Rudolf Diesel was a German mechanical engineer and inventor best remembered for inventing the Diesel engine. After Diesel's demise, his engine became an important substitution for the steam piston engine. The engine became widespread in applications, such as agricultural machines, submarines, ships, and trucks. His life inspired the 1942 biographical film Diesel, in which he was played by Willy Birgel.
Henri Fayol was a French mining engineer, author, mining executive, and director of mines. He is credited with developing a theory of business administration called Fayolism. Along with Frederick Winslow Taylor, Henri Fayol is credited with founding modern management methods.
Ettore Bugatti was an automobile designer and manufacturer. He is credited with founding the popular car manufacturer Automobiles E. Bugatti, which gained prominence as the maker of some of the fastest and technologically advanced cars of its day. In 2000, Ettore Bugatti was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.
Son of French Revolutionary leader and mathematician Lazare Carnot, Sadi Carnot was an engineer in the French army. He later laid down the Carnot cycle of heat engines. Much of his works were buried with him when he died of cholera at 36, due to the contagiousness of the disease.
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.
Louis Blériot was a French aviator, engineer, and inventor. He is credited with developing the first workable headlamp for cars. He is also credited with making the first working, piloted monoplane. Blériot achieved worldwide fame in 1909 when he became the first person to fly across the English Channel. Louis Blériot also founded the successful aircraft manufacturing company, Blériot Aéronautique.
Marcel Dassault was a French industrialist and engineer. He played an important role during the First World War when he developed a type of aircraft propeller which was used by the French army. In 1916, he worked with Louis Coroller and Henry Potez to form a company named Société d'Études Aéronautiques in order to manufacture the SEA series of fighters.
Jacques Vallée is a French computer scientist, Internet pioneer, venture capitalist, astronomer, ufologist, and author. Vallée is credited with co-developing the first computerized map of Mars, which was used by NASA in the 1960s. An influential personality in the study of UFOs, Jacques Vallée has promoted such hypothesis as the interdimensional hypothesis.
French mathematician and physicist Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis proposed what is now known as Coriolis force. While teaching at the École Polytechnique, Paris, he extended the scope of kinetic energy. His On the Calculation of Mechanical Action remains his most significant book. His name remains inscribed on the Eiffel Tower.
Lazare Carnot was a French physicist, mathematician, and politician. His role in the Napoleonic Wars and French Revolutionary Wars earned him the sobriquet Organizer of Victory. Carnot is credited with developing innovative defensive designs for forts, such as the Carnot wall which served as a defensive mechanism against infantry and artillery attack.
Fabrice Bellard is a French computer programmer. He is credited with co-founding a telecommunications company named Amarisoft. Bellard is also credited with developing Bellard's formula, which is currently being used in the now-completed distributed computing project, PiHex. A respected programmer, Bellard was honored with the O'Reilly Open Source Award in 2011. He is also credited with writing FFmpeg and QEMU.
Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban was a French military engineer. Widely regarded as the greatest engineer of his generation, Vauban played a prominent role in Western military history. He worked under Louis XIV and his principles for fortifications were used for almost a century. He is credited with building major ports and projects including the Canal de la Bruche.
Jean Bastien-Thiry was a French engineer and military personnel whose assassination attempt on French President Charles de Gaulle cost him his life. The assassination attempt made international headlines and inspired a novel titled The Day of the Jackal, which was later adapted into a film. Before his treacherous infamy, Bastien-Thiry was credited with creating the Nord SS.10/SS.11 missiles.
Étienne Lenoir was a Belgian-French engineer. He is credited with developing the internal combustion engine which was commercialized in sufficient quantities. Lenoir is also credited with inventing such electrical devices as an improved electric telegraph which played a key role during the Franco-Prussian War.
Jacques de Vaucanson was a French artist and inventor. He is credited with creating impressive and innovative automata. De Vaucanson was also the first inventor to design an automatic loom. His ideas for the automation of the weaving process were later perfected by Joseph Marie Jacquard, who created the Jacquard machine.
