Dictionary.com on the web defines science as "the
observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical
explanation of phenomena," and engineering as "the application of scientific and
mathematical principles to practical ends such as the design, manufacture, and operation
of efficient and economical structures, machines, processes, and systems." However,
it requires a philosophical point of view to clarify which phenomena and what practical
To gain further insight into how science and engineering might best meet the needs of
society, the IEEE Bilkent Student Branch interviewed Geoff Bowe, Asst. Prof. in the
Department of Philosophy and the Program in Cultures, Civilizations and Ideas.
Dr. Bowe introduced us to the notion of "betterment of life." He explained the
betterment of life as the process of enabling people to have an easier life with free time
to think. Thinking is the means of expressing oneself and knowing what we, others, and
things are. An easier life and the ability to express oneself makes a person happy.
Therefore, the goal of betterment should inspire science's investigation of phenomena and
engineering's development of practical applications.
Dr. Bowe also spoke to us about "counterproductivity." He explained it in terms
of how the outcomes of science and engineering force us to do things that may or may not
be beneficial. For instance, nowadays we are almost entirely restricted to using cars and
similar vehicles for transportation. However, we do not clearly understand whether
their use truly connects us to others or merely results in traffic jams, pollution, and a
hectic lifestyle. Therefore, the outcomes of science and engineering are sometimes
self-consuming. Engineering and science without limits or clear goals can negatively
affect everyone's quality of life.
In fact, science and engineering are progressing so quickly that they could even harm our
entire society. Aiming for the betterment of life would direct the efforts of science and
engineering toward a rational course, and ensure that their outcomes are more in line with
the desires of society's members.
The Bilkent IEEE Student Branch will be organizing a tour to Cyberpark in the following
weeks. The tour will be on either a Tuesday or a Thursday, according to students'
requests. Students who want to go on the tour should contact Bilkent@ieee.org.
For more information, please visit www.ieee.org/bilkentl
by the IEEE Bilkent Student Branch