Personal Reflections on Engineering Nowdays

The enormous and rapid technological development nowadays in every field of engineering is based largely on the sophisticated differential equations solving algorithms using numerical methods. The processing capacity of standard computer equipment available in the market is enormous. The engineers of the XXI century have at their disposal very powerful software tools to solve any of the everyday problems that emerge during the exercise of their profession.

The “user-friendliness” of software tools has made trivial (sometimes in a worrying way) the calculation of highly complex engineering problems, which were simply unsolvable only one or two decades ago. Those problems had to be solved using simplified or approximate methods. Engineers then accepted gross and approximate results, which far from being underestimated have shown an important conceptual effort and intelligence by their developers.

Have you ever stopped a moment to think about what is behind all that elegant, powerful, and up to date calculation and design software? What fundamental principles and equations are those models really based on? Some of us have, and the answer is simple and surprising. They are set in the genius of a group of remarkable XIX century men: mathematicians, physicists and engineers. These gifted men revolutionized our existence with their elegant differential equations almost two hundred years ago.

It is highly inspiring as a XXI century civil engineer to contemplate the almost divine elegance of Maxwell´s equations published in 1865, which unified two of the four known forces of nature: electricity and magnetism.

Maxwell´s equations (1865).

In a similar way, the breathtaking Navier-Stokes´ equations which define with almost absolute precision the movement of the incompressible Newtonian fluids in any boundary condition, and are sustained by Newton´s laws of mass and momentum conservation published more than a century before.

Navier-Stokes´ equations.

As a civil engineer, I cannot ignore the genius of Sir Isaac Newton, whose principles, laws and discoveries remain valid and sufficiently precise in mechanical engineering. These have made space exploration possible, although we know today that his basic hypothesis is not correct and is an approximation (an excellent one by the way) to Relativity Theory proposed by the greatest physicist of the XX century, Albert Einstein.

Sometimes, when I´m going to push the “run analysis” button of any engineering software in one of my projects I reflect on all this. Somehow, I miss and envy the working methods of the Industrial Revolution engineers in the XIX century. They had to use their wits and skills in order to get around the lack of powerful calculation tools. They were the pioneers of the technological development that we enjoy today. That is because of their effort, personal sacrifice and intelligence.

I have had to check many other colleagues’ projects and I have found an excessive use of software tools, which display graphically excellent results but obviously do not simulate the physical phenomena under analysis.  I really miss manual calculations and the use of “gross figures” by junior engineers, which let us know with sufficient approximation if the mathematical model displays reasonable results.

In my opinion, the main reason for this disorder is the profound ignorance by the users on the basic hypothesis and assumptions adopted by the software developer, not to mention the dangerous false security and confident feelings that these software tools induce in inexperienced users. The developers themselves are not very helpful in this matter, since they try to keep the Know-How secret in order to protect their copyrights.

When in the summer of 2012 I decided to create my own engineering consulting business, during a period of adverse economic situation due to the Spanish financial crisis, I needed strong personal motivation to give me enough optimism to start this adventure. In my case, that motivation came from the values of those engineers of the past and their ability to adapt to one of the most revolutionary and harsh periods of modern history-the Industrial Revolution.

I would feel satisfied if I were able to transmit that spirit to every person involved in bringing this project to fruition, and of course, by also using the “Know-How” and taking advantage of all the advanced calculation tools that we fortunately have today at our disposal.


Gabriel Chamorro Sosa

Civil Engineer

Gabriel Chamorro


In 1993 I finished my studies in Public Works Engineering at the University of Extremadura. Subsequently, in 1998 I completed my university education in Civil Engineering in the Polytechnic University of Madrid. My love for the engineering profession has led me to take numerous graduate and masters courses in disciplines as varied as the finite element method, layout of roads, health and safety, ports and coasts, wastewater treatment, etc. I consider myself a very technical person who is multidisciplinary and flexible. I have undertaken numerous projects with solvency in the field of industrial and civil engineering, thanks to the extensive training gained during almost 20 years of experience in the practice of the profession.

Throughout my professional journey I have worked with variousof the most important engineering and construction companies in the country, which has allowed me to develop projects throughout Spain and other countries.

Proven and in possession of the necessary human and technical maturity, I have decided to undertake this adventure in skills and entrepreneurship in a period of great instability and economic crisis but full of challenges for the brave only.