Famous 20th Century Electrical Engineers

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite 20th Century Electrical Engineers

 1 Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell
6
Famous As: Inventor of Telephone
Birthdate: March 3, 1847
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: August 2, 1922

Alexander Graham Bell was a scientist, inventor, and engineer. He is credited with inventing the first functional telephone. He is also credited with co-founding America's major telephone company AT&T, which has been going strong since 1885. Bell's later life was marked by his groundbreaking work in aeronautics, hydrofoils, and optical telecommunications. He was also an ardent supporter of compulsory sterilization.

 2 Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison
28
Famous As: Inventor of Phonograph & Motion Picture Camera
Birthdate: February 11, 1847
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Milan, Ohio, United States
Died: October 18, 1931

Described as America’s greatest inventor, Thomas Edison’s legacy is an everlasting one. He was the first to help make the incandescent light bulb commercially viable, even though he was not the first inventor of it. Quadruplex telegraph, phonograph, motion picture camera and the alkaline storage battery are some the many innovations that made him a worldwide phenomenon and an icon.

 3 Claude Shannon

Claude Shannon
8
Famous As: Mathematician, Cryptographer
Birthdate: April 30, 1916
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Petoskey, Michigan, United States
Died: February 24, 2001

Claude Shannon was an electrical engineer, mathematician, and cryptographer. He is credited with publishing the article A Mathematical Theory of Communication which gave rise to the field of information theory. Hence, Shannon is considered the father of information theory. He is also credited with founding digital circuit design theory. During World War II, he contributed to the field of cryptanalysis.

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 4 John Bardeen

John Bardeen
3
Famous As: Engineer and Physicist
Birthdate: May 23, 1908
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Died: January 30, 1991

American engineer, physicist and Nobel laureate John Bardeen is the only person who received the Nobel Prize in Physics twice. He shared the first Nobel with William Shockley and Walter Brattain in 1956 for inventing the transistor, and the second with Leon N Cooper and John Robert Schrieffer in 1972 for proposing the BCS theory, a microscopic theory of superconductivity.

 5 Amar Bose

Amar Bose
10
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: November 2, 1929
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: July 12, 2013

Amar Bose was an American academic, entrepreneur, sound engineer, and electrical engineer. Bose served as a professor at MIT for more than 45 years. He is also credited with founding a manufacturing company called Bose Corporation where he served as the chairman. In 2008, Amar Bose was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. 

 6 Jack Kilby

Jack Kilby
5
Famous As: Inventor of integrated circuit
Birthdate: November 8, 1923
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Jefferson City
Died: June 20, 2005

Nobel Prize-winning engineer Jack Kilby is best remembered for his contribution to the development of the integrated circuit. Born to an electrical engineer, he had his first brush with gadgets as an amateur radio operator. Initially a Texas Instruments employee, he later also taught at the Texas A&M University.

 7 Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla
17
Famous As: Inventor, Engineer & Futurist, Who Obtained Over 300 Patents
Birthdate: July 10, 1856
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Smiljan, Croatia
Died: January 7, 1943

Inventor, engineer and futurist, Nikola Tesla, is best remembered for his contribution to the development of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. A prolific inventor, he had around 300 patents for his inventions. Even though he earned a considerable amount of money, he had poor money management skills and died a poor man.

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 8 Grant Imahara

Grant Imahara
11
Famous As: Electrical engineer
Birthdate: October 23, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA

Grant Masaru Imahara, a Japanese-American electrical engineer, roboticist, television host and actor, began his career at Lucasfilm, where he got involved with several big budget films including Star War franchise. Later, he joined MythBusters as a member of Build Tea and was well-known for his contribution in it. His other important works include White Rabbit Project, BattleBots, Star Trek Continues etc.

 9 Seymour Cray

Seymour Cray
5
Famous As: Engineer, Computer scientist
Birthdate: September 28, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chippewa Falls
Died: October 5, 1996

 10 Guglielmo Marconi

Guglielmo Marconi
6
Famous As: Inventor & Physicist
Birthdate: April 25, 1874
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
Died: July 20, 1937

Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian electrical engineer and inventor best remembered for his work on long-distance radio transmission. Marconi, who is credited with inventing the radio, was honored with the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in the field of wireless telegraphy. Also a businessman, Marconi founded the Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company in 1897. 

