engineering

John Atanasoff and the first Electronic Digital Computer

John Atanasoff and the first Electronic Digital Computer

John Vincent Atanasoff (1903-1995) On October 4, 1903, American physicist and inventor John Vincent Atanasoff was born. He is best known for being considered as one of the inventors of the electronic digital computer. Even computer scientists most probably haven’t heard anything of this computer pioneer. Of course you will have heard about Alan Turing or John von Neumann, who are traditionally referenced as being the fathers of the computer. Maybe, when…
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Hans Lippershey and the Telescope

Hans Lippershey and the Telescope

Hans Lippershey(1570 – 1619) On October 2, 1608,  German-Dutch lensmaker Hans Lippershey applied to the States-General of the Netherlands for a patent for his instrument “for seeing things far away as if they were nearby”. Even though scientists of the 12th century never heard of telescopes and most of them did not know specific laws of optics, the started laying the foundations for telescopes as we know them today. Ptolemy already began…
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Tōkaidō Shinkansen – the Bullet Train

Tōkaidō Shinkansen – the Bullet Train

Tōkaidō Shinkansen passing tea fields between Shizuoka and Kakegawa On October 1, 1964, the world’s first high speed train, the Tōkaidō Shinkansen started operation between Tokyo and Osaka. Even though construction work started in 1959, the plans for the high speed train were made in the 1940s. It was planned to achieve a maximum speed of 150 km/h and connect the city of Tokyo with Shimonoseki. With a speed of 150 km/h, the…
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Ferdinand Porsche – Innovation as a Principle

Ferdinand Porsche – Innovation as a Principle

Dr. Ferdinand Porsche  (1875-1951)© Bundesarchiv On September 3, 1875, Austrian-German automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche was born. He is best known for creating the first hybrid vehicle (gasoline-electric), the Volkswagen Beetle, as well as the first of many Porsche automobiles. Porsche designed the 1923 Benz Tropfenwagen, which was the first race car with mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout. “If one does not fail at times, then one has not challenged himself.” (Ferdinand Porsche) Today,…
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Whitcomb L. Judson and the Invention that holds our life ‘together’

Whitcomb L. Judson and the Invention that holds our life ‘together’

Whitcomb L. Judson(1846 – 1909) On August 29, 1893, American machine salesman, mechanical engineer and inventor Whitcomb L. Judson receives the patent for a “Clasp Locker”, today better known as the zipper, the mechanical little wonder that has kept so much in our lives ‘together.’ But first, the new invention showed only little commercial success. It took almost 80 years that the magazine and fashion industry made the novel zipper the popular…
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The Hyperbolic World of Vladimir Shukhov

The Hyperbolic World of Vladimir Shukhov

Vladimir Shukhov(1853 – 1939) On August 28, 1853, Russian engineer-polymath, scientist and architect Vladimir Grigoryevich Shukhov was born. He is renowned for his pioneering works on new methods of analysis for structural engineering that led to breakthroughs in industrial design. He was one of the most outstanding designers and constructors of the 19th and 20th century. Moreover, he is considered as one of Russia’s most important engineers. Vladimir Shukhov was always known…
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Making Photography Really Operational – Louis Daguerre

Making Photography Really Operational – Louis Daguerre

Louis Daguerre (1787-1851) On August 19, 1839, French artist and physicist Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, after announcing his invention to the French Academy of Sciences, went public with his newly developed photographic process called Daguerrotype, the wold’s first practicable photographic process. Actually, Louis Daguerre did not invent photography, but, in 1829, he partnered with Nicéphore Niépce, an inventor who had produced the world’s first heliograph in 1822 and the first permanent camera…
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Jon Postel – Editor in Chief of the Internet

Jon Postel – Editor in Chief of the Internet

On August 6, 1943, American Computer Scientist and Internet pioneer Jonathan Postel was born. He is known principally for being the Editor of the Request for Comments (RFC) document series, and for administering the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) until his death in 1998. If you are familiar with the internet, sooner or later you will have to do with so-called RFCs. RFCs are Request for Comments and are the basic documents that…
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Louis Blèriot’s famous Flight across the English Channel

Louis Blèriot’s famous Flight across the English Channel

Bleriot starting the engine on the day he crossed the channel On July 25, 1909, French aviation pioneer Louis Blériot successfully crossed the English Channel from Calais to Dover Castle in a heavier than air aircraft. Louis Blériot studied several years at the precious École Centrale Paris before entering the military service and spending further time in the 24th Artillery Regiment stationed in the Pyrenees. The talented young man then joined an…
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The Global Positioning System

The Global Positioning System

A GPS satellite in orbit. On July 17, 1995, the Global Positioning System (GPS), the world’s first space-based satellite navigation system is declared operational. GPS provides location and time information in all weather conditions, anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. Navigation is a field of study that focuses on the process of monitoring and controlling the movement of…
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