Engineering Quotes That Inspire Innovation
March 21, 2023 5:00 AM EST
These inspiring engineering quotes from the minds of engineers, inventors, and scientists just might spark inspiration for your next project.
Where would the world be without engineers?
Without engineers, we would live in a world that is unrecognizable today.
We’d be cave people living in the wild.
Tell us your favorite engineering quote in the comment section below.
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According to research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, innovation is a key driver of economic growth and can significantly improve quality of life.
This highlights the importance of engineering innovation, reflected in engineering quotes that inspire creativity and the development of new solutions to complex problems.
What are the benefits of reading these engineering quotes?
Engineers are problem solvers and innovators who take the world’s biggest challenges and create solutions that improve our daily lives.
Their answers to the world’s problems have saved lives and improved our quality of living!
We hope these engineering quotes will:
- inspire you to look at things differently
- make you laugh,
- motivate you to find a solution to a problem you’re facing in your life
Don’t forget to check out these science quotes from famous scientists about life and death.
If you love this quote collection, read out our most popular quote article about short inspirational quotes for daily motivation.
If you need more inspirational quotes, check out our motivational quotes category page.
Short engineering quotes
Research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that creativity and innovation are essential in engineering, as engineers are constantly faced with new problems to solve.
This emphasizes the importance of motivation reflected in engineering quotes encouraging engineers to think differently and develop innovative solutions to challenging problems.
1. “Math is my Passion. Engineering is my Profession.” — Wilfred James Dolor
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2. “I have not failed, but found 1000 ways to not make a light bulb.” — Thomas Edison
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3. “The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.” — Leonardo da Vinci
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4. “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.” — Winston Churchill
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5. “Scientists study the world as it is, engineers create the world that never has been.” — Theodore von Karman
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6. “The engineer has been, and is, a maker of history.” — James Kip Finch
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7. “Knowing there is a structure, hidden or felt, to the random gives pleasure.” — Cecil Balmond
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8. “One man’s “magic” is another man’s engineering. “Supernatural” is a null word.” — Robert A. Heinlein
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9. “Science is about knowing; engineering is about doing.” — Henry Petroski
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10. “Engineers have more words for screwing up than the Inuit have words for snow.” — Pierce Nichols
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Funny engineering quotes and sayings
According to a Stanford School of Engineering study, successful innovation requires a culture of experimentation, risk-taking, and continuous learning.
This underscores the importance of a supportive and innovative culture that can be fostered through engineering quotes that encourage taking risks, embracing new ideas, and continually learning and growing.
11. “Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems.” — Scott Adams
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12. “The problem in this business isn’t to keep people from stealing your ideas; it’s making them steal your ideas!” — Howard Aiken
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13. “Any idiot can build a bridge that stands, but it takes an engineer to build a bridge that barely stands.” — Unknown
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14. “A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.” — Douglas Adams
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15. “Normal people believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features yet.” — Scott Adams
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16. “To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.” — Unknown
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17. “An engineer is someone who is good with figures, but doesn’t have the personality of an accountant.” — An Arts graduate’s view of engineers
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18. “Architects and engineers are among the most fortunate of men since they build their own monuments with public consent, public approval and often public money.” — John Prebble
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19. “An engineer is someone who washes his hands before going to the toilet.” — Unknown
Motivational engineering quotes
According to the National Science Foundation, engineering is the most popular undergraduate major in the United States, with over 237,000 students enrolled in engineering programs in 2019.
This statistic underscores the growing interest in engineering and highlights the importance of the field in driving innovation and technological advancement.
20. “Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it.” — Sir Henry Royce
21. “The trick to having good ideas is not to sit around in glorious isolation and try to think big thoughts. The trick is to get more parts on the table.” — Steven Johnson
22. “Kobak explained, ‘The way you learn anything is that something fails, and you figure out how not to have it fail again.” — Robert S. Arrighi
23. “There’s nothing I believe in more strongly than getting young people interested in science and engineering, for a better tomorrow, for all humankind.” — Bill Nye
24. “What we usually consider as impossible are simply engineering problems… there’s no law of physics preventing them.” — Michio Kaku
25. “I take the vision which comes from dreams and apply the magic of science and mathematics, adding the heritage of my profession and my knowledge of nature’s materials to create a design.” — Unknown
26. “Engineering is quite different from science. Scientists try to understand nature. Engineers try to make things that do not exist in nature. Engineers stress invention.” — Yuan-Cheng Fung
Inspirational engineering quotes about life
A study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that engineering majors have among the highest median salaries of any college major, earning a median annual salary of $95,000.