Camille Jordan was a French mathematician best remembered for his influential Cours d'analyse and his foundational work in group theory. He also served as an educator, teaching at prestigious institutions like the Collège de France and École Polytechnique. The asteroid 25593 Camillejordan is named in his honor.
Abraham-Louis Breguet was a French horologist who made several innovations in watchmaking in the course of his illustrious career. Widely regarded as the leading watchmaker of his generation, Breguet's clients included members of the European nobility and leading public figures in France. Counted among the greatest horologists of all time, Abraham-Louis Breguet is credited with founding the popular Breguet company.
Éric Chahi is a French programmer and computer game designer best known for creating popular games like Another World and Heart of Darkness. Another World, which received critical acclaim for its minimalism and atmosphere, went on to be recognized as a cult classic. Éric Chahi is also credited with founding Amazing Studio, which develops interesting games.
Clément Ader was a French engineer and inventor best remembered for his pioneering work in aviation. Widely regarded as the father of aviation in France, Clément Ader is still revered for his early powered-flight efforts. His aircraft models are still displayed at Paris' Musée des Arts et Métiers.
Florence Devouard is a French engineer who served as the chair of the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation from 2006 to 2008. Since July 2008, Devouard has been serving on the advisory board of the Wikimedia Foundation. Devouard is also credited with co-founding Wikimedia France for which she received a knighthood in the French National Order of Merit.
French engineer and inventor Georges Claude was often referred as the Edison of France. He is most noted for inventing and commercializing neon lighting and having a near monopoly on the new technology, for conducting an experiment to generate thermal energy of the ocean and building the first Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) plant, and for the Claude cycle.
Born into a family of engineers, Pierre Bézier grew up to earn degrees in both mechanical and electrical engineering. He later redefined the operations at Renault by introducing computer-aided 3D car designs. He popularized what is now known as the Bézier curve and later received a Steven A. Coons Award.
Jean-Baptiste Biot was a French physicist, mathematician, and astronomer. He was a co-discoverer of what became known as the Biot-Savart law of magnetostatics. He is also credited with establishing the reality of meteorites. He made major contributions to the fields of optics and magnetism as well. Cape Biot in eastern Greenland is named in his honor.
French engineer Henry Darcy had a difficult childhood, having lost his father at 14. Raised by his mother, he later joined the École Polytechnique. He proposed Darcy’s law, which explains the flow of fluids in porous media. He also designed the water supply system of Dijon, his native city.
Thirteenth-century French artist Villard de Honnecourt is best remembered for his sketchbook, which he compiled while traveling in search of work. Not only was he well-versed with the structural details of the churches of his time, it is believed he himself had been an architect and an engineer.
Remembered for designing numerous reinforced-concrete bridges across France, Eugène Freyssinet, an early twentieth century structural and civil engineer, was also one of the pioneers in the use of prestressed concrete. Among his most prestigious projects was the Plougastel Bridge over the Elorn River. With a total length of 888 meter, this was the largest reinforced-concrete bridge constructed till that time.
Henri Farman was an Anglo-French aviator and aircraft designer. Along with his brothers Maurice Farman and Richard, he also manufactured aircraft. As a young man, he was very passionate about cycle racing and motor racing. He eventually ventured into aviation and used his aircraft to set many official records. He later opened a flying school.
Georges Leclanché was a 19th-century French electrical engineer who invented what became known as the Leclanché cell. His invention is considered the forerunner of the modern dry cell battery. He was educated at École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures and had a successful engineering career. He later founded the cells factory "Leclanché-Barbier" with Ernest Barbier.
Nineteenth-century French civil engineer and economist Jules Dupuit ascertained the economic issues associated with public works. He pioneered the use of the diminishing marginal utility curve, while finding out the optimum cost for using a bridge, and also explained what later came to be known as consumer surplus.