Why did you choose to work toward becoming a chemical or bioengineer? Was it the starting salary? Did you have a role model who was a chemical or bioengineer, or did you live in a community in which engineers were prominent? Or were you advised that you would do well as a chemical or bioengineer because you were adept at math and chemistry and/or biology? In fact, most prospective engineers choose this field without fully understanding the profession (i.e., what chemical and bioengineers actually do and what they are capable of doing). This brief chapter will attempt to shed some light on this issue.
Chemical and bioengineers today hold a unique position at the interface between molecular sciences and macroscopic (large-scale) engineering. They participate in a broad range of technologies in science and engineering projects, involving nanomaterials, semiconductors, and biotechnology. Note that we say “participate” because engineers most often work in multidisciplinary groups, each member contributing his or her own expertise.