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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Edwin Howard Armstrong was an American inventor and electrical engineer. He is credited with developing the superheterodyne receiver system as well as the frequency modulation (FM) radio. During his illustrious career, Armstrong received several awards including the IEEE Medal of Honor, Franklin Medal, and Edison Medal. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1980.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eugene Cernan was an American naval aviator, astronaut, aeronautical engineer, electrical engineer, and fighter pilot. As of 2022, Cernan remains the last man to walk on the Moon, which he did in 1972 as part of the Apollo 17 mission. In 2007, Eugene Cernan was made an inductee of the International Air & Space Hall of Fame.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Robert Watson-Watt, often called the father of radar was a British physicist who did pioneering work in radio direction finding (RDF) and radar technology. He developed high-frequency direction finding (huff-duff) as a system for locating lightning. It was later introduced during the Second World War and played an instrumental role in intelligence, mainly in catching enemy radios while they transmitted.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Often referred to as the Father of the Television, Russian-American engineer Vladimir K. Zworykin is remembered for inventing the kinescope picture tube, also known as the cathode-ray tube, used in the television. He was associated with the Radio Corporation of America, and his other creations included the iconoscope camera.
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.
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.
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.
One of the pioneers of electronic music, Léon Theremin invented the aetherphone, also known as the theremin, which was the first electronic musical instrument to be mass-produced. He also doubled up as a Soviet spy, eavesdropping on the British, French, and US embassies, using the Buran device and The Thing.
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.
Karl Guthe Jansky was an American physicist and radio engineer. He first discovered radio waves emanating from the Milky Way in August 1931. However, due to his lack of formal training as an astronomer, research into radio astronomy remained dormant for many years. Later on, he came to be widely regarded as one of the founding figures of radio astronomy.