Engineers can’t light a light bulb?

In one of Peter Welander’s recent “Pillar to Post” blogs, he mentions a video showing a group of MIT engineering graduates unable to figure out how to solve a basic electrical challenge: Given a D-cell battery, a flashlight bulb, and a piece of wire, some could not figure out how to use these together to make the bulb light.
By Control Engineering Staff January 1, 2009

In one of Peter Welander’s recent “Pillar to Post” blogs, he mentions a video showing a group of MIT engineering graduates unable to figure out how to solve a basic electrical challenge: Given a D-cell battery, a flashlight bulb, and a piece of wire, some could not figure out how to use these together to make the bulb light.

The video is shot at the MIT graduation, with students still in caps and gowns. A group of them, approached individually, when asked if they could solve the problem, each said yes, but when handed the items they obviously couldn’t. One even said, “I’m a mechanical engineer, not an electrical engineer.” As funny and unsettling as this is, the point was not to make engineers with a very high-priced education look stupid. The point had to do with the combination of hands-on and heads-on learning.

To see this video for yourself, go to www.controleng.com, click on the blogs tab in the multimedia box, select the “Pillar to Post” blog and scroll down to select the “Engineers can’t light a light bulb?” posting.