Curiosity: Do engineers have more of it than others do? Do you?
A recent conversation with a friend turned to the wonders of GPS. “How could we have ever lived without it?” he asked. I agreed, and began to explain how GPS worked and how the critical clock correction was done. But I quickly saw a blank expression on my friend’s face, and an averting of eyes. “You’re an engineer, and you care about things like that,” he said dismissively. The conversation left a strange aftertaste. Do you have to be an engineer to care about how things work? Do engineers have an innate sense of curiosity that is largely absent elsewhere? Shortly thereafter, I brought up the question with two engineering friends. They looked at each other with an expression of collusion that excluded me. “No,” said one, while the other nodded and said in agreement, “We don’t have any special curiosity.” Nonetheless, I’m still curious about curiosity. This sense has always...