Einstein and Edison have become common
household names.  However, Tesla, Eiffel,
Warren Roebling, and Ejigu don’t seem to be as popular.  Many engineers and scientist become overlooked
and forgotten through time, although they shouldn’t.  No matter how big or small, all scientist lay
the stepping stone in some fashion for the next.

Nikola Tesla, also known as “the father
of the radio”, is most remembered by his work and contributions to the
developing field of electromagnetism and wireless radio communications.  Tesla was born in 1856 inside a small village called
Smiljan, which laid in an Austrian empire, or as we know modern day Croatia.  His father was an orthodox priest, while his
mother was a self-proclaimed inventor whom invented home appliances in her spare
time.  Tesla was always known to credit
his mother for his abilities and knack for creating inventions. One trait that
helped Tesla succeed was his photographic memory.  In his early years of school, he used his
extraordinary intelligence to finish scholar programs at a rapid pace.  In 1875, he began his first year at college
attending the Austrian Polytechnic on a Military Frontier scholarship.  Unfortunately, his collegiate career didn’t last
as long as expected due to a gambling addiction acquired in his second year of
schooling. Due to the gambling addiction, he was unable to complete a degree at
the university (“Nikola Tesla Biography”).

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Always having a niche for electrical
work, he began working as a draftsman in the Central Telegraph Office in
Budapest in 1881.  Having made noteworthy
enhancements to the Central Station electrical equipment, he later became the chief
electrician.  One year later, he was
employed by the Continental Edison Company in France.  There he worked as an electrical equipment
designer.  Two years following his employment
with Continental Edison Company, he relocated to New York to work under Thomas
Edison.  Tesla’s relationship with Edison
didn’t bloom as expected due to a miscommunication Edison referred to as “American
humor”.  iHis

Edison
informed Tesla that if he was able to successfully improve his DC motors and
generators using polyphaser alternating current system, Edison would pay a
prize money of $50,000, about $1,145,000 USD in 2018 (FinanceRef
Inflation Calculator,).

            After ending his career with Edison,
Tesla was employed by George Westinghouse in 1888. Soon after, he established
his own laboratory where he spent his time experimenting with various types of
lighting designs.  Years later in 1899 he
moved his laboratory to Colorado Springs where he focused on creating wireless
global energy transmission system.  His
most prominent experiments in this laboratory included the idea of man-made
lighting and providing free electricity globally and wirelessly.  His work took a big step in 1900 when he began
working on the trans-Atlantic wireless telecommunications facility near Long
Island.  After preforming many experiments
in the facility, his time was cut short due to a shortage of funds caused by
World War I (“Nikola Tesla Biography”).

            Considering all his work, Tesla is
most known for his contribution in the designing of the alternating current electricity
supply system, as we know as AC.  His AC
design 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 into
high 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 the
stepping stones to many things such as radar, X-ray, and the rotating magnetic
field (“Nikola Tesla Biography”).

            Although Tesla had achieved great
steps in the engineering world, he unfortunately suffered in his personal life.
 Since he spent so much time focused on
his work, he never married nor had children.  Tesla lived by a strict 15-hour work day, with
very 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 (“Nikola
Tesla Biography”).

           

Emily Warren Roebling may not sound
familiar, although the name should.  Warren
Roebling was a female engineer highly accountable for supervising the construction
of the Brooklyn Bridge.  Warren Roebling
was born in New York, one of twelve children.  In her early years, she attended Georgetown
Visitation Convent in Washington D.C., where she studied an array of subjects (“Emily Warren Roebling”).

Warren Roebling later married Washington
Roebling, and engineering officer in the army.  Washington Roebling’s father, John Augustus
Roebling, was a prominent civil engineer in the design of the Brooklyn Bridge.  Due to an accident, John Roebling’s health
quickly declined and, the project was passed on to his son, Washington
Roebling.  After immerging himself into
the project his father appointed him to, Washington Roebling developed a disease
called “the bends” that caused him to become bed-ridden (“Emily Warren Roebling”).  “The bends”, commonly known as Caisson
disease, was a commonly acquired by bridge builders. Caisson disease occurs
when “dissolved gases (mainly nitrogen) come out of solution in bubbles and can
affect 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 would
keep his position as the chief engineer for the Brooklyn Bridge.  At the time, she took over many tasks the
chief engineer should have been doing such as daily operations and co-planning
the construction with her husband.  Although she had not obtained a degree in
engineering, she was well-read and had basic knowledge of bridge construction.  She furthered her knowledge by reading over
topics to aid her in her new-found position (“Emily Warren Roebling Biography”).

