Global Engineering

5 World Famous Civil Engineers

The work of today’s civil engineers would be a lot more challenging were it not for the forefathers of civil engineering whose innovations changed the world forever.

Through their discovery and clarification of even the most fundamental principles of the practise, these now world famous civil engineers made incredible contributions to the Industrial Revolution and beyond.

John Smeaton

Known as the “Father of Civil Engineering”, John Smeaton was born in Leeds in 1724 and after a short career in law, became a maker of mathematical tools.

Through his pioneering work on the mechanics of watermills and windmills, Smeaton applied both his theoretical and practical knowledge in order to greatly increase the efficiency of watermills, thereby accelerating the early Industrial Revolution.

Responsible for an array projects including canals, bridges, mills, and harbours Smeaton’s work is still studied by engineering students today.

John A. Roebling

Born in 1806 in Prussia, John August Roebling attended the Royal Building Academy in Berlin where he studied engineering and architecture and where he first became interested in the challenges of the suspension bridge.

His requests to build a suspension bridge were declined for many years and he moved to America in 1837 where he became the one of the founding fathers of Saxonburg, Pennsylvania. Beginning his career with the Pennsylvania Canal System, Roebling’s dream finally became a reality in 1844 when he built a suspension bridge in Pittsburgh and became America’s leading expert on suspension bridges.

Gustave Eiffel

Born in 1832 in Dijon approximately 200 years after bets for horse racing became popular, Frenchman Alexander Gustave Eiffel is certainly most well-known for the 300m tower in Paris which bears his name.

While the now iconic Eiffel Tower was only ever meant to be a temporary structure, Gustave Eiffel was throughout his career more well-known for his innovative ironwork bridges, cast iron, and railway stations. Eiffel also travelled to far flung countries for projects and his most well-known work before the construction of the Eiffel Tower was the observatory at Nice which was completed in 1886.

Squire Whipple

Known as the “Father of Iron Bridge Building”, Squire Whipple was born in in Hardwick Massachusetts and graduated from the private Union College in New York. He quickly became known as a highly skilled bridge builder and he is particularly celebrated for the bowstring arch truss design which he patented in 1841.

Several of Squire’s bridges are still in existence today, many of which are still in use, and a particularly beautiful example can be found in Albany, New York.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Considered to be one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in the history of engineering, Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born in 1806 in Portsmouth, England and became one of the greatest contributors to the Industrial Revolution.

Brunel is best known for his work on the Great Western Railway which was completed in 1838 and connected London with the Midlands and most of Wales and his bridges and tunnels could be found all over Great Britain.

Top 5 Mysterious Engineering Inventions

While much of today’s technology was impossible just 50 years ago, modern inventions have completely revolutionised life as we know it in the 21st century. From the first motorcar to today’s electric cars, grand ideas have shaped our world, but there are many inventions which never saw the light of day. Join us as we explore 5 engineering inventions shrouded in mystery.

Wirelessly Transmitting Electricity around the World

While many may be familiar with the name Nikola Tesla who is credited with creating many life-altering inventions, not all of his ideas came to fruition. One such idea was a low-cost global power and communication system which Tesla hoped would wirelessly power the world.

Tesla was outspoken about this idea from the mid-1890s and by the end of the 1900, he had secured an investment from banker J.P. Morgan to fund the project. However, J.P. Morgan for reasons unknown withdrew the funding and the project was subsequently abandoned in 1906.

A Machine to Peer into the Past

In 1972, some strange news arose from the Vatican in Rome of a machine invented by Father Pellegrino Maria Ernetti in the 1950s. Revealed in an Italian newspaper, the details of this secret machine known as Chronovision shocked the world entirely as it claimed to allow users to see into the past.

Ernetti was originally a physicist and he apparently took the Chronovision machine with him to the Vatican when he later became a priest and many believe that the machine is still kept in the vaults of the Vatican today – far more mysterious than NZ betting!

An Indestructible Material

Developed in the 1980s by hairdresser and amateur chemist Maurice Ward, this material was believed to withstand extreme heat and acted as both a protectant and insulator. Known as Starlite, Ward claimed that his invention could withstand everything from blowtorches to laser beams, but he took the secrets of the material to his grave when he passed in 2011.

Ward’s family are apparently privy to its composition, but this is as yet unconfirmed.

An Enigmatic Digital Coding System

In 1995, Romke Jan Bernhard Sloot, a Norwegian electronics engineer, claimed to have invented a digital coding system which could compress a video file to just 8kb of data. The computing world was taken by storm and Sloot soon had many offers to purchase the coding system.

However, shortly before the transaction took place, Sloot died of an unexpected heart attack and his claims could never be verified.

The Incredibly Efficient Carburettor

In April 1977, Tom Ogle revealed his invention to the world – a carburettor which massively increased the efficiency of fuel injected engines. Installed into a 1970 Ford Galaxie which typically only achieved 6km per litre, the modified Galaxie could suddenly get 53km per litre of fuel.

Shortly after the carburettor was unveiled, journalist Ron Laytner asked the inventor if was worried about oil companies coming after him and Ogle replied that he was not. Unfortunately, Ogle died under mysterious circumstances just 3 years later and the details of his incredible invention died with him.

4 Great Project Ideas For Engineering Students

Electrical engineering is often seen as the basis of all other types of engineering. Every piece of technology in the modern world runs off of some type of electricity, be it light, sound, electro-magnetic fields, and more. It’s an incredibly important field that new and fascinating projects every year as engineers attempt to make technology for the betterment of humanity.

For those students that want to start a new project in electrical engineering, these are some of the top ideas at the moment.

1. Automated Solar Trackers

Automatic solar trackers are an ambitious project that would allow solar panels to automatically shift toward the sun. Most modern solar farms are set in one direction in order to gain the most light at the brightest points of the day, but they are unable to follow the sun as it moves through the sky, and their total energy output is much lower because of this.

Creating an automated solar tracker would see the panels follow the sun from morning to evening, allowing them to increase their energy output tenfold throughout the day.

2. Automated Anchor Light

Most international regulations require that boasts carry lights during sunset and sunrise, as well as when there is restricted visibility due to weather conditions. The number and colours of the light depend wholly on the vessel they’re attached to.

The idea behind this project is to create a masthead anchor light that turns on and off automatically, and allows other vessels to see exactly where the boat is sitting, even in pitch-black anchorage.

3. Finger Print Security System

Biometric security technology is being heralded as the next stage of modern security. Fingerprints have always been at the forefront of security due to the fact that every human being on the planet has a unique fingerprint.

The idea behind the project is to make a home-based security system that works directly with the person or persons whose fingerprints match with the system. It may first see light in the work place, where employees would simply have their fingerprint scanned when starting the work day, essentially making it a modern version of signing a work ticket in, but with much more flexibility and practicality.

4. Electronic Notepad

The intention of this project is to create an electronic note pad that will be made up with a touchscreen and basic storage memory. The notepad would be used as alternative to paper and as a call against deforestation. It may also be advanced enough for simple games and applications, such as a no deposit casino suite or solitaire.

Not only would the user be able to carry it around with them wherever they go, it would also be able to transfer data between computers and other devices, allowing for notes to be transferred and saved instantly.

It would have a fast sampling rate and high accuracy, making it perfect for both writing and drawing. An SD card will be interfaced directly, along with a microcontroller, allowing the user to use for a number of tasks.