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.
Fazlur Rahman Khan was a Bangladeshi-American architect and structural engineer. Regarded as the father of tubular designs, Khan is credited with designing several skyscrapers, including the Willis Tower and the John Hancock Center. Thanks to his ingenious use of structural systems, Khan is often referred to as the 20th century's greatest structural engineer and the Einstein of structural engineering.
E. Sreedharan is an Indian politician and engineer who played a key role in the construction of the Delhi Metro and the Konkan Railway. Nicknamed the Metro Man, Sreedharan was honored with the prestigious Padma Vibhushan Award for changing the face of Indian public transport. In 2003, E. Sreedharan was included in Time magazine's list of Asia's Heroes.
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.
Award-winning German computer scientist Konrad Zuse created the world's first program-controlled computer, named Z1. He then moved on to Z3, the first fully functional programmable computer in the world, and Z4, the first commercial digital computer in the world. Post-retirement, he spent most of his time painting.
John Monash was an Australian military commander during World War I. He played a major role in the Gallipoli campaign, which took place from February 1915 to January 1916 on the Gallipoli peninsula. John Monash is widely regarded as the most popular commander in Australian history and one of the most prominent allied generals of World War I.
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.
Scottish civil engineer Thomas Telford had begun his career as a mason at 14, having lost his father in infancy. A self-taught architect, he was responsible for building many structures, including the Caledonian Canal and the Menai Suspension Bridge. Named The Colossus of Roads, he symbolized the Scottish Enlightenment.
Best known for designing the Golden Gate Bridge, engineer Joseph Strauss specialized in movable bridges and developed the concepts of the bascule bridge and the vertical-lift bridge. Born to a pianist mother and a painter-writer father, he later also penned poems such as The Mighty Task is Done.
Fritz Todt was a German civil engineer and architect. A senior Nazi, Todt oversaw the construction of Reichsautobahnen, a controlled-access highway, and also served as the Reich Minister for Armaments and Ammunition. Before the start of the Second World War, Todt initiated a military-engineering company called Organisation Todt that oversaw the construction of many Nazi concentration camps.
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.
Apart from being a socialite, Emily Warren Roebling was also a skilled engineer. She took over the reins of designing the Brooklyn Bridge when her husband, the chief engineer of the project, Washington Augustus Roebling, was rendered bedridden. She went against the grain and earned a law certificate, too.
Engineer Washington Roebling is largely remembered for co-designing the Brooklyn Bridge with his father, John Augustus. He also worked as part of the Union Army during the Civil War. A perfectionist, he was once found unconscious in a compressed-air chamber at work, and that affected him permanently.
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.
Ren Zhengfei is a Chinese engineer and entrepreneur. He is credited with founding Huawei, the second-largest manufacturer of smartphones and the largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment in the world. He also serves as the CEO of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. In 2005, Ren Zhengfei was named in Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world list.
Glasgow-born civil engineer Robert Stevenson initially built lighthouses as part of the Scottish Lighthouse Board. Apart from constructing the Bell Rock Lighthouse in Scotland, he also invented the hydrophore and flashing lights. He was also the grandfather of writer Robert Louis Stevenson. He is part of the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame.
Scottish engineer John Loudon McAdam introduced the world to the macadam road surface, which was more economical and effective than all previous road-construction methods. He suggested that roads should be constructed at an elevated level for better drainage. He also became Britain’s Surveyor-General of Metropolitan Roads.
US Army officer Leslie Groves is best remembered for his association with the Manhattan Project, which was aimed at developing atom bombs during World War II. He was also in-charge of building a place to house the War Department’s staff in a structure that later became the Pentagon.
French-British engineer Marc Isambard Brunel is best known for constructing the Thames Tunnel and had been the chief engineer of New York City. He had also spent time in a debtor’s prison for his association with loss-making projects. He was the father of renowned engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Engineer William Mahone wasn’t just a railway tycoon associated with the Norfolk–Petersburg Railroad but was also part of the Confederate Army. He was one of the major leaders of Virginia’s Readjusters, a coalition of African-Americans and financially backward whites. The US senator later sided with the Republican Party.
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.
George Washington Goethals was an American civil engineer and US-Army General remembered for his role as an overseer of the construction of the Panama Canal. He also served as the first Governor of the Panama Canal Zone from 1914 to 1917. Goethals has been honored with several tributes, including the Society of American Military Engineers' establishment of the Goethals Medal.
