While placing engineering and the arts in the same sentence may still sound like an odd juxtaposition to some, for me it has always been the most natural alignment. Back in my college days I dabbled in drawing, which was different from the mandatory technical drawing classes that all engineering students had to take, but which I still enjoyed immensely. And since an early age I had a strong love for photography, which I pursued on my own as well as through classes in high school and beyond.
But beyond even drawing and photography, there is a natural affinity between the arts and engineering. Mostly, it’s the element of creativity and problem solving, with engineering seeking to solve largely practical issues while the arts are primarily interested in creation for the sake of communicating some wider meaning.
Either way, the skill sets needed for success in engineering or the arts overlap significantly. And more and more universities and engineering departments are seeing this natural affinity and exploring the relationship between these disciplines.
For instance, the College of Engineering at Purdue University, recognizing the affinity between engineering and the arts, is looking for the engineers of the future in arts classrooms.
And at Princeton, the arts and engineering are being seen as natural allies. This page has a number of interesting articles about the engineer as artist and vice versa.
And lastly, check out what some engineering students at Dartmouth University are doing to bring engineering and the arts closer together.