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Throughout history, there have been engineers that have achieved groundbreaking things in a stride to further knowledge. Certain thinkers stand out from the rest both by intellectual prowess and level of achievement. Here are the top 8 engineers, past and present, who are widely popular and acclaimed.
8. Fazlur Rahman Khan
Fazlur Rahman Kan was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh and ranks in as the creator of the modern skyscraper. He was a classically trained structural engineer and architect who created designs that allowed for the easier construction of taller buildings. He also used CAD techniques to design his structures, helping to solidify the practice into modern civil engineering.
7. Leonardo da Vinci
da Vinci was well versed in a variety of professions, from artistry to science and math. His pursuit of these fields led to many unique engineering ideas and projects. Many of his designs were never attempted but rather left to sit in his journals. A hang glider design of da Vinci’s was one of the few of his inventions that was practically implemented. Although he is not as accomplished as many other engineers on the list, his ingenuity and creativity ranks him as one of the most popular technical and artistic minds.
6. Steve Wozniak
Steve W0zniak along with Steve Jobs pioneered personal computing in the 1970s. Through Wozniak’s software and electronic engineering achievements, personal computers are used almost universally around the world. He developed the Apple I alone and was likely the driving technical mind behind Job’s success.
5. Elon Musk
Elon Musk is most notably known for SpaceX and Tesla, but this South African-born engineer is pushing the limits and many technical fields. Some could consider him more of a businessman than an engineer, but his drive to innovate and develop new technologies has forever instilled his name in history.
4. Henry Ford
Although Henry Ford was slightly beaten by Karl Benz in the creation of the modern automobile, his assembly line and manufacturing techniques shaped the industry. Mass production was first seen in Ford factories which brought automobiles to the everyday person rather than the elite.
3. Orville and Wilbur Wright
The two youngest Wright brothers had an interest in flight from a very early age. Instead of focusing on how to power their aircraft, they relied more on aerodynamic designs to get their glider in the air. They developed the initial shape which is now the modern airline wing as well as a three-axis control system for steering in flight.
2. Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Brunel was one of the greatest inventors in the 19th century, most known for the building of the Great Western Railway which is still in operation. He mainly worked to revolutionalize the industrial infrastructure in Britain. His impact on industrial engineering was so great that a university was founded with his name.
1. Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla is perhaps the most prolific technical mind to ever have lived. Many of his inventions helped further modern technology, but it can be hard to tell what he actually invented. Thomas Edison was his employer for some time, and Edison was known for stealing his subordinates’ inventions and taking credit for them. He is believed to be the first person to work on the modern radio, X-ray, and induction motor. Tesla was very quirky, which meant that many of his coworkers and peers considered him to be a little crazy and obsessive. Despite all this, Tesla’s achievements have done more for modern society than many other engineers every.