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.
The 9th president of Turkey, Süleyman Demirel, was also the country’s 12th and youngest prime minister. He had led both the Justice Party and the True Path Party. The civil engineer and politician hailed from a peasant family. Amid extremist violence, he was once barred from participating in politics.
Then first Black to have graduated from West Point’s Military Academy, Henry Ossian Flipper was born to slave parents. He also became the first African-American to command US Army troops. He was dismissed unjustly on embezzlement charges and later worked as a civil engineer. His name was cleared posthumously.
Swiss-American engineer Othmar Herman Ammann is best remembered for designing long suspension bridges, such as the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and the George Washington Bridge. He also owned a firm in New York and had a long stint with the Port of New York Authority. He also designed part of the Lincoln Center.
Spanish business magnate and civil engineer Florentino Pérez leads Grupo ACS as its CEO. He is also famous as the president of the football club Real Madrid and has the reputation of hiring and firing managers at his will. A self-made billionaire, he brought in the Galácticos era in football.
Engineer James B. Eads spent most of his early life marine-salvaging along the Mississippi. Apart from building submarines, he also owned over 50 patents. He is best remembered for his triple-arch steel bridge over the Mississippi. He was the first American engineer to win the Royal Society of Arts’s Albert Medal.
Alexis Tsipras is a Greek politician who served as the Prime Minister of the country from 2015 to 2019. From 2018 to 2019, he served as the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The current Leader of the Opposition, Alexis Tsipras has also been serving as the president of Syriza, the left wing political party in Greece . In 2015, he was named among 100 most influential people by Time.
Milutin Milanković was a Serbian astronomer, mathematician, geophysicist, climatologist, and civil engineer. He is best remembered for his explanation of Earth's climate changes, which partly explained the ice ages. Milutin Milankovitch's biography inspired a 2007 documentary film titled A Traveler Through Distant Worlds and Times.
John Bradfield was an Australian engineer remembered for envisioning the Sydney Harbour Bridge; he oversaw the design and the construction of the bridge, which is now considered a major landmark in Sydney. He was also associated with many other notable projects, such as the Cataract Dam, Brisbane's Story Bridge, and Burrinjuck Dam. He received many prestigious awards during his lifetime.
John Frank Stevens, who was mostly a self-taught engineer, worked on the Panama Canal as its chief engineer. Initially associated with the Great Northern Railway, he was later also sent to Russia as part of a team working on the Trans-Siberian Railway. He won awards such as the Hoover Medal.
Abu Hamza al-Masri is an Egyptian cleric who served as the imam of London's Finsbury Park Mosque. He was accused by the British authorities for inciting racial hatred and violence and the court found him guilty in 2006. In 2012, Hamza was extradited to the USA to face terrorism charges. In 2014, he was found guilty of 11 terrorism charges.
José Napoleón Duarte was the president of El Salvador during the tumultuous years of the Salvadoran Civil War and had witnessed mass killings of civilians by the army. Though he was supported by the U.S., he failed to remove poverty from his country and ended up being ousted by ARENA.
Liberal National Party leader and former Premier of Queensland Campbell Newman was born into a family of politicians and senators from Tasmania. After serving the Australian Army for 13 years, he bagged civil engineering and MBA degrees. As the mayor of Brisbane, he was named the world’s fifth-best mayor.
Montgomery C. Meigs was an American civil engineer and US Army officer who played an important role during and after the Civil War, serving as Quartermaster General of the US Army. His work as Quartermaster General is widely regarded as an important factor in the Union victory in the Civil War. Meigs is also credited with masterminding Arlington National Cemetery.
Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle served as the President of Chile from 1994 to 2000. Under his presidency, poverty in Chile decreased and improvements were made in education and health sectors. An important politician, Frei also served as the President of the Senate of Chile from 2006 to 2008.
Ivar Kreuger was a Swedish civil engineer, entrepreneur, industrialist, and financier. He is best remembered for building a global match empire and controlling almost three quarters of worldwide match production which earned him the nickname, Match King. Ivar Kreuger also founded and owned many other companies including Kreuger & Toll Byggnads AB.
The pioneer of soil mechanics, Karl Terzaghi was the son of an army lieutenant-colonel and studied in a military boarding school, where he developed his passion for geography. He eventually graduated as a mechanical engineer. He later also taught at MIT and penned iconic works such as Erdbaumechanik.