Mechanical Engineers

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A mechanical engineer is a specialist in all fields related to machines, kinematics, thermodynamics and tools. One of the oldest disciplines of engineering, mechanical engineering is one of the largest producers of engineers around the world today, closely followed by civil and aeronautical engineers. Working as a mechanical engineer is known to be an enriching and rewarding experience and the job description involves working to plan, build and examine motor-powered vehicles, manufacturing plants, airplanes, industrial equipment, cybernetics and much more. These engineers are in a highly lucrative position and considering that mechanical engineering is an extraordinarily comprehensive field, the engineer can specialize in a number of areas including, applied mechanics, bioengineering, manufacturing engineering and nuclear engineering to name a few. The oldest documented mechanical engineers can be traced back to Ancient Greece and can be seen in the works of Archimedes. Zhang Heng, the inventor of the seismometer and the water clock, lived between the periods of 78-139 AD, who left behind a great legacy related to ‘mechanics’ around the world. Here is a compilation of a list of famous mechanical engineers, learn more fascinating facts and details about them with their biographies that include trivia, interesting facts, timeline and life history.
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 1 
James Watt
(Inventor of Steam Engine)
James Watt
10
Birthdate: January 19, 1736
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Died: August 25, 1819
Eighteenth-century Scottish inventor James Watt developed the Newcomen steam engine, by inventing the Watt steam engine, which brough about the Industrial Revolution in Britain and the world. He also co-owned the firm Boulton and Watt and laid down concepts such as horsepower and the watt, the SI unit of power.
 2 
Rudolf Diesel
(Inventor of Diesel Engine)
Rudolf Diesel
6
Birthdate: March 18, 1858
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 29, 1913

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.

 3 
George Stephenson
(Father of Railways)
George Stephenson
8
Birthdate: June 9, 1781
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wylam
Died: August 12, 1848

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.

 4 
Frederick Winslow Taylor
(American Mechanical Engineer Known for His Methods to Improve Industrial Efficiency)
Frederick Winslow Taylor
14
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.

 5 
Frederick McKinley Jones
(Inventor of 'Mobile Refrigeration Technology' for Transportation of Perishable Goods)
Frederick McKinley Jones
3
Birthdate: May 17, 1893
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Died: February 21, 1961

Best known for inventing an automatic refrigeration system used in long-haul trucks, Frederick McKinley Jones was orphaned at age 7. He quit school as a child and took up menial jobs. After briefly serving the army, he focused on inventing machine parts and ended up with over 60 patents.

 6 
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.

 7 
Bill Nye
(Best Known as the Host of the Science TV Show ‘Bill Nye the Science Guy’)
Bill Nye
6
Birthdate: November 27, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

Bill Nye is an American mechanical engineer, television presenter, and science communicator. He is known for hosting the live-action science program Bill Nye the Science Guy. He is credited with inventing a hydraulic resonance suppressor tube, which is used on the Boeing 747 airplanes. He also helped develop MarsDial, a sundial that became part of the Mars Exploration Rover missions.

 8 
Henry Gantt
(Engineer)
Henry Gantt
3
Birthdate: May 20, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Calvert County
Died: November 23, 1919

Best known for creating the Gantt Chart, a management tool used for scheduling tasks, mechanical engineer Henry Gantt had been a disciple and colleague of Frederick W. Taylor. He also prepared ground for the Human Relations School of management and spoke about the social responsibility of business.

 9 
Franklin Chang Díaz
(Former NASA Astronaut, Founder and CEO of ‘Ad Astra Rocket Company’)
Franklin Chang Díaz
5
Birthdate: April 5, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San José, Costa Rica

Franklin Chang Díaz is a Costa Rican American physicist, mechanical engineer, and former NASA astronaut. He is credited with founding the Ad Astra Rocket Company where he currently serves as the CEO. On May 5, 2012, Franklin Chang Díaz was inducted into the NASA Astronaut Hall of Fame.

 10 
Wilhelm Rontgen
(Mechanical engineer, Physicist)
Wilhelm Rontgen
4
Birthdate: March 27, 1845
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lennep, Remscheid, Germany
Died: February 10, 1923

Wilhelm Rontgen was a German physicist and mechanical engineer. He is best remembered for producing and detecting X-rays for which he was honored with the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. His discovery of X-rays remains one of the greatest achievements in the field of medical science.

