Famous 20th Century Electrical Engineers

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 1 
Alexander Graham Bell
(Inventor of Telephone & Co-Founder of 'American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T)')
Alexander Graham Bell
10
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
(Inventor of Phonograph, Motion Picture Camera and Early Version of the Electric Light Bulb)
Thomas Edison
34
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
(Mathematician, Engineer & Cryptographer Known as a 'Father of Information Theory')
Claude Shannon
10
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
(American Physicist, Engineer and the Only Person to Win the Nobel Prize in Physics Twice)
John Bardeen
5
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 
Jack Kilby
(Inventor of integrated circuit)
Jack Kilby
7
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.

 6 
Amar Bose
(The Founder of 'Bose Corporation')
Amar Bose
12
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. 

 7 
Edwin Howard Armstrong
(American Electrical Engineer and Inventor, Who Developed FM Radio and the Superheterodyne Receiver System)
Edwin Howard Armstrong
7
Birthdate: December 18, 1890
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chelsea, New York, United States
Died: February 1, 1954

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.

 8 
Nikola Tesla
(Inventor, Engineer & Futurist, Who Obtained Over 300 Patents)
Nikola Tesla
17
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.

 9 
Seymour Cray
(Engineer, Computer scientist)
Seymour Cray
5
Birthdate: September 28, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chippewa Falls
Died: October 5, 1996
 10 
Dennis Gabor
(Father of Holography)
Dennis Gabor
5
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.

 11 
Julie Payette
(29th Governor General of Canada Who Served from 2017 to 2021)
Julie Payette
4
Birthdate: October 20, 1963
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Canadian engineer and astronaut Julie Payette has been the Governor General of Canada from 2017 to 2021. She was initially a research scientist and then joined the Canadian Space Agency, eventually completing two spaceflights. Payette resigned as governor general after a workplace review accused her of workplace harassment.
 12 
Godfrey Hounsfield
(English Electrical engineer Who Was a Joint Winner 1979 Nobel Prize for Medicine)
Godfrey Hounsfield
3
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.

 13 
John Ambrose Fleming
(British Electrical Engineer and Physicist Who Invented the First 'Thermionic Valve' or 'Vacuum Tube')
John Ambrose Fleming
5
Birthdate: November 29, 1849
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lancaster, Lancashire, 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 
William Edwards Deming
(Statistician, Electrical Engineer)
William Edwards Deming
6
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.

 15 
Eugene Cernan
(American Naval Aviator Who Became the Eleventh Human Being to Walk on the Moon)
Eugene Cernan
4
Birthdate: March 14, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: January 16, 2017

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.

 16 
Lisa Su
(Entrepreneur)
Lisa Su
9
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.

 17 
Judith Resnik
(Engineer)
Judith Resnik
8
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.

 18 
J. Presper Eckert
(Electrical engineer)
J. Presper Eckert
7
Birthdate: April 9, 1919
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: June 3, 1995
 19 
Garrett Camp
(Innovator & Entrepreneurs)
Garrett Camp
13
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.

 20 
Ray Dolby
(American Engineer, Inventor of the Noise Reduction System and Founder of 'Dolby Laboratories')
Ray Dolby
3
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.

 21 
Ray Tomlinson
(Inventor of the First Email System)
Ray Tomlinson
5
Birthdate: April 23, 1941
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Amsterdam, New York, U.S.
Died: March 5, 2016
 22 
Douglas Engelbart
3
Birthdate: January 25, 1925
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Portland, Oregon, United States
Died: July 2, 2013
 23 
Bruce McCandless II
(The First Person to Complete an Untethered Spacewalk)
Bruce McCandless II
5
Birthdate: June 8, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: December 21, 2017

US Navy officer, aviator, and NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless II was the first person to complete an untethered spacewalk. He also contributed to the development of the Manned Maneuvering Unit. Post-retirement, he became a research scientist. He once sued singer Dido for using one of his space flight photos as an album cover.

