By HRH. Prince Philip (RIP).-the Duke of Edinburgh.
Prince Philip said engineers had in their hands the future of humanity as the world faces the issue of population growth and trying to balance housing infrastructure with conservation.
Prince Philip, the Duke of Endinburgh, has highlighted the vital work of engineers both in the past and into the future, in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, speaking to former BP Chief Executive Lord Browne.
According to Prince Philip, it would be hard to imagine a life without the contribution of engineers, who were responsible for “the whole of our infrastructure, from sewers to overhead cables, power supplies and communication.”
“Everything not invented by God is invented by engineers,” he continued.
Prince Philip said engineers had in their hands the future of humanity, as the world faces the issue of population growth and trying to balance housing infrastructure with conservation.
“The human population of the world is growing and is occupying more space,” he said. “It’s got to be accommodated somehow or another and I think most people would like to see that it accommodates a certain amount of the natural world as well as the human world and everything we require to keep it going.”
“But somehow or other that balance, to try and fit as many people onto this globe as comfortably as possible without doing too much damage, I think ultimately it’s going to be engineers that decide that.”
Asked by Lord Browne if engineers are less respected by the general populace than scientists or doctors, Prince Philip disagreed, saying that generally speaking, intelligent people do appreciate engineering.
Prince Philip first attained an understanding of the importance of engineering during the war, when as a naval cadet, he carried out basic engineering tasks, grounded in design and machinery, related to ship movement, firing weaponry, and sending messages.
After the war, as the economy needed to be lifted from poverty, he realised the central role that engineering needed to play in society, not least of all as a catalyst for manufacturing.
“The thing that really needed encouragement was manufacturing, which was always dependent on engineering, to try and recover from the war,” Prince Philip said.
“It seemed to me the only way we were going to recover a sort of viability was through engineering.”
In 1976, Prince Philip helped establish the Fellowship of Engineering, which became the Royal Academy of Engineering. He remains a senior fellow of the Academy. He also chairs the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.