 11 
Willis Carrier
(Engineer, Inventor)
Willis Carrier
6
Birthdate: November 26, 1876
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Angola, New York, United States
Died: October 7, 1950
 12 
Nikola Tesla
(Inventor, Engineer & Futurist, Who Obtained Over 300 Patents)
Nikola Tesla
0
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.

 13 
Thomas Midgley, Jr.
(Mechanical and chemical engineer)
Thomas Midgley, Jr.
3
Birthdate: May 19, 1889
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: November 2, 1944

Thomas Midgley Jr. was an American chemical and mechanical engineer. Midgley played a key role in the development of leaded gasoline and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were later banned due to their negative impact on the environment and human health. Thomas Midgley Jr. was granted over 100 patents during his lifetime.

 14 
Roger Boisjoly
(Mechanical Engineer)
Roger Boisjoly
5
Birthdate: April 25, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lowell, Massachusetts, United States
Died: January 6, 2012

A miller’s son, Roger Boisjoly excelled in tennis while in school and eventually grew up to become a mechanical engineer and an aerodynamicist. As part of the Morton Thiokol team that designed the Space Shuttle Challenger, he correctly predicted that its faulty design could cause an explosion, but was ignored.

 15 
Eugene Stoner
(Designer)
Eugene Stoner
6
Birthdate: November 22, 1922
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Gosport, Indiana, United States
Died: April 24, 1997

Eugene Stoner is largely remembered for developing the ArmaLite AR-15 rifle, which was a forerunner of the M16 rifle used by the American military. Though he didn’t have any formal education beyond high school, Stoner, like his Russian counterpart, Mikhail T. Kalashnikov, revolutionized the arms industry with his inventions.

 16 
Sergei Krikalev
(Russian Retired Cosmonaut, Rocket Scientist and Ranks Third for the Most Time Spent in Space)
Sergei Krikalev
4
Birthdate: August 27, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
 17 
Albert Göring
(Mechanical engineer)
Albert Göring
8
Birthdate: March 9, 1895
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Friedenau
Died: December 20, 1966
Apart from being an engineer who worked for the German army during World War I, Albert Göring is also remembered as the brother of infamous Nazi Party figure and military leader Hermann Göring. Surprisingly, he was anti-Nazi and had helped many Jews, though he remained ostracized due to his family name, post-war.
 18 
Michael Teutul
(Mechanical engineer)
Michael Teutul
6
Birthdate: November 26, 1978
Sun Sign: Sagittarius

American television personality Michael Teutul started working at his family company Orange County Iron Works at age 14. He worked as assistant general manager of Orange County Choppers, founded by his father Paul Teutul Sr., but was eventually forced out. Michael is known for his features in TV shows like American Chopper and American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior.   

 19 
Ralph H. Baer
(Inventor)
Ralph H. Baer
3
Birthdate: March 8, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rodalben, Germany
Died: December 6, 2014

Born to a German Jewish family, Ralph H. Baer and his family escaped to New York later. He went from working in a factory to becoming an engineer. While working at Sanders Associates, he developed the idea of playing games on TV and later created the first video game console.

 20 
Caglar Ertugrul
3
Birthdate: November 5, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Karşıyaka, İzmir Province İzmir, Turkey
 21 
Henry Royce
(1st Baronet of Seaton and car designer who co-founded the Rolls-Royce automobile company)
Henry Royce
3
Birthdate: March 27, 1863
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Huntingdonshire, England
Died: April 22, 1933

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.

 22 
Bob Behnken
(Astronaut)
Bob Behnken
3
Birthdate: July 28, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saint Ann, Missouri, United States

NASA astronaut Bob Behnken has also served as a colonel in the U.S. Air Force. He was the mission specialist on both the STS-123 and STS-130 space flights. The Air Force Achievement Medal winner is married to astronaut K. Megan McArthur. He also holds a radio license.

 23 
Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis
(French Mathematician, Mechanical Engineer and Scientist Who First Described the 'Coriolis Force')
Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis
2
Birthdate: May 21, 1792
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 19, 1843

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.

 24 
Gustaf de Laval
(Swedish Engineer and Inventor Known for His Contributions to the Design of Steam Turbines)
Gustaf de Laval
2
Birthdate: May 9, 1845
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Orsa, Dalarna, Sweden
Died: February 2, 1913

Swedish scientist and engineer Gustaf de Laval is remembered for his pioneering contribution to the development of high-speed turbines and the de Laval nozzle. He also made milk-cream separators and milking machines. Apart from being a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, he was also named to the Swedish parliament.

