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What Is the Difference Between a Scientist and an Engineer?

What Is the Difference Between a Scientist and an Engineer?

Scientist versus engineer… are they the same? Different? Here's a look at the definitions of scientist and engineer and the difference between a scientist and engineer.

Practical and Philosophical Differences

A scientist is a person who has scientific training or who works in the sciences. An engineer is someone who is trained as an engineer. So, the practical difference lies in the educational degree and the description of the task being performed by the scientist or engineer. On a more philosophical level, scientists tend to explore the natural world and discover new knowledge about the universe and how it works. Engineers apply that knowledge to solve practical problems, often with an eye toward optimizing cost, efficiency, or some other parameters.

Considerable Overlap

There is considerable overlap between science and engineering, so you will find scientists who design and construct equipment and engineers who make important scientific discoveries. Information theory was founded by Claude Shannon, a theoretical engineer. Peter Debye won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with a degree in electrical engineering and a doctorate in physics.