Like most high school students, I didn’t know what career I wanted to pursue. A group of senior mining engineering students pointed me into the right direction. They told me: “If you like to play with big machines and to blow up stuff legally, then go into mining engineering.”
After over 50 years of humanity sending things into orbit, outer space is starting to look a bit cluttered. While Russia is reportedly investing over $2 billion to fix the problem, now the Swiss are also poised to join the space cleanup crew. The Swiss Federal Institute for Technology at Lausanne (EPFL) has announced plans to create a $10.8 million satellite called CleanSpace One for the purpose of picking up space debris.
Science fiction stories have served as inspiration for many a brilliant engineer, and Ayanna Howard is no exception. At age 11 she discovered the show Bionic Woman, where a badly injured athlete is given artificial limbs that grant her superhero-like abilities, and decided that she wanted to create technologically advanced prosthetics when she grew up. Howard later realized that medical school held little appeal to her, and instead opted to pursue robotics.
It’s fortunate that she did. After completely her PhD in electrical engineering at the University of Southern California, Howard went on to work at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where she led research teams to develop software for Mars-roving robots.
2011 was another busy year for engineers all over the world. From inventing a device that turns air into water to exploring the oceans in a tiny submarine, scientists and engineers are exploring uncharted territory.
Like last year, we at eGFI have chronicled the most awe-inspiring innovations and stories, so in case you missed one, we present:
The Most Popular, Interesting, Weird, or Just Plain Cool eGFI Blog Posts of 2011
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Yves Rossy really likes jumping out of planes. At 52, the Swiss fighter pilot is the first person daring enough to strap a jet-powered wing to his back and soar over landmarks such as the English Channel, the Swiss Alps, and the Grand Canyon – feats which have earned him the nickname “Jetman.”
Although Rossy’s primary career has been that of pilot and daredevil, his journey to become Jetman produced him many engineering achievements as well. For the past two decades, Rossy has spent much of his free time pursuing a goal of flying with as little assistance as possible.