Differences between Physics and Engineering



Physics is a scientific discipline. It involves the study of atoms, and it’s movements through earth environment. It also studies various energy and force available in natural environment. It normally is an analytical subject which provides general analysis of nature to make us understand how universe works! If you enjoy applying reflective approach to the nature then you would enjoy studying physics.

Engineering is a practical discipline which takes the scientific knowledge and develops new thing or new ways of doing things i.e. processes! Engineering is considered as a skilful, creative and professional discipline which acquires knowledge from different fields and applies it to design and build machines, processes, electronic devices, IT systems etc. If you enjoy pragmatic approach to things then you will make a brilliant engineer.

Both are equally interesting subjects, for geeks! Have you ever wondered what the main difference is between these disciplines? It is fair to say, Physics is a singleton and engineering is wedded to other disciplines! It’s true, Physics is made up of one scientific concept, and engineering is a result of multiple disciplines! Ok let’s consider a hot stamping machine. A tool which is used to stamp things permanently! Let’s say we are running a small print business and are tasked to stamp 1000 small items per week. We need a small standard size hot stamp machines are used to stamp paper, stationary, napkins, cards, leather goods, wood products, plastics and few other things! We don’t know how many units we should purchase?

What do you think would happen if we are to ask a physicist to give us an estimate as to how many units we should purchase? He would like to know the surface layer of the each item we intend to stamp. He will also consider the temperature of the room to calculate how long we need to keep an item in the machine to make sure stamping is super perfect! If we are to ask the same questions to an engineer, he would request to see the machine manufacturing guide. He will try to understand how the machine operates, and which components are used to manufacture this machine. He also likes to know how long it takes to stamp different items.

All this information would help him to calculate the precise number of units we require for our business. A physicist likes to know the surroundings of the machines and items, and an engineer would like to know the operations efficiency of the machines and its working with items. I do believe both are right in its own place, its just some time we need to balance “significant important factors” before agreeing on number.

It is fair to say there is a very subtle difference between physics and engineering. Physicists tend to discover natural laws and theories in universal terms. An engineer tends to discover practical useful things to be used in daily life. Former tries to enhance knowledge in theoretical term, the other one aims to enhance our lifestyle in real terms! Which one is more useful, you can decide it for yourself!