Simply speaking, mechanical engineering deals with anything that moves, from the tiniest micro-particle to the largest spacecraft, and even the human body—one of our most complex machines. It is the broadest of all engineering disciplines, and interdisciplinary work is key to our department’s success. Our flexible curriculum focuses on energy, materials and manufacturing of all sorts, as well as dynamics, robotics, design and controls.
Though it may not be a discipline that most people spend time thinking about, mechanical engineering is critical to so many aspects of everyday life, from modern conveniences to basic understandings of science. Indeed, mechanical engineering is one of the oldest scientific disciplines and can be traced back centuries to the great thinkers of Ancient Greece like Archimedes. Contributions from these ancient engineers include chariots with differential gears, water clocks, and even a primitive steam engine.
The essence of engineering is problem solving. With this at its core, mechanical engineering also requires applied creativity—a hands on understanding of the work involved—along with strong interpersonal skills like networking, leadership, and conflict management. Creating a product is only part of the equation; knowing how to work with people, ideas, data, and economics fully makes a mechanical engineer.
It’s difficult to identify an aspect of our daily lives that hasn’t been touched by mechanical engineering. Mechanical engineers use their knowledge of materials, design and manufacturing to advance the world around us. They design and create everything from micro-sensors, medical devices, computers and car engines to robots, cook stoves, sports equipment and airplanes.