1 The ‘Historical Dimension’ of Engineering The historical dimension, or aspect, of engineering clearly shows the effect on the social and cultural life of a country and on humanity in general of engineering developments. It also shows how the political situation effects engineering progress. Thus the historical dimension of a project or a mass-produced item will include all the factors which lead up to the decision to go ahead with it, as well as the evolution of those factors over time until the decision to go ahead was made. It will therefore include the political factors that encouraged or discouraged the decision to go ahead with the project; the social situation which made the project appear to be viable and useful; the technological developments that made the project more viable; and the way in which these changed over time to make the decision easier. It will also include the changes that the project or device will have on the social, cultural and political situation. A long bridge over a large river, or part of the sea, will not be built between countries with strong
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