 25 
Zdravko Krivokapic
(Prime Minister of Montenegro)
Zdravko Krivokapic
0
Birthdate: September 2, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Niksic, Montenegro
 26 
Hugo Junkers
(Engineer)
Hugo Junkers
3
Birthdate: February 3, 1859
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rheydt, Rhine Province, Kingdom of Prussia
Died: February 3, 1935
 27 
Filipe Nyusi
(Engineer, Politician)
Filipe Nyusi
0
Birthdate: February 12, 1959
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mueda, Mozambique
 28 
Nigel Gresley
(Engineer)
Nigel Gresley
3
Birthdate: June 19, 1876
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: April 5, 1941

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.

 29 
Ben Rich
(American engineer)
Ben Rich
3
Birthdate: June 18, 1925
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Manila, Philippines
Died: January 5, 1995

Known as "the father of stealth," Ben Rich made a significant contribution to the development of the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter-bomber. Throughout his stint at Lockheed’s Skunk Works, he helped develop numerous military planes. The UCLA alumnus later received the Distinguished Service Cross for his work.

 30 
Charles Algernon Parsons
(Anglo-Irish Engineer Best Known for His Invention of the 'Compound Steam Turbine')
Charles Algernon Parsons
3
Birthdate: June 13, 1854
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: February 11, 1931

Copley Medal-winning engineer Charles Algernon Parsons revolutionized marine transport with his invention of a multi-stage steam turbine. His other inventions include a mechanical reducing gear. Apart from being named a Fellow of the Royal Society, he was also knighted and awarded an Order of Merit for his contributions.

 31 
Joseph Whitworth
3
Birthdate: December 21, 1803
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Stockport, England
Died: January 22, 1887

Mechanical engineer Joseph Whitworth is best remembered for devising the British Standard Whitworth system for screw threads. He contributed a lot to the development of Owens College, introduced a scholarship, and left most of his fortunes to the people of Manchester. He was also made a baronet of the U.K.

 32 
Marc Isambard Brunel
(French-British Engineer Who Constructed the 'Thames Tunnel')
Marc Isambard Brunel
3
Birthdate: April 25, 1769
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hacqueville, Normandy, France
Died: December 12, 1849

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.

 33 
Ludwig Prandtl
(Physicist, Mechanical engineer, University teacher)
Ludwig Prandtl
3
Birthdate: February 4, 1875
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Freising
Died: August 15, 1953
 34 
Karl von Terzaghi
(Best Known as the 'Father of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering')
Karl von Terzaghi
3
Birthdate: October 2, 1883
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Prague, Czechia
Died: October 25, 1963

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.

 35 
John Ericsson
(Inventor)
John Ericsson
3
Birthdate: July 31, 1803
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Långbanshyttan, Värmland, Sweden
Died: March 8, 1889

Swedish-born American naval engineer and inventor John Ericsson is most remembered for designing and building the first armoured turret warship and developing the screw propeller. The warship – USS Monitor – is credited for keeping the Union (North) Navy stay protected during the American Civil War. His other inventions include the torpedo technology and solar machine.

 36 
Carl von Linde
(Scientist)
Carl von Linde
3
Birthdate: June 11, 1842
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berndorf, Germany
Died: November 16, 1934
 37 
Joseph Engelberger
(American Physicist, Engineer and Entrepreneur Who Developed the First Industrial Robot in the United States)
Joseph Engelberger
2
Birthdate: July 26, 1925
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York City, United States
Died: December 1, 2015

Known as the Father of Robotics, Joseph Engelberger went down in history as the developer of the first industrial robot in the U.S., the Unimate, which was installed in a GM plant. His book Robotics in Practice is classic in the field of robotics and has been translated in multiple languages.

 38 
Henry Maudslay
(English Machine Tool Innovator, Tool and Die Maker Who is Considered a Founding Father of Machine Tool Technology)
Henry Maudslay
3
Birthdate: August 22, 1771
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Woolwich, London, England
Died: February 14, 1831

While he initially apprenticed under a lock maker, he later joined the factory of Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, where he invented scores of machines, the most notable of them being the metal lathe. He also developed plane surfaces to aid his workmen at his factory. He was married to inventor Joseph Bramah's housemaid.

 39 
Avijit Roy
(Engineer, Blogger)
Avijit Roy
3
Birthdate: September 12, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bangladesh
Died: February 26, 2015
 40 
Gerald Carr
(Engineer)
Gerald Carr
2
Birthdate: August 22, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States

Mechanical and aeronautical engineer Gerald Carr is best remembered for commanding the Skylab 4 mission, which proved that it was possible for humans to live in space for a long period of time. He and his crew also studied Comet Kohoutek. He later formed a company that assisted in space station designing.

