We engineers are a simple folk. We believe everything existing exists for a reason, no matter how complex. For example, the three successive e-words in the last sentence. These exist because, well, I put them there. Of course, the reason could have involved random variables, keyboard layouts, divine intervention or accidents, but some engineer would have guessed it anyway. It is this characteristic of the engineer that causes the Eureka Effect.
Try the following: Find an engineer and walk with him. Make small talk. You’ll observe that every five minutes or so, the engineer will suddenly realize something around him and will feel the need to blurt it out.
“Look, the spelling on that billboard is wrong!”
“Ever wonder how the cheese mixes with the popcorn?”
“No, it’s not gonna rain – that’s cumulus cloud, not nimbus!”
“If only I had a long enough lever…”
“Garble Farble Warble”
Of course, it takes an engineer to notice this as a process and not just an annoying habit. And another engineer to name it after. Archimedes must be turning in his grave.
The Eureka effect works in the exact same way as another famous phenomenon, the Axe Effect, only in the opposite direction.
Anyone who exhibits the Eureka Effect 5-6 times in a half hour can be labelled an engineer. The number of Eurekas grows proportionally with the engineerdom of the subject.
Yes, that was a Eureka.