For most of us who are not very familiar with the exact duties of each scientific profession, the differences between geologists and engineers seems rather obvious since each profession has its own educational requirements, emphasizes a different area of science and most important has different titles. One is a geologist and the other is an engineer, so obviously they are very different.
However, geologists and engineers are actually far more similar than they first appear. With the many different professions that geologists and engineers have, such as biomedical engineering for example, their similarities start coming to the surface. In fact, there are Geological Engineers and Engineering Geologist and both have differences in what they actually do.
So what are the similarities and differences between geologists and engineers? It helps to start by identifying what each of these professions is first.
A geologist studies the solid and liquid matter that makes up what we know as the Earth. In addition, they study the processes and history that helped create our planet. You usually find geologists working for educational institutions, mining companies, weather centers, and even teaching about the history of the Earth itself.
An engineer is focused on what is known as applied science using specific knowledge, but often based in math to create solutions for technical issues. Engineers design structures, materials and systems for a wide variety of construction projects. In fact, the very word “engineer” is derived from two Latin words meaning “devise and cleverness”.
Engineer branches out to different areas such as aerospace engineering as opposed to mining for example, but all branches of engineering are essentially the same with differences based on the actual area it is employed.
What are the Similarities?
The main similarities between geology and engineering are founded in the materials each of them study and use on a daily basis. In mining companies for example, geologists and engineers often work side by side on the same issues in the discovery, mining and transportation of the material that is being removed.
In addition, their educational backgrounds are very similar as well, at least in terms of the general science that is being utilized.
What are the Differences?
The main difference between geology and engineering is that geology is founded in how materials came about, as well as their capabilities while engineering is how such materials can be used for a specific purpose. Another important difference is that engineering is primarily founded in math while geology is the founded in the study of materials.
To go back to our mining example, the geologist will study the material in the opening to see how durable, pliable and resilient it is to place tracks to move the material. An engineer will then use the information from the geologist to construct the best transportation method.
As you can see, the geologist and engineer compliment the skills of the other, but they do not overlap as much as they may seem. To say that a geologist “studies” while the engineer takes “action” is somewhat simplistic, but it does highlight the differences in each of their professions.
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