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Best Engineers in the World

  1. Aug 8, 2005 #1
    Who are the best engineers in the world?
    In fields like mechanical, aeronautical, electrical etc.

    Just curious
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2005 #2
    Burt Rutan from Scaled Composites
    he is responsible for SpaceShipOne & White Knight, Helios, GlobalFlyer and many others.
  4. Aug 8, 2005 #3


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    Burt Rutan????? Are you talking seriously? I cannot believe it.

    If I had to mention the best engineers in the history, I would mention:

    -Robert. H. Goddard (although he was a physicist) for inventing the first liquid propellant rocket. USA.

    -Sergei Koroliev (URSS) for giving a definitive breakthrough to rocket science and designing the R-7 rocket (Sputnik launcher), in which it is based the current Soyuz TM.

    -W. Von Braun (GER), for giving another breakthrough to rocket science this time in occident, and for the successfull Apollo Missions with Saturn V.

    -Rudolph Diesel (GER), for inventing the Diesel Engine.

    -Nicholas Otto (GER), for inventing the first 4 stroke gasoline engine.

    -Juan de la Cierva (Spain), for inventing the first "Auto-Giro", in which it is based the current helicopters.
  5. Aug 8, 2005 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    These days its tough to pick out a single engineer for "best" since most devices today are so complicated they require large teams of people. However, historically, Kelly Johnson or Jack Northrup for aeronautical. Pick any Lucent (Bell Labs) EE for electrical.

    And though I'm a big fan of Burt Rutan, I'm not sure that he's all that great of an engineer. He's more of an airplane architect.
  6. Aug 8, 2005 #5


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    Rutan is "technically" a designer. My designers remind me every day that there is a difference.

    I say that if I am standing on a bridge, the best damned engineer in the world is the one that made sure that that bridge isn't falling down.

    Historically, my nod goes to Kelly Johnson and Bessemer (there's a duo for ya)

    Recently I would give top honors to Steve Wozniac (sp?)
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2005
  7. Aug 8, 2005 #6
    Rutan technically has an aeronautical engineering degree though
  8. Aug 8, 2005 #7


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    Ooh Henry Bessemer, good one!

    I'll throw Joseph Whitworth and Isambard Kingdom Brunel out there as far as historical figures go.
  9. Aug 8, 2005 #8
    Nikola Tesla is deffinetly the best Electrical Engineer of all time, and maybe the best Engineer generally.
  10. Aug 10, 2005 #9
    He didn't as kfor the best engineers of all time....he asked for the best engineers in the world.
  11. Aug 11, 2005 #10


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    I guess the question needs further qualification.

    There are many engineering disciplines such as mechanical, aerospace, civil, electrical, computer, chemical, metallurgical, nuclear, . . . .

    and within each discpline there are numerous specialties, e.g. in mechanical, one can specialize in structures, thermodynamics, thermal-hydraulics, fluids (fluid dynamics), corrosion, . . . .

    What are the criteria - number of journal articles, inventions, most important development in the field (over what period - this year, the last # years)?

    http://www.nae.edu/nae/awardscom.nsf?OpenDatabase [Broken] awards (primarily or exclusively US).
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  12. Aug 12, 2005 #11


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    Well, although it could deviate the main purpose of this thread, I will situate this guy on the first positions of best engineers ever:


    For those who don't know him, as I said he was the counterpart of Von Braun in URSS.
  13. Aug 12, 2005 #12
    im suprised no one mentioned da Vinci
  14. Aug 13, 2005 #13
    I don't think you can answer this question, since most Engineers don't work in a vacuum (as Russ Watters alluded). How do you separate the conceptual ability from the design ability, from the managerial ability, from the entrepreneurial ability? Where there are teams, (even Edison worked with teams), who gets the credit?

  15. Aug 15, 2005 #14
    Of course it's Nikola Tesla!
  16. Aug 19, 2005 #15
    I would have to go with Nikola Tesla as well, in the field of Electrical Engineering. Thats would be my vote since I love AC devices, AC Power, Wierless Transmition of information etc...


  17. Sep 2, 2005 #16
    I'd go with Tesla first and foremost.

    Also, though technically physicists, I'd also like to nominate William Shockley and John Bardeen!
  18. Sep 8, 2005 #17
    Best Electrical Engineer

    i highly nominate "MICHEAL FARADAY" and "NIKOLA TESLA"in the field of electrical engineering.

    Last edited: Sep 8, 2005
  19. Sep 27, 2005 #18
    Though William Shockley is pure scum, I wholeheartedly agree with the other two nominations. You can consider Bardeen to be an engineer, because he was a professor of electrical engineering while he was at UIUC.
  20. Sep 27, 2005 #19
    he did do hundreds of sketches but i dont know if he counts as an engineer. he tried to be a super-hero by trying to take all the fields in the rennaissance and mushing them all into one person. astronomer, painter, engineer, etc.

    he doesn't really count for one field in my opinion
  21. Oct 9, 2005 #20

    In my field Keith Duckworth.
    Single handedly designed the best racing engine ever designed; the Cosworth DFV not only that but on a paper drawing board in 9 months in 1967.

    The engine was designed for Ford to be used by Lotus; Lotus were eventually forced to allow other teams to use the DFV or the sport would cease to exist, it was that good.

    The engine won on its first ever race and was unbeatable for years.

    The DFV was still winning F1 races for McLaren in 1983 with Niki Lauda.

    With a just a shorter stroke the engine was made as the turbo DFX which in INDY car and CART USA was a prolific winner well into the 1980s.

    A re-developed DFV (the DFR) engine was winning in F1 as late as 1989, thats about 20 years at the top of Formula1 all from a one man design.

    A rein for that long in any competitive industry in modern history is possibly without parrallel to my knowledge.

    Keith was the first automotive engineer to genuinely really understand combustion and air flow far before CFD and FEA techniques existed.

    In fact the engine was so good it is still used today in several racing classes where nearly 4 decades later it still wins; all this in spite that these days an engine will be designed by a fleet of engineers with millions of pounds of computing power.

    The combustion chamber and valve anges Keith Duckworth used on the DFV form the basis for almost every successful petrol engine in production today; thats not a coincidence either.

    Keith always claims he distrusts theories and doesnt read books. He prefers to analyse everything himself from scratch from 1st principles. What a man.

    Just my take.


    PS. For all time best Isombard Kingdom Brunel and Isaac Newton (more of a practial scientist perhaps) take a lot of beating.
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