Three times this year, we have devoted this column to citing some of the most important engineering developments in each of three fields: aerospace, automotive, and medical. We mentioned, for example, the Model T, Goddard's rockets, and MRI machines. But what has been the single biggest engineering story on the international scene? We would like you to tell us.
There are plenty of accomplishments to consider. There's the invention of television, the airplane, transistors, the microchip, computers, plastics, the Atomic Bomb, and, of course, the World Wide Web, all of which have had enormous international implications.
In recent years, there have been other notable engineering achievements, each of which involved teams from across the globe. Among them:
The International Space Station, now being developed and launched as an international effort. Whether it reaches its full potential is a matter of conjecture right now, but it is an excellent example of international cooperation.
Boeing's 777, which took its first commercial flight in June of 1995. Nearly 25,000 engineers worked on this mammoth project that lasted five years. Of the 545 supplier companies that played a role in the plane's development, 58 were located in 12 countries. Boeing even laid its own cable across the Pacific so it could exchange files with its Japanese partners.
Telescopes to explore the heavens, such as the VLT (Very Large Telescope) being developed by the European Southern Observatory for placement atop a mountain in northern Chile.
Any of a number of new cars developed in the U.S., Europe, or Asia with help from international teams of engineers and suppliers. So, what's the single biggest international achievement this century in engineering? You tell us. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll report your choices in a later issue, and let other readers agree or disagree.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Solar and wind energy are becoming more viable as a source of energy on the electric grid. For decades, the major drawback to solar and wind was that they’re temperamental. A cloudy day kills solar and a still day renders the wind turbines useless. Automation tools, however, are providing a path to help these renewables become practical.
In honor of Earth Day, the National Security Agency has launched the STEM Recycling Challenge in Maryland schools to encourage kids to think about where the garbage they throw out every day actually goes. The agency has also introduced “Dunk,” a muscular blue cartoon recycling bin wearing shorts and sneakers.
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
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