News

You know you’re an engineer when . . .

By Sue Major Holmes

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Sandia engineers weigh in

Sandia’s Engineering Sciences Center helped mark National Engineers Week with a contest, asking Sandians to complete the sentence, “You know you’re an engineer when…” The center received dozens of entries from around the Labs. The winner will be announced Feb. 23 during the Engineers Week celebrations at Sandia.

A sample of the entries:

  • you wear two pedometers; the second is redundant should the first one fail
  • you build a workshop and when it’s finished you invite all your friends (also engineers) and have squares laid out so they can check your work — which they do without you saying a word
  • you rearrange the egg carton to optimize the mass properties
  • you schedule and develop a project plan for your midlife crisis
  • thawing frozen chicken becomes a heat transfer problem
  • you communicate with a pair of graphs rather than paragraphs
  • you judge the success of a BBQ not by the quality of the food, but by how fast your charcoal was ready to cook on
  • a beautiful woman asks for a KISS and you explain the concept of “Keep It Simple Stupid” to her
  • you see the glass as neither half full nor half empty, but rather twice as large as it needs to be
  • you’re having a party and the neighbors don’t realize it
  • your dog goes out more than you do
  • your toilet paper has partial differential equations printed on it
  • you log the time it takes to get to your building’s parking lot by weekday and the time you arrived at the Southern and Eubank intersection street light (the point where no backup has occurred yet due to the security gate authorization), then plot the data to determine the latest possible arrival at the intersection to get to the parking lot by 7:45 a.m. at the latest. However, you remove any outliers during weeks related to holiday weekends due to vacations and of course, school holidays when parents might have to take the day off. You determine the latest time to arrive at Southern and Eubank on average for Monday through Thursday is 7:15 a.m., but Fridays are as late as 7:40
  • faced with a lack of problems to solve, you invent some
  • you recognize your co-workers by their shoes more than their faces
  • you’re speling is impacible
  • you can question anything … even when you don’t really care
  • you can’t answer this
  • even your wife knows all the words to the Engineer’s Cheer (true story): E to the x, dy, dx/E to the x, dx/Cosine, secant, tangent, sine/3.14159/Square root, cube root, BTU/slap stick, slide rule, Hail Purdue
  • you leave your roommate a phone message in Fortran
  • you can recite pi to 31 digits but you always forget your anniversary
  • you spend time in public restrooms critically examining the material and fixture selections
  • your spouse/significant other won’t allow you to dress yourself
  • you have used a slide rule to do your taxes
  • our catch phrase is, “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature”
  • Edison, Faraday, Tesla, Fourier and Laplace start to sound like good names for your dog
  • you are as fascinated with how the matching algorithm works as much as the dates it matches you with
  • you’re next in line for the guillotine, which is not working properly, so you offer to fix it
  • you can’t decide between duct tape and WD-40
  • you understand the most dangerous weapon invented is your pencil
  • looking at your co-workers’ shoes when talking to them, instead of your own, is considered confrontational
  • your kids say, “Dad, I don’t want to know the theory, all I want is the answer”
  • you calculate the area of medium and large pizzas to see which is a better deal
  • you’re lying in the hospital bed asking the nurse how the light on your finger is measuring oxygen level (and then hold your breath to test it)
  • you personally know every character in the “Dilbert” comic strip
  • right after a sloppy sneeze, you produce an estimate of its viscosity
  • you are called an extrovert for staring at other people’s shoes
  • you look forward to assembling IKEA furniture
  • you have a clock in your office with equations instead of numbers to mark the hours
  • your spouse can give six answers to this question off the top of their head
  • a friend has joint replacement surgery and you ask what materials were used