Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Engineering Graphics

So today I had my first proper engineering graphics class. It is quite easily my least favourite part of an engineering course. It's boring, tedious, repetitive, menial work, the kind of work that should be done by a computer. Not humans. Worst of all the class was conducted in this lonely classroom in a long forsaken corner of the Institute that looked like it had been abandoned for years. The classroom looked so depressing.

Perhaps the reason I hate it is that is basically a polar opposite of physics, which is my favourite subject. Since engineering graphics is focused on creating technical drawings which are supposed to convey all the necessary information needed for a particular object to be made, it is full of arcane arbitrary rules which are in place just for standardization. It's in place for the sole reason that following even slightly different rules could carry over to expensive mistakes during production. So all the rules were arbitrarily chosen (or so it seems to me) and need to be memorized with absolutely no explanation at all.

This is the exact opposite of how physics works. A lot of Physics is about finding the rules which nature follows but that is where the similarity ends. The interesting part about physics is that it tries come up with new ways of thinking that makes the rules self evident. It tries to explain as much as possible with as few assumptions as possible. Relativity is a great example of this. Special and General Relativity can be learnt as a set of arcane and insanely complicated set of tensor equations but the genius of Einstein gave us a physical picture of the universe which makes these equations self evident. With just the assumption that the speed of light is the same in all reference frames a huge amount of physical phenomena were explained with amazing clarity.

I am so used to this way of thinking, this idea that every rule has this fun, interesting interpretation, a physical picture that explains it with clarity. This subject seems so alien.

Well, at least the instruments I use look kind of "interesting". And by "interesting" I mean "weapons of mass destruction".

The mini-drafter which I use looks like some kind of weird laser gun.

I half expected the thing to start glowing and beeping when I picked it up.

And most of the instruments in the instrument box look sharp, pointy and dangerous.

The instruments are really the only interesting part of the class. What comforts me is that I only have to learn the subject for the first semester. Maybe it'll get more interesting in the future but I doubt it.
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