Ways of Thinking, Ways of Seeing

Mathematical and other Modelling in Engineering and Technology

  • Chris Bissell
  • Chris Dillon

Part of the Automation, Collaboration, & E-Services book series (ACES, volume 1)

About this book


This fascinating book examines some of the characteristics of technological/engineering models that are likely to be unfamiliar to those who are interested primarily in the history and philosophy of science and mathematics, and which differentiate technological models from scientific and mathematical ones. Themes that will be highlighted include:

• the role of language: the models developed for engineering design have resulted in new ways of talking about technological systems
• communities of practice: related to the previous point, particular engineering communities have particular ways of sharing and developing knowledge
• graphical (re)presentation: engineers have developed many ways of reducing quite complex mathematical models to more simple representations
• reification: highly abstract mathematical models are turned into ‘objects’ that can be manipulated almost like components of a physical system
• machines: not only the currently ubiquitous digital computer, but also older analogue devices – slide rules, physical models, wind tunnels and other small-scale simulators, as well as mechanical, electrical and electronic analogue computers
• mathematics and modelling as a bridging tool between disciplines

This book studies primarily modelling in technological practice. It is worth noting that models of the type considered in the book are not always highly valued in formal engineering education at university level, which often takes an “applied science” approach close to that of the natural sciences (something that can result in disaffection on the part of students). Yet in an informal context, such as laboratories, industrial placements, and so on, a very different situation obtains. A number of chapters will consider such epistemological aspects, as well as the status of different types of models within the engineering education community.


Mathematical Modelling in Engineering and Technology

Editors and affiliations

  • Chris Bissell
    • 1
  • Chris Dillon
    • 2
  1. 1., Faculty of Mathematics, Computing andThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUnited Kingdom
  2. 2., Faculty of Mathematics, Computing andThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag GmbH Berlin Heidelberg 2012
  • Publisher Name Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • eBook Packages Engineering Engineering (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-642-25208-2
  • Online ISBN 978-3-642-25209-9
  • Series Print ISSN 2193-472X
  • Series Online ISSN 2193-4738
  • Buy this book on publisher's site