Preface of the lecture notes to "Materials of Electrical Engineering"

Foreword to the translation

The following is the translation from the preface of the lecture notes to "Materials of Electrical Engineering" (Vorwort zum Vorlesungsskript "Werkstoffe der Elektrotechnik" Prof. Fischer, University of Dortmund, 1977)

Copyright to the translation: 2007, H. Dieter Wilhelm, GNU Free Documentation License


Preface of the lecture notes to "Materials of Electrical Engineering"

The engineering profession is the most noble profession in existence. The engineer (from ingenium = inventive spirit), as epitome of homo faber, builds the civilisation on this planet and improves the living conditions of man. The natural sciences are, other than e. g. the jurisprudence or theology, "accumulative", i. e. every progress which they work out moves nondetachable into the collective knowledge of humanity and inseminate further progress. The active engineer needs also never to ponder on the sense of his life, he is the most useful member of society, even if society often this does not admit.

Anyway, after you have made your most important decision–the choice of your career–notice, that the second most important decision in your life is the choice of your spouse. While most of the women want to be the No. 1 in the life of her bridegroom; the work precedes everything for a true engineer. The ideal wife of an engineer understands this, is faithfully supportive and humble and gives her hard working husband mental assistance. Already many a talented engineers were ruined by selfish wives. Thus make up your decision after checking also these aspects.

Only in this consciousness one can get through our profession's hardship. Since the engineer is indeed obliged to know– as his equipment – the total from his predecessors worked out knowledge of his discipline; he must invest twenty years of his life into his professional preparation. While, during this time, others amuse themselves. Besides, the engineer must own a broad overview over all human areas of knowledge (including psychology, sociology, management, economics etc.), otherwise, he will go down in competition. This requires lifelong learning, especially, also because today the scientific and technical knowledge of humankind doubles every ten years, i. e. when – after your studies – you do not touch for ten years a book, you are hopelessly outdated. Thus you must make learning a habit in your life! Everything what you are doing at least ten times within a month will become a habit, proceeds so without effort of will, say the psychologists. Build therefore a system of sound, positive habits! No successful engineer is sitting daily before the television for hours, is playing Bridge, is drinking, having women; this is not in the vocation's scope. Our profession requires therefore a certain measure of asceticism. The engineer knows that he wants to perform his life's contribution within thirty years of his career, that every idle hour is wasted and that he – for achieving his life's aim – must lead a well planned, efficient life in all his aspects. Whom this is too hard may early enough orient himself otherwise.

As reward for the hard working beckons an indescribable joy, one experiences, when one has finished a hard problem well, when one has created something permanent, helping the progression along.

In this sense I would like you to understand the lecture of "Materials of Electrical Engineering". We are not a swot-shop. The content of the curriculum is interesting. Work actively, from your own motivation, we will help you!

Author: H. Dieter Wilhelm (dieter@duenenhof-wilhelm.de)

Modification date: 2013-07-18

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