by Seth Kintigh

Poetry in EE

The article "Poetry in Engineering Education" described Drexel University's program of combining humanities into engineering (much like WPI has been doing for decades). Drexel University's approach was to have freshmen engineering students write a poem about a research subject they had studied. Through the sheer volume of references made in the article it is obvious that the emphasis was on two very important concepts: creativity and the wrongfulness of stereotypes.

Any student can score well in class and graduate given enough time to prepare, but this process has no bearing on the realities of being a "good" engineer after graduation. If an answer already exists then there is little use for an engineer. A good engineer is one who can come up with creative, innovative and new solutions to problems. This requires an entirely different form of thinking than the rote-rehearsal required to memorize facts before a test. Another form of thinking is not thinking at all. When this is done we fall back on old and often incorrect prejudices or stereotypes. This is far from creative and can have far-reaching adverse effects. It is therefore important that an engineer look beyond his stereotypes, whether dealing with new people or old problems.

Engineers writing poetry are faced with these two concepts. First the engineer must give up the notion that all poems must rhyme.; Next they must use creativity to come up with a original poem. This entire process shows non-engineers that the stereotype of engineers are incapable of writing to be false.; The result is a new breed of engineers who think creatively, reject stereotypes, are willing to try new and daring ideas and who appreciate the sacredness of life, all through dabbling in the art known as poetry.

"The plight of data damaged by analog to digital conversion at the Nyquist rate and the following digital to analog conversion."
By Seth Kintigh

A continuous stream rushing forward infinitely.
A mighty river, yet like an ocean with no beginning,
nor bounds to its volume.

A moment is stolen!
Chaos trapped, it's instantaneous magnitude measured in captivity,
translated into binary and shuffled into discrete,
unnatural order.

Perhaps to be filtered or transmitted,
its identity convolved and convoluted,
or maybe spared further harassment.
It cannot be free in this preternatural state:
its transience is held stationary by transistors
or by the atoms of conductive elements.

Through spastic procedures
it is finally released,
however, it is not quite the same.
Despite all attempts by the captors
it now has a ring, a shrill cacophony of unintended tones.
Once removed, it is lacking more.

Still it must be let free
whatever its inadequacies
to flow amongst the pure
as best it can.