It was not hard to find an initial connection between evolution and my major, which is mechanical engineering. Although mechanical engineering typically focuses on topics that are mechanical in nature, there is also a branch that typically deals with humans – biomechanical engineering. There are multiple ways that engineering can cross paths with evolution throughout ones career and schooling, leading to the importance of learning about evolution during the early years of schooling.
In Alters and Alters article “Why Students Should Learn Evolution?”, they use an example about antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial resistance begins to occur when the microbes are continuously exposed to antibiotics, and they start to form a resistance against them. This phenomenon is due to natural selection and evolution. I instantly gravitate towards this notable fact because people are working on engineering new products to clean up in hospitals that avoid the use of antibacterial cleaning products, and products that may spread disease from one patient room to the next. Typically you will see people going from room to room using harsh chemicals, mops, and other cleaning products. All of this increases the chance of spreading disease, but a team of engineers have recently come up with a disposable microfiber cleaning cloth. These cloths have little hooks that grab onto these small particles and remove them without the use of harsh chemicals. If you take one strand of hair on your head, and imagine it being split into 100 pieces, then you get the size of one hook. These engineers need to have an understanding of how disease and bacteria react, live, evolve, and behave in general to create a solution.
The readings this week did not make me think about my field in a different light. Growing up and in my courses I have always been taught about evolution, and the importance of it being considered during any scientific endeavors. Any science class that I have taken from biology to chemistry to geological sciences have brought up concepts of evolution at some point during them. It’s important for students to learn about it because there is a lot of cause and effect that you can learn from evolution. The example of antimicrobial resistance is a good case of cause and effect with science and evolution.
New scientific advances in chemicals and antibiotics over the years are starting to cause the evolution of these bacteria to be resistant to them. Now we have to engineer new ways to prevent the spread of these resistant bacteria, and also ways to remove them without creating further resistance. We must gain an understanding of how evolution works and the effects it has on the world. If it was not taught in school while I was growing up, then I would not have as great of an understanding of scientific principles in general. I only gave one example of evolution and human variability effect in engineering, but there are so many examples out there that demonstrate it and it does not take much searching.