Einstein and Edison have become commonhousehold names.
However, Tesla, Eiffel,Warren Roebling, and Ejigu don’t seem to be as popular. Many engineers and scientist become overlookedand forgotten through time, although they shouldn’t. No matter how big or small, all scientist laythe stepping stone in some fashion for the next. Nikola Tesla, also known as “the fatherof the radio”, is most remembered by his work and contributions to thedeveloping field of electromagnetism and wireless radio communications. Tesla was born in 1856 inside a small village calledSmiljan, which laid in an Austrian empire, or as we know modern day Croatia. His father was an orthodox priest, while hismother was a self-proclaimed inventor whom invented home appliances in her sparetime. Tesla was always known to credithis mother for his abilities and knack for creating inventions. One trait thathelped Tesla succeed was his photographic memory.
In his early years of school, he used hisextraordinary intelligence to finish scholar programs at a rapid pace. In 1875, he began his first year at collegeattending the Austrian Polytechnic on a Military Frontier scholarship. Unfortunately, his collegiate career didn’t lastas long as expected due to a gambling addiction acquired in his second year ofschooling. Due to the gambling addiction, he was unable to complete a degree atthe university (“Nikola Tesla Biography”). Always having a niche for electricalwork, he began working as a draftsman in the Central Telegraph Office inBudapest in 1881. Having made noteworthyenhancements to the Central Station electrical equipment, he later became the chiefelectrician. One year later, he wasemployed by the Continental Edison Company in France.
There he worked as an electrical equipmentdesigner. Two years following his employmentwith Continental Edison Company, he relocated to New York to work under ThomasEdison. Tesla’s relationship with Edisondidn’t bloom as expected due to a miscommunication Edison referred to as “Americanhumor”. iHisEdisoninformed Tesla that if he was able to successfully improve his DC motors andgenerators using polyphaser alternating current system, Edison would pay aprize money of $50,000, about $1,145,000 USD in 2018 (FinanceRefInflation Calculator,). After ending his career with Edison,Tesla was employed by George Westinghouse in 1888. Soon after, he establishedhis own laboratory where he spent his time experimenting with various types oflighting designs. Years later in 1899 hemoved his laboratory to Colorado Springs where he focused on creating wirelessglobal energy transmission system. Hismost prominent experiments in this laboratory included the idea of man-madelighting and providing free electricity globally and wirelessly.
His work took a big step in 1900 when he beganworking on the trans-Atlantic wireless telecommunications facility near LongIsland. After preforming many experimentsin the facility, his time was cut short due to a shortage of funds caused byWorld War I (“Nikola Tesla Biography”). Considering all his work, Tesla ismost known for his contribution in the designing of the alternating current electricitysupply system, as we know as AC. His ACdesign proved to be more efficient than Thomas Edison’s direct current system. His “Tesla Coil” was his most renowned creation. The “Tesla Coil” transforms energy intohigh voltage charges, which creates powerful electrical fields.
He obtained the nick-name “the father of the radio”for his electrical contributions to the development of the radio. Lastly, his creations and discoveries set thestepping stones to many things such as radar, X-ray, and the rotating magneticfield (“Nikola Tesla Biography”). Although Tesla had achieved greatsteps in the engineering world, he unfortunately suffered in his personal life.
Since he spent so much time focused onhis work, he never married nor had children. Tesla lived by a strict 15-hour work day, withvery little sleep on his off time. His dedication led him to multiple awards received,including the naming of a SI unit, Tesla, For magnetic flux density. Tesla passed away in 1943 at the age of 86 (“NikolaTesla Biography”). Emily Warren Roebling may not soundfamiliar, although the name should. WarrenRoebling was a female engineer highly accountable for supervising the constructionof the Brooklyn Bridge. Warren Roeblingwas born in New York, one of twelve children.
In her early years, she attended GeorgetownVisitation Convent in Washington D.C., where she studied an array of subjects (“Emily Warren Roebling”).