Questions became to raise as Warren
Roebling had become the spokesperson for the chief engineer, her husband, and
attended meetings for his behalf.  None
the less, the bridge was opened on May 24, 1883.  Warren Roebling was honored by Congressman
Abram S. Hewitt for her astronomical work at the ceremonies prior to opening
the bridge.  Due to her dedication, she
was given the honor to be the first person to cross the Brooklyn Bridge after
opening.  Following her role in the
Brooklyn Bridge, she became a powerful woman figure in society. Emily Warren
Roebling passed away on February 28,1903 at the age of 59 (“Emily Warren Roebling”).

Emily Warren Roebling’s role was an
important stepping stone for women.  Her
impeccable accomplishments on the Brooklyn Bridge were done 37 years before
women had the right to vote.

 

            An a-typical engineer by the name of
Kitaw Ejigu, made ground breaking changes in the stereotypical image of an
engineer in America.  Ejigu was born and
raised in Ethiopia.  Following his early
education, he attended the Bahr Dar Polytechnic Institute where he received his
bachelors in mechanical engineering with a focus on agricultural engineering in
1966.  After obtaining his degree, he
worked as the chief technical advisor and assistant manager for the Ethiopian
Automotive Services and Sale Company.  Later
in 1972, Ejigu earned a scholarship from the Japanese Overseas Technical
Association.  With his scholarship, he
was able to study automotive engineering at Hiroshima University, as well as
language and Japanese economic at Osaka University.  When he was finished with his studies in
Japan, he moved to the United States to earn his MS/MBA.  After his MBA, Ejigu earned his doctorate in
space vehicle systems engineering at Northrop University (“Kitaw Ejigu Biography”).

            Throughout his collegiate career,
Ejigu worked at numerous aerospace firms, causing him to become interested in
space technology.  In 1977, two years
priort to earning his MBA, he was employed by Jet Propulsion Lab of California
Institute of Technology, which is a NASA research center in California.  Throughout time, he became the chief
spacecraft systems design engineer at the lab. Meanwhile, he also managed a
NASA/ESA International Solar Polar Mission Spacecraft Systems Interface.  Following his career with the Jet Propulsion
Lab, he worked for Boeing and Loral Corp as the Space Technology and Systems
Research Scientist.  In 1986, Ejigu
became 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 Weapons
Systems in support of the SDI” and “served as a program manager for a
Lunar/Mars Micro-Rover research and development effort in support of NASA’s
future exploration missions” (“Kitaw
Ejigu Biography”).

After working in the United States, Ejigu
spent his time introducing technology to his home of Ethiopia.  He became the President/CEO of the company he
established called Trans Tech International.  Trans Tech was a global technology service
system with a privately own satellite.  Not only was he known as an engineer, but as a
political leader as well. In 2001, he visited refuge students in Kenya, who had
previously been students at an Ethiopian university until being dismissed from
the national university.  Ejigu “publicly
denounced the regime in Ethiopia and its actions and policies” (“Kitaw Ejigu Biography”).  Much of his work back home aided in the needed
support for students at universities.

Kitaw Ejigu is most known for his work created
while working with NASA scientist and the Apollo astronaut Buz Aldrin.  Ejigu “invited two aerospace devices which
were patented under NASA’s new technologies programs” (“Kitaw Ejigu Biography”).  Ejigu’s
hard work and dedication gave him the ability to go home and help others
striving to be able to make the accomplishments he had the opportunity to make.

 

When thinking of iconic structures all
over the world, a few pop into mind. The “magician of iron”, Alexandre Gustave
Eiffel, was fortunate enough to have one named after him.  The name Eiffel was adopted over time, as the
family comes from a region near the Eifel Mountains.  Gustave was born in France in 1832. In his
early days, he was highly influenced by his uncle, Jean-Baptiste Mollerat, and
his chemist friend, Michel Perret (“Gustave
Eiffel Biography”).

