Engineering (humanities education)

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Russian-born Israeli chemical engineer Alec Groysman (2011) suggesting that the chemical engineering curriculum begin incorporate a Goethe-Gibbs stylized human chemical reaction theory approach to teaching the humanities to engineers, so to better allow students, as they go into the work field, to have a better grasp of Shakespeare’s “to be or not to be” query. [1]
In education, engineering (humanities education) refers to the conflicting subject of teaching humanities courses, subjects, or topics to engineering students, generally speaking.

In 1998, Indian-born American mechanical engineer Satish Boregowda, completed a NASA-funded PhD dissertation "Thermodynamic Modeling and Analysis of Stress Responses", supposedly, was first foreign student at that time to get a direct funding scholarship for work in human thermodynamics

In 2008, Boregowda, while a professor at Purdue University, found that his colleagues and his tenure reviewers were not in favor of his work in thermodynamics applied to the humanities, i.e. on the “human thermodynamics” of stress, being that it was not ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) certification relevant; as a result of which he left academia and went into industry.

In 2011, Russian-born Israeli chemical engineer Alec Groysman, in his generative art conference presentation “Use of Art Media in Engineering and Scientific Education”, Rome, Italy, suggested that the chemical engineering and humanities be integrated as follows: [1]

Dobereiner helped in refining Russian platinum, discovered catalysis, and reported his work to Goethe. We can only suspect that Dobereiner read the tragedy Faust and the novella Elective Affinities. The latter work of art gave impulse to a new scientific field named 'human chemistry'. In the exact sciences there are quantitative measures of estimation of each value: mass, length, force, energy. In the humanistic disciplines (history, philosophy, psychology) as well as art there are no quantitative criteria. This is similar to the question of how to measure beauty, love, friendship, democracy? The function named Gibbs energy defines ‘love’ between substances [and] people ... and is similar to Hamlet’s ‘to be or not to be?’ of William Shakespeare.”

Groysman, in short, discussed German polyintellect Johann Goethe's physical chemistry based Elective Affinities up through modern free energy theory, the two connected via the affinity-free energy equation, cites the work of Thims, classifies human chemistry-based thermodynamics as a new scientific field, and advocates its use in engineering and scientific education.

In 2011, Indian-born American mechanical engineer Kalyan Annamalai and Venezuelan-born American mechanical engineer Carlos Silva, in their 2011 "Human Body: Formula" chapter subsection, of Advanced Engineering Thermodynamics, wherein, via citation of Thims human molecular formula (2002), they define a human, from a thermodynamic point of view, as “a 26-element energy/heat driven dynamic atomic structure.” [4]

In 2012, Satish Boregowda, in discussion with American electrochemical engineer Libb Thims on advice on attempts to found America's first chemical engineering centric two cultures university department, Boregowda commented the following: [2]

“Regarding Purdue, it is nothing personal but a lack of awareness among mechanical engineering faculty to see thermodynamics beyond application of first law and steam engines. I used to teach second law (entropy generation minimization) and exergy analysis in my class. The ABET does not require these topics and the faculty were not interested in covering it in the class. Most importantly, it was related to funding: as federal agencies do not fund directly any research activity related to thermodynamics. They were of the impression that I was wasting my time on a “lost cause”….. which is not true by any means. I have decided to work on this during my spare time as my current job does not require me to bring any grant money. I admire your tenacity to promote thermodynamics at this time in history. If you need any help in starting the department of thermodynamics [see: two cultures synergy], please let me know. I will check out the Lewis school of thermodynamics.”

In 2013, American chemical engineer John Prausnitz, one of the University of California, Berkeley professor emeritus chemical and biomolecular engineering department founding heads, noted for pioneering work in protein thermodynamics and the history of chemical thermodynamics, commented the following to Thims about the potential fit of a two cultures department at UC Berkeley, with the central hub located within the chemical and biomolecular engineering department, and the humanities integrated into this hub: [3]

“I don't know what the Rossini debate is but I hope to find out. No, your idea for a department for teaching two cultures would not be appreciated at Berkeley. In the social sciences and in some humanities, thermodynamics may be useful as an analogy, as a suggestion for looking at a problem (e.g., information theory) but beyond that, I see little use of thermodynamics outside science.”

(add discussion)

See also
Human thermodynamics education
Physicochemical sociology

1. (a) Groysman, Alec. (2011). “Use of Art Media in Engineering and Scientific Education” (§3.4: Human Chemistry), Generative Art Conference, XIV (papers) (photos), Dec 5-7, Roma, Italy, at CRUI Frescos Hall, Angelica Library Gallery. and Cervantes Institute Gallery.
(b) Note: the end sentence fragment "to be or not to be", added above for lecture cogency, is from his earlier 2004 article (c).
(c) Groysman, Alec. (2004). “Aesthetic, Philosophical and Historical aspects in the Physical Chemistry education”, in: Trends in Electrochemistry and Corrosion at the Beginning of the 21st Century (pgs. 1203-1226). Edicions Universitat Barcelona.
2. Boregowda, Satish. (2012). "Email communication to Libb Thims", Jan 25.
3. Prausnitz, John. (2013). "Email communication to Libb Thims", Mar 28.
4. Annamalia, Kalyan and Silvia, Carlos. (2011). “Thermodynamics and Biological Systems”, in: Advanced Thermodynamics Engineering, Second Edition (Kalyan Annamalai, Ishwar K. Puri, and Milind A Jog) (§14; §§14.4.1: Human body | Formulae, pgs. 726-27; Thims, ref. 88). CRC Press.

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