This is part 2 of a 2-part series. Part 1 can be found here.
Last time we spoke about the engineering achievements of the first half of the 20th century. Now let’s see what happened from 1960s onwards!
1960s – first man in space
This is technically not an innovation as such but sending a man to space for the first time is still an achievement of aerospace engineers. Yuri Gagarin, a soviet cosmonaut, got on a spacecraft on 12 April 1961 and became the first human to be launched into the outer space and to orbit the Earth.
1970s – genetic engineering
Seventies were the golden times for genetic engineering. Gene splicing was invented in 1973 by Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen, one year later an Italian gynaecologist Arpad Giorgio Fischer started doing liposuction surgeries. The same year the first patent in the field of magnetic resonance imaging was granted to Dr. Raymond Damadian, who invented the first full-body MRI scanner three years in later in 1977.
1980s – World Wide Web
You’ve probably known before that a British scientist Tim Berners-Lee is considered the farther of Internet but we doubt you knew he was working for CERN at the moment and first proposed designing and creating World Wide Web to CERN’s managements back in 1989. Next year he made a more formal proposal and wrote the first working web browser, together with the first web server and a first published website.
1990s – the Channel Tunnel
After being discussed for almost two centuries the Channel Tunnel project was finally completed in 1994, when the Queen and the French president Francois Mitterrand both took trains through the tunnel and stopped nose to nose in the middle. Few months later the trains started running as a public service. This project was indeed one of the most ambitious in the UK and shows the incredible work of engineers, which is why it was named one of the seven wonders of the world!
2000s – rise of technology
The first decade of the 21st century was the time when many of the technologies we use nowadays were developed: black and white phone were quickly made into smartphones, CDs turned into MP3 players, DVDs were upgraded to Blue-Ray, Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, which later led to Twitter, YouTube and all the other social media platforms. That was probably the most evident decade in terms of change – everything was updating so quickly you couldn’t even catch up with it.
2010s – autonomous cars
The current decade has provided engineers with a lot of resources and technological advancements to work on many great projects. Self-driving cars is one of them. Involving many great engineering practices, autonomous cars have a potential of preventing accidents and reducing traffic, however there are still a lot of concerns surrounding them and it might take a long while until self-driving cars will be fully allowed on the streets.