Skip to 0 minutes and 10 secondsWe aim to help you develop engineers’ eyes. You've made a start already. You've seen how the physical world is represented by mathematics but with a practical purpose in mind. And you've seen how engineering analysis is categorised, for example, into statics and dynamics. That's a start. But there is one vital feature you have to take into your world view as you develop engineers’ eyes. It's the free-body diagram. You will find it in every module from now on. For example, take week six. A toy tractor being pulled along a sloping tabletop is represented by a diagram of the tractor in space with forces applied. The free-body diagram seems a simple concept, but don't be fooled.

Skip to 1 minute and 3 secondsIt's deep and at the same time practical and mysterious. Practical, because it enables us to make calculations reliably. Mysterious, because it takes us into a parallel world where mathematical squiggles on paper somehow relate to physical reality. There's a mystery. As Eugene P Wigner wrote, he was a Nobel prize winning physicist, "the miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift, which we neither understand nor deserve." But this is engineering. It doesn't do to dwell on mystery. We'll just accept that the free-body diagram is an essential part of developing engineers’ eyes.

Through Engineers' Eyes

You are on your way towards gaining ‘engineers’ eyes’.

This short video explains what you have encountered and what is to come.

Talking points

  • How are you going so far?
  • Will you do any experiments yourself?
  • Did you get value from the Retro tutorials?
  • Is there an engineering glimmer in your eyes?

Share your experiments

Don’t forget to share your experiments on the Through Engineers’ Eyes Padlet wall for this week.

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This video is from the free online course:

Through Engineers' Eyes: Engineering Mechanics by Experiment, Analysis and Design

UNSW Sydney