STEM Accord – 50 Engineering Hero’s

STEM Accord – 50 Engineering Hero’s

Born to Engineer favourite, STEM Accord, have put together a fantastic Instagram series on often overlooked Engineering Hero’s.

Their account is a must-follow for anyone interested in the history of Engineering or just history in general.

STEM Acccord Engineering Heroes

We have taken a look at five of our favourites.

1. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel

Eiffel was a Frances most famous civil engineer and architect.

A graduate of the prestigious École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures of France, he made his name with various bridges for the French railway network, most famously the Garabit viaduct.
Even once he retired from engineering, Eiffel his research into meteorology and aerodynamics made significant contributions in both fields

2. Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr was actress and film producer but also an inventor.

Yes, Hedy was part of 30 films and had an acting career spanning 28 years, but she also co-invented an early version of frequency-hopping spread spectrum.

Frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) is a method of transmitting radio signals by rapidly changing the carrier frequency among many distinct frequencies occupying a large spectral band. The changes are controlled by a code known to both transmitter and receiver. FHSS is used to avoid interference and (importantly!) to prevent eavesdropping.

The invention was a result of Lamarr learning that that radio-controlled torpedoes, an emerging technology in naval war during World War II, could easily be jammed and set off course.

Her solution was to create a frequency-hopping signal that could not be tracked or jammed with her friend, composer and pianist George Antheil.

Sadly the US Navy was not receptive to considering inventions coming from outside the military and while it was classified as “red hot” by the US military it wasn’t until 1957 it was adapted to develop Sonobuoys.
Today various spread-spectrum techniques are incorporated into Bluetooth tech and are similar to methods used in older versions of Wi-Fi.

3. Sir M. Visvesvaraya

Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya is better known as Sir MV. MV was a Indian civil engineer and statesman and served as the 19th Diwan of Mysore from 1912 to 1919.

He received India’s highest honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1955 and was knighted as a Knight Commander of the British Indian Empire (KCIE) by King George V for his contributions to the public good.

He was the Chief Engineer of Krishna Raja Sagara dam in the north-west suburb of Mysuru city, and served as one of the Chief Engineers of the flood protection system for the city of Hyderabad.

His birthday, 15 September, is celebrated as Engineer’s Day in India, Sri Lanka and Tanzania!

4. Emily Warren Roebling

Emily Warren Roebling is famous for her contribution to the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Emily had extensive knowledge of strength of materials, stress analysis, cable construction, and calculating catenary curves, after her husband Washington Roebling ( who was chief engineer during the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge ) developed caisson disease (a.k.a. decompression disease).

For the decade after Washington took to his sickbed, Emily’s dedication to the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge was unyielding. She took over much of the chief engineer duties, including day-to-day supervision and project management. Emily and her husband jointly planned the bridge’s continued construction.

She dealt with politicians, competing engineers, and all those associated with the work on the bridge to the point where people believed she was behind the bridge’s design

5. Lillian Moller Gilbreth

Probably not a field that you think of when you think ‘engineer’. Lillian Evelyn Moller Gilbreth was a psychologist, industrial engineer, consultant, and educator who was an early pioneer in applying psychology to time-and-motion studies.

Her work as an efficiency expert contributed to the study of industrial engineering, especially in the areas of motion study and human factors.

Gilbreth and her husband were equal partners in the engineering and management consulting firm of Gilbreth, Incorporated who’s slogan was “The One Best Way to Do Work”. She continued to lead the company for decades after his death in 1924

They were pioneers developing new technique for their studies that used a motion-picture camera to record work processes. These filmed observations enabled the Gilbreths to redesign machinery to better suit workers’ movements to improve efficiency and reduce fatigue

Their human approach to scientific management allowed for the development of many innovations in workplace efficiency we take for granted today; such as improved lighting and regular breaks, as well as ideas for workplace psychological well-being, such as suggestion boxes and free books!

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