 11 Dennis Gabor

Dennis Gabor
5
Famous As: Father of Holography
Birthdate: June 5, 1900
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Budapest
Died: February 8, 1979

Dennis Gabor was a Hungarian-British physicist and electrical engineer best remembered for inventing holography. His invention earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physics in 1971. Gabor won several awards during his lifetime. After his demise, many awards are given in his honor. The Dennis Gabor Award and Gabor Medal are some of the awards that are named after him.

 12 Elon Musk

Elon Musk
24
Famous As: CEO of Tesla
Birthdate: June 28, 1971
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pretoria, South Africa

Entrepreneur, engineer and industrial designer, Elon Musk, is famous as founder of the electronic payment firm PayPal, and the SpaceX spacecraft company. He is also the CEO of Tesla Motors. Elon Musk has plans to revolutionize transportation on earth as well as to space through futuristic technology.

 13 John Ambrose Fleming

John Ambrose Fleming
5
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: November 29, 1849
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lancaster, England
Died: April 18, 1945

John Ambrose Fleming was an English electrical engineer and physicist. He is known for inventing the first thermionic valve or vacuum tube and designing the radio transmitter with which the first transatlantic radio transmission was made. Along with  Douglas Dewar and Bernard Acworth, he helped establish the Evolution Protest Movement. Fleming was also a noted photographer and artist. 

 

 14 J. Presper Eckert

J. Presper Eckert
3
Famous As: Electrical engineer
Birthdate: April 9, 1919
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: June 3, 1995

 15 Godfrey Hounsfield

Godfrey Hounsfield
3
Famous As: Developer of X-ray computed tomography
Birthdate: August 28, 1919
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Newark-on-Trent, England
Died: August 12, 2004

Nobel Prize-winning British electrical engineer Godfrey Hounsfield is best known for developing the CAT and CT scan techniques along with Allan Cormack. He also led the team that developed Britain’s first all-transistor computer. He was knighted for his achievements, while the measure of radiodensity was named the Hounsfield scale.

 16 Loni Love

Loni Love
13
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: July 12, 1971
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, USA

Loni Love is an American comedian, actress, television host, and author. Love won the prestigious Daytime Emmy Award under the Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host category in 2018 for her work in the popular syndicated talk show, The Real. A former electrical engineer, Loni Love has worked in popular companies like Xerox Holdings Corporation and General Motors.

 17 William Edwards Deming

William Edwards Deming
6
Famous As: Statistician, Electrical Engineer
Birthdate: October 14, 1900
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sioux City
Died: December 20, 1993

Born to a lawyer, William Edwards Deming grew up to become a renowned mathematical physicist and later taught statistics at the New York University. His research focused on the application of statistical methods to improve quality control in various industries. His ideas were later widely used by Japanese corporates.

 18 Lisa Su

Lisa Su
9
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: November 7, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tainan, Taiwan

Born in Taiwan, Lisa Su, the CEO of AMD, moved to the US at age 3. Lisa eventually earned a PhD in electrical engineering from MIT. Named to the Forbes America’s Self-Made Women 2020 list, she is also the first woman recipient of the IEEE Robert Noyce Medal.

 19 Judith Resnik

Judith Resnik
8
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: April 5, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Akron, Ohio, United States
Died: January 28, 1986

Judith Resnik was an American software engineer, electrical engineer, pilot, biomedical engineer, and NASA astronaut. She was the fourth woman and the first Jewish woman in space, logging 145 hours in orbit. Resnik, who died during the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986, received several posthumous honors. Judith Resnik’s life and career inspired the 1990 TV movie Challenger.

 20 Thomas Massie

Thomas Massie
3
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: January 13, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Huntington, West Virginia, United States

Conservative libertarian Republican Thomas Massie is the US Representative from Kentucky's 4th district. Born to a beer distributor, he studied mechanical engineering at MIT and also co-owned a start-up. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he earned Donald Trump’s ire when he opposed a stimulus package to boost the American economy.

