Influential People

Mechanical engineering is defined as “a branch of engineering concerned primarily with the industrial application of mechanics and with the production of tools, machinery, and their products“(Merriam-Webster dictionary). Mechanical engineering is a very versatile and it can branch out into many different fields such as aerospace, biomedical devices, robotics, and more.


Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton made significant contributions to many fields of science, especially physics. Throughout the course of his life he wrote many books and developed theories and laws that influence our lives today.

In 1692 he wrote the book Opticks, which talked about how white light is a mixture of colors (spectrums), mathematical patterns in phenomenon of colors, and other important findings. In mathematics, as we all know, he developed the differential and integral calculus. In physics, he wrote series of books called Principia. The first book talks about the foundation of mechanics (three laws of motion, orbits, and centers of motion). The second book and third book were about theory of fluid and law of gravitation at work.

He is everywhere in Georgia Tech: physics classes, calculus classes, chemistry classes, and more. I am currently taking statics course (analysis of loads on bodies in static equilibrium) and if Newton had not come up with the three laws of motion this class wouldn’t even exist!

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein is another person who made significant contributions to science. Over the course of his life, he published over 300 scientific works.

In 1921, Einstein received Nobel Prize for his discover of the law of the photoelectric effect which explains the interactions of light-matter interaction and also the wave-particle duality. Einstein is most known for his theory of relativity which includes the famous formula E=mc^2. The theory of relativity connected mechanics with electromagnetism. Einstein also extended his principle of relativity to non-uniform motion and provided new theory of gravitation.

One of the fields that mechanical engineering stretches to is nanotechnology. As the size of the things that we work with decreases, the physics of those “things” changes. This concept is related with the quantum physics and Einstein made significance contributions to this field of physics.

Henry Ford

As stated before, mechanical engineering is defined as “a branch of engineering concerned primarily with the industrial application of mechanics and with the production of tools, machinery, and their products.” In this aspect, the development of automobile is some-what a start of mechanical engineering. After automobiles, it was planes, then rockets, and so on.

Henry Ford was not responsible for the creation of the first automobile, but he was responsible for popularizing the gas-powered automobile and the assembly line for manufacturing automobiles. Ford was an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company. Here, he was able to have enough time and money to experiment with internal combustion engines. Through these experiments he was able to crate the Quadricycle. He then established the Ford Motor Company which was incorporated in 1903. His famous automobile Model T was produced in 1908. In the factories, Ford combined precision manufacturing, standardized and interchangeable parts, and a division of labor and formed an assembly line.

Henry Ford, in a way, started the concept of affordable, efficient, and durable cars. Also, with the concept of standardized and interchangeable parts and assembly line, Henry Ford allowed people to develop machines that will replace human labor with machines that are more efficient.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Mechanical engineering seems to emerge early in human history. There are definitely a lot of notable figures in this area. And you do find them! I like how you connect Newton to Georgia Tech! “He is everywhere.” In my country, he appears even on the covers of textbooks.


  2. I have already read profiles of Isaac Newton and Henry Ford and I completely agree with you that they were extremely influential in the field of mechanical engineering.

    I want to share a thought that came up when I read the profiles in your blog. It is interesting how innovations long times ago are taken for granted and are considered to basic knowledge. For example, Isaac Newton was the first to study the science of gravitational force. Today we take it for granted, but thanks to Newton we have had many inventions and studies today. In the other hand, today Einstein’s findings of light-matter interaction and wave-particle duality seem extremely complicated and for many people useless. I am sure that many years from today Einstein’s findings will become as those of Newton’s.

    By the way good choices of influential people in the mechanical engineering field!


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