This is a great resource site put together by the National Academy of Engineering. Fun, informative, and very professional. I really like the material they put together for “Try On A Career“. They have a write up for each of the main engineering disciplines and even go so far as to have FAQ’s about that discipline answered by actual engineers. Very cool and very useful! If you, like many of my readers, are exploring engineering as a career option or are the parent of a future engineer then I highly suggest paying them a visit.
When I was kid, there was a series of books in my house titled something like “How Things Work”. The books consisted of full color cutaways of complex systems with easy to follow explanations of what made them tick. And the illustrations were so well done that even complicated machines and processes were easy to understand. Man, I loved those books! I’m not saying reading them lead me to be an engineer, but it may have stroked the fire. It also turns out that I’m a visual learner more so than an auditory one, so the graphics went a long way toward reinforcing the point.
Anyway, I went looking for my original book and couldn’t find it. But I did find a couple of similar books that serve the same basic purpose. New How Things Work would be for the little tykes, with simpler topics and explanations. How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life, 3rd Edition would be for the pre-college crowd. I recommend that any parent with a curious kid take a little at either of these books (or something similar).