Famous American Engineers

America has always been the hotbed of tinkerers. By 19th century, America was on a fast lane to engineering success. Ground-breaking engineering feats stirred America’s appetite for industrial preeminence and towards the beginning of 19th century, it was already belting out engineering milestones — some original and some borrowed (at times illegally) from British Isles. By the end of that century, America was crafting its own major inventions, like the steamboat and cotton gin. With such engineering advancements, the country was clearly on its way to gaining industrial supremacy. This spurred a rise of famous engineering schools like MIT, the Case Institute, and Stevens Institute of Technology, which generated a steady supply of engineers. Since the last 70 years, America has been the world leader in engineering excellence, ruling markets from steel and cars to energy and aerospace. Let us explore the timeline, trivia, and interesting facts on America's eminent engineers in the biographies presented below.

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

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 1 Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison.
6
Famous As: Inventor, Businessman
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.

 2 Claude Shannon

Claude Shannon.
6
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.

 3 Bill Gates

Bill Gates.
32
Famous As: Co-Founder of Microssoft
Birthdate: October 28, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States

Leading American technologist, business leader and philanthropist, Bill Gates is the co-founder of the world’s largest software company, Microsoft. His passion for computers made him one of the richest in the world and through his charity foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he and his ex-wife, Melinda, use this money generously to help people world over live a better life.

 4 John McAfee

John McAfee.
10
Famous As: Computer Programmer
Birthdate: September 18, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England
Died: June 23, 2021

John McAfee is an English-American businessman and computer programmer. He is credited with founding one of the most popular software companies of all time, McAfee Associates, which specializes in producing enterprise security software. After leaving the company, which is now owned by TPG Capital and Intel, John McAfee went on to found other companies like Tribal Voice and Future Tense Central.

 5 Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak.
13
Famous As: Co-founder of Apple Computer (Apple Inc.)
Birthdate: August 11, 1950
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: San Jose, California, United States

Widely recognized as one of the two important pioneers of the personal computer revolution, Steve Wozniak is credited with co-founding Apple Inc. along with Steve Jobs. Not surprisingly, he has been described as one of the men that changed the course of history through technology. Apart from being a programmer and technology entrepreneur, Steve Wozniak is also a well-known philanthropist.

 6 Satya Nadella

Satya Nadella.
11
Famous As: Chairman & CEO of Microsoft
Birthdate: August 19, 1967
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hyderabad

Satya Nadella is an Indian-American business executive, currently serving as the chief executive officer of Microsoft. Since he became CEO, the company has seen a 27% annual growth rate. Born in India to a Telugu-speaking family, Nadella serves as an inspiration to millions of Indians who nurse 'The American Dream'.

 7 Frederick Winslow Taylor

Frederick Winslow Taylor
5
Famous As: Mechanical Engineer
Birthdate: March 20, 1856
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: March 21, 1915

American inventor, mechanical engineer and an accomplished tennis and golf player, Frederick Winslow Taylor, regarded as the father of scientific management, sought to improve industrial efficiency. His approach on scientific management, referred to as Taylorism, has significantly influenced development of industrial engineering and production management. His monograph, The Principles of Scientific Management, laid out his views on principles of scientific management.

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 8 Tim Cook

Tim Cook.
11
Famous As: Chief Executive Officer of Apple
Birthdate: November 1, 1960
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mobile, Alabama, United States
Since taking over as the CEO of Apple, Inc. in 2011, till 2020, Tim Cook has, through his dedication, doubled its profits. He was the first Fortune 500 CEO to “come out” as gay, in 2014. A devoted philanthropist, Tim intends to donate most of his stocks to charity.

 9 Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey.
27
Famous As: CEO of Twitter Inc.
Birthdate: November 19, 1976
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

As the co-founder and CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey continues to influence the lives of millions around the world. Also a well-known philanthropist, Dorsey is credited with funding 600 public school projects in Missouri. A prolific donator, Jack Dorsey has donated $24 million as part of various relief efforts. He also donated $10 million to Boston University.

 10 Jim Lovell

Jim Lovell
11
Famous As: Astronaut
Birthdate: March 25, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Retired American astronaut Jim Lovell commanded the iconic Apollo 13 mission and was one of the first three human beings to fly to the Moon, orbit it, and get back to Earth. He had also been a US Navy captain. Following his retirement, Lovell launched a restaurant in Lake Forest.

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 11 John DeLorean

John DeLorean.
7
Famous As: Inventor, Engineer
Birthdate: January 6, 1925
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States
Died: March 19, 2005

John DeLorean was an American inventor and engineer. Highly regarded for his work at General Motors, John DeLorean was an influential figure in the US automobile industry. He is credited with founding the popular American automobile manufacturer, The DeLorean Motor Company. DeLorean’s life inspired a couple of documentary films, including Framing John DeLorean where he was played by Alec Baldwin.

