty
4 — Punishment of the Innocent
5 — Praise for the Uninvolved
- Anon

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The joy of engineering is to find a straight line on a double logarithmic diagram.
- Thomas Koenig

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The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong, it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair.
- Douglas Adams

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There can be little doubt that in many ways the story of bridge building is the story of civilisation. By it we can readily measure an important part of a people’s progress.
- Franklin D Roosevelt

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Therefore O students study mathematics and do not build without foundations.
- Leonardo Da Vinci

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…as for earthquakes, though they were still formidable, they were so interesting that men of science could hardly regret them.
- Bertrand Russell

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This is not the age of pamphleteers. It is the age of engineers. The spark-gap is mightier than the pen. Democracy will not be salvaged by men who talk fluently, debate forcefully and quote aptly.
- Lancelot Hogben

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We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.
- Winston Churchill

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When engineers and quantity surveyors discuss aesthetics and architects study what cranes do we are on the right road.
- Ove Arup

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You have been found guilty of indulging in unnatural practices under one of London’s most beautiful bridges.
- Judge reprimanding prisoner before sentence
Urban myth at the Bar

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