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 email@example.com. We'll report your choices in a later issue, and let other readers agree or disagree.
The Dutch are known for their love of bicycling, and they’ve also long been early adopters of green-energy and smart-city technologies. So it seems fitting that a town in which painter Vincent van Gogh once lived has given him a very Dutch-like tribute -- a bike path lit by a special smart paint in the style of the artist's “Starry Night” painting.
For decades, engineers have worked to combat erosion by developing high-strength alloys, composites, and surface coatings. However, in a new paper, a team at Jilin University in China turned to one of the most deadly animals in the world for inspiration -- the yellow fat-backed scorpion.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.