 12 Dustin Moskovitz

Dustin Moskovitz.
12
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: May 22, 1984
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Gainesville, Florida, United States

Dustin Moskovitz is an Internet entrepreneur. He is credited with co-founding the popular social networking service, Facebook. In 2008, he co-founded a web and mobile application called Asana after quitting Facebook. One of the youngest self-made billionaires of all time, Dustin Moskovitz is also renowned for his philanthropic activities; he co-founded a philanthropic organization called Good Ventures in 2011.

 13 John Bardeen

John Bardeen.
4
Famous As: Nobel Laureate in Physics
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.

 14 Lisa Nowak

Lisa Nowak
11
Famous As: Naval flight officer, Astronaut, Engineer, Test pilot
Birthdate: May 10, 1963
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.

Former NASA astronaut and U.S. Navy captain Lisa Nowak was part of the STS-121 mission. She made headlines when she apparently attempted to kidnap Air Force captain Colleen Shipman, who was getting into a relationship with astronaut William Oefelein, who had previously dated Nowak. Nowak was subsequently dismissed from NASA.

 15 Willis Carrier

Willis Carrier
5
Famous As: Engineer, Inventor
Birthdate: November 26, 1876
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Angola, New York, United States
Died: October 7, 1950

 16 Jan Koum

Jan Koum.
6
Famous As: CEO and co-founder of WhatsApp
Birthdate: February 24, 1976
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kiev, Ukraine

Jan Koum is a Ukrainian American computer programmer and entrepreneur. He is credited with co-founding the popular cross-platform messaging service, WhatsApp. One of the most popular billionaires around the world, Koum donated almost $556 million to the donor-advised community foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, in 2014.

 17 Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos.
50
Famous As: Founder of Amazon.com
Birthdate: January 12, 1964
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States

The founder and CEO of the multi-national technology company Amazon, Jeff Bezos is the wealthiest man in the world. Jeff, who left his lucrative job at an investment firm to fulfil his entrepreneurial ambition, also owns the newspaper, The Washington Post, and its affiliate publications along with a spaceflight company, Blue Origin.

 18 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.

 19 Anwar al-Awlaki

Anwar al-Awlaki
4
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: April 22, 1971
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Las Cruces
Died: September 30, 2011

Al-Qaeda terrorist and Islamic preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, initially a university lecturer, had been involved in a number of terrorist attack plots, including one in which they had planned to blow up a Detroit-bound airplane. American-born Yemeni Awlaki died in a drone strike ordered by Barack Obama in 2011.

 20 John Carmack

John Carmack
6
Famous As: Chief technology officer, Aerospace engineer, Programmer, Computer scientist
Birthdate: August 20, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kansas City

Computer-game developer John Carmack introduced pioneering innovations in the 3-D game arena. He specializes in first-person shooter games, such as Quake and Doom. The id Software founder had spent a year in a juvenile home and had later dropped out of university to become a freelance programmer.

 21 Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong.
2
Famous As: Astronaut
Birthdate: August 5, 1930
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wapakoneta, Ohio, United States
Died: August 25, 2012

The first person to walk on the Moon, Neil Armstrong was an astronaut and aeronautical engineer. Prior to his trip to the Moon, he became NASA's first civilian astronaut to fly in space. After resigning from NASA, he taught in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. He was a Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee.

 22 Deke Slayton

Deke Slayton
4
Famous As: Astronaut
Birthdate: March 1, 1924
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sparta, Wisconsin, United States
Died: June 13, 1993

 23 Amar Bose

Amar Bose.
11
Famous As: Electrical Engineer and Sound Engineer
Birthdate: November 2, 1929
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
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. 

 24 Scott Kelly

Scott Kelly
10
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: February 21, 1964
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: City of Orange, New Jersey, United States

 25 Eric Schmidt

Eric Schmidt.
10
Famous As: Former CEO of Google
Birthdate: April 27, 1955
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.

 26 Gene Kranz

Gene Kranz
4
Famous As: Officer, Engineer
Birthdate: August 17, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Toledo

 27 Jack Parsons

Jack Parsons
6
Famous As: Researcher
Birthdate: October 2, 1914
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: June 17, 1952

Rocketry pioneer Jack Parsons is best remembered as one of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He also co-established the Aerojet Engineering Corporation and developed the first rocket engine that used a propellant. He was also known for his multiple sexual affairs and sex cult rituals.

