There are many famous people who were engineers but their engineering has nothing to do with their fame. This category includes Alfred Hitchcock (Producer of the famous movie Birds’ and Rowan Atkinson; more known by his character ‘Mr. Bean’. There are others who were famous and their engineering played a functional role in their achievements and to this category belong; Henry Ford, Neil Armstrong and Alfred Nobel. There are some grand works of engineering and even while grandeur of the works is unanimously agreed, no one knows exactly the name of the real engineers behind such works. Sphinx and other great Pyramids are the examples; whose architects have yet not been known.
1. Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 in Vinci near Florence, Italy. He died at Abiose, France on May 2, 1519 at the age of 67. His birth name was Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci. His most famous paintings are ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘The Last Super’. Although best known for his artworks, he was an engineering revolutionary. Vinci sketched a parachute in his drawing appearing in a notebook margin. The original drawing is kept in Bibliotheca Ambrosia in Milan. One of his drawings is considered to be the original concept of modern helicopter.
2. Etienne Lenoir
Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir was born in Mussy-la-Ville, Luxemburg, Belgium, on January 12, 1822 and died at La Varenne-Sainte-Hilaire on August 4, 1900 at the age of 78. He is best known for ‘Lenoir Cycle’ and Internal Combustion Engine. The Belgian Engineer, Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir made the first gas fired Internal combustion engine which comprised of pistons, cylinders, connecting rods ,like the steam engine with replacement of steam by gas. This was first mass produced engine.
3. Alexander-Gustave Eiffel
Alexander Gustave Eiffel was born in Dijon, France on December15, 1832 and died on December 27, 1923 at the age of 91. He received his Masters degree in chemistry from ‘Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufacturers’ in Paris. It was one of the best Engineering institutions in Europe.Gustave Eiffel is renowned for the iconic Eiffel Tower of the most civilized city of the world and it was named after him. In 1889 about two million people visited Eiffel Tower and Gustave Eiffel commented, ‘I ought to be jealous of the tower, it is much more famous than I am’.
4. Alfred Nobel
Alfred Nobel was an engineer, chemist and Innovator. He was born in Stockholm, Sweden on October1833 and died at Sanremo, Italy on December10, 1896 at the age of 63. He is most known for the safe production and application of ‘Nitro Glycerin’, invented by a fellow student Theophile-Joules Pelouze in 1847. The newly developed product was too unsafe to use, as it exploded during preparation. On September 3, 1864, a big explosion in his factory in Heleneborg, caused death of five people including his younger brother Emil. Swedish authorities banned him to work in the vicinity of Stockholm on this account. The product was later on popularly known as ‘Dynamite’. Nobel Alfred is also famous for founding the most prestigious ‘Nobel Prize’. He had earned an enormous wealth and in the end stages of his life through his will he dedicated all his wealth to those who, ‘Conferred the greatest benefit on mankind’. First five Nobel Prizes were awarded, 5 years after his death. The prizes were awarded in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology and medicine while ‘economics’ was added in the following year.
5. Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK on March 3, 1847 and died on August 2, 1922 at the age of 75. He is best known for his invention of telephone for which, he was awarded the first U.S.Patent for telephone in 1876. Graham bell is said to be one of the most influential people in the human history. He made many other inventions too and optical telecommunications is another area of his research. Graham Bell became one of the founder members of the National Geographic Society in 1888.
6. Henry Ford
Henry Ford was born in Greenfield Township on July 30, 1863 in, Michigan.U.S, and died at Fair Lane, Dearborn. Michigan.U.S. on April 7, 1947 at 83.He founded the Ford Motor Company and became one of the richest and most known persons in the world. He introduced ‘Fordism’ or the mass production on assembly lines to produce cheaper goods with higher wages for the assembly workers. Henry Ford revolutionized production of automobiles; making them affordable by common people. His father gave him a watch when he was a boy. He disassembled and the reassembled it and this he did with the watches of the neighbourer’s and was known as watch repairman. In 1876, after the expiry of his mother, his father wanted him to look after the farm which he did not like saying, ‘Never had any particular love for the farm-It was the mother on the farm I loved’.
7. Grace Hopper
Grace Hopper was born in New York City on December9, 1906 and died in Arlington, Virginia on Januaruy, 1992 at the age of 85. She was the oldest active duty officer at the age of 80. Grace Hopper was the first women to achieve the rank of ‘Rear Admiral, in U.S.Navy. RADM Grace Hopper retired ceremoniously from the deck of the USS Constitution after forty three years of service. She was a computer engineer. She developed the well known computer language’ COBOL’. She was honored as Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society in 1973 and was awarded the highest National Award in Engineering and Technology in 1991.She had many honorary doctorates.
8. Neil Armstrong
Neil Armstrong was born on August 5, 1930 (age 81) at Wapakoneta, Ohio, U.S. He is of Scots, Irish and German origin. He is an Aerospace engineer and the first person to set foot on the surface of moon on July20, 1969 as mission commander of the Apollo11 moon landing mission. Buzz Aldrin too descended with him on moon while Michael Collins remained in the command module. Richard Nixon awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom to Neil Armstrong along with Collin and Aldrin. Neil Armstrong awarded with the Distinguished Boy Scouts Award and during his flight to Moon he sent a greeting message to the scouts saying, ‘I’d like to say hello to all my fellow scouts and scouters at Farragut State Park in Idaho having a national jamboree there this week; and Apollo 11 would like to send them best wishes’.
9. Sir Tim Berners-Lee
Tim Berners Lee was born in London, England, UK on June 8, 1955. He is an Engineer, best known for his invention of World Wide Web (WWW). He developed a global hypertext project on the basis of an earlier work; ‘Enquire’. The World Wide Web was made public in 1991. He is the founder of the World Wide Web and in recognition of his great achievement; he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2004. His family background might have played an important role in this achievement as his parents worked on the first commercial computer; the Ferrari Mark ÃŽâ„¢. He was educated at Queens College, Oxford.
10. Saul Perlmutter
Saul Perlmutter was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, U.S. on September22, 1959. He was educated at Harvard magna cum laude and later earned PhD in physics from University of California, Berkley in 1986. He is known for ‘Accelerating Universe and Dark Energy. He was Awarded Nobel Prize in Physics in 2011. His other awards include; Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award (20020, Shaw Prize in Astronomy (2006) and Gruber Prize in Cosmology (2007).
Very often destruction unfolds new opportunities and construction follows destruction. If Nobel had not invented dynamite, he would not have caused the foundation of Nobel Prize. Many great engineers are famous but not account of engineering and there many great inventors, having no formal education in engineering but have rendered valuable services in engineering.