Photo by Scott Blake on Unsplash

As a regular reader of Chemical Engineering Progress (CEP), I was impressed to see its Editor-in-Chief Cindy Mascone writing her monthly editorial as a poem. She mentioned that when she writes for the magazine “accuracy, clarity, and conciseness take precedence over all else.” But that doesn’t mean she can’t be creative too! Her poem got me thinking about common myths about engineers.

  1. We aren’t creative
  2. We lack social skills
  3. We want to fix everything (whether it needs it or not)
  4. We’re quantitative wonks
  5. We are boring (just in case that wasn’t clear from being a quantitative wonk)
  6. We’re not open to new areas of inquiry or interest

Get to know an engineer!

Of course, I beg to differ. I like to think of this blog as one outlet for creativity. Plus, every time we come up with a new solution or problem-solve in a new way, we’re showing not only critical, but also creative thinking.

I’ve written a lot about troubleshooting in filtration technology, but not because we do it for kicks. We do it to improve a process or solve a problem. Really, we’d rather be innovating — which, again, is just how non-boring and creative we can be.

We may know our numbers, and some of us can be a little socially awkward (but plenty of liberal arts enthusiasts are too). Still, I’d argue that we are generally creative, inquisitive, and downright interesting folks!

And now, because I know you’re curious, I can also share the poem itself:

Ode to the March 2019 Issue of CEP
This month we feature process intensification
One aspect of which may be flow augmentation
Equipment that is smaller or does more than one function
To the old paradigm, PI causes disruption.
The first article tells of three RAPID teams
Whose projects are the stuff of dreams
Microwaves, solar hydrogen, and hydrofracking
Energy-saving ideas, they are not lacking.
A dividing-wall column replaces two towers with one
It changes the way distillation is done
With a smaller footprint and lower capital cost
And on top of that, no efficiency’s lost.
So how do you optimize an intensified route?
That’s what the next article is about
Use this building block approach to process design
And watch your energy use decline.
A digital twin software tools can create
To capture the process’s every possible state
You can study alternatives and run what-if tests
To figure out which option is best.
This issue contains many other things, too
Whatever your interests, there’s something for you
The same can be said of the Spring Meeting which will
Take place in New Orleans and be quite a thrill
Check out the preview after page seventy-four
For sessions and keynotes and events galore.
I’ve run out of space so now I must stop
But if you like this poem, to the website please hop
There’s more rhyming about CEP and its staff
I hope I have made you smile and laugh.
Thank you for coming to read more of my poem
On the website or app that is our virtual home.
The authors who write for this fine magazine
Do it not for the money but to get their names seen
By thousands of people at sites far and wide
For this publication is a valuable guide.
The topics they cover in their technical articles
Range from safety and computers to fluids and particles
From water and energy, from bio to dust
From nano to columns that are resistant to rust
From instrumentation to exchangers of heat
Among chemical magazines, CEP can’t be beat.
Our readers know not what we editors do
To make the articles understandable for you
Each page is read over many times with great care
To ensure that no typos can be found anywhere
That tables and figures are in the right places
That all the text fits with no empty spaces
That references include all the necessary data
That symbol font correctly displays mu, rho, and beta
That hyphens appear everywhere hyphens are needed
That the proofreader’s comments have been fully heeded.
We take pride in our work and we love what we do
Bringing the latest technology and information to you
But now we must turn to next month’s content
And make sure every moment on the job is well spent.

Reprinted with permission from Chemical Engineering Progress (CEP), March 2019. Copyright © 2019 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)

Inspired to write your own technical poetry? Engineering verse? I’d love to see it and share it here! Who knows, maybe there is an anthology in the works!