Recognising the engineerLetters If you’re happy and you know it… I have followed the debate in your pages on the professional status of engineers with a degree of sadness. Why do many of the correspondents moaning about the lack of respect given to engineering then complain about being compared to spanner-wielding, grease stained engineers ? I live in Swindon, in a town and a region still vehemently proud of its association with GWR and Brunel – a spanner-wielding grease-monkey of quite epic proportions, and someone that I would be proud to be compared to. Why is it necessary for us to demand respect for our own profession by denigrating others ? It is also wrong to dismiss the fact that engineers tend to love their jobs as irrelevant to the pay and status debate. I often hear my colleagues referring to their newly-finished chip in the sort of reverent terms people normally reserve for new children. Steve Deeley, Sparcells Swindon Let’s lay to rest views like Smith’s I refer to the remarks made by Mr Steve Smith in his letter titled `Engineers in perspective’. Mr Smith needs to be made aware of the serious and critical nature of work carried out by many engineers. As a professional engineer, I am involved in the electronics and software design of life-saving medical equipment. It goes without saying that the malfunction or failure of such apparatus can directly result in the death of the patient being treated. It would be very useful for Mr Smith to visit a hospital intensive care unit. Here, he would see the multiplicity of monitors, ventilators, infusion pumps etc. that are required to keep a critically ill patient alive. All such equipment is designed and rigorously tested by highly skilled engineers. Fully qualified engineers are professionals and should be treated with the respect that they deserve. It really is time that out-dated and ill-conceived views, such as those expressed by Mr Smith, be laid to rest once and for all. EurIng Paul Pastuszek BSc(Hons), CEng, MIEE. We’re not all mobile phone designers This letter just shows what a non-engineer thinks an engineer does. What does he think doctors use in their surgeries, electronic equipment developed by engineers that’s what! If these instruments are not correct in any way, somebody could die. We don’t all design mobile phones you know! Stephen Hill, software development engineer Away with the fairies… If an engineer makes a mistake, your mobile phone might not work ? Hardly in the same league as a doctor killing a patient? Who does Steve Smith think designs aircraft and power plants? The Jumbo Jet Fairy? The Nuclear Gnomes? If you think professional standards aren’t necessary in engineering, try reading Richard Feynman’s account of the Challenger enquiry. Peter Seed, consultant, Primary Image Be upbeat, but don’t get carried away Regrettably, perception is not all there is. I was pleased to be quoted in your piece on the fabless semiconductor index FABLS. But I must correct your maths. Gross margin is not earnings! It is net margin – and after tax at that – which is earnings, so our value is not yet ?240m! Good to be upbeat about the sector but overselling will only lead to disaster in future. Dr David Milne, managing director, Wolfson Microelectronics Thanks for the calculators My name is Constance Arnold and I am at Trevelyan Middle School in Windsor. My school won the 10 calculators from the competition in your magazine. I would like to say thank you for the calculators and especially for my personal calculator. Here’s a picture of me (kind of) using the calculator.