Dignity of the Academia

I was almost tempted to send Tony a mail when I saw this (force of habit) but then I thought what’s the use of Heapofcats if our nerdy correspondence (at least on my part) doesn’t go public.

This is an excerpt (oh god, I have trouble spelling that. I hope it’ not symptomatic of my lower than average IQ haha) from a book chapter on GD&T that was written by Walter M. Stites and Paul Drake, P.E.:

As I was browsing through the TOC for something related to work, my interest was piqued when I saw the phrase “instant GD&T”. Maybe it’s just me but the phrase absolutely screams of sarcasm, indignation and disgust. Turns out suspicion was right.

Just a brief background to understand the joke of it: Y14.5 is some industrial standard used for GD&T. On first glance it feels a lot like some promo speech, why we should buy the book instead of following Y14.5.

I think this is part of the (if not the main) clash between academia and industry. The gist of the so-called clash basically hinges on time and money. Admittedly, precision is compromised, to a certain extent, in industrial application because often, time and money are tight. Maybe the academia are right in saying that in the long run, compromising precision may waste even more time and money than what the industries may think. So there’s a balance to be sought.

This reminds me of my final year thesis when the examiner questioned me as to why I’m repeating the study that has been conducted by the company. (I hope that my cloak of anonymity works!) I confess that I used the same reason just as an excuse to have some form of research to do. But that’s just me :p

I especially can’t get pass the word ‘quasi-GD&T’ (LOL).

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One Response to Dignity of the Academia

  1. LOL at this, indeed! But how aptly brought up.

    There’s so many instances where academia doesn’t translate into real-work applications (and vice versa), and sometimes the gap (or, worse, chasm?) between the worlds are shocking (and disheartening). Though this is why I think both sides need each other, and should seek to communicate this divide — academia needs to get feedback from the real-world as to what’s working and what’s not (what’s practical on a resource-driven level), and the real-world needs academia to rein them in (that there’s more to things than merely being driven by cost-profit lines).

    In defence of the industry, I don’t necessarily think that precision is sacrificed all the time – surely there’s the unethical decisions made (oooh, BP!), but there are places where there’s no margin for error, or should be as close to zero-margin where humanely possible (think of all those megastructures – I cannot dare to imagine the catastrophe that would happen should something like the KLCC Twin Towers should collapse due to structural defects as a result of cost-cutting!).

    Also, on another side of things, the academia is now pressured by time and resources too. Money is getting tighter…

    Though I suppose sometimes the academia and the industry are not as divided as one thinks. Some companies do enjoy close relationships with unis (by providing funding to the uni to do research, and in return leverage from the skill set that the uni has — I think it’s brilliantly symbiotic and a good form of CSR with good returns!), but more of this should happen.

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