Many people have changed the world, from doctors to politicians, from feminists to philanthropists; but engineers have also played a huge part in the development of the world. Here are a few engineers who have changed the world.
Thomas Edison (February 11, 1847-October 18, 1931)
Thomas Edison is probably most famous for being the inventor of the light bulb, but over his years as an engineer Edison also invented or influenced many other things that we use today. He invented the motion picture camera and the phonograph (the forerunner of the record player) among others.
He was also one of the first inventors to make use of mass production techniques with his inventions, allowing him to create on a larger scale. Although he was a great inventor, he was often criticised as being businessman-like and living off the inventions of his team, rather than his own ideas.
SEE ALSO: Mechanical Engineering Degree Guide
Leonardo da Vinci (April 15, 1452-May 2, 1519)
Leonardo da Vinci may be a name more recognisable in the world of art as he was most famously an artist, sculptor and musician, but da Vinci had a keen interest in science and mathematics. Although he may not have built his creations in the way that other engineers have, it is the designs da Vinci penned which were of huge significance. Some of his designs were attempted during his lifetime, most significant of all including a hang glider and a machine similar to a helicopter.
In 2001 the Norwegian highway department built a bridge based on one his designs, showing how influential he remains in the minds of contemporary engineers.
SEE ALSO: Civil Engineering Degree Guide
Archimedes of Syracuse (c.287 BC-c.212 BC)
Archimedes (he of Eureka! fame) is famously known as a gifted mathematician, engineer, inventor, astronomer and physicist. With all this knowledge it is no wonder he is one of the most influential engineers of all time.
His reputation as one the greatest engineers was built through contributions which include the Archimedes’ screw, the block-and-tackle pulley systems and most impressively the creation of several war machines which were used to defend cities.
As perhaps the most famous Greek inventor, it is clear to see why people would aspire to follow in Archimedes footsteps, and to give yourself the opportunity to do this you should consider mechanical engineering.
The Wright Brothers – Orville Wright (August 19, 1871-January 30, 1948) & Wilbur Wright (April 16, 1867-May 30, 1912)
The Wright Brothers together are credited with one of the biggest inventions that have changed our world. In 1903, after years of experimenting with unpowered gliders, it is believed they created the world’s first successful powered airplane and would publicly demonstrate this five years later. In their creation of their airplane they explored the use of aerodynamic control on the objects surfaces rather than engine power.
The Wright Brothers provide you with a number of options course wise to follow in their footsteps. Firstly mechanical engineering may be your first choice as engineers in this sector often find themselves working in areas that relate to the Wright Brothers achievements. If you want to specialise then maybe consider aerospace engineering or automotive engineering.
Nikola Tesla (July 10, 1856-January 7, 1943)
Unlike some of those mentioned in this list, Tesla received little of the public acknowledgement that his work deserved. During his early years he worked for Thomas Edison and it is claimed some of Edison’s creations were based upon his work. Tesla’s pioneering work included radio, X-ray machines and induction motors.
Tesla can be thanked for the alternating current and electrical motors and even for his part in the Industrial Revolution thanks to his expertise in the use of electricity and electrical engineering. Considering where Tesla’s successes lie it is clear that to follow in his footsteps electrical engineering should be your main consideration for your studies.
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