Unit 4. The Profession of Engineer

1. Discuss the questions in pairs or groups.

1. Is engineering a male-dominated profession presently?

2. What kind of engineering is more prestigious in your country?

  • – chemical engineering
  • – civil engineering
  • – electrical engineering
  • – mechanical engineering

3. How would you describe prevailing attitudes in your country regarding the entry of women into your field of study or work?

4. What do former president Jimmy Carter, astronaut Nail Armstrong, and movie director Alfred Hitchcock all have in common?

Establishing industrial design as a profession

2. Read the text and complete the summary of industrial design trends.

There is no single, unified style of industrial design but there are four trends that we can identify. One of these is a stress on impersonality in design – something that peter Behrens was one of the first to establish. It is characterized by a certain form neutrality of expression, whether a design comes from an individual or a group. This is just a natural part of mass production and marketing and it represents average taste.

Another trend of industrial design is the way designers try to wrap or package products. Complex electronic or mechanical devices – perhaps designed by other engineers – have protective shells that keep them safe and clean and that also look neat and attractive.

There is also the continuing tendency to streamline designs. This design principle goes back to the 1930s with people like Raymond Loewy, a very influential industrial designer. Streamlined designs have contours designed to offer minimum resistance when moving through air or water. These designs are smooth and clean and extremely appealing to the eye.

The fourth trend of industrial design can be identified as artificially accelerated obsolescence. This refers to the practice of changing a design intentionally to try to get people to replace the things they have with new ones. It’s not just the design, of course. Advertising and fashion play a large part as well. It’s very effective also from economic point of view.

The vivid representative of industrial design as a profession is a French-born American industrial designer who achieved fame for the magnitude of his design efforts across a variety in industries.

Through his accomplishments in product design, Raymond Loewy helped to establish the industrial design as a profession. By the end of his life, his career encompassed all applications of modern industrial design, from consumer products to interior building space packaging and transportation. Long before his death, Loewy became one of the best known industrial designers of the twentieth century and his vision of beauty through the use of streamlined, highly functional forms shaped modern industrial design in the United States. For the decades his works permeated the nation’s lifestyle and influenced – and continued to influence today – countless aspects of our everyday life.


  1. unified – единообразный, единый;
  2. impersonality – безличность;
  3. neutrality – нейтральность;
  4. an average taste – среднестатистический вкус;
  5. to wrap – заворачивать, обертывать;
  6. sell – раковина, панцирь;
  7. streamline (design) – имеющий обтекаемую форму;
  8. resistance – сопротивление;
  9. artificially – искусственно;
  10. to accelerate – увеличить, ускорить;
  11. obsolescence – устаревание;
  12. intentionally – намеренно, умышленно;
  13. to replace – заменить;
  14. representative – представитель;
  15. magnitude – важность, величина;
  16. consumer – потребитель;
  17. accomplishment – выполнение, достижение;
  18. to establish – устанавливать;
  19. to encompass – заключать, содержать;
  20. vision – видение;
  21. to permeate – проникать, проходить сквозь, пропитывать.

3. Read the second text about industrial design and make the summary of Raymond Loewy’s life and his achievements in the table which is given below.

An outstanding engineer-designer

Raymond Loewy was born in Paris, France in 1893. He obtained a degree in electrical engineering in 1918. One year later he left France for the United States. He first worked as a fashion illustrator for Vogue magazine and also designed window displays for department stores in New York.

In 1929, he received his first industrial commission – to modernize the appearance of Gestetner’s duplication machine. Loewy’s design was to remain unchanged for the next forty years. In the same year, Loewy started his own design firm. In 1934, he designed the Coldspot refrigerator for Sears, roebuck and Co. It was a great commercial success and it won first prize at the Paris International Exposition of 1937.

Starting in 1937, Loewy began working for the Pennsylvania Railroad, designing streamlined styling for their passenger trains. Over the following years, he designed various locomotives and passenger cars.

During the 1930s and 1940s, Loewy designed a wide range of household products with rounded corners simplified lines such as the Frigidaire range of refrigerators and freezers. He made important contributions to the designs of electric shavers, toothbrushes, office machines, ballpoint pens, radios, bottles for soft drinks, packages and other necessary things.