Kumar Bhattacharyya, Baron Bhattacharyya
2
Birthdate: June 6, 1940
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bangalore, Kingdom of Mysore, Madras Presidency, British India
Died: March 1, 2019

Born to a IISc professor father, Kumar Bhattacharyya, or Baron Bhattacharyya, began his career as an apprentice at Lucas Industries. Equipped with a PhD in engineering production, he later established the Warwick Manufacturing Group. An advocate of industrial strategy to bring in investments into the UK, he was also knighted.

 42 
Nils Bohlin
(Swedish Mechanical Engineer and Inventor Who Invented the 'Three-Point Safety Belt')
Nils Bohlin
2
Birthdate: July 17, 1920
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Härnösand, Sweden
Died: September 21, 2002

Nils Bohlin was a Swedish inventor and mechanical engineer remembered for inventing the three-point safety belt in vehicles. The safety belt is considered one of the most important inventions in the history of automobiles. In 1974, he was honored with the Ralph Isbrandt Automotive Safety Engineering Award. In 1999, Bohlin was made an inductee of the Automotive Hall of Fame.   

 43 
Seth Lloyd
(Educator, Scientist)
Seth Lloyd
0
Birthdate: August 2, 1960
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: United States
 44 
Kevin Granata
(Engineer)
Kevin Granata
0
Birthdate: December 29, 1961
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Toledo, Ohio, United States
Died: April 16, 2007
 45 
Maxime Faget
(American Mechanical Engineer and Designer of the 'Mercury' Spacecraft)
Maxime Faget
8
Birthdate: August 26, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dangriga, Belize
Died: October 9, 2004

Recipient of the ASME Medal, Belizean-born American mechanical engineer Max Faget, considered an engineering genius, began research for human spaceflight during his time at the NACA. He was the principal designer of the Mercury spacecraft and also worked on the Gemini and Apollo vehicles and the Space Shuttle and retired from NASA as chief of engineering and operations.  

 46 
Fyodor Yurchikhin
(Greek-Origin Russian Astronaut Who Has Been on 5 Space Missions)
Fyodor Yurchikhin
0
Birthdate: January 3, 1959
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Batumi, Adjar ASSR, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union
 47 
Elmer Ambrose Sperry
(American Inventor and Entrepreneur Who Invented 'Gyrocompass')
Elmer Ambrose Sperry
2
Birthdate: October 12, 1860
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cincinnatus, New York, United States
Died: June 16, 1930

Elmer Ambrose Sperry is best remembered for inventing gyroscopic compasses and stabilizers, which revolutionized navigation technology back in his time. His products had been of great use to the U.S. Navy. His illustrious career had witnessed him gain over 400 patents through his eight manufacturing companies.

 48 
Gustaf Dalén
(Swedish Inventor of the 'AGA cooker' and 'Dalén light' & Recipient of the 1912 Nobel Prize in Physics)
Gustaf Dalén
2
Birthdate: November 30, 1869
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Stenstorp, Sweden
Died: December 9, 1937

Gustaf Dalén was an industrialist, engineer, and inventor. The AGA cooker and the Dalén light are among his most prominent inventions. He was a long-term CEO of the AGA company. He received over 100 patents during his lifetime. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1912 for his invention of a special kind of automatic regulator.

 49 
Jacob Perkins
(American Inventor, Mechanical Engineer and Physicist Known for His Inventing of 'Refrigerator')
Jacob Perkins
2
Birthdate: July 9, 1766
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Newburyport, Massachusetts, United States
Died: July 30, 1849

Known as the father of the refrigerator, American inventor, mechanical engineer and physicist Jacob Perkins made several useful mechanical inventions. He created improved nail machines and some of the best steel plates for engraving, invented a bathometer, became the first person in Britain to use a uniflow steam engine, and most notably built the world’s first working vapor-compression refrigeration system.

 50 
Ayodele Awojobi
(Academic)
Ayodele Awojobi
2
Birthdate: March 12, 1937
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oshodi-Isolo
Died: September 23, 1984

Ayodele Awojobi was a Nigerian academic, inventor, author, activist, and social crusader. Regarded as a scholarly genius by his peers and teachers alike, Awojobi became the first African to earn a degree of Doctor of Science at the Imperial College London. His research papers in the field of vibration are often referred to and studied by researchers around the world.