Engineering for A Healthy Planet
Scientists study the world as it is; engineers create the world that has never been.Theodore von Kármán
Engineering has always had an essential role in development. Cambridge Dictionary describes Engineering as “the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. Engineers use their knowledge and experience to find suitable solutions to a problem. The pyramids in Egypt, the Brihadeeswarar Temple of Thanjavur, among many others, stand as a testament to the ingenuity and skill of ancient engineers. March 4 is designated by the UN as “World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development”. In India, Engineer’s Day is celebrated on September 15 to commemorate the birth anniversary of the legendary Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya. He was one of the most excellent nation builders who contributed to the field of engineering and education. In recognition of the services rendered by Sir MV, India has been celebrated Engineers Day on his birthday since 1968. This year it is the 160th birth anniversary of Sir MV.
Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was born in 1861 in a small village near Chikkaballapur in Karnataka. He studied Bachelor of Arts at Madras University and pursued his civil engineering from Pune’s College of Science. Known for his integrity and high principles, Visvesvaraya played a vital role in constructing hydro-power projects, dams, and reservoirs in India. His contributions include, among many others, the flood protection system of Hyderabad, the Krishna Raja Sagar dam in Karnataka. Visvesvaraya established the Government Engineering College in 1917, which is currently known as Bengaluru’s University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering. He received the Bharat Ratna in 1955. He was also knighted for his contributions to the public good. Interestingly Sri Lanka and Tanzania also celebrate National Engineer’s Day on the same day. The day is observed to commemorate engineers’ outstanding work and encourage them for improvement and innovation.
While recalling the services of the engineering community, there have been significant contributions from women to the engineering domain in India. A. Lalitha – India’s first woman Electrical Engineer, studied in College of Engineering Guindy (CEG) in 1939 and associated with work on electrical generators for the Bhakra Nangal Dam. Rajeshwari Chatterjee – First woman engineer from Karnataka. She had joined the Department of Communication Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science. Her contribution to microwave research is still relevant in RADAR and is also used in defence applications.
Advancements in Science, Engineering, and Technology aim to find solutions to the problems being faced by humanity. While the progress made in the domains found answers to many issues, and quality of life of humans got enhanced considerably. But the lack of a holistic approach and hurry to achieve success and find solutions have emerged newer problems like climate change. The theme for this year, “Engineering for a Healthy Planet”, reminds humanity of the importance of holistic development for sustainable development and preserving the planet. While celebrating the birth anniversary of great Sir MV is an opportunity to get inspired to contribute to the well being of all.