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The 5 greatest engineers of all time
EDN ^ | September 14, 2012 | Suzanne Deffree

Posted on 09/14/2012 2:23:44 PM PDT by null and void

We recently asked, “Who are the greatest engineers of all time?” and you, the engineering community, commented with your thoughts.

In the more than 115 comments posted, you also offered some good debate on who did what and who deserves to be called one of the greatest engineers of all time—so good, in fact, that commenter Al.Sledge posted:

“Reading the nominees was fantastic by itself. Thank you all. I often reflect on why I have such great vision and can see so far. It is because I sit atop the shoulders of the giants who preceded me.

“Ponder a moment what engineering would be like without the invention of ‘zero.’ Each great inventor is preceded by smaller discoveries of others plus a gift of vision.

“I doubt that I will ever make a great earth-shattering contribution to engineering, but I have the satisfaction of building things that others want built. For myself, it is not about ego, but rather the great satisfaction I get from seeing my ideas become reality.”

Well said, Al.Sledge. With that, we present a handful of giants: the five engineering greats most mentioned by EDN’s engineering community. Read on. Who landed in the top five may surprise


TOPICS: Culture/Society
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Edison came in 5th.

No, I'm not listing them, it's worth reading the stories and reasoning for the picks.

1 posted on 09/14/2012 2:23:50 PM PDT by null and void
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To: null and void

I’m disappointed John Roebling didn’t make the list. He designed the Brooklyn Bridge.


2 posted on 09/14/2012 2:28:34 PM PDT by BillyBonebrake
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To: null and void

The Beaver, MIT’s mascot.


3 posted on 09/14/2012 2:29:32 PM PDT by Huskrrrr
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To: null and void

I’m down with Kelly Johnson, for sure.


4 posted on 09/14/2012 2:30:23 PM PDT by andyk (I have sworn...eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.)
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To: BillyBonebrake

That would be a better choice than Leon Moisseiff...


5 posted on 09/14/2012 2:31:21 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1334 of our ObamaVacation from reality - Obama, a queer and present danger)
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To: null and void
That Leonardo da Vinci made the list and Isambard Kingdom Brunel didn't tells me they have their priorities wrong. Leonardo da Vinci’s designs were advanced, but he never got most of them to work. Brunel may have been ahead of his time, but all of his stuff worked. It may not have made money, but from an engineering perspective it always worked. Finall there is the low ranking of Edision. His stuff was advanced, worked and made tons of money.
6 posted on 09/14/2012 2:31:32 PM PDT by GonzoGOP (There are millions of paranoid people in the world and they are all out to get me.)
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To: null and void

The guy who invented beer should be on that list but then again, maybe he wasn’t an engineer.


7 posted on 09/14/2012 2:31:38 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (')
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To: null and void

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Elmer Ambrose Sperry

Charles Algernon Parsons


8 posted on 09/14/2012 2:31:43 PM PDT by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
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To: null and void

The builders of the pyramids. With little technology other than rudimentary tools they built something that lasted centuries and still awe inspiring.


9 posted on 09/14/2012 2:32:37 PM PDT by DainBramage
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To: andyk

I agree. Kelly Johnson did everything from the P-38 Lightning to the SR-71, and IIRC, even had something of a consulting role in the F-117. You don’t stay cutting edge for half a century without being an absolute genius.


10 posted on 09/14/2012 2:32:40 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: null and void

#1 engineer?

George Smith. Hands down.


11 posted on 09/14/2012 2:34:29 PM PDT by bigheadfred
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To: null and void
James Eads - Eads Bridge St. Louis
12 posted on 09/14/2012 2:39:27 PM PDT by Michael.SF. (Romney was right about the Olympics, but neither the Brits or the Dems will admit it.)
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To: null and void
Kinda shocked that it wasn't:

#1 Barack Obama - Currently Engineering the downfall of America

#2 Democrats - Enabling Obama

/sarc
13 posted on 09/14/2012 2:40:44 PM PDT by PJBankard (I told my friends I was heading to Octermocty for the weekend. They replied... "Wear the fox hat")
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To: bigheadfred

Why Throttler Smith?


14 posted on 09/14/2012 2:42:13 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1334 of our ObamaVacation from reality - Obama, a queer and present danger)
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To: null and void

When Julius Caesar invaded Germany, his engineers built a wooden bridge across the Rhine in just a few days. It was capable of carrying infantry and vehicles.

When they recrossed headed back towards Rome, they destroyed it.


15 posted on 09/14/2012 2:43:11 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: null and void

Did they put Tesla in there, or was he considered more inventor than engineer? Lots of overlap from my view.


16 posted on 09/14/2012 2:44:33 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I can neither confirm or deny that; even if I could, I couldn't - it's classified.)
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To: null and void

Casey Jones has to be first.


