Query: Does "Biological Engineering" refer primarily to agriculture?

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Sun Nov 24 17:07:00 UTC 2002

My experience with the field is somewhat oblique, coming at it from a
biological weapons/arms control perspective, but I would not immediately
associate "Biological Engineering" with agriculture (nor would I
differentiate between that and "bio-engineering"). Although, with a moment's
thought it becomes obvious that agriculture would be a major consumer of
biological engineering research.

A quick Google search turns up any number of "Agriculture & Biological
Engineering" departments and programs at universities. And looking at some
others that don't include "agriculture" in the title (like MIT), the focus
is broader, encompassing medical and other applications. So it doesn't
appear as if the term "Biological Engineering" on its own implies an
agricultural focus.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society
> [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
> Of Gerald Cohen
> Sent: Saturday, November 23, 2002 1:11 PM
> Subject: Query: Does "Biological Engineering" refer primarily to
> agriculture?
>     Would anyone know if "Biological Engineering" (vs.
> "Bio-Engineering") in the title of a university department implies an
> agricultural program? Is the term perhaps ambiguous? If a Chemical
> Engineering Department wishes to add a possibly wide-ranging program
> in bio-engineering (certainly not limited to agriculture), would
> "Biological Engineering" be an inappropriate name?
>      I wasn't even aware of any possible controversy on this score;
> but I'm now on a university committee which has to rule on the
> subject, and I'd be grateful for any clarification.
> Gerald Cohen

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