Great article by Robert W Lucky in IEEE Spec
Great article by Robert W. Lucky in IEEE Spectrum:
Engineering today feels like that window seat on the airplane. Those can't be real transistors and wires down there, can they? Watching the simulations on my computer monitor is like watching the movie on the airplanean unreality wrapped in another unreality. I feel that I have lost touch with Edison's world of electricitya world of black Bakelite meters, whirring motors, acrid chemical smells, and heated conductors. I miss Heathkits and the smell of molten solder and burning insulationthe sensual aspects of engineering that have been replaced for many of us by the antiseptic, ubiquitous, and impersonal CRTs.
I have a deeper worry that math itself is slipping away into the wispy clouds of software that surround us. I walk down the aisles of laboratories, and I see engineers staring vacantly into monitors, their desks piled high with anachronistic paper detritus. Is anyone doing math by hand any longer, I wonder? Do they miss the cerebral nourishment of solving equations? Perhaps math in the future will be the exclusive province of a cult of priests that embeds its capability in shrink-wrapped, encrypted software.