The expression, "Turning dreams into reality," evokes a wide range of responses from various people. Some people would think of self-help gurus such as Steven Covey, Tony Robinson, or even pastor Joel Osteen. Others may remember entrepreneurs or celebrities, who came from humble beginnings and became rich and famous through hard work and determination. For some this may even bring memories of good old days and for others it may be building an Amway business, making millions and retiring early. But no one seems to recall the people, who actually make dreams come true by turning ideas into reality -- Engineers.
Scientists believe we share 99 percent of our DNA with Chimpanzees. Some researchers believe that chimps are so closely related that they should be considered as members of human family. Whether you believe this or not, one of the major distinctions between humans and animals is that we are able to make tools to accomplish some other task. It is this capability of shaping tools that led to the beginning of Stone Age and subsequently to the Bronze Age, Iron Age and ultimately, our modern day life. Our early engineers didn't have a degree in engineering, but they shared very similar activities to modern engineers. They experimented a lot. They played with different materials. They paid with their life when their inventions failed. They passed their knowledge to the next generation.
Our early engineers were real thinkers. Without them, we would literally be stuck in the Stone Age. Notable inventions of early engineers are the wheel and simple machines. The Industrial revolution gave birth to a new class of engineers. From James Watt, the inventor who played a key role in developing the steam engine in 18th century to Dean Kamen, who invented the Segway in 20th century, there are values shared by engineers. Engineers are dreamers: They dream. They dream a lot. But unlike lazy day dreamers, engineers tirelessly work with their ideas and turn them into reality.
Close your eyes and think about it for a minute. You may not be aware that engineers are playing a much larger role in your life than you think. Every single product that you consume or use was conceived in the mind of an engineer, designed by an engineer, and made by engineers. From the toothbrush you use to the toilets you flush, everything we use has been created by engineers. The clothes you wear may bear the name of some famous designer but could not have been made without engineers. The water you drink was brought to you by engineers. The food that you eat would not have been possible without engineers making the fertilizers, pesticides and the machinery to harvest and process. All your health needs would not have been possible without engineers. Next time you visit the dentist, take a closer look at the equipment that operates inside your mouth. Think about your cars you drive, and planes you fly to go to your favorite destinations. Imagine your life without roads, the bridges, the buildings, the dams and the electricity! What about your life without cool gadgets and the Internet?
Engineers are the real pillars that support our society. They are the engines of growth. They are responsible for the way of life we have. It is engineers, who make things possible. There are only about 1 million engineers in this country. This is a tiny fraction of the 130 million plus workforce. Yet this small group of people is responsible for all inventions and innovations.
There is a real danger we face today. The great minds always focused on turning ideas into reality. Now our bright minds want to become bankers and lawyers. Our brightest talents are not choosing engineering, technology, science or math is a threat facing this nation.
It is a shame that our children know the names of sports personalities, movie stars and singers but can't name one leading engineer, scientist, or a Nobel Laureate. This is National Engineers Week (February 20 -26). We celebrate Valentine's Day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day and even President's Day. Celebrate national Engineers Week by inspiring your children to imagine by sharing the success of engineering.