Your Letters

All steamed up

I just read with interest your article on STEM versus STEAM [November/December 2015 InTech]. The point that art as a form should be included with engineering and science in technical endeavors, new or otherwise, is valid but not necessarily new. In Automation Federation workforce development and advocacy work for STEM-related legislation over the past few years, we have noticed that the STEAM acronym has been in use for some time. Of course, it means the inclusion of art as a benefit to technology.

When the lawmakers with whom we met first mentioned “steam,” I got pretty excited. I thought we would be talking about the world’s oldest resource to drive industry! Today it is still the most efficient heat-transfer media used in industry, an area for which I have much interest and experience. Education in this area is widely lacking, especially in process automation applications (leave the details to the mechanicals). No, they meant art of course.

I presume the placement of the “A” between engineering and math is because “steam” is already a word, though not likely an Italian one, and other placement might look funny. But then, STEMA does look a bit Italian after all, doesn’t it? Da Vinci might have preferred it.

Stephen R. Huffman

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