In 1954, he designed Greyhound’s Scenicruiser bus.

In 1955, Loewy redesigned Coca-Cola’s famous contour bottle adding the distinctive white lettering and in 1960 he designed Coca-Cola’s first aluminum can.

In 1961, he designed the now classic Avanti sports car for Studebaker, for whom he had worked previously on other cars.

As a designer Loewy’s range was impressive. In 1964, he even designed a US postage stamp – the five-cent stamp featuring John F. Kennedy.

From 1967-1973, Loewy worked for NASA designing interiors for the Apollo and Skylab spacecraft.

In 1971, he designed the distinctive yellow and red Shell logo that is still used today.

1893Raymond Loewy is born in Paris, France.
Greyhound’s Scenicruiser
Studebaker Avanti

4. Complete the text with the nouns in the box. There are two extra words.

compromises costs merits designs models engineers requirements markets solutions mathematics

(1) Engineers use their knowledge of science and (2) __________, along with their own relevant experience, to find a suitable solution or solutions to a problem. They create appropriate mathematical (3) ___________ of a problem, they analyze it, and then test potential (4) ______________. Usually there are a number of reasonable solutions to a problem. So, engineers evaluate each design option on its (5) ___________ and choose that best meets their (6) __________. (7) _________ are at the heart of all engineering (8) ___________. The “best” design is the one that meets as many of given requirements as possible.

5. Complete the text with the following words. There are two extra words.

analytical…safety…enjoyable stock financial well-rounded industrial wide quantum

Getting a/an ________education is very important because, either straight after university or after getting some experience in a science or engineering setting, you may want to change careers. For instance, if your field is biochemistry, you may eventually decide to work for a/an __________ services institution as a biotech ________ analyst. Increasingly, employers are realizing that the _________ skills and computer experience that students acquire learning science and engineering can be put to use in a/an ___________ range of other professions like sales, marketing, and business consulting. If you have mastered ___________ physics, you probably treat something like stock market analysis as a/an _________break. And if you have good social skills and other interests outside of science, you may find it easier to make such a career change.

6. Complete the text with the following words:

efficiency elements profitability facilities question firms resources industries safety management

Industrial engineers can work almost anywhere. Some work in places like car manufacturing plants or food processing plants while others work in health care facilities. Some work for management consulting_________ while others work for organizations such as banks.

Industrial engineers are concerned with management, in the broadest sense of the word. Their role is to help _________ to improve their efficiency, their effectiveness, their productivity, and their __________. They help companies to stay competitive in the market. I see their job in terms of three key points: there is the question of _______ - the most advantageous deployment of all __________; there is the vary important issue of human safety and well-being. These three key ___________ have to be balanced carefully.

7. Read complete the text with the correct form of the following words:

branch diversify employ generate invent produce

Electrical engineering is the largest and most _________ field of engineering and is the discipline that __________ the largest number of engineers. It involves the development, design, application and manufacture of systems and devices that __________ and use electric power and electric signals. Despite its great ________, electrical engineering can be divided into four main _______: electrical power, communications, electronics, and computer hardware. Electrical engineering first developed with the __________, distribution, and utilization of electronic power. Electrical engineers design and manufacture ___________, motors, transmission systems, and controls. When the vacuum tube __________ electrical engineering __________ into communication systems, including radio and television, and electronic engineering. Later, with the _________ of the transistor, electrical and computer engineers were __________ to _________ the hardware needed for storing, processing, and transferring information.

Grammar Practice:

8. Match each chemical process with its definition.

1) crystallizationa) using a filter to separate a mixture mechanically
2) dissolutionb) forming sold crystals from a homogeneous solution
3) distillationc) separating substances based on differences in their vapor pressures
4) filtrationd) dissolving a substance into a liquid
5) polymerizatione) separating the compounds of a mixture based on the difference in solubility of a compound in various solvents
6) solvent extractionf) combining simple molecules zo form more complex molecules of higher molecular weight and with different physical properties

Grammar Practice:

Real conditionals in the future


If + subject + Present Tense verb


Subject + will + verb

If you increase the weight,

If we don’t fix this problem,

the cost will increase.

we won’t make the deadline

Yes/no questions

If + subject + Present Tense verb, will + subject + verb

Short answer

If we reduce the cost of the materials, will this affect the quality?

