Aren't scientists and engineers the same thing?
Not quite. Though they use many of the same ideas and methods, scientists and engineers are somewhat different.
What do scientists want?
Scientists want to know how the universe works. They may see it as an enormous jigsaw puzzle to solve for its own sake. Some things they find are useful right away, others not (though much of what scientists have found in the past has turned out to be useful in some way). Though they certainly want to help people, their major goal is understanding, not usefulness.
What about engineers?
Engineers try to use the facts of science and math to do things that are useful to people. Many engineers are designers -- designing the many products that we use in the world, from computers to cars to camera lenses.
What do they have in common?
Quite a few things, actually. Scientists and engineers both use the facts and methods of science, and both often use MATH and COMPUTERS in their work.
The world needs scientists and engineers!
Scientists and engineers are important members of our society. We need science and technology to live in the modern world -- to have products we want, to communicate, to travel, to understand and protect the environment, and much more. See this video, "Optics: Light at Work". The first half of this video provides an upbeat, interesting, and informative orientation to the career of optical engineering and science. Examples of real world applications and examples of exciting new technologies are provided - nanomedicine, space telescopes, invisibility, and solar energy.
What do they do?
Scientists and engineers are important members of our society. We need science and technology to live in the modern world -- to have products we want, to communicate, to travel, to understand and protect the environment, and much more.
What about math?
Math is important, but good reading and writing skills, common sense, curiosity, and general knowledge are also important. You need to have four or more years of college to be an engineer or scientist (most scientists and many engineers go to graduate school after college to increase their knowledge and get advanced degrees).
There are many other related careers!
Optics (optical science) and optical engineering are specialized but very useful and interesting fields, though there are many, many other areas too.
What is it like working with lenses?
Visit this Canon website to see how a lens is made. Learn about different types of lenses (optical glass lens, fluorite lens, ultra low dispersion lens, and spherical/aspherica lens), and the people who make them. Courtesy of Canon.