This statistic underscores the financial rewards of pursuing a career in engineering and reinforces the idea that engineering is a valuable and in-demand field.
27. “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery
28. “When you want to know how things really work, study them when they’re coming apart.” — William Gibson
29. “Engineering is not only study of 45 subjects but it is moral studies of intellectual life.” — Prakhar Srivastav
30. “Projects we have completed demonstrate what we know – future projects decide what we will learn.” — Dr. Mohsin Tiwana
31. “The most important thing is to keep the most important thing the most important thing.” — Donald P. Coduto
32. “There is no demand for women engineers, as such, as there are for women doctors; but there’s always a demand for anyone who can do a good piece of work.” — Edith Clarke
33. “The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong, it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair.” — Douglas Adams
Other famous engineering quotes
According to a report by the World Economic Forum, the top five skills that employers will be looking for in 2025 are all related to engineering and technology, including analytical thinking, innovation, and problem-solving.
This statistic highlights the increasing importance of engineering skills in the workforce and reinforces the idea that engineering is a valuable and in-demand field with significant opportunities for growth and advancement.
34. “One has to watch out for engineers – they begin with the sewing machine and end up with the atomic bomb.” — Marcel Pagnol
35. “I’ve never seen a job being done by a five-hundred-person engineering team that couldn’t be done better by fifty people.” — C. Gordon Bell
36. “First rule of engineering; beware prototypes. Along with, avoid anything made by an engineer who doesn’t have all his own fingers.” — Simon R. Green
37. “Manufacturing is more than just putting parts together. It’s coming up with ideas, testing principles and perfecting the engineering as well as final assembly.” — James Dyson
38. “It is hardly surprising that the malodorous field of garbology has not attained the popularity of rocket science, oil exploration, or brain surgery.” — Hans Y. Tammemagi
39. “I don’t spend my time pontificating about high-concept things; I spend my time solving engineering and manufacturing problems.” — Elon Musk
40. “A good scientist is a person with original ideas. A good engineer is a person who makes a design that works with as few ideas as possible. There are no prima donnas in engineering.” — Freeman Dyson
41. “It is exciting to discover electrons and figure out the equations that govern their movement; it is boring to use those principles to design electric can openers. From here on out, it’s all can openers.” — Neal Stephenson
42. “Aeroplanes are not designed by science, but by art in spite of some pretence and humbug to the contrary. I do not mean to suggest that engineering can do without science, on the contrary, it stands on scientific foundations, but there is a big gap between scientific research and the engineering product which has to be bridged by the art of the engineer.” — British Engineer to the Royal Aeronautical Society, 1922.
43. “ A great bridge is a great monument which should serve to make known the splendour and genius of a nation; one should not occupy oneself with efforts to perfect it architecturally, for taste is always susceptible to change, but to conserve always in its form and decoration the character of solidity which is proper.” — Jean Peronnet
44. “Engineering problems are under-defined, there are many solutions, good, bad and indifferent. The art is to arrive at a good solution. This is a creative activity, involving imagination, intuition and deliberate choice.”
45. “Engineering refers to the practice of organizing the design and construction [and, I would add operation] of any artifice which transforms the physical world around us to meet some recognized need.” — G.F.C. Rogers
46. “Engineering … to define rudely but not inaptly, is the art of doing that well with one dollar, which any bungler can do with two after a fashion.” — Arthur Mellen Wellington
47. “From the laying out of a line of a tunnel to its final completion, the work may be either a series of experiments made at the expense of the proprietors of the project, or a series of judicious applications of the results of previous experience.” — H.S. Drinker
48. “Go for civil engineering, because civil engineering is the branch of engineering which teaches you the most about managing people. Managing people is a skill which is very, very useful and applies almost regardless of what you do.” — Sir John Harvey Jones
49. “No doubt as years go by people forget which engineer did it, even if they ever knew. Or some politician puts his name on it. Or they credit it to some promoter who used other peoples money with which to finance it. But the engineer himself looks back at the unending stream of goodness that flows from his successes with satisfactions that few professions may know. And the verdict of his fellow professionals is all the accolade he wants.” — Herbert Hoover
50. “When engineers and quantity surveyors discuss aesthetics and architects study what cranes do we are on the right road.” — Ove Arup
Engineering quotes about what engineering is
51. “Engineering stimulates the mind.” — Bruce Dickinson
52. “Architecture begins where engineering ends.” — Walter Gropius
