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The Value of Engineering
One of the greatest vocations one could pursue is engineering. Engineers play a centralrole in transforming our world into a safer, more enjoyable place to live. Considerjust one area, which is very close to each of us: our own health. Biomedical engineershave designed incubators that sustain the lives of premature babies, devices and05procedures to diagnose conditions and fight diseases, and equipment to restore bodilyfunctions such as being able to walk or to see. Agricultural and biological engineersdevelop medicines, create better ways of growing and protecting our food supply, and,along with environmental engineers, help to create a cleaner, safer environment inwhich to breathe, grow food, and have safe drinking water. Even if you have not met10such an engineer before, they have set an example of how to be good stewards of ourresources, and we have all benefitted from what they have done for us.What exactly is engineering? It is the practical application of scientific knowledge.There are many different areas of engineering. Dr. Seuss helped to open our mindsto all the possibilities of what we can do in life in his book?Oh, The Places You'll Go!15Engineers make this a reality, both literally and figuratively. In the area of transportation,engineers design vehicles to help many people daily get from one place toanother, as well as airplanes, space shuttles, and submarines that enable us to explorethe far reaches of the planet and beyond. More broadly, there are four major branchesof engineering, including chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering, each20of which has a number of subdisciplines. Then there are different interdisciplinaryareas of engineering. From the smallest scope, where nanoengineers and biomolecularengineers design at the level of atoms and molecules, to the largest scope, where civilengineers design bridges and buildings, the options are many.Being an engineer is intellectually stimulating and provides continual challenges.25You will learn not only how things work, but also why different materials such aswoods, metals, or plastics have the properties that they do, depending on their atomicstructure and how they were formed. You become trained to identify what problemsmay exist and how to use your knowledge, skills, and creativity to figure out innovativesolutions to fix them. One interesting challenge outlined by the National Academy30of Engineering is to figure out how to control a fusion reaction to provide us withenergy in a more efficient, economic, and environmentally friendly way. Or how aboutdiscovering how to diagnose and treat conditions people have, based on individualdifferences? Quickly assessing someone's genetic profile and having a way to deliverpatient-specific medications to precise locations using nanoparticles are important35engineering challenges that could improve many people's lives.It is hard to imagine what life would be like without the contributions engineershave already made. They have not just helped us to survive, be healthy, explore, andmove around better, but they have also made life more enjoyable through advancesin areas such as communications, computing, and sports. Computer engineers, for40example, have helped develop devices and software that we can use to make and sharedocuments and home videos, listen to our favorite music, and talk with co-workers,friends, and family members across the globe. In sports, different engineers have madesystems and devices that provide us with better, safer equipment, communicationsthat enable teams to interact better and games to be televised, and environments and45infrastructure that improve the playing and watching of games.It is true that everyone has unique desires, so you may prefer a vocation in someother area. But even our desires themselves can be changed and need to be developed,so why not try engineering on a smaller level with a project around the house or followan engineer around for a while? It might just become the kind of thing you would enjoy50doing even if you were not getting paid, and perhaps you could become the next Orvilleor Wilbur Wright, coming up with a whole new design that takes us to new heights.Consider also the fruits of engineers' labors: if they have benefitted you so much, whynot do something that could benefit others in kind? At the very least, we need to beaware that without the contributions of engineers, our lives would be more impoverished,55so we have a lot for which to be thankful.
1. What is the overall theme of the passage?
2. As used in line 10, "stewards" most nearly means
3. With which statement would the author most likely agree?
4. Which option gives the best evidence for the previous question?
5. Why does the author reference Dr. Seuss and his book "Oh The Places You'll Go!" in Paragraph 2 (lines 12-23)?
6. What is the purpose of lines 21-23?
7. Which paragraph gives the most specific evidence in support of the author's statement in line 4 that engineering has made the world a "more enjoyable place to live?"
8. Why does the author mention the National Academy of Engineering challenge in lines 29-31?
9. What is the point of paragraph 4 (lines 36-45)?
10. As used in lines 54-55, the phrase "more impoverished" most nearly means
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