There have been great men throughout the ages but for me, some deserve special recognition. Before I got involved with computers some 32 years ago, my whole life revolved around engineering in some degree or another. Therefore I have a great respect for those engineers who ‘pushed the envelope’ and made our lives what they are now. It is not a random act that sees Brunel at the top of the list at the left!
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, FRS (9 April 1806 – 15 September 1859), was a British engineer. He is best known for the creation of the Great Western Railway, a series of famous steamships, including the first with a propeller, and numerous important bridges and tunnels. His designs revolutionised public transport and modern day engineering.
Fred Dibnah MBE (28 April 1938 – 6 November 2004), born in Bolton, Lancashire, was an English steeplejack, engineer and eccentric who became a television personality, a cult figure and, latterly, a national institution.
Herbert (Burt) James Munro (25 March 1899–6 January 1978) was a New Zealand motorcycle racer, famous for setting an under-1000cc world record, 183.586 mph (295.453 km/h), at Bonneville, 26 August 1967. This record still stands today. Burt Munro was 68 and was riding a 47-year old machine when he set his last record.
Charles Babbage, FRS (26 December 1791 – 18 October 1871) was an English mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer who originated the concept of a programmable computer.
James Watt (19 January 1736 – 25 August 1819) was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both the Kingdom of Great Britain and the world.
Thomas Telford (9 August 1757 - 2 September 1834) was born in Glendinning, Scotland, UK. He was a stonemason, architect and civil engineer and a noted road, bridge and canal builder.
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (10 December 1815, London – 27 November 1852, Marylebone, London), born Augusta Ada Byron, was the only legitimate child of poet Lord Byron. She is widely known in modern times simply as Ada Lovelace.
She is mainly known for having written a description of Charles Babbage's early mechanical general-purpose computer, the analytical engine. She is today appreciated as the "first programmer" since she was writing programs—that is, manipulating symbols according to rules—for a machine that Babbage had not yet built. She also foresaw the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating or number-crunching while others, including Babbage himself, focused only on these capabilities.
Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle, OM, KBE, CB, FRS, Hon FRAeS (1 June 1907 – 9 August 1996) was an English Royal Air Force (RAF) officer. Sharing credit with Germany's Dr. Hans von Ohain for independently inventing the jet engine, he is hailed as a father of jet propulsion.