53. “The scientist discovers a new type of material or energy and the engineer discovers a new use for it.” — Gordon Lindsay Glegg
54. “Art Nouveau got its inspiration from nature. The Bauhaus got its inspiration from engineering.” — P. J. O’Rourke
55. “A country without engineering skill and knowledge will never become a developed country.” — Mahathir Mohamad
56. “In nature, there is no separation between design, engineering, and fabrication; the bone does it all.” — Neri Oxman
57. “At its heart, engineering is about using science to find creative, practical solutions. It is a noble profession.” — Queen Elizabeth II
58. “We will always have STEM with us. Some things will drop out of the public eye and will go away, but there will always be science, engineering, and technology. And there will always, always be mathematics.” — Katherine Johnson
59. “To make an embarrassing admission, I like video games. That’s what got me into software engineering when I was a kid. I wanted to make money so I could buy a better computer to play better video games – nothing like saving the world.” — Elon Musk
60. “With genetic engineering, we will be able to increase the complexity of our DNA, and improve the human race. But it will be a slow process, because one will have to wait about 18 years to see the effect of changes to the genetic code.” — Stephen Hawking
More eye-opening engineering quotes
61. “The fewer moving parts, the better.” “Exactly. No truer words were ever spoken in the context of engineering.” — Christian Cantrell
62. “The world would be a better place if more engineers, like me, hated technology. The stuff I design, if I’m successful, nobody will ever notice. Things will just work, and be self-managing.”
— Radia Pearlman
63. “The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter – for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way. He lives and labors and hopes.” — Nikola Tesla
64. “I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer, born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace and propelled by compressible flow.” — Neil Armstrong
65. “When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.” — R. Buckminster Fuller
66. “The engineer is a mediator between the philosopher and the working mechanic and, like an interpreter between two foreigners must understand the language of both, hence the absolute necessity of possessing both practical and theoretical knowledge.” — Henry Palmer
67. “At that time (1909) the chief engineer was almost always the chief test pilot as well. That had the fortunate result of eliminating poor engineering early in aviation.” — Igor Sikorsky
68. “If not for the compulsions of engineers, mankind would never have seen the wheel, settling instead for the trapezoid because some Neanderthal in marketing convinced everybody it had great braking ability.” — Scott Adams
69. “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” — Buckminster Fuller
70. “Improvement makes strait roads: but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius.” — William Blake
Engineering Quotes To Appreciate The Work Of Engineers
71. “A good engineer thinks in reverse and asks himself about the stylistic consequences of the components and systems he proposes.” ― Helmut Jahn
72. “You see, my ambition was not to confound the engineering world but simply to create a beautiful piece of art.” ― Kit Williams
73. “Engineering is the art of directing the great sources of power in nature for the use and convenience of man.” ― Thomas Tredgold
74. “The life work of the engineer consists in the systematic application of natural forces and the systematic development of natural resources in the service of man.” ― Harry Walter Tyler
75. “A scientist can discover a new star but he cannot make one. He would have to ask an engineer to do it for him.” ― Gordon Lindsay Glegg
76. “The history of engineering is really the history of breakages, and of learning from those breakages. I was taught at college ‘the engineer learns most on the scrapheap’.” ― C.A. Claremont
77. “Scientists investigate that which already is, Engineers create that which has never been.” ― Albert Einstein
78. “Engineering is the professional and systematic application of science to the efficient utilization of natural resources to produce wealth.” ― Theodore Jesse Hoover
79. “Engineering is the art and science of nuts and bolts.” ― Haresh Sippy
80. “Science can amuse and fascinate us all, but it is engineering that changes the world.” ― Isaac Asimov
Engineering Quotes for Its Amazing Art
81. “Bold objects require conservative engineering.” — James E. Webb
82. “Engineering is the art or science of making practical.” — Samuel Florman
83. “Communication is like the basics of mechanical engineering, the more moving parts you have the more likely it is to break down!” — Garrison Wynn
84. “Engineering is the closest thing to magic that exists in the world.” — Elon Musk
85. “Engineering is achieving function while avoiding failure.” — Henry Petroski
86. “The central activity of engineering, as distinguished from science, is the design of new devices, processes and systems.” — Myron Tribus
87. “Engineering is treated with disdain, on the whole. It’s considered to be rather boring and irrelevant, yet neither of those is true.” — James Dyson
88. “Aviation is the branch of engineering that is least forgiving of mistakes.” — Freeman Dyson
89. “The heel is engineering in itself. This little thing that supports the human weight has to have a precise balance.” — Christian Louboutin
