World Icons

"Engineering is the art and science of production that … is one of the most fundamental of human activities. … Modern engineering … amplifies traditional ingenuity by the power of scientific reasoning and knowledge. … merging research and development … industry and business"
(Auyang, Engineering: the endless frontier, Harvard 2004)

Most wonders of the world depend on wonderful engineering.

Some are monumental, some invisible (telecommunications, radar, sonar ...). Too often taken for granted, few people understand just how amazing they are.

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are:

  • The Pyramids of Egypt
  • Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  • Statue of Zeus at Olympia
  • Colossus of Rhodes
  • Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
  • Mausoleum of Helicarnassus
  • Pharos (Lighthouse) of Alexandria

Not any more.

Creative engineering needs both the big vision and the resourcefulness to make it happen.

Before the start of the 20th century no human had flown in a powered aircraft, no human voice had been instantly transmitted through the air over thousands of kilometres. Since then we’ve had people on the moon, living in space, finding the Titanic, information networks bouncing off satellites, technologies for exploring living tissue in minute detail… the list explodes daily…

So now, what's one of the most exciting career choices anyone can make? There's a lot to explore… here's a start…

Engineering Achievements Timeline — Iconic Engineering achievements in the 20th century.

Remember YouTube has lots of clips about all sorts of engineering. Here's one that celebrates the engineering spirit…

Channel Tunnel

Channel Tunnel Linking France and Britain under La Manche (English Channel) with three side by side tunnels some 50k long, two for trains, the middle one for management and safety. Imagine working in two languages with two governments; two sets of national construction, safety and legal codes; 10 contractors; and 220 syndicate banks. A bargain at $12 billion!

Channel Tunnel
Panama Canal

Panama Canal

Panama Canal designed at the turn of the 20th century, operating since 1914. It is some 80k long. Involving the French and the Americans, it is one of the biggest (and most perilous) engineering projects ever, with over 27,000 workers dying on the project. Good to see Occupational Health & Safety standards have improved a lot since then…

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower was a temporary structure, finished in 1889 for one of the “Great Exhibitions” of the late 19th Century. Supposed to have been demolished decades ago, but so popular that it will be there for a while yet. A revolution in engineering at the time.

Eiffel Tower
Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

Over 5,000km long (there are differing assessments) and visible from space. One of the largest structures ever built by humans. Built entirely by hand, beginning in the 7th century BC, taking hundreds of years to complete.

Roman Aqueducts

Rome was the only ancient city reasonably supplied with water. By AD 97, nine aqueducts delivered many millions of litres a day. Some 200 cities in the Roman colonies had aqueducts.

Roman Aqueducts
International Space Station

International Space Station

International Space Station started in 1998, continuously occupied by humans since 2000. Reputedly the most expensive single object ever built. Fascinating technology as well as politics.

Golden Gate Bridge

Completed in 1937. Engineer Joseph Strauss used a million tons of concrete to anchor the supports of this suspension bridge in this earthquake prone region. Two main towers rising 227m above the water support over 130,000km of cable.

Golden Gate Bridge
Sky High Freeway

Sky High Freeway

The Millau Viaduct connecting the highway systems of France and Spain over the Millau Valley in France seems to float through the sky, with the ground (over 200m below) often obscured by cloud and mists. One of the longest (2.46 km ) multispan cable-stayed bridges in the world. Construction took only three years, with 2,000 sections of the steel roadway being pre-fabricated off site, lifted into place, and aligned with GPS. Drive across it on YouTube. See more structural icons on http://en.structurae.de/structures.

Sponsors

  • Australian Constructors Association
  • Cochlear
  • Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO)
  • Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO)
  • Leighton Holdings Limited
  • Resmed
  • Thales
  • ARUP
  • KBR