17 posted on 09/14/2012 2:45:10 PM PDT by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: null and void

I’m glad to see Tesla was at the top. He invented the basis for modern civilizaion to the extent it depends on AC power. If Edison would have had his way we would have been stuck with small local DC power plants. The Supreme Court finally ruled that Tesla, not Marconi invented the radio.


18 posted on 09/14/2012 2:46:23 PM PDT by meatloaf (Support Senate S 1863 & House Bill 1380 to eliminate oil slavery.)
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To: Secret Agent Man

That would be telling...


19 posted on 09/14/2012 2:46:37 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1334 of our ObamaVacation from reality - Obama, a queer and present danger)
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To: null and void

I’d nominate Kettering, with a honorable mention for Smokey Yunick.


20 posted on 09/14/2012 2:47:31 PM PDT by nascarnation (Defeat Baraq 2012. Deport Baraq 2013)
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To: meatloaf
You TOLD!
21 posted on 09/14/2012 2:47:39 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1334 of our ObamaVacation from reality - Obama, a queer and present danger)
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To: null and void

James Clerk Maxwell
Hertz
Lee DeForest
Tesla


22 posted on 09/14/2012 2:48:42 PM PDT by Sen Jack S. Fogbound (We have met the enemy and they is us! After all, who voted Obama in?)
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To: null and void

No no no

My old engineer friend, George Smith. He’s about 84 now.

Has a huge extended family.

And he is always building them things made of wood. Cradles, tables, etc.

Except he isn’t much of a carpenter/cabinetmaker. So he comes to me. And I “help” him. Time, materials, tools...

He pays me with FOOD!

It don’t get any greater than that.

Weird. He just showed up. (No kidding)


23 posted on 09/14/2012 2:48:53 PM PDT by bigheadfred
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To: null and void

Oh and we gotta include the guy who wrote the Engineer’s Song, whoever he is...

Godiva was a lady who through Coventry did ride
To show the royal villagers her fine and pure white hide
The most observant man of all, an engineer of course,
Was the only one who noticed that Godiva rode a horse

Chorus:
We are, we are, we are, we are, we are the Engineers
We can, we can, we can, we can, demolish forty beers
Drink rum, drink rum, drink rum all day, and come along with us
‘Cause we don’t give a damn for any old man who don’t give a damn for us!

She said, “I’ve come a long, long way, and I will go as far
With the man who takes me from this horse and leads me to a bar
The man who took her from her steed and lead her to a beer
Was a bleary-eyed surveyor and a drunken engineer

Godiva was a lady well-endowed there is no doubt
She never wore a stitch of clothes, just wound her hair about
The first man who did make her was a Engineer, of course,
But on just one beer an artsie queer had made Godiva’s horse


24 posted on 09/14/2012 2:50:22 PM PDT by nascarnation (Defeat Baraq 2012. Deport Baraq 2013)
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To: BillyBonebrake
I’m disappointed John Roebling didn’t make the list. He designed the Brooklyn Bridge.

Behold, rising before you, the greatest erection on the continent... the greatest erection of the age... the greatest erection on the planet!
25 posted on 09/14/2012 2:51:01 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: null and void

Archimedes
Edison
Tesla
JM Browning
Roebling
Brunel
da Vinci


26 posted on 09/14/2012 3:05:39 PM PDT by Paine in the Neck (Socialism consumes everything)
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To: null and void

God


27 posted on 09/14/2012 3:09:05 PM PDT by APatientMan (Pick a side)
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To: null and void

They have completely ignored the Muslims! What about all the miraculous inventions created by Muslims?? For this slight Muslims all over the world should storm American facilities and burn them to the ground!


28 posted on 09/14/2012 3:09:12 PM PDT by 17th Miss Regt
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To: null and void

I nominate Theodore Judah. As the chief engineer of the Central Pacific Railroad, Judah surveyed the route over the Sierra Nevada along which the railroad was to be built during the 1860s. He succeeded in signing up four Sacramento merchants—the “Big Four”: Leland Stanford, Collis P. Huntington, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker to finance construction of the CPRR. Construction was completed in 1869, with virtually the entire course of the railroad having followed Judah’s plans.


29 posted on 09/14/2012 3:09:39 PM PDT by bopdowah ("Unlike King Midas, whatever the Gubmint touches sure don't turn to Gold!')
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To: bigheadfred

Who he ? (George Smith)


30 posted on 09/14/2012 3:14:12 PM PDT by Ex-Democrat Dean
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To: DainBramage

The builders of the pyramids.
********************************
Agreed. How about the guy who engineered the wheel!


31 posted on 09/14/2012 3:17:40 PM PDT by Ex-Democrat Dean
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To: PJBankard

How many Muslims made the list? NASA was supposed to promote all of their contributions to science and engineering after all...