90. “Don’t ask me to put up a shelf, but I love engineering.” — Bruce Dickinson
Engineering Quotes About The Amazing Skills
91. “Writers acquire their technique by spotting, savoring, and reverse-engineering examples of good prose.” — Steven Pinker
92. “I have succeeded in getting my actual work down to thirty minutes a day. That leaves me eighteen hours for engineering.” — Charles Proteus Steinmetz
93. “I think one problem we’ve had is that people who are smart and creative and innovative as engineers went into financial engineering.” — Walter Isaacson
94. “An osteopath is only a human engineer, who should understand all the laws governing his engine and thereby master disease.” — Andrew Taylor Still
95. “Software engineering is not about right and wrong but only better and worse.” — Ellen Ullman
96. “The more physics you have the less engineering you need.” — Ernest Rutherford
97. “Engineers use knowledge primarily to design, produce, and operate artifacts. … Scientists, by contrast, use knowledge primarily to generate more knowledge.” — Walter Guido Vincenti
98. “Great triumphs of engineering genius-the locomotive, the truss bridge, the steel rail- … are rather invention than engineering proper.” — Arthur M. Wellington
99. “We need all hands on deck, and that means clearing hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.” — Michelle Obama
100. “Once confined to fantasy and science fiction, time travel is now simply an engineering problem.” — Michio Kaku
Engineering Quotes on the Power and Potential of Engineering
101. “Failure is central to engineering. Every single calculation that an engineer makes is a failure calculation. Successful engineering is all about understanding how things break or fail.” ― Henry Petroski
102. “The joy of engineering is to find a straight line on a double logarithmic diagram.” ― Thomas Koenig
103. “Engineering is the conscious application of science to the problems of economic production.” ― H. P. Gillete
104. “Engineering is the application of science for human benefit.” ― J. M. Prausnitz
105. “Engineering is the art of organizing and directing men and controlling the forces and materials of nature for the benefit of the human race.” ― Michael Faraday
106. “Engineering is the application of scientific and mathematical principles to practical ends such as the design, construction, and operation of efficient and economical structures, machines, processes, and systems.” ― Franklin D. Jones
107. “Engineering is an activity other than purely manual and physical work which brings about the utilization of the materials and laws of nature for the good of humanity.” ― R. E. Hellmund
108. “Always engineering is the basic fundamental solver of human living problems under the sun.” ― Vitalis Bilauri
109. “Nothing is so inspiring as seeing big works well laid out and planned and a real engineering organisation.” ― Frederick Handley Page
110. “Engineering is the practice of safe and economic application of the scientific laws governing the forces and materials of nature by means of organization, design, construction, and operation of works, machines, structures, processes, and systems.” ― Henry Petroski
Engineering Quotes for Aspiring Engineers
111. “Engineering is a great profession. There’s the satisfaction of watching a figment of your imagination emerge as a finished product.” — Neil Armstrong
112. “Engineering is the art of modeling materials we do not wholly understand into shapes we cannot precisely analyse so as to withstand forces we cannot properly assess in such a way that the public has no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance.” — Sir Richard Lamb
113. “Engineering is the art of doing that well with one dollar which any bungler can do with two after a fashion.” — Arthur Wellington
114. “Engineering is the conscious application of science to the needs of humanity.” — John Ian McLaurin
115. “Engineering is the practice of safe and economic application of scientific principles to the design of works which serve the comfort and convenience of mankind.” — Thomas Tredgold
116. “Engineering is the creation of new solutions to meet human needs, using science and technology.” — Henry Petroski
117. “Engineering is not just designing things and making them work, it’s about improving the quality of life for all people.” — James Dyson
118. “Engineering is the art of molding materials we do not understand into shapes we cannot precisely analyze so as to withstand forces we cannot properly assess.” — John Baker
119. “Engineering is about finding elegant solutions to complex problems. It’s about using science and creativity to make the world a better place.” — Tim Cook
120. “Engineering is the link between scientific discoveries and their subsequent applications to human and business needs and quality of life.” — C. William Mueller
What did you learn from these engineering quotes?
If you looked around your house, it would be hard to find something that wasn’t made better by an engineer.
Safe drinking water, working plumbing, electricity, heating, and cooling in your home — all things you have an engineer to thank for!
An engineer brought us everything down to the milk and cereal in our breakfast bowls.
Pretty crazy, right?
It’s amazing how the minds of these innovators have affected every aspect of our daily lives.
We hope you enjoyed these engineering quotes and sayings.
Let us know your favorite quote in the comments below!
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