Warren Roebling later married WashingtonRoebling, and engineering officer in the army. Washington Roebling’s father, John AugustusRoebling, was a prominent civil engineer in the design of the Brooklyn Bridge. Due to an accident, John Roebling’s healthquickly declined and, the project was passed on to his son, WashingtonRoebling. After immerging himself intothe project his father appointed him to, Washington Roebling developed a diseasecalled “the bends” that caused him to become bed-ridden (“Emily Warren Roebling”). “The bends”, commonly known as Caissondisease, was a commonly acquired by bridge builders. Caisson disease occurswhen “dissolved gases (mainly nitrogen) come out of solution in bubbles and canaffect just about any body area including joints, lungs, heart, skin, and brain”(Fell, Scott).
Because of her husbands’health, Emily Warren Roebling undertook many tasks to ensure her husband wouldkeep his position as the chief engineer for the Brooklyn Bridge. At the time, she took over many tasks thechief engineer should have been doing such as daily operations and co-planningthe construction with her husband. Although she had not obtained a degree inengineering, she was well-read and had basic knowledge of bridge construction. She furthered her knowledge by reading overtopics to aid her in her new-found position (“Emily Warren Roebling Biography”). Questions became to raise as WarrenRoebling had become the spokesperson for the chief engineer, her husband, andattended meetings for his behalf. Nonethe less, the bridge was opened on May 24, 1883. Warren Roebling was honored by CongressmanAbram S. Hewitt for her astronomical work at the ceremonies prior to openingthe bridge.
Due to her dedication, shewas given the honor to be the first person to cross the Brooklyn Bridge afteropening. Following her role in theBrooklyn Bridge, she became a powerful woman figure in society. Emily WarrenRoebling passed away on February 28,1903 at the age of 59 (“Emily Warren Roebling”).
Emily Warren Roebling’s role was animportant stepping stone for women. Herimpeccable accomplishments on the Brooklyn Bridge were done 37 years beforewomen had the right to vote. An a-typical engineer by the name ofKitaw Ejigu, made ground breaking changes in the stereotypical image of anengineer in America. Ejigu was born andraised in Ethiopia.
Following his earlyeducation, he attended the Bahr Dar Polytechnic Institute where he received hisbachelors in mechanical engineering with a focus on agricultural engineering in1966. After obtaining his degree, heworked as the chief technical advisor and assistant manager for the EthiopianAutomotive Services and Sale Company. Laterin 1972, Ejigu earned a scholarship from the Japanese Overseas TechnicalAssociation. With his scholarship, hewas able to study automotive engineering at Hiroshima University, as well aslanguage and Japanese economic at Osaka University. When he was finished with his studies inJapan, he moved to the United States to earn his MS/MBA. After his MBA, Ejigu earned his doctorate inspace vehicle systems engineering at Northrop University (“Kitaw Ejigu Biography”). Throughout his collegiate career,Ejigu worked at numerous aerospace firms, causing him to become interested inspace technology.
In 1977, two yearspriort to earning his MBA, he was employed by Jet Propulsion Lab of CaliforniaInstitute of Technology, which is a NASA research center in California. Throughout time, he became the chiefspacecraft systems design engineer at the lab. Meanwhile, he also managed aNASA/ESA International Solar Polar Mission Spacecraft Systems Interface. Following his career with the Jet PropulsionLab, he worked for Boeing and Loral Corp as the Space Technology and SystemsResearch Scientist. In 1986, Ejigubecame a Principal Investigator for multiple projects at his new employer,Rockwell International.
During his time,”He oversaw the development of advanced technologies for Kinetic Energy WeaponsSystems in support of the SDI” and “served as a program manager for aLunar/Mars Micro-Rover research and development effort in support of NASA’sfuture exploration missions” (“KitawEjigu Biography”).After working in the United States, Ejiguspent his time introducing technology to his home of Ethiopia. He became the President/CEO of the company heestablished called Trans Tech International. Trans Tech was a global technology servicesystem with a privately own satellite. Not only was he known as an engineer, but as apolitical leader as well. In 2001, he visited refuge students in Kenya, who hadpreviously been students at an Ethiopian university until being dismissed fromthe national university.
