Ways of Thinking, Ways of Seeing: Mathematical and Other Modelling in Engineering and Technology

Bissell, Chris and Dillon, Chris eds. (2012). Ways of Thinking, Ways of Seeing: Mathematical and Other Modelling in Engineering and Technology. Automation, Collaboration and e-Services, 1. Berlin: Springer.

URL: http://www.springer.com/engineering/robotics/book/...

Abstract

The 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 are 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 (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

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