If we make a higher-quality product,

Yes, it will.

No, it won’t.


If + subject + Present Tense verb, wh-word + subject + verb


If we forget about this design and start again, what will they say?

If we reduce the thickness of the case, how will this affect the cost?

They’ll say you’re crazy!

It’ll go down.

1. Use the words to write sentences using real conditions.

  1. the company / offer / you / a job / what / you / do ?
  2. they / approve / the / budget / we / start / work / next month
  3. we / ask for / more time / management / agree?
  4. we / make / product / more light-weight / it / not be / as / strong

2. Put the verb into the correct form and match the clauses.

1. If the polar ice caps _______ (melt),a) many more live _______ (lose) in World War II.
2. If a building _________ (insulate),b) they _______ (can be) a major energy resource in the twenty-first century.
3. If penicillin _________ (discover) in 1929,c) sea levels would rise and low-lying areas of the world ________ (flood).
4. If capital costs and efficiency of solar panels _________ (improve),d) some experts think that global temperature __________ (rise) by several degrees in the next few decades.
5. Unless carbon dioxide emissions _____ (reduce) soon,e) less energy _________ (flow) out of it and thus heating costs will go down.

3. Complete the sentences with the appropriate tense and voice.

  1. Smoking _________ (not allow) anywhere in the building.
  2. Newcomen’s steam engines __________ (employ) to pump water from mines.
  3. By the start of the Civil War 30,000 miles of railroad track __________ (lay) in the United States.
  4. It ___________ (hope) that a cheap renewable energy source ___________ (find) soon.
  5. Increasingly, glass fibers _____________ (use) for long-distance telephone links.

Defining relative clauses

Main clausesAdjective clause
Some work is carried out by private industrythat employs scientists for research projects
This is the professor whose students won that research award last year
This is the placewhere decisions about funding are taken.
He’s the kind of teacherwho encourages independent thinking.
A collage with a strong research record iswhat we are looking for

4. Combine the two sentences using relative pronouns.

  1. The research institute has just obtained some new funding. I work there.
  2. This is Professor Wilkings. Professor Wilkings’s book was published last month.
  3. The American Cancer Society is a well-known foundation. It is involved in disease research.
  4. You need to talk with Professor Dawns . Professor Dawns handles the admissions.
  5. The department has no more money for research. That is the difficult thing.
  6. The application procedure is very complex. We have to follow the application procedure.

Connecting phrases


Though some scientists may work alone, most work in project teams.

We use a cross-functional system because it works better.

His proposal was neither original nor practical.

In order to get your ideas across, you need to communicate effectively.

Their way of working was not only old-fashioned but also vary inefficient.

Michal has resigned. As a result, we’re without a project leader at the moment.


Though is used for marking a contrast between two actions, facts, events, etc.

Because is used to say why a person does something or why something happens.

Neither and nor are used to show that a negative statement is true for two things.

In order to is used to express a person’s purpose or intention.

Not only…but also is used to emphasize that a second point is also true.

As a result is used to describe the consequence(s) of an action or event.

5. Complete the sentences with the correct connecting phrase.

  1. The government has cut our budget. ___________, we are going to have to change our plans.
  2. We need to work faster _____________ have the results ready by April.
  3. He’s _____________ a very knowledgeable engineer ____________ a very shrewd businessman.
  4. Most of the people on the team are engineers ___________ some have other backgrounds.
  5. They are determined to go ahead and __________ you _________ anyone else can stop them.
  6. I think Janet is the best choice for team leader ____________ she has the most experience.

6. Speaking “The Profession of Engineer”.

7. In pairs, act out dialogues about career options and career changes.

8. Write a letter to your student pen friend about career choices and opportunities, and possible career changes in the future.

9. Find out about famous women/men engineers and write an account of his/her life, work, and contributions to engineering.

  1. Bette Nesmith Graham
  2. Edith Flanigen
  3. Ellen Ochoa
  4. Maria Sklodowska
  5. Martha Coston
  6. Mary Walton
  7. Patsy Sherman
  8. Randi Altschul
  9. Stephanie Louise Kwoleke
  10. Grace Hooper
  11. Patricia Billings