Computers of Engineers and Scientists


macrumors 68030
Original poster
Jun 22, 2006
Hiding from Omnius in Australia
Hey! Sorry if this is the wrong section for such a thread, but I felt it was the closest, unless I missed one.

OK, I'm hoping that any scientists and engineers will post what sort of computer they own, what they use it for, what they like and dislike, and what their job description is more specifically. Any other comments are welcome.

I'm especially looking for Physicists, and Aeronautical Engineers.

The reason for this is I am completing a double degree in Physics and Aeronautical engineering, and I am interested.

Thanks, and by the way, Engineering Rules!



macrumors 603
Jan 28, 2005
American Riviera
I'm a materials scientist, so I guess you could call it condensed matter physics if you like. I use a powerbook 15" as my main work computer. I use it for writing papers, giving presentations (love Keynote), organizing my research projects, doing some relatively simple simulations, and of course, browsing MR.


macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2005
Northern Ireland
I'm an Electrical & Electronic Engineer, I use a MacBook Pro 15" for day to day work (assignments, presentations etc) and a Power Mac G5 at home.

Where I can't find a Mac OS X version of a particular engineering application, I can use Parallels to run the Windows version which gives me a very flexible machine which can handle just about anything.

Spanky Deluxe

macrumors 601
Mar 17, 2005
London, UK
While not a scientist yet I'm a student studying theoretical astrophysics and a good chunk of it is based on computational physics. C and Matlab are all that I need right now. I imagine that an Intel Mac would be the best solution for a scientist since they can install OS X, Windows or Linux on it, no limitations.

Mac Rules

macrumors 6502
Jul 15, 2006
I personally don't study any of the above, but in my Labs, all of our scientists use Apple computers, with only one or two with Windows machines.

Most professors not only use Apple laptops for presentations in lectures, but Apple desktops in their offices. So, my University is very Apple based, which is nice...


Star Destroyer

macrumors 6502
Jun 15, 2006
I am 2 semesters from completing my degree in Civil Engineering, specializing in Fluid mechanics. Unfortunetly Sun Micro systems are used for all our labs and preforming any work needed. To preform FLUENT and CAD and any modling programs we use PC's.. i have never tried to use a mac since i just swtiched. But i can say in High school, my Physics Teacher LOVED Macs, he swore by macs his whole life, so they have to be useful in physics haha


macrumors Core
Jul 24, 2006
The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
I am a physics student currently working on part of the LHC collider (being built at CERN) in my lab. I have a Macbook Pro (15'', 2 GHz, 1.5 gb RAM, 120 GB HD)- on which I do things like data collection and programming (C, tcl, Perl, Matlab, Mathematica). We also do some fairly cpu-intensive rotation/displacement simulations, as well as various simulations relating to the collisions themselves.

I like the mac because it is fast, easy to use, doesn't get viruses. I use the windows partition to view AutoCAD drawings engineers send me so I can comment on the design and make minor changes if necessary. The MBP is second to none when it comes to portability (I commute regularly back and forth between Boston and Geneva).

Of course, the MBP is good for all of that, but I would probably be lost without external hard drives to hold the rest of the CAD drawings we have on file. We are in the process of getting 2 Mac Pros for the lab to do full-time CAD editing in windows (I control the lab budget, and I don't like Dell :) ) and everything else in OS X.

But as for the Macbook's great. Perfect for the role it needs to fill for me.


Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
New England
I'm 10 years beyond Physics Ph.D. working mostly as a EE, and my work desktop is a Dell 2.2 GHz-ish (I don't even really know) box with a Dell Trinitron 17" monitor. I have lots more horsepower at home with a 2.8 GHz Dell Dementia 4600 and my iBook and iMac (see sig).

You'd be surprised at how modest may of my colleagues horsepower is, even if they use some pretty fancy software. I have a colleague who uses Autodesk Inventor daily who is just beginning to think about upgrading his 850 MHz PIII box.



macrumors regular
Feb 21, 2006
I'm a Civil Engineer who works in Quality Assurance for roadway construction products. Right now I use a Windows PC at work (not my choice) and an iMac G5 at home.

I am hoping to get a MacBook at home in the next 6 months to replace my aging Dell noteook and would most likely use Keynote for some software training presentations I will have to give early next year...

elfin buddy

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2001
Tuttlingen, Germany
I'm studying Mechanical Engineering and specialising in Mechatronics. I intend on doing some graduate work in Aeronautics and such. Right now, MATLAB, MS Word, and LaTeX are all I need. MATLAB for Mac is actually a piece of sh*t, but it works well enough for me to get through my assignments in a fraction of the time. Word is just there because its obligatory for working with other MS-loving students, and LaTeX is the beautiful piece of work that lets me turn in mind-numbingly beautiful reports with ease. Pages has got nothin' on this ;)

I use Mechanical Desktop and UniGraphics for some classes, but I use the lab (Windows) computers for those because buying a personal license would be death anyway.

Engineering isn't all I do either. I'm minoring in German, which is made easier by OS X's fantastic language support. I do all sorts of media projects on my Mac, both for classes and volunteer organisations. The i-apps are pretty-much all I need for this, and are good enough to make people go "Wow" when they see them. That's really all I ask for, and Macs do a great job of it right out of the box.

\ sales pitch ;)

Oh, and I use a 12" PowerBook 1.33GHz, 60GB HD, 1.25GB RAM.


macrumors 68030
Original poster
Jun 22, 2006
Hiding from Omnius in Australia
Cheers everyone. I must admit I am pleasantly surprised at the number of macs I see around Sydney Uni, from students to lecturers. However unfortunately not the ones open to students, like in computer labs and libraries, which are all Pentiums (I hate that name...)

Thanks for your input!

Scarlet Fever

macrumors 68040
Jul 22, 2005
when I go to Uni (im in VCE now) i'm going to use and swear by my MacBook, in OS X wherever possible. I'll probably put XP on it if i really need it.


macrumors Core
Jul 24, 2006
The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
Support for mac versions of MATLAB has always been poor. It runs pretty slow under Rosetta, but a Universal Binary version should be out relatively soon. It might be out already, I haven't checked because I don't feel like buying it again :)