English civil engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, is considered "one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in engineering history." Considered a major figure of the Industrial Revolution, he built docks, a series of steamships, and many important bridges and tunnels. He was placed second in a BBC public poll to determine the "100 Greatest Britons" in 2002.
George Stephenson was a British mechanical and civil engineer. Stephenson is credited with pioneering rail transport which is widely regarded as one of the most prominent inventions of the 19th century. Regarded as the Father of Railways, George Stephenson is also credited with developing the standard rail gauge which is used by several railways around the world.
Scottish inventor, electrical engineer, and innovator, John Logie Baird, is best known for demonstrating a working TV system in 1926. He then went on to invent the first viable purely electronic color TV picture tube and founded the Baird Television Development Company. He was inducted into the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame in 2015.
Alan Parsons is an English musician, audio engineer, record producer, and songwriter. He is credited with forming a rock band named The Alan Parsons Project. Over the years, Parsons has won many prestigious awards including a Grammy Award for Best Immersive Audio Album. In the 2021, Parsons was made an OBE for services to music production and music.
Atticus Ross is an English musician, composer, record producer, audio engineer, and songwriter. He is best known for his work with Trent Reznor; the duo has won prestigious awards, such as an Oscar for Best Original Score and a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. Ross has also won a Golden Globe for his work in Soul.
British civil engineer Joseph Bazalgette was the man behind the development of the sewage system of London. He was later knighted for his achievements and had also served as the president of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Another notable work of his was the Hammersmith Bridge.
Peter Molyneux is an English programmer and video game designer. He is credited with creating several popular video games like Populous, Dungeon Keeper, Theme Park, Godus, and the Fable series. In 2004, he was inducted into the AIAS Hall of Fame. In 2011, Peter Molyneux was honored at the Game Developers Choice Awards with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ross Brawn is a British Formula One technical director and managing director. A former Formula One team principal, Brawn is widely regarded as the mastermind behind Michael Schumacher's record seven World Drivers' Championship titles. Also known for his charity work, Brawn came up with the Brawn Lifeboat Challenge in order to raise money for a new lifeboat for River Thames.
Renowned meteorologist and aeronaut James Glaisher was a pioneer of balloon flights and had penned the iconic book Travels in the Air. He had also contributed to the formation of the Meteorological Society and the Aeronautical Society of Britain. The 2019 movie The Aeronauts depicts his exploits as a balloonist.
Aviation engineer Frank Whittle entered the Royal Air Force as an apprentice and rose through the ranks to become a pilot. He invented the jet engine, though his idea of a plane that could fly at a phenomenal speed was initially laughed at. He was later knighted for his achievements.
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.
Richard Trevithick was a British mining engineer and inventor. A pioneer of rail transport and steam-powered vehicles, Trevithick is credited with developing the first working railway steam locomotive and the first high-pressure steam engine. He was a highly respected figure in the fields of engineering and mining during the peak of his career.
Barnes Wallis was an English engineer, inventor, and scientist. He played an important role during the Second World War by inventing the bouncing bomb which was used in Operation Chastise by the Royal Air Force to attack the dams of the Ruhr Valley. Barnes Wallis is also credited with inventing the earthquake bomb and his version of the geodetic airframe.
15 Tony Hoare
Tony Hoare is a British computer scientist who is credited with developing the sorting algorithm quicksort. He is also credited with developing Hoare logic, a formal system for verifying program correctness. Over the years, Tony Hoare has received several prestigious awards for his contribution to computer science.
16 John Smeaton
John Smeaton was the first person to claim to be a civil engineer. One of his best-known creations was the Eddystone Lighthouse. He was also the first to use hydraulic lime in concrete. He not only won the Copley Medal but was also made a Fellow of The Royal Society.
A consumer electronics pioneer, entrepreneur Clive Sinclair began his business venture selling radio and amplifier kits. He went on to launch the word’s first pocket calculator and later also worked on products such as digital watches and pocket TV. He is a fan of poker and is a Mensa member.
18 Jonathan Ive
Jonathan Ive is a British-American product, industrial, and architectural designer. The former Chief Design Officer (CDO) of Apple Inc., Ive played a major role in the designs of several Apple products, such as the iPhone, MacBook, iMac, iPad, and iPod. He also played an important role in the designs of Apple's architectural projects, such as Apple Stores and Apple Park.
19 Andrew Gower
Best known as Cutler from the series Being Human, Andrew Gower also impressed his fans with his performance as “Bonnie Prince” Charles Edward Stuart in Outlander. A prominent stage actor, too, he has been part of many Oxford School of Drama productions. He has also experimented with a music career.
Demis Hassabis is a British neuroscientist, artificial intelligence (AI) researcher, entrepreneur, and video game designer. He is credited with co-founding DeepMind for which he is currently serving as the chief executive officer. Over the years, he has won several prestigious awards, such as the Mullard Award. In 2017, he was named among the 100 most influential people in Time 100.
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.
A professor at the Coventry and Reading universities, engineer Kevin Warwicke specializes in artificial intelligence, robotics, and biomedical engineering. One of his most interesting research interests is the possibility of creating cyborgs, which has earned him the nickname Captain Cyborg. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from several universities.
Oliver Heaviside was an English mathematician and physicist. He invented a new technique for solving differential equations and independently developed vector calculus. He is also credited with rewriting Maxwell's equations in the form commonly used today. He formulated the telegrapher’s equations and invented the Heaviside step function as well. In 1922, he received the Faraday Medal.
Aeronautical designer R. J. Mitchell joined Supermarine at age 21 and worked for them throughout his life. Remembered for designing sea planes, he was also the man behind the fighter aircraft Spitfire, which was used extensively during World War II. The film The First of the Few chronicled his life.