 21 Ginni Rometty

Ginni Rometty
7
Famous As: Businesswomen
Birthdate: July 29, 1957
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

Former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty was named to the World's Top 50 Women in Tech by Forbes in 2018. She led IBM through its conversion to a leading data company. The Northwestern University alumna has also earned the Edison Achievement Award. She became part of Time 100 in 2012.

 22 Garrett Camp

Garrett Camp
13
Famous As: Innovator & Entrepreneurs
Birthdate: October 4, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Calgary

Tech magnate Garrett Camp made headlines in 2020 when he quit his position of board director of Uber, a company co-founded by him, to focus on its product strategy. Camp has also formed companies such as StumbleUpon and the start-up incubator Expa Labs, and is part of The Giving Pledge.

 23 Ray Dolby

Ray Dolby
3
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: January 18, 1933
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Portland, Oregon, United States
Died: September 12, 2013

A Stanford engineer and a Cambridge PhD, Ray Dolby had first experimented with electronic gadgets while working part-time for Ampex in his teenage years. The Dolby Laboratories founder later pioneered the surround sound technology in movies and the noise-reduction system in tapes. His honors include an Emmy and two Academy Awards.

 24 Ray Tomlinson

Ray Tomlinson
3
Famous As: Inventor of the First Email System
Birthdate: April 23, 1941
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Amsterdam, New York, U.S.
Died: March 5, 2016

 25 Douglas Engelbart

Douglas Engelbart
3
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: January 25, 1925
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Portland, Oregon, United States
Died: July 2, 2013

 26 Charles K. Kao

Charles K. Kao
3
Famous As: Electrical Engineer
Birthdate: November 4, 1933
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Shanghai, China
Died: September 23, 2018

Nobel Prize-winning Chinese physicist Charles K. Kao is best remembered for his discovery of how light is transmitted through fibre-optic cables. Named the Godfather of Broadband, he was also knighted by the U.K. Following his diagnosis of Alzheimer disease, he co-founded the Charles K. Kao Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease.

 27 Martin Eberhard

Martin Eberhard
8
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: May 15, 1960
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Berkeley, California, United States

Martin Eberhard is an American entrepreneur, inventor, and engineer. He is credited with co-founding Tesla, Inc. in 2002. He then served as the company's chairman and CEO. Martin Eberhard was inducted into the University of Illinois Engineering Hall of Fame in 2015.

 28 Charles F. Brush

Charles F. Brush
2
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: March 17, 1849
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Euclid, Ohio, United States
Died: June 15, 1929

 29 Alan Blumlein

Alan Blumlein
2
Famous As: Engineer, Audio engineer
Birthdate: June 29, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London
Died: June 7, 1942

Best known as the inventor of stereo sound, electronic engineer Alan Blumlein had 128 patents in his kitty. He died at age 38, when the Halifax bomber carrying him and his colleagues crashed during World War II. He was apparently part of a secret radar experiment back then.

 30 Bruce McCandless II

Bruce McCandless II
3
Famous As: Officer
Birthdate: June 8, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: December 21, 2017

 31 Mikhail Botvinnik

Mikhail Botvinnik
3
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: August 17, 1911
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Repino, Russia
Died: May 5, 1995

Soviet chess player Mikhail Botvinnik was a three-time World Champion. At 14, he defeated the reigning world champion José Raúl Capablanca in an exhibition match. He was also a skilled computer engineer. He adopted a scientific approach to chess and penned several books on chess, too.

 32 Hertha Ayrton

Hertha Ayrton
2
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: April 28, 1854
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Portsea Island, England
Died: August 26, 1923

Hertha Ayrton was a British engineer,  physicist, mathematician, and inventor. She is remembered for her work on electric arcs and ripple marks in sand and water, for which she was awarded the Hughes Medal by the Royal Society. As a woman in the 19th century, she had to face innumerable struggles in her career. She was also a passionate suffragist. 

