Week 4, The Hippocratic Oath, By Matthew Robertson


   In Canada, there is an equivalent of the Hippocratic oath for engineers. The Iron Ring (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Ring) is given as part of a ritual known as The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer (which has an American equivalent, the “Order of the Engineer” which is somewhat less popular).
The purpose of the ring is to remind the engineer of his obligation to professionalism and humility. The ceremony in which the engineer receives the ring often involves bolts or other artifacts from the Quebec Bridge, which collapsed and killed 75 people. While the medical professions are centered around health care, which naturally introduces a large pressure not to make mistakes (as someone might die), the structure the engineer designs is often more removed and less immediate. An engineer might feel that others will notice any mistakes that he or she makes if more than one person is working on the project. This naturally reflects the difference between taking an oath (which is a one time thing) and wearing a ring (which is a constant reminder). The ring also serves to give engineers a means of easily identifying other engineers. Here is the American equivalent’s version of the oath:
I am an Engineer, in my profession I take deep pride. To it I owe solemn obligations.Since the Stone Age, human progress has been spurred by the engineering genius. Engineers have made usable Nature’s vast resources of material and energy for Humanity’s benefit. Engineers have vitalized and turned to practical use the principles of science and the means of technology. Were it not for this heritage of accumulated experience, my efforts would be feeble.

As an Engineer, I pledge to practice integrity and fair dealing, tolerance and respect, and to uphold devotion to the standards and the dignity of my profession, conscious always that my skill carries with it the obligation to serve humanity by making the best use of Earth’s precious wealth.

As an Engineer I shall participate in none but honest enterprises. When needed, my skill and knowledge shall be given without reservation for the public good. In the performance of duty and in fidelity to my profession, I shall give the utmost.






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