 24 
Martin Eberhard
(Entrepreneur)
Martin Eberhard
8
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.

 25 
Charles F. Brush
2
Birthdate: March 17, 1849
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Euclid, Ohio, United States
Died: June 15, 1929
 26 
Hertha Ayrton
(British Engineer, Mathematician, Physicist and Inventor Known for Her Work With the 'Electric Arcs')
Hertha Ayrton
2
Birthdate: April 28, 1854
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Portsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire, 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. 

 27 
Jakov Kitarović
3
Birthdate: October 4, 1968
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rijeka, Croatia
 28 
Ellen Ochoa
(The First Hispanic Woman to Go to Space)
Ellen Ochoa
8
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.

 29 
Robert Watson-Watt
(British Pioneer of Radio Direction Finding and Radar Technology)
Robert Watson-Watt
3
Birthdate: April 13, 1892
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brechin, Scotland
Died: December 5, 1973

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.

 30 
Alan Blumlein
(Engineer, Audio engineer)
Alan Blumlein
2
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.

 31 
Jensen Huang
(Entrepreneur)
Jensen Huang
9
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.

 32 
Nandan Nilekani
(Founder of Infosys)
Nandan Nilekani
3
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.

 33 
Will Packer
(Film producer)
Will Packer
5
Birthdate: April 11, 1974
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Florida
 34 
Granville Woods
(Inventor)
Granville Woods
5
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.

 35 
Peter Cooper Hewitt
(Electrical Engineer)
Peter Cooper Hewitt
2
Birthdate: May 5, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: August 25, 1921
 36 
Lynn Conway
(Transgender Activist & Computer Scientist Who Initiated The Mead-Conway VLSI Chip Design Revolution)
Lynn Conway
3
Birthdate: January 2, 1938
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mount Vernon, New York, United States
 37 
Vladimir K. Zworykin
(Inventor of 'Television Transmitting and Receiving System Employing Cathode Ray Tubes')
Vladimir K. Zworykin
3
Birthdate: July 29, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Murom, Russia
Died: July 29, 1982

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.

 38 
Mo Ibrahim
(Entrepreneur)
Mo Ibrahim
5
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.

 39 
An Wang
(Co-founder of Wang Laboratories)
An Wang
3
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.

 40 
Charles K. Kao
(Electrical Engineer and Physicist Who Developed the Use of "Fiber Optics" in Telecommunications)
Charles K. Kao
0
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.

 41 
Steven Sasson
(Engineer)
Steven Sasson
3
Birthdate: July 4, 1950
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brooklyn
 42 
Leon Theremin
(Inventor of the First Electronic Musical Instrument 'Theremin')
Leon Theremin
3
Birthdate: August 27, 1896
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: November 3, 1993

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.

 43 
Frederick Emmons Terman
3
Birthdate: June 7, 1900
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: English, Indiana, United States
Died: December 19, 1982
 44 
Nick Holonyak
(Engineer)
Nick Holonyak
3
Birthdate: November 3, 1928
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Zeigler, Illinois, United States
 45 
Madman Muntz
(Businessperson)
Madman Muntz
2
Birthdate: January 3, 1914
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Elgin, Illinois, United States
Died: June 21, 1987
 46 
Andy Bechtolsheim
(Businessperson, Electrical engineer)
Andy Bechtolsheim
0
Birthdate: September 30, 1955
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Finning, Germany
 47 
Pavel Florensky
(Theologian)
Pavel Florensky
2
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.

 48 
C. L. Max Nikias
2
Birthdate: September 30, 1952
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cyprus
 49 
Jessica Fridrich
2
Birthdate: 1964 AD
Birthplace: Ostrava, Czech Republic
 50 
Karl Guthe Jansky
(American Physicist, Radio Engineer and One of the Founding Figures of 'Radio Astronomy')
Karl Guthe Jansky
2
Birthdate: October 22, 1905
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Norman, Oklahoma, United States
Died: February 14, 1950

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.