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Basic instinct

letters

The Institution's motto is a fitting testimony to the profession but is easily overlooked by such arguments as that over the standard of mathematics required by members to achieve it.

Much more pertinent is Council's decision to ensure that more emphasis is given to 'sustainability', a word which surely encompasses the notion of applying the great forces of nature to the good of mankind.

If a high standard in mathematics is a prerequisite to achieving that then so be it. Far more important in my experience is the need for engineers to be able to solve problems instinctively rather than through dependence on computers, although these constitute one of many essential tools with which they must be proficient.

Dealing with people and a reasonable working knowledge of ecosystems are two of many other necessary attributes, few if any of which involves mathematics. The tools of our trade are truly diverse, like nature and mankind's absolute dependence on it.

TL Shaw, Shawater, Ston Easton, BA3 4DN

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