1.2 Some case studies
The dictionary definition of engineering given in the previous section can carry us quite a distance in seeing what engineers do. Some examples will illustrate the point. But which to choose? Anything out of our whole history of manipulating the environment to fit our needs will do. For a fuller discussion I have picked four examples: the Pont du Gard, a beautiful Roman bridge in the south of France; a disposable ballpoint pen; muskets; and the plant for making the chemical ammonia. This set will enlighten us concerning varied aspects of engineers' practice. Apart from their intrinsic interest, the four case studies demonstrate the distinction between one-off engineering solutions and mass-produced solutions.