Ejigu “publiclydenounced the regime in Ethiopia and its actions and policies” (“Kitaw Ejigu Biography”). Much of his work back home aided in the neededsupport for students at universities. Kitaw Ejigu is most known for his work createdwhile working with NASA scientist and the Apollo astronaut Buz Aldrin. Ejigu “invited two aerospace devices whichwere patented under NASA’s new technologies programs” (“Kitaw Ejigu Biography”). Ejigu’shard work and dedication gave him the ability to go home and help othersstriving to be able to make the accomplishments he had the opportunity to make. When thinking of iconic structures allover the world, a few pop into mind.
The “magician of iron”, Alexandre GustaveEiffel, was fortunate enough to have one named after him. The name Eiffel was adopted over time, as thefamily comes from a region near the Eifel Mountains. Gustave was born in France in 1832. In hisearly days, he was highly influenced by his uncle, Jean-Baptiste Mollerat, andhis chemist friend, Michel Perret (“GustaveEiffel Biography”). The two took an important role byeducating Gustave on a variety of subjects. After attending the Collège Sainte-Barbe inParis for college preparation, he passed entrance exams for two prestigious schools,École polytechnique and École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures. Gustaveenrolled in the latter of the two schools to study chemistry (“Gustave Eiffel Biography”). After obtaining his degree in 1855, heworked for a few months at an unpaid job to aid his brother-in-law.
Following his unpaid job, he acquired hisfirst paid job as an assistant to Charles Nepveu, whom was a railway engineer. When the company he had been working for wentbankrupt, he began work as the managing director of two factories for the companyCompagnie Belge de Matériels de Chemin de Fer. Climbing up the ladder, Gustave was eventuallydesignated as the chief engineer.
Unfortunately,the company declined caused Gustave to resign in 1865. Post resignation, he began work as anindependent consulting engineer for construction of the railway station atToulouse and Agen. As his reputation asan engineer grew, he began undergoing projects in other countries. In 1878, the Exposition Universelle honoredhim as the leading engineer of his time (“GustaveEiffel Biography”).
Due to the sudden death of an engineer workingon the statue of liberty, Gustave was reached out to in 1881 to design the metalliccomponents inside the statue of liberty. Working from Paris, the pieces were assembled athis workshop to check them, and then disassembled to ship them to the UnitedStates. As most know, the most noteworthypiece Gustave worked with was the Eiffel Tower. The structure was designed to handle windpressures using 12,000 different components and 2,500,000 rivets. The Eiffel Tower was perfect by the years ofexperience Gustave obtained. If melteddown,” the tower’s metal would only fill up its base about two and a halfinches deep” (SOURCE 8).
In just twoyears, the Eiffel Tower became the world’s tallest structure at 984 feet. The tower held the first aerodynamic laboratoryat the base, was used for numerous experiments. However, the lab was eventually moved to amore remote location (SOURCE 8).Alexandre Gustave Eiffel was awarded bythe Smithsonian Institution for his work with aerodynamics. He died in 1923 at the age of 91 (“Gustave Eiffel Biography”). Thoughhe had accomplished numerous things during his life, his most iconic is theEiffel Tower. Although there are many more engineer andscientist that deserve more recognition, I chose four that I believed hadsomething extraordinary about them.
The scientist/engineers I chose show an immenseamount of hard work and dedication despite any disadvantages. Works Cited “$50,000 in 1882 ?2018 | Inflation Calculator.” FinanceRef Inflation Calculator, Alioth Finance, January17, 2018. http://www.in2013dollars.com/1882-dollars-in-2018?amount=50000. Editors, TheFamousPeople.
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