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Poll Results: Nikola Tesla is voted the greatest engineer in history

13/05/2019
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Last week we asked the engineering pro community who you believe is history’s greatest engineer.

The results are now in and with 50% of the votes, engineers’ favourite engineer is the man whose pioneering work in electricity gave us the AC induction motor: Nikola Tesla.

Tesla beat Leonardo da Vinci by 10% of the votes to be named EngineeringPro reader's greatest engineer in history

Though he may not have received the recognition he deserved in his lifetime - with others, including his former employer Thomas Edison, often taking credit for many of his developments - Tesla’s influence has been massive on the modern world and he’s now regularly heralded as one of the greatest engineers. 

Our readers agree, putting him above Leonardo da Vinci (in second place, with 40% of the votes) and Alexander Graham Bell (10% of votes).

Our poll unfortunately found no love for the two brothers who finally allowed humans to take off and fly - Orville and Wilbur Wright - or the sometimes controversial but certainly ambitious head of SpaceX who named his revolutionary car company after our favourite engineer - Elon Musk.

Nikola Tesla is our reader's favourite engineer thanks to his revolutionary work in the field of alternating currents

Beyond our top five selections, the EngineeringPro audience also offered up a few suggestions of their own. Additional contenders for history’s greatest engineer included another pioneer of electricity: Michael Faraday, who discovered the principles of electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis, leading the way for practical applications of electricity.

Another suggestion was the 12th century scholar and engineer, Ismail al-Jazari, whose publication “The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices” described over 100 mechanical devices, such as clocks and hydropowered automated devices,  along with instructions on how to construct them. As well as leading the way for instructional texts, the book also introduced several revolutionary mechanical components.

Developer of the first practical steam engine, James Watt, also got a recommendation, as did his business partner Matthew Boulton - though many would consider him more a businessman who supported the work led by Watt.

Can modern engineers compete with the earth-creating skills of a god whose existence predates time? One EngineeringPro commenter doesn't think so.

Finally, in the comments section EngineeringPro reader Venkat SURYA PRAKASH looked beyond mortal history to recommend the Hindu god of architecture and "divine engineer of the universe", Vishwakarma, saying:

“"VISHWAKARMA" is the greatest engineer from ancient Indian history whose engineering marvels like innovation of floating stones through oxidation to build RAMASETHU and many more.”

What do you think? Out of all the engineering professionals of gods and men, is Nikola Tesla the greatest of all time or should the title go to another?

Vote now in this week's EngineeringPro Poll: "Is digitalisation essential for the future of Oil & Gas?"

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Poll Results: Nikola Tesla is voted the greatest engineer in history - Time to read 3 min
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