The Difference between Science, Technology and Engineering

Let me try to tell you, in as simple a way as possible...



The principal goal of a Scientist is to publish a paper. 

Now-a-days, the sheer manner in which so many papers are churned out it seems that many papers are seen to be written, not written to be seen.

Of course, a genuine Scientist will try and ensure that the paper must be written to be seen and not seen to be written. Science is the reasoned investigation or study of natural phenomena with the objective of discovering new principles and knowledge of natural phenomena.



The principal goal of a Technologist is to produce some physical change in the world. 

Technology is the practical application of science.

Technology includes the skill, technique and knowledge of themanipulation of nature for human purposes, using scientific results and knowledge.



The principal goal of an Engineer is to design, create and produce new tools, machines and systems for practical human means by exploiting technology.

             In order to exploit technology, the engineer applies scientific principles to practical ends such as the design, manufacture, and operation of efficient and economical structures, machines, processes and systems. Thus, Engineering is the professional art of using technology (the practical application of science) for achieving the optimum conversion of the resources of nature for the benefit of humankind.


While Scientists may, at times, may conduct scientific studies for the sake of discovery, Engineers and Technologists always try to have in mind the ultimate benefit of humankind and results of their work are invariably beneficial for human purposes.

 Engineering is the art of optimally using technology and is primarily concerned with how to direct to useful and economical ends the natural phenomena which scientists discover and formulate into acceptable. Engineering therefore requires the creative imagination to innovatively apply technology in order to obtain useful applications of natural phenomena. It seeks newer, cheaper, better technologies of using natural sources of energy and materials.

  So it looks like the Engineer is the one who is most useful to society and humankind, isn't it?


 A Gobbledygook Definition of ENGINEERING

Now I have tried to tell you in as simple a way as possible, but if you prefer Gobbledygook read on – The American Engineers' Council for Professional Development has defined Engineering as follows: 


“The creative application of scientific principles to design or develop structures, machines, apparatus, or manufacturing processes, or works utilizing them singly or in combination; or to construct or operate the same with full cognizance of their design; or to forecast their behavior under specific operating conditions; all as respects an intended function, economics of operation and safety to life and property.”


Science: Knowledge and/or understanding about a subject or phenomenon.

Engineering: Application of scientific knowledge to solve a problem or create something (structure/product etc.)

Technology: A collection of proven methods/approaches/devices that can be used to create/engineer complex applications, products etc. (Depending on your place in the design flow, you might consider something relatively simple ... or relatively complex ... to be a "technology" that you would want to use.)

Science is the understanding and continuous exploration of the natural world. In short, it is a study of "As Is". Technology is applying the outcome of scientific principles to innovate and improve the man-made things in the world. The output of Technology is a new or better process of doing. Engineering is applying the outcome of technology to design, develop, and manufacture the end product. 

Example: The first understanding of steam as a form of water power capable of opening up a tightly closed tea-kettle lid is science. Then the making of a steam boiler prototype in a laboratory by continuous experimentation and finally arriving at the most efficient process is an example of technology. Later, manufacturing the steam boiler in a factory and rolling it out for use comes under engineering. 

Engineering provides feedback to technology to innovate or improve better ways of doing. Inputs from technological innovation allow science to explore other natural phenomenon.

Engineers use science in their work, designing products or systems to solve a particular issue, or improve our lives. Things that engineers must also be concerned with are balancing costs with performance, and safety margins. 

Like when you get in an elevator, there may be a sign stating maximum capacity 10 people (or so many pounds). The actual safe limit of the elevator is much greater than that. The engineers design the elevator so that the actual safe limit will never be reached under normal operating conditions.


Engineering is the process of putting things together to get a desired outcome, technology is engineering that has been proven to work over and over again. Technology is always improving due to the advances in Engineering.

Engineering is creation of a new facility,machinery or establishment to produce goods,materials and life needs. Hence it is detailing and creating hence should include design,procurement,construction and start-up. Technology is proprietary knowledge (know-how)once given the establishment/facility can be created with the help of engineering


  • A body of knowledge
  • Seeks to describe and understand the natural world and its physical properties
  • Scientific knowledge can be used to make predictions
  • Science uses a process--the scientific method--to generate knowledge


  • Design under constraint
  • Seeks solutions for societal problems and needs
  • Aims to produce the best solution given resources and constraints
  • Engineering uses a process--the engineering design process--to produce solutions and technologies


  • The body of knowledge, systems, processes, and artifacts that result from engineering
  • Almost everything made by humans to solve a need or fulfill a want/desire is a technology
  • Examples of technology include pencils, shoes, cell phones, and processes to treat water

In the real world, these disciplines are closely connected. Scientists often use technologies created by engineers to conduct their research. In turn, engineers often use knowledge developed by scientists to inform the design of the technologies they create.

Science, engineering, and technology are all situated in the context of a larger society that determines what science and engineering get done. Human values, needs, and problems determine in large part what questions scientists investigate and what problems engineers tackle. In turn, the technological products of science and engineering influence society and change human culture.



In a nutshell, 

·         Scientist studies Nature

·         Technologist manipulates Nature

·         An Engineer exploits technology for human purposes.

Engineering is the art and science of weaving threads of technology into the fabric of everyday life.