Shared Knowledge

If you think you know something, try teaching it. Putting aside the average engineer’s aversion to public speaking, the prospect of organizing your thoughts and experience on a topic so as to share it with others is a real challenge. Most of us would prefer to do whatever “teaching” is required in small groups, rather than stand up in front of a crowd and risk someone questioning our long held beliefs.

I thought about this during a break in a two-day teaching gig this past week. Industry legend Darle Dudley’s name came up in a story that another presenter was telling of a disagreement he had with the sage. History, it has been said, is written by the winners. I would argue, instead, that history is actually written by those passionate enough about something to put their opinion in writing.

My associate had a legitimate difference of opinion with Mr. Dudley; in my estimation his more nuanced understanding of that particular issue is closer to my own experience. But whose opinion will hold sway as time goes on? The one immortalized in a book found on the shelves of many engineering offices around the world, obviously.

The Internet allows everyone to express their opinion; you can write a blog or post something on social media without any qualification. Our appreciation of facts and truth and experience has been tragically harmed by lack of fact checking and peer review. This is not a big worry if you are critiquing popular culture or cute cat videos, but there are situations where bad advice can have a lasting, harmful effect on someone’s life. People lose jobs when guidance is not sound.

Gear Technology is devoted to providing a forum for peer-reviewed information on gear design and manufacture. We cannot promise to put your paper on every gear engineer’s desk, but you can be confident it will be respectfully presented and accessible — via that Internet thing — to anyone researching that subject.

About Charles D. Schultz 654 Articles
Charles D. Schultz is President of Beyta Gear Service and one of Gear Technology's technical editors.

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