32 posted on 09/14/2012 3:23:55 PM PDT by shotgun
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To: null and void

Howard Walowitz


33 posted on 09/14/2012 3:26:41 PM PDT by Texas Songwriter (<)
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To: GonzoGOP

Edison did a lot of trial and error using teams to try different apsects unil they got a workable solution. Tesla was a genius up there with Einstein. He did everything mostly in his head including the final design. He told the builders and machinists the dimensions instead of writing them down. He built the machines and ran them mentally before they were constructed. He wasn’t the trial and error nor the team developer Edison was. If J.P. Morgan hadn’t interfered with Westinghouse and Tesla, it’s hard to say what inventions may have come out of Tesla’s head. For that alone J.P. Morgan deserves to be scorned.

Westinghouse needs a mention for his inventions. In the end Westinghouse and Tesla proved AC was far superior to DC that Edison advocated by building large scale sysems. Edison used dirty tricks to derail AC power to no avail.


34 posted on 09/14/2012 3:26:41 PM PDT by meatloaf (Support Senate S 1863 & House Bill 1380 to eliminate oil slavery.)
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To: null and void

35 posted on 09/14/2012 3:27:42 PM PDT by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
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To: Ex-Democrat Dean

See post 23.


36 posted on 09/14/2012 3:36:29 PM PDT by bigheadfred
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To: GonzoGOP

The article ponders what, exactly, Edison invented vs. what he took credit for, but I posit that his most important invention of all was the “idea factory”, a.k.a. R&D as an actual organized effort by teams. Without this, we would still be relying on lone wolves, dreamers and crackpots for advancements, which nowadays would be impossible, given the high costs for incremental advancement.


37 posted on 09/14/2012 3:38:09 PM PDT by The Antiyuppie ("When small men cast long shadows, then it is very late in the day.")
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To: mountainlion

I was thinking Choo-Choo Charlie..


38 posted on 09/14/2012 3:47:37 PM PDT by stylin19a (Obama -> Ransom "Rance" Stoddard)
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To: DainBramage

“The builders of the pyramids. With little technology other than rudimentary tools they built something that lasted centuries and still awe inspiring.”


Nah, they were lazy! The original plans called for cubes and they got tired after a few layers of blocks.


39 posted on 09/14/2012 3:51:26 PM PDT by Wurlitzer (Nothing says "ignorance" like Islam!)
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To: null and void

Heron of Alexandria, hands-down. Way ahead of his time. In some cases, by a millennium or more.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heron_of_Alexandria


40 posted on 09/14/2012 3:54:35 PM PDT by rightwingcrazy
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To: null and void
Photobucket
41 posted on 09/14/2012 3:56:39 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: null and void

On a more serious note.

Whoever it was that got the Trilithon at Baalbek from point A to point B.


42 posted on 09/14/2012 4:02:29 PM PDT by bigheadfred
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To: Ex-Democrat Dean
I think the architects of the pyramids were refered to ‘geomancers’.....anyhow, I vote for the ancient ailiens that built Pumapunku. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumapunku
43 posted on 09/14/2012 4:05:38 PM PDT by redshawk (0pansy is a Liar and Hates.........he just hates!)
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To: null and void

BA Baracus didn’t make the list? What about MacGyver?????


44 posted on 09/14/2012 4:10:25 PM PDT by stefanbatory (Insert witty tagline here)
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To: BillyBonebrake

First name that came to my mind as well.


45 posted on 09/14/2012 4:14:12 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: null and void

My top two nominees would be John Moses Browning ( http://www.bobtuley.com/johnbrowning.htm ) and Nikola Tesla. I have not checked the list yet.


46 posted on 09/14/2012 4:15:49 PM PDT by matthew fuller (Obama- If you get re-elected, who are you gonna blame for the mess you will inherit?)
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To: DainBramage

I thought the same thing...the guy that built the

great pyramid would be on the list

No doubt about Tesla...never knew that his notes

were taken by the gov at his death,Tesla,a mind that

comes around every two or three hundred years


47 posted on 09/14/2012 4:17:29 PM PDT by Harold Shea (RVN `70 - `71)
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To: bigheadfred; null and void
On a more serious note. Whoever it was that got the Trilithon at Baalbek from point A to point B.

Yep. I've never seen or heard a plausible explanation for that. For some strange reason, Occam's Razor is not allowed in considering the possibilities... /g

48 posted on 09/14/2012 4:27:54 PM PDT by tarheelswamprat
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To: null and void

I demand that a Muslim be put on the list so that they feel better about themselves.


49 posted on 09/14/2012 4:38:26 PM PDT by denydenydeny (Admiration of absolute government is proportionate to the contempt one has for others.-Tocqueville)
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To: null and void
James Watt

Isambard Brunel

Nikola Tesla

Robert Stephenson

Robert Goddard

50 posted on 09/14/2012 4:43:25 PM PDT by Eric Pode of Croydon
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