            The two took an important role by
educating Gustave on a variety of subjects.  After attending the Collège Sainte-Barbe in
Paris for college preparation, he passed entrance exams for two prestigious schools,
École polytechnique and École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures. Gustave
enrolled in the latter of the two schools to study chemistry (“Gustave Eiffel Biography”).

After obtaining his degree in 1855, he
worked for a few months at an unpaid job to aid his brother-in-law.  Following his unpaid job, he acquired his
first paid job as an assistant to Charles Nepveu, whom was a railway engineer.  When the company he had been working for went
bankrupt, he began work as the managing director of two factories for the company
Compagnie Belge de Matériels de Chemin de Fer.  Climbing up the ladder, Gustave was eventually
designated as the chief engineer.  Unfortunately,
the company declined caused Gustave to resign in 1865.  Post resignation, he began work as an
independent consulting engineer for construction of the railway station at
Toulouse and Agen.  As his reputation as
an engineer grew, he began undergoing projects in other countries.  In 1878, the Exposition Universelle honored
him as the leading engineer of his time (“Gustave
Eiffel Biography”).

Due to the sudden death of an engineer working
on the statue of liberty, Gustave was reached out to in 1881 to design the metallic
components inside the statue of liberty.  Working from Paris, the pieces were assembled at
his workshop to check them, and then disassembled to ship them to the United
States.  As most know, the most noteworthy
piece Gustave worked with was the Eiffel Tower.  The structure was designed to handle wind
pressures using 12,000 different components and 2,500,000 rivets.  The Eiffel Tower was perfect by the years of
experience Gustave obtained.  If melted
down,” the tower’s metal would only fill up its base about two and a half
inches deep” (SOURCE 8).  In just two
years, the Eiffel Tower became the world’s tallest structure at 984 feet.  The tower held the first aerodynamic laboratory
at the base, was used for numerous experiments.  However, the lab was eventually moved to a
more remote location (SOURCE 8).

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel was awarded by
the Smithsonian Institution for his work with aerodynamics.  He died in 1923 at the age of 91 (“Gustave Eiffel Biography”).  Though
he had accomplished numerous things during his life, his most iconic is the
Eiffel Tower.

 

Although there are many more engineer and
scientist that deserve more recognition, I chose four that I believed had
something extraordinary about them. The scientist/engineers I chose show an immense
amount of hard work and dedication despite any disadvantages.

 

Works Cited

 “$50,000 in 1882 ?
2018 | Inflation Calculator.” FinanceRef Inflation Calculator, Alioth Finance, January
17, 2018.

http://www.in2013dollars.com/1882-dollars-in-2018?amount=50000.

 

Editors, TheFamousPeople.com.
“Emily Warren Roebling Biography.” The Famous People. December 09, 2017. Web. January 17, 2018. https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/emily-warren-roebling-7056.php

 

Editors, TheFamousPeople.com.
“Gustave Eiffel Biography.” The Famous People. October 18, 2017. Web. January 17, 2018.

 https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/gustave-eiffel-6809.php

 

Editors, TheFamousPeople.com.
“Kitaw Ejigu Biography.” The Famous People. November 13, 2016. Web. January 17,
2018.

https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/kitaw-ejigu-5703.php

 

Editors, TheFamousPeople.com.
“Nikola Tesla Biography.” The Famous People. December 27, 2016. Web. January 17, 2018.

https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/nikola-tesla-2452.php

 

“Emily Warren Roebling.” Roebling Museum. Web. January 17, 2018. http://roeblingmuseum.org/ourstory/emily-warren-roebling/

Fell,
Scott D. “The Bends (Decompression Syndromes).” EMedicineHealth, Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD. Web. January 17,
2018 www.emedicinehealth.com/decompression_syndromes_the_bends/article_em.htm.

 

“Gustave
Eiffel.” The Biography.com website.
A&E Television Networks. April 28, 2017. Web. January 17, 2018.

https://www.biography.com/people/gustave-eiffel-9285294

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