 28 Marc Andreessen

Marc Andreessen
6
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: July 9, 1971
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cedar Falls, Iowa, United States

 29 Martin Cooper

Martin Cooper
5
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: December 26, 1928
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

 30 Harold Camping

Harold Camping
3
Famous As: Radio personality, Civil engineer
Birthdate: July 19, 1921
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Boulder
Died: December 15, 2013

Californian evangelist and preacher Harold Camping made headlines when he incorrectly predicted the date of the Rapture, or the end of the world, to be May 21, 2011. Initially a civil engineer, Camping later came to be known for leading Family Radio, a Christian broadcast station, in its peak.

 31 Ginni Rometty

Ginni Rometty
4
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.

 32 Steve Albini

Steve Albini
6
Famous As: Record producer, Singer, Engineer, Audio engineer, Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Journalist, Music journalist
Birthdate: July 22, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pasadena

 33 Tim Sweeney

Tim Sweeney
8
Famous As: Computer programmer
Birthdate: 1970 AD
Birthplace: Potomac, Maryland, United States

 34 Daniel Fredinburg

Daniel Fredinburg.
6
Famous As: Google X Engineer
Birthdate: September 8, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mission Viejo, California, United States
Died: April 25, 2015

 35 Ursula Burns

Ursula Burns
3
Famous As: Businesswoman
Birthdate: September 20, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York

Ursula Burns made history when she became the CEO of Xerox, becoming the first African-American female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Raised by a working-class single mother, Burns grew up to graduate as a mechanical engineer. She has led the American STEM Education Coalition and served various corporate boards.

 36 Jack Kilby

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

 37 Thomas Massie

Thomas Massie
4
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.

 38 Fred C Koch

Fred C Koch.
4
Famous As: Chemical Engineer, Entrepreneur
Birthdate: September 23, 1900
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Quanah, Texas, United States
Died: November 17, 1967

 39 Evan Williams

Evan Williams.
4
Famous As: Co-founder of Blogger & Twitter
Birthdate: March 31, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Clarks

 40 Gene Haas

Gene Haas
4
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: November 12, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Youngstown, Ohio, United States

 41 Max Yasgur

Max Yasgur
4
Famous As: Farmer
Birthdate: December 15, 1919
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City
Died: February 9, 1973

 42 Shawn Fanning

Shawn Fanning
6
Famous As: Computer scientist, Programmer
Birthdate: November 22, 1980
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brockton

Computer programmer and entrepreneur Shawn Fanning revolutionized the world of information technology by developing a program that let users share MP3 copies of music from their personal computers with others on the internet. His invention led to the formation of Napster and got him featured on the cover of Time.

 43 Tim Schafer

Tim Schafer
4
Famous As: Engineer, Programmer, Video game developer
Birthdate: July 26, 1967
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sonoma

 44 Lonnie Johnson

Lonnie Johnson
4
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: October 6, 1949
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mobile, Alabama, United States

Former NASA engineer Lonnie Johnson is best known for inventing the Super Soaker water gun, which became one of the most popular toys in the world, garnering sales amounting to more than a billion dollars since its invention. He has also been part of the US Air Force.

 45 Edwin Howard Armstrong

Edwin Howard Armstrong
4
Famous As: Electrical engineer
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.

 46 Andy Hertzfeld

Andy Hertzfeld
4
Famous As: Computer scientist, Engineer, Programmer
Birthdate: April 6, 1953
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Philadelphia

Andy Hertzfeld is an innovator and software engineer. During the 1980s, Hertzfeld was one of the members of the Apple Macintosh development team. He is also credited with co-founding companies like Radius, General Magic, and Eazel. From 2005 to 2013, he contributed to the development of Google+. Elden Henson and Michael Stuhlbarg portrayed him in Jobs and Steve Jobs respectively.

 47 Owsley Stanley

Owsley Stanley
6
Famous As: Chemist, Engineer, Audio engineer
Birthdate: January 19, 1935
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kentucky
Died: March 12, 2011

 48 Kelly Johnson

Kelly Johnson
4
Famous As: Aerospace Engineer, Engineer
Birthdate: February 27, 1910
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ishpeming
Died: December 21, 1990

 49 George Pullman

George Pullman
3
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: March 3, 1831
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Brocton, New York, United States
Died: October 19, 1897

One of his parents’ 10 children, George Pullman initially took over his father’s carpentry business and secured contracts with New York for the Erie Canal project. The founder of the Pullman sleeping car and a company town, Pullam was criticized for using the military to violently end the 1894 Pullman Strike.

 50 Robert Noyce

Robert Noyce.
4
Famous As: Co-inventor of the integrated circuit
Birthdate: December 12, 1927
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Burlington
Died: June 3, 1990