Engineers are a talented bunch. And although their talents typically take them to a quiet office or a lab, that's not always so. Sometimes, their gifts place them in the limelight, and we tend to forget where they started.
Jimmy Carter and Herbert Hoover, for example, took their talents to the top spot in world politics. Tom Landry used his analytical skills to become a legendary football coach. And Alfred Hitchcock's innate intelligence launched a career as history's most recognizable film director.
Of course, there will always be a few who are rumored to be engineers, but aren't. Folklore has it, for example, that Cindy Crawford, Ashton Kutcher, and Mr. T were engineers. But none were awarded engineering degrees or toiled as engineers. And Mayim Bialik, best known from Blossom and as Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory, went from child star to earning a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA. She will be speaking this week at Design West.
Here, we've collected photos of individuals, most of whom earned engineering degrees and then found fame elsewhere. Did we miss anyone? Tell us in the comments section below. Click the image below to start the slideshow.
Filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock directed Psycho, The Birds, North by Northwest, Rear Window, Vertigo, and many other major movies, but started his working life as an engineer. He studied engineering at the London County Council School of Engineering and Navigation and worked as a draftsman before launching a career in movies in the 1920s. (Source: Wikipedia)
if the title should be changed to 18 MEN who we didn't know were engineers until I saw the last image. I guess we don't have as many female engineers doing other high exposure stuff besides engineering (which is cool on it's own!) :)
Susan (Chemical Engineer working in Corporate Communications)
I'm not sure why the male/female ratio came out the way it did, jacksos1. There could be a lot of contributing factors, but we certainly didn't try to limit the search to men only. I think the story of Hedy Lamarr might be revealing, however. Today, a great technical mind like hers would likely be encouraged to consider engineering instead of acting. The fact that we drew several of our candidates from that era might have had an effect on the ratio. Whatever the reasons, though, the fact that she didn't have an engineering education makes her achievement all the more amazing.
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