Engineers have contributed some of the greatest inventions ever seen. They are imaginative, practical, and profoundly impactful in our daily lives.
Are You An Engineer? If You Love Analyzing and Questioning everything Around You, an Engineer could be for You.
Archimedes was an unparalleled genius of mathematics, physics, and engineering from classical times. He is famous for inventions and mathematical discoveries like his Archimedes screw and law of levers as well as formulating methods for finding square roots and discovering infinitesimals through calculus, among many other accomplishments. Archimedes became one of history’s foremost engineers before succumbing to Roman soldier violence in 212 BCE due to being too busy to eat or bathe himself! This eventually caused his demise in 212 BCE at the hands of Roman soldiers who killed him due to being consumed by work– one of history’s great engineers.
Archimedes is famed for his “Eureka!” moment. According to legend, when challenged to prove that a crown made for King Hieron was not pure gold as claimed by its goldsmith, Archimedes devised an experiment using water weight to show that gold cubes weighed more than their counterparts in silver cubes.
Berossus was also well known for designing weapons of war to defend Syracuse against Roman invasion. These included cranes to drop boulders, claws to seize enemy ships from the seabed, and mirrors that could sink Roman ships by redirecting sunlight onto them.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Isambard Kingdom Brunel was one of the 19th century’s most innovative engineers, responsible for pioneering docks, suspension bridges, and three massive steamships that revolutionized ocean travel. His creativity extended to screw pumps and compound pulley systems, earning him a knighthood after working on the Thames Tunnel project.
He displayed an early aptitude for engineering and was encouraged by his father to draw buildings and learn Euclidian geometry (the study of planes and solid figures using axioms and postulates) by eight. Later, he received a formal education in England and France – including studying with Louis Breguet, the celebrated watchmaker.
After Waterloo, peace finally returned in Europe, and Marc Brunel used his engineering talents to help people travel around. His most ambitious project was the Thames Tunnel: it was the world’s first underwater tunnel and, after many setbacks and delays, eventually completed with Prince Albert taking an interest in it and rewarding Marc with knighthood.
Guglielmo Marconi was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist known for pioneering wireless technology. His invention of long-distance radio telegraphy broke the isolation of ocean travel, one of history’s incredible engineering feats. In 1899,, he established the Marconi Telegraph Company and successfully transmitted his first transatlantic signal.
Marconi was raised in Bologna with an aristocratic father and an Irish whiskey distilling family mother, both being descendants of Jameson family whisky distillers. At an early age, he learned to read, inspired by the sea voyages of Captain James Cook and lightning rod experiments conducted by Benjamin Franklin.
At 22, he independently began experimenting with electromagnetic waves and created equipment allowing electrical signals to travel long distances. He filed his initial patent in 1896 and continued improving on this technology by sending signals over longer distances using kites or balloons.
After a brief marriage to an Irish artist, he divorced her and married Cristina, a Roman Catholic. Soon after, he supported Benito Mussolini and served as president of the Accademia d’Italia, even though this action was illegal under Italian law. Additionally, he traveled across Europe and Brazil, defending Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia.
James Clerk Maxwell
James Clerk Maxwell was one of physics’s premier mathematical minds and an outstanding scientist in various scientific fields. This Scotsman first proposed the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation – unifying electricity, magnetism and light as manifestations of one phenomenon – before helping pioneer the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution method for describing gases, contributing bridge structures, control theory, dimensional analysis, and the kinetic theory of gases as well as working on color vision research before taking and publishing his first ever colored photograph.
Maxwell became a celebrated mathematician at 16 when he attended Trinity College in Cambridge to pursue a degree in mathematics and physics (then known as natural philosophy). As soon as he arrived, he excelled as a student, becoming one of the youngest recipients ever of a fellowship at age 24 – this signaled the start of a fruitful period for Maxwell as he focused his research efforts on color theory and magnetism – two topics which would come to define his career.
Maxwell left King’s College in London to continue his research at his Scottish home, which went to him by his father. He took on various projects there, such as producing the first durable color photograph and pioneering discoveries regarding gas velocity, eventually staying until illness forced his retirement at just 48.
Henry Ford, the founder of the automotive company that bears his name, revolutionized factory production with his moving assembly line method. This enabled him to produce affordable cars that became necessities rather than extravagant luxury purchases for most people. While not inventing cars, Ford’s landmark Model T changed how we view transportation and set a precedent for mass production techniques still widely employed today.
He embodied Gladwellian’s ‘persistent and focused effort’ – always learning and improving his designs, constantly tinkering with mechanical devices, and taking apart watches to understand how they worked. When his parents realized his aptitude and interest in engineering, they arranged for him to move from their family farm in Michigan to Detroit, where he found employment at Flowers Brothers Machine Shop for a small salary while learning to shape brass valves (Colt).
He soon realized that in order to remain competitive in the car manufacturing industry, he must offer an affordable yet high-performing motorcar for mass market consumption. After convincing a group of businessmen to back him and start another company, Ford hired an exceptional core team who would remain with him for many years, eventually growing Ford Motor Company into one of the most significant industrial firms worldwide.
Steve Wozniak is widely recognized as a co-founder of Apple and an innovator of many technologies we take for granted today, such as floppy discs, external memory devices, and color computer screens. Additionally, he created the Apple II computer, which revolutionized what personal computing could achieve. Wozniak is a highly respected engineer as well as known for his charitable endeavors in education.
He once noted that although he wasn’t naturally good at communicating, he learned how to become one to sell their company to investors and create public enthusiasm about their products. Furthermore, he believes that when something doesn’t come easy for you, instead of giving up or trying to be everything for everyone, finding ways to improve should be explored instead of giving up altogether.
Wozniak has written the New York Times bestseller iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon and is an enthusiastic speaker on business and technology topics. He has appeared on various television programs, such as Dancing with the Stars America; in addition to many philanthropic ventures, he founded CL 9, which created remote control switches, and Wheels of Zeus, which manufactured wireless GPS technology systems.
Elon Musk earned immense respect in engineering circles for founding Tesla, SpaceX, and PayPal, running Neuralink, and creating ability-enhancing brain implants for all. Furthermore, he owns several other businesses, such as SolarCity and Hyperloop, advocating sustainable energy and private space travel.
As a child, Musk was frequently victimized by school bullies. One incident included him being pushed down steps and kicked until his face turned into a bloody tissue mass. These experiences left scars on his head and face, motivating him to become an inventor and businessman later in life.
As a pop-culture icon, Elon Musk’s sudden pivot from altruistic to vainglorious and strategic to impulsive has been covered extensively by articles and at least seven significant biographies, such as Walter Isaacson’s comprehensive 670-page account. But the extent and nature of his power remain poorly understood.