Necessary Communication

Effective communication is vital for any field of science.  As a (hopefully) future engineer I’ll need to use writing to communicate my ideas to the company I’m working for in order to get my design plans accepted and implemented.  A major part of the type of engineering I’m hoping to go into involves designing chemical reactors for optimal safety and productivity.  The chemical engineering department of Carnegie Melon University has a research paper titled “Synthesis of Optimal Chemical Reactor Networks” that is similar to something I might have to write someday of I ever come up with a new design process for a chemical reactor.  The abstract and introduction of the paper clearly outline the need for higher optimization of chemical reactors and they explain the sort of math that is used in the report to draw these conclusions.

Although this report is not interesting in any way shape or form, the information and evidence contained within it are concrete and the paper clearly outlines the method of design for the chemical reactor.  This is a report meant solely for other engineers and is not meant to appeal to the general public whatsoever.  A part of this report that would be challenging is the fact that it cannot show any bias whatsoever, at the risk of seeming unprofessional and losing credibility with its audience.  All claims made in the paper are either referenced to another work or backed up with mathematical modeling.  The report is rife with equations and algorithms and most of its content is written explanation of the derivation and usefulness of these equations in regards to the reactor design.

Although this form of communication is effective in reaching the intended audience, a much simpler form of writing would have to be adopted if the writer of this report wanted it to reach the general public.  To make this report more appealing to the masses there would have to be less math in it and more of a rudimentary explanation of how chemical reactors work and the physical measures that should be taken to optimize them.  However, the general public probably doesn’t really care how chemical reactors are optimized, so the need for a more general article on the subject is really quite unnecessary.

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One thought on “Necessary Communication

  1. Nice description; I laughed at the “not interesting in any way shape or form” part. You’re clear about the audience here being engineers, but are other people interested in this topic (people in policy or business)? Does this article reach them, or would an engineer then shift their writing for a less expert audience? (I may be uninformed about the practical applications of chemical reactors here).

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