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now established in this country, and that equipment was made an indispensable condition for the offer of the unusually large salaries which accompanied the request. There are portions of the field of electrical engineering in which a most profound theoretical knowledge of electricity and magnetism is quite necessary to a competent discharge of the practical duties involved. If it were necessary to add force to what has already been said, mention could be made of the contributions to practical work which have so frequently been rendered by Lord Kelvin, and made possible only by his incomparably profound theoretical knowledge. The arguments for the second essential of the ideal engineering education may rest here, with the general statement that it consists of a most thorough training in mathematics and physics, but adapted in its entire matter and method to the subsequent engineering practice.
One of the most important considerations in connection with the educational training of an engineer is that of the introduction of actual engineering operations, as far as practicable, into the course of study. In this is not included the experimental portion of the instruction in the physical sciences, but to workshop and laboratory practice, instrumental and other field work involved in railway, geodetic, and other surveying operations, the actual design of engineering works, including specifications and estimates, visits of inspection and observation to works in process of construction, as well as to those completed and in use or in operation, and office practice and organization in its varied character and manifold functions. It is at once clear that these classes of work should be included in some degree, and that they should be required, in so far as is consistent with 'the special field of practice elected by the student. In civil engineering he may, without essential prejudice, omit all workshop practice, although he is clearly better off with an acquaintance with its elements; but he needs and must have laboratory practice in the testing of materials and in such hydraulic operations as lend themselves to that mode of treatment. It is again imperative that he have thorough drill in instrumental and other field work involved in all surveying operations. This is the more important for the reason that it forms a class of duties which it is very probable he will be required to perform at the beginning of his practice, and which, after a few years, in the natural order of things, he will lay aside for others more advanced. The mechanical and electrical engineers, on the other hand, require thorough courses in both workshop and laboratory practice, but they should omit the courses in instrumental work and field operations of surveying. The mining engineer again needs the latter and the laboratory practice, but he may well take the elements only of workshop practice. All students in engineering require as much time devoted to specifications, designs, and estimates; trips of inspection; and to office practice and organization in their respective applications to each speciality as a proper consideration of other essentials will permit. All these are generalities, every one will probably admit, but there is room for
great diversity of opinion in reference to the weight or relative importance to be attached to each division of this part of the educational work as compared with others of the same course, and in reference to its position in time within the possible assignable limits. In the consideration of the relative weight or importance of these divisions, it should be observed with emphasis, and borne in mind with the greatest care, that no education in engineering, ideal or otherwise, ever has made a practitioner or ever will, but the best education is that which will prepare the average young man possessing the proper natural endowments to rise in practice to the highest professional plane. neither force into him what nature has failed to bestow nor can it equip him with what experience only, which is second nature, can supply; the latter is just as impossible as the former. That being the case, it is clearly the function of the technical or professional school to give him all that fundamental scholarly training in principles which practical experience cannot supply; this is the chief end to be attained in the educational life of the young engineer, for it is his last opportunity to secure it. The urgent demands upon the time and efforts of the young practitioner leave little or no opportunity and less inclination for study, and it is almost certain that deficiencies in the field of study will never be remedied in active life. Any defect in the purely practical part of his education can, at the most, but slightly hamper him at the very beginning of his career, and is soon remedied in the natural order of his experience, while, at the best, those same practical parts of his educational training can be but imperfectly taught prior to his actual contact with the things themselves. Practical impressions received under the unreal conditions of instruction may indeed be more or less sharp and complete, and correspondingly valuable, but any one who assumes to successfully substitute them for the effects of real practice will disappoint others, even if he does not disappoint himself. Indeed, misdirected efforts of this character can scarcely be saved from miscarriage; there will be certain failure to produce a ready-made practitioner and the strongest probability of generating a sort of "wind-fall” young engineer, the scope of whose usefulness and ambition will be confined to á callow excellence in the clerical or office technique, which it is true, brings quick employment after graduation, and just as slow ultimate promotion. Those efforts form a sort of forcing system, which seems prematurely to exhaust or destroy essentially all that power of further growth or development that proceeds naturally, albeit slowly, from a more scholarly preparation followed by a properly balanced and well-rounded practice. These considerations indicate in general a place for the purely practical matters in the curriculum of the professional school supplementary to, and not co-ordinate with, what may be designated as the rational part; not supplementary in point of time, but in point of relative importance or weight. They are absolutely essential to an efficient course of study in engineering, but in estimating their relative weights in the curriculum, they must take places subordinate to the study of principles. The assignment of time and effort should be such, therefore, as to accomplish the study of principles in the most thorough manner, and the accomplishment of the purely practical work should be made consistent with that end. It should not be the aim to perfect students in that craft skill which they will in general be called upon to exercise at most but sparingly. Their functions as engineers will require of them, in the main, a close familiarity with the methods of mechanical performance, but not with the performance itself. The writer does not mean to assert that the young engineer will not frequently, at the beginning of his practice, be required to make the craftsman's experience a part of his own; he probably will, and often should do so, and portions of his education should fit him for such duties; but that is not the ultimate end or aim of the course of study indicated by the curriculum, it is far above and beyond that. The time and attention given to those mechanical or routine portions of the course of study in engineering, which may be termed the purely practical parts, should be so applied as to thoroughly acquaint the student with methods, and only so much craft-skill in them is requisite as is necessary to that end. This general principle, which the writer regards as the third essential characteristic of the ideal engineering education, must be applied to each specialty in engineering consistently with its chief purposes. The mechanical engineering student must take a comparatively large amount of workshop practice, but it must be for the training of a mechanical engineer and not for the purpose of attaining the skill of a mechanic.