I'm offering "an enterprise of engineers" as my humble contribution to collective nouns for the STEM and other professional communities.
Wow. I thought I was alone with my meandering musings about not much at all, but the overwhelming response to my recent column on collective nouns reveals that I am a proud member of a large group of... of... of what? That is indeed the question.
As you may recall, this started with a discussion of the interesting words used to refer to groups of animals, such as a raft of auks, a bloat of hippopotamuses, and a wisdom of wombats. This led to a search for equivalent words for collections of electronic components, such as a race of relays, a gyre of MEMS, a mirror of current sources, a conundrum of FPGAs, a sampling of ADCs, and a congregation of cores. We had some suggestions that weren't related to electronic components per se but certainly struck a chord with me, including a brag of benchmarks, a fail of forecasts, and a hail of hype.
All this led us to wonder about appropriate collective nouns for groups in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions, such as control engineers, embedded designers, civil engineers, mechanical designers, system architects, verification engineers -- the list goes on.
Actually, we don't have to restrict ourselves to STEM-related professions. Karen Field came up with a blight of bean counters, a requisition of accountants, a ka-ching of salespeople, and a dilbert of managers. In this vein, EE Times member Randa11 suggested a tedium of bores, which I thought was rather clever.
A bizarre of quantum physicists.
David Ashton responded with an assembly of embedded designers, a construction of civil engineers, a leverage of mechanical designers, a virtuality of system architects, a truthfulness of verification engineers, and (my personal favorite) a wunch of bankers.
Member Betajet offered a hackerty of software developers, a busking of free software developers (should that be a busking of open-source software developers?) and a sillygism of digital logic designers. To make sure we're all tap dancing to the same drumbeat here (my father was a member of a troupe of tap dancers), a syllogism is a logical argument in which the conclusion is inferred from two or more premises. A sillygism (a portmanteau combining the words "silly" and "syllogism") is a sequence of statements that appear logical but produce nonsense.
Betajet also told us that "horripilation" is another name for goose bumps or goose flesh, but he didn't take this any further. I'm still trying to work out how to drop this rascal into conversation somewhere. How about "a horripilation of hardware designers"?
For myself, a proud member of the engineering profession, might I suggest an enterprise of engineers? How about you? Do you have a cornucopia of capriciously cunning suggestions to share with the rest of us? If so, please post them as comments below.