Editorial: Engineering Knowledge Has 2-8 Year Half-Life
Strong competition and rapidly changing technology require companies to continually improve their products and optimize manufacturing processes. This makes it important for engineers to continue their education throughout their careers because their value depends on the latest knowledge of the latest technology. In other words, their success to some extent depends on continuing education.
The pace of technology change varies for different specialties and industries, but advancements in technology have affected nearly all disciplines. In fact, there are many references to the adage that the "half-life" of engineering knowledge (that is, the time in which half of what an engineer knows becomes obsolete) is in the range of two to eight years. This no doubt varies with different engineering disciplines, but it reinforces the fact that continued learning is crucial to staying current throughout an engineering career.
Continuing education can be both formal and informal and can include such vehicles as formal courses, clinics, and seminars; hands-on trade shows and conferences; group discussions, industry-oriented, in-house training programs; and technical briefs and books. Two other important vehicles are journals and trade magazines, such as Industrial Heating, which has been serving the thermal process-related engineering community for more than seven decades.
The beauty of many of these educational vehicles is that the engineer can be on the learning end and also can be the educator. Publication in respected journals/magazines serves to establish the author and topic as newsworthy and significant, and sharing knowledge with the engineering community helps to raise the bar of understanding in many technology areas.
The many distinguished authors who have appeared in this magazine over the past years have done just that, and there will be many more to do the same in the future. Contact me if you would like to became part of this impressive group from industry, universities and government labs, and share your knowledge to help raise the bar of understanding.
As an example of the educational value of this magazine, you'll find in this issue a column on page 112 entitled "Induction Corner," which is intended to educate current users and potential users of induction heating about certain aspects of the technology that might be unknown or unclear or that might offer potential new applications based on new capabilities. Induction heating is identified as one of the key heating technologies of the future. Successful application of induction heating requires more knowledge and understanding of its special features compared with other heating methods. The goal of this column is to inform about induction heating specifics and state-of-the-art in the induction heating technique. For example, this first installment (of a total of four planned) discusses advancements in induction heating power supplies and the new opportunities possible from these advancements.
The author of this column is Prof. Valentin S. Nemkov, Ph.D., Chief Scientist at Centre for Induction Technology Inc. He is widely recognized as a top expert in the education, theory and practice of induction heating, and is author and co-author of 7 books, 10 patents and more than 220 papers in the field.