 33 Ellen Ochoa

Ellen Ochoa
8
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: May 10, 1958
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ellen Ochoa is an American engineer and classical flautist. A former astronaut, Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman in space. In 2012, she became the first Hispanic director of Johnson Space Center. Ochoa has won several prestigious awards including NASA's Distinguished Service Medal and Space Flight Medals. In 2017, she was inducted into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame.

 34 Will Packer

Will Packer
3
Famous As: Film producer
Birthdate: April 11, 1974
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Florida

 35 Jakov Kitarović

Jakov Kitarović
3
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: October 4, 1968
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rijeka, Croatia

 36 Nandan Nilekani

Nandan Nilekani
3
Famous As: Founder of Infosys
Birthdate: June 2, 1955
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bangalore

Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani is also the man behind the Indian biometric ID Aadhaar. Named to the Forbes list of India’s Richest in 2021, he also once teamed up with Ratan Tata to form Avanti Finance to help the poor get loans. He unsuccessfully contested as a Congress candidate, too.

 37 Peter Cooper Hewitt

Peter Cooper Hewitt
2
Famous As: Electrical Engineer
Birthdate: May 5, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: August 25, 1921

 38 Jensen Huang

Jensen Huang
9
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: February 17, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tainan, Taiwan

Jensen Huang is a Taiwanese-American electrical engineer and businessman. He is credited with co-founding an American multinational technology company named Nvidia Corporation where he currently serves as president and CEO. Jensen Huang is also known for his philanthropic efforts; he donated US$30 million to Stanford University and $2 million to Oneida Baptist Institute.

 39 Granville Woods

Granville Woods
5
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: April 23, 1856
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, United States
Died: January 30, 1910

Granville Woods was 10 when he began working at a machine shop, while continuing his studies at a night school. He grew up to become a steam locomotive engineer and earned the nickname the Black Edison for his countless inventions, most of which were related to electrical systems for railways.

 40 Mo Ibrahim

Mo Ibrahim
5
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: May 3, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sudan

Telecom magnate Mo Ibrahim was born in Sudan and educated in Egypt and the U.K. His company Celtel International was one of the pioneers in the mobile phone industry in Africa and the Middle East. He was featured on Forbes’s billionaire’s list and offers scholarships for African students through his foundation.

 41 An Wang

An Wang
3
Famous As: Co-founder of Wang Laboratories
Birthdate: February 7, 1920
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Shanghai, China,
Died: March 24, 1990

Born in Shanghai, An Wang studied electrical engineering before moving to Harvard to get his PhD. The Wang Laboratories co-founder is remembered for inventing the magnetic core memory, which was the main component of computers till the invention of the microchip. He also developed many word-processing systems.

 42 Steven Sasson

Steven Sasson
3
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: July 4, 1950
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brooklyn

 43 Ante Markovic

Ante Markovic
2
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: November 25, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Konjic, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Died: November 28, 2011

 44 Robert H. Dennard

Robert H. Dennard
4
Famous As: Electrical Engineer
Birthdate: September 5, 1932
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Terrell, Texas, United States

 45 Frederick Emmons Terman

Frederick Emmons Terman
3
Famous As: Professor
Birthdate: June 7, 1900
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: English, Indiana, United States
Died: December 19, 1982

 46 Nick Holonyak

Nick Holonyak
3
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: November 3, 1928
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Zeigler, Illinois, United States

 47 Zénobe Gramme

Zénobe Gramme
1
Famous As: Electrical Engineer
Birthdate: April 4, 1826
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Amay, Belgium
Died: January 20, 1901

 48 Madman Muntz

Madman Muntz
2
Famous As: Businessperson
Birthdate: January 3, 1914
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Elgin, Illinois, United States
Died: June 21, 1987

 49 Pavel Florensky

Pavel Florensky
2
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: January 22, 1882
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Yevlakh, Azerbaijan
Died: December 8, 1943

Russian theologian Pavel Florensky is best remembered for his essay The Pillar and the Ground of Truth. During Stalin’s regime and amid a phase of national atheism, he was sent to jail and also banished to Siberia for his religious beliefs, which he refused to renounce.

 50 Isamu Akasaki

Isamu Akasaki
2
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: January 30, 1929
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chiran, Kawanabe District, Kagoshima Prefecture