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.
Mark Shuttleworth is a South African-British entrepreneur. He is credited with founding Canonical, the company that developed the popular Linux-based Ubuntu operating system. Mark Shuttleworth became the first African from an independent country and the first South African to travel to space; he traveled as a space tourist in 2002.
William Mulholland was initially hailed as a hero for building the first aqueduct system of Los Angeles, as the first chief engineer of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. He later resigned taking responsibility for the collapse of the St. Francis Dam, which had caused countless deaths.
Civil engineer Hubert Cecil Booth had designed everything from Ferris wheels to bridges, but the product that he is most remembered for is the vacuum cleaner, which he invented to introduce a hygienic method of dust removal. He had also designed Navy ships. He rejected the knighthood offered to him.
Aviation pioneer and aircraft designer Geoffrey de Havilland is best remembered for his double-engine warplane Mosquito and the jet airliner Comet. He was part of the Royal Flying Corps and had been knighted for his achievements. He was also the founder of the De Havilland Aircraft Company.
British engineer and inventor George Cayley was a pioneer of aeronautics and aviation. He designed the world’s first glider that could successfully carry a human being. He was also a prominent Whig and had contributed to the formation of what is now known as the University of Westminster.
The founder of the Armstrong Whitworth manufacturing company, William George Armstrong, also known as Baron Armstrong, redefined the design of guns and also invented the high-pressure hydraulic mechanism. Initially a lawyer, he later quit his practice to devote more time to engineering. He was also knighted for his feats.
Scottish broadcaster John Charles Walsham Reith, 1st Baron Reith is remembered for introducing the concept of independent public service corporations in Britain. He had also been the director-general of the BBC and the minister of information under Neville Chamberlain. He later headed the British Overseas Airways Corporation, too.
Osborne Reynolds is best remembered for revolutionizing the fields of hydraulics and fluid dynamics. Born to a clergy father who was also a mathematician, Reynolds developed an interest in mechanics early in life. Reynolds was the first engineering professor at Owens College, Manchester, and also a Royal Society fellow.
Born to a bricklayer in London’s East End, Tommy Flowers completed his studies in electrical engineering attending night classes while working as an apprentice during the day. He developed Max Newman’s model of a machine that had the potential to decipher German codes and turned it into his Colossus computer.
German-British inventor and electrical engineer, who revolutionized the steel-making and glass-making industries, is best remembered for using the Siemens-Martin process to create the regenerative furnace. His achievements earned him accolades such as the Albert Medal. He was a Fellow of The Royal Society and was knighted shortly before his death.
36 John Chard
Royal Engineers army officer John Chard was one of the 11 men to receive the Victoria Cross for defeating a Zulu army of 4,000 warriors at the battle of Rorke's Drift, with a British army of 135. His handwritten account of the war was later auctioned off for £175,000.
37 Nevil Shute
British-Australian novelist Nevil Shute was also an aeronautical engineer and had fought in World War I. Of the 25 books he had penned throughout his lifetime, On the Beach remains one of the most notable. Most of his works reflected his cynicism regarding humanity in a war-ravaged society.
38 Paddy Lowe
Paddy Lowe is best known as the former chief of the Mercedes Formula One team. He later established a petroleum company. He and his brother Michael Lowe became the first brother duo to be part of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He has been the chief technical officer of Williams Racing.
39 Martin Birch
Initially an audio engineer, Martin Birch, known as a master of hard rock, later produced 10 Iron Maiden albums. He also worked with artists such as Fleetwood Mac and Deep Purple. Interestingly, the cause of his death, at age 71, was not disclosed to the public.
40 Mo Ibrahim
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.
British manufacturer and engineer Matthew Boulton is best remembered as the financier of Scottish engineer James Watt’s pathbreaking steam engine. His Soho Manufactory initially produced metal parts, and he later stepped into John Roebuck’s shoes to partner with Watt, after Roebuck went bankrupt. He also established the Soho Mint.
42 Henry Royce
Famous for his designs of car and airplane engines, fifteen years old Frederick Henry Royce learned engineering through hands-on during his apprenticeship at Great Northern Railway Company rather than through education. At twenty-one, he started his own engineering business, manufacturing electrically driven cranes, dynamos, and motors, eventually drawing the attention of C.S. Rolls, co-founding the Rolls Royce Company with him.
43 Eddie Kramer
Born to anti-Apartheid parents in South Africa, Eddie Kramer later moved to London with his family. An expert in classical piano, he later deviated to jazz and soon became one of the greatest rock producers/engineers of the world. His collaborators included The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and The Rolling Stones.
Elihu Thomson was an English-born American inventor and engineer. He is credited with founding major electrical companies in France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1882, Elihu Thomson founded the Thomson-Houston Electric Company which was renamed General Electric Company in 1892 after merging with the Edison General Electric Company. Thomson is also credited with inventing an arc-lighting system.
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.
Nigel Gresley designed some of Britain’s most famous steam locomotive engines. He also invented the Gresley conjugated valve gear, which smoothened the running of engines. His A4 Mallard was the world’s fastest steam locomotive. He later won honors such as the CBE and was also knighted.
48 Ken Adam
A master production designer, Ken Adam won his first Academy Award for his work in Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. While working as a flight lieutenant during World War II, he had earned the nickname Heinie the Tank-buster. He is also remembered for his sets in a number of James Bond films.
Scottish engineer and political economist William Playfair is best-remembered as the inventor of statistical graphs and secret agent for Great Britain during its war with France. He published the first data graphs in his book The Commercial and Political Atlas. He used line, area and bar charts to represent the economy of 18th Century England and introduced the pie chart.