The 6 engineering facts that have shaped the modern world

Oluwatoni Olujinmi

Engineering is a field that has been crucial in developing the modern world. Engineers have always been at the forefront of improving society through their creative approaches to fixing problems and making new advancements in technology and infrastructure.

In this article, we will look into six engineering facts that have changed the world and forever have a great impact on the course of human history.

The 6 engineering facts that changed the world

1. The Millau Viaduct

Millau Viaduct is the world’s tallest bridge at 343 meters (1,125 ft), designed by British architect Norman Foster and French engineer Michel Virlogeux. It towers over the Eiffel Tower in height. The viaduct is a multi-span cable bridge that carries traffic across the Gorge Valley of the River Tarn in southwestern France.

The viaduct was built to address an issue, just like many of the other engineering marvels. The construction is both environmentally friendly and stunning to behold. It consists of eight successive cable-stayed spans with a combined height of 8,100 feet.

Many people thought it was impossible to build when Foster and Virlogeux first announced their intentions. But their success proves that the best engineers in the world are, in fact, magicians.

2. Transistors

The transistor can be found in a wide variety of electronic gadgets. The very first field-effect transistor was patented by Julius Lilienfeld in 1926. But it was never put into widespread use due to technical difficulties.

But that all changed in 1947 when Walter Brattain, John Barden, and William Shockley at Bell Labs created the first practical transistor. They were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their efforts.

Furthermore, transistors have developed into an integral part of electronics that enable our widespread usage of computers, television, and mobile phones. Perhaps the most important innovation in today’s digital-dominated world.

3. The International Space Station

The ISS is an unprecedented achievement in engineering. This massive project has taught us more about working and living in space than we could have ever anticipated. It is about the size of an American football field and weighs around 925,000 pounds.

It was also an international endeavor, with contributions from as far afield as the United States and Russia. More than thirty separate missions were required only for assembly.

The International Space Station’s mission is to increase space knowledge and to pave the way for future space missions like NASA’s Journey to Mars. It has several positive effects on Earthly existence. Including the improvement of vaccines and the possibility of operating on previously inoperable tumors.

The International Space Station (ISS) is a truly extraterrestrial engineering marvel, orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes at a speed of 17,500 miles per hour.

4. Semiconductors

Finding a single favorite of many of the engineering facts that have changed the world is nearly impossible! Magnets, electromagnets, and the creation of electricity have always held a special interest for many. Nonetheless, the one and only engineering achievement in this category would be an appreciation of the power of semiconductors. 

This has paved the way for the widespread use of technologies like personal computers, notebooks, and mobile phones. And, it has been essential to the development of renewable energy sources and a future with reduced carbon emissions.

5. The Saturn V rocket

Despite the amazing advances in space exploration technology since the Saturn V, no other launch vehicle has ever successfully taken humans to the Moon. The Saturn V was the greatest powerful rocket ever to launch into space. Thus making it a spectacular feat of aerospace engineering. 

The Saturn V measured 111 meters in height (about the same as 36 stories of a building), weighed 2.8 million kg, and produced 34.5 million newtons of thrust. It could put 118,000 pounds into low Earth orbit (the equivalent of around 10 school buses). Apollo 11 was launched by Saturn V on July 16, 1969, marking a watershed moment in human history.

6. Incandescent light

The light bulb is commonly believed to have been invented by Thomas Edison. Specifically, he improved upon the work of several others. Most notably, the British chemists Humphrey Davy, Warren de La Rue, and Joseph Swan, to create the first practical incandescent light capable of providing lighting for a significant amount of time. The use of electricity in this way would be among the earliest examples of its current significance.

In 1882, Edison provided electricity to a select group of wealthy New Yorkers, lighting their homes and setting in motion a series of events that would lead to the opening of the first central power plant in the United States, located in the financial district of lower Manhattan.

Edison’s contributions to society include the development of dependable electricity. Which led to better housing, safer lighting, and the birth of the contemporary information technology industry. In a nutshell, he made a previously unimaginable sort of energy accessible to everyone at a price they could pay. Thus turning electricity from a dangerous experiment to a universal pleasure.

The forefront of human progress

As a key force behind the invention and development of our contemporary world, engineering has always been the vanguard of human achievement.

The six facts of engineering covered in this piece signify major turning points that have had far-reaching effects on our culture. 

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