Jan Willems on theoretical engineering research:
One of the differences in working in a mathematics versus a theoretical engineering environment is psychological. Both fields feel insufficiently appreciated. Mathematics reacts to this by blaming the ‘others’, for misunderstanding them. Engineering reacts by blaming ‘themselves’, for not doing ‘the right thing’. Discussions about theoretical engineering research often feels like visiting a graveyard in the company of Nietzsche. From the beginning of my career until now, I have always been hearing that ‘the field is dead’, ‘circuit theory is dead’, ‘information theory is dead’, ‘coding theory is dead’, ‘control theory is dead’, ‘system theory is dead’, ‘linear system theory is dead’, ‘ is dead’. Good science, however, is always alive. The community may not appreciate the vibrancy of good ideas, but it is there. The absence of this impatience is one of the things that makes working in a mathematics department simply more pleasant.
Jan C. Willems, In Control, Almost from the Beginning Until the Day After Tomorrow [pdf], European Journal of Control, vol. 13, p. 75, 2007.