In April, we posted an online slideshow called "18 People You Didn’t Know Were Engineers." Within hours of its publication, readers began to suggest names of other luminaries -- astronauts, politicians, athletes, and actors -- who were educated or had worked as engineers.
Some surprised us. Could anyone have predicted, for example, that at least four inductees in the Pro Football Hall of Fame had been educated as engineers? Or that a man who made films about blood-sucking vampires and flesh-eating cockroaches could have been educated as an electrical engineer? (He lasted only four days in his only engineering job.)
Predictably, there were also a few suggestions that turned out to be more folklore than truth. For example, we could find no information to support the claims that actor Donald Sutherland, musician Herbie Hancock, or singer/songwriter Neil Young had ever received degrees in engineering or worked as engineers, although numerous websites suggested it.
So once again, we’ve collected photos of individuals, most of whom earned engineering degrees and then found fame elsewhere. Following are the latest 18 people you didn’t know were engineers. Click on the photo to start the slideshow.
Lonnie Johnson holds a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from Tuskegee University, has earned 80 patents, and has launched two thin film battery companies, but he is best known for his invention of the SuperSoaker Water Gun. Johnson originally made the toy using a water bottle, plastic tubing, and duct tape, but it ended up reaching more than a billion dollars in sales. (Source: Wikipedia)
Nice slide show, Chuck. Many of these are not surprising, especially all of those involved in the space program. The one that really hits it out of the park is Mr. Bean. Come to think of it, he looks like an engineer. Plus, I gotta see The Unauthorized Life.
The first list was more interesting for me than this one. Growing up in the 80's, it was obvious that astronauts were engineers. For an older generation, it was obvious that astronauts started as air force pilots.
Lists are nice but analysis is always appreciated. Holding 80 patents is a clear application of engineering skills for Lonnie Johnson but did Schwarzkopf ever apply "engineering thinking" in his career?
Mr. Bean! Yes, he definitely has the look of an engineer, you're right, Rob. But I would think he would have historically acted a bit more clever considering his background. Thanks for another fun slideshow, Chuck!
Perhaps you could make a list of the most influential people in engineering who were not, in fact, engineers. I suggest that the list should start with Scott Adams (maybe the Wright borthers would be on it, too, and Chuck Yeager)
Bill Nye is another one that I didn't expect. Recently I saw a clip where he is bashing anyone who doesn't believe the religion of evolution. What happened to his education of not having preconceived notions but to test everything?
The question of whether engineers could have foreseen the shortcut maintenance procedures that led to the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979 will probably linger for as long as there is an engineering profession.
More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the country’s worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
If you’re an embedded systems engineer whose analog capabilities are getting a little bit rusty, then you’ll want to take note of an upcoming Design News Continuing Education Center class, “Analog Design for the Digital World,” running Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21.
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.