Key Historical Developments in Engineering

3260 words (13 pages) Essay in Engineering

23/09/19 Engineering Reference this

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Key Historical Developments in Engineering 

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From the ancient age passing through the 16th century until today science has played a significant role on this world where we are living on with advanced technologies in our daily life through the help of development in industries, agriculture, etc making life convenient at the same time affecting the surrounding climate. The development of science has started from an early age about 9000 years ago in Southern Mexico, domestication of maize was known so far (Sean B. 2010). However, the knowledge and techniques have been passed from generation to generation through oral conversation in different parts of the world. Similarly, there has been lots of discoveries, development in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, metallurgy by different countries since an early age, Egyptian empire, Roman empire, India, China until the 16th century. The world entered towards modern science from the 16th century where studies are put together based on the works. Some famous scientist and engineers have contributed their work to the first stage of modern science which was carried on to the 18th century by other great inventors to enter the world of advanced science to this date. Galileo Galilei was born in 1564 also known as the father of modern science studied speed, velocity, gravity and free fall, the telescope for scientific purposes which were the foundation for modern science (Redd Taylor N. 2017). The most influential scientist of all time Sir Isaac Newton first published “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy” in 1687 was the foundations of Mechanics. He was well known for Newtonian mechanics, Universal Gravitation, Calculus, Newton’s law of motion, etc which are still used in every technology ( 2014). The influential work he has contributed to the world of science will remain for many centuries to come. Between the late 18th century and early 19th century the studies of electricity and magnetism by the other great scientist, for instance, Michael Faraday was a British scientist who studied the principles of electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis. He had studied on the magnetic field conductor carrying a direct current which was the foundation for the electromagnetic field ( 2014). Another important discovery of him was the identification of benzene from oily residue which is widely used in automotive and industrial applications. At the start of the 20th century the revolution of physics started and brought significant development such as the theory of quantum mechanics by the famous scientist Albert Einstein and known for mass-energy equivalence (E=mc^2). He was awarded a Noble Prize in Physics in 1921 for the development of quantum theory ( Not only on the physics but science has also developed  in medicine, biology, astronomy, geology between 18th and 19th centuries in 1847, Ignaz Semmelweis from Vienna helped to reduce the death of mothers giving birth by suggesting that physicians clean their hands before practising childbirth (J Turk Ger Gynecol Assoc 2013). The world has seen lots of epidemic diseases in the different centuries killing millions of people since the development in medical science has helped significantly reducing death rate with the production of medicines.

In the age of modern science, one of the great scientists was born on the 4th of January 1643 in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England (Westfall R. 2019). Despite born on a rich farmer’s family and was the only son, Newton’s early life had been a struggling when his father died before he was born, was very little and weak. Due to lack of proper caring and feeding, Newton was expected not to survive. Adding on his insecure childhood his mother left him to get married to a well-known minister at the age of 3 leaving with the maternal grandmother. Fortunately, her mother did come back along with her three new kids from the previous husband at the age of 12, when her newly married husband died. Newton got basic education from the local school in Lincolnshire and has started to be interested in his education especially when he was introduced to chemistry. Despite his interest again the luck was not in his favour, he was pulled from the school to look after his farm by his other. Maybe he was motivated so much to study he had failed to be a farmer miserably and again joined the school to get a basic education. His uncle graduated from the University of Cambridge’s Trinity College noticed his abilities on studies and convinced Newton’s mother to let him join the same University in 1661. He started studying as a subsizar until he gained a scholarship in 1664 (Westfall R. 2019). He was a great mathematician as we know it, he started in 1665 generalisation on binomial theorem and ended up with a theory which is called calculus. After getting his bachelor’s degree in 1665 he continued to work privately in his house for 2 years developing further theories on calculus, optics and the law of gravitation. He returned to finish his Master’ degree which he had completed in 1669 ( 2014).

On 5th August 1893, Sydney Camm was born at Windsor, Berkshire, England by Frederick Camm, a carpenter and Mary Smith (Hawker Restorations Ltd.). He was the eldest son with a total of twelve siblings. He was a great aeronautical engineer who has designed from the famous Hawker Hurricane to the significant Hawker Hunter, from biplanes to fighters. He had played a vital role while combatting aerial in WWII with his great designs helping allied to win the war. He was motivated since a young age to work on the aeronautical field thus he started attending Royal Free School in Windsor at the age of eight in 1901. He had received granted scholarship in 1906 but he left school in 1908 to become an intern carpenter (Hawker Restorations Ltd.). During his school time, he has developed a motivational interest in aeronautics and soon started building model aircraft with his brothers, sold to a high street shop. Later they had found their model’s aircraft can be sold at a higher price and sold directly to boys at Eton college which were handed to them avoiding being caught by school authorities and high street shop. In 1912 he became the founders of The Windsor Aeroplane Club (Hawker Restorations Ltd.). While they were making model aircraft, he had reached a high level where build a man-carrying glider in the same year. The year when WWI had started in 1914, he was fortunate that he got the work as a shop floor carpenter at the Martinsyde aircraft company located in Weybridge, Surrey ( 2007). Because of his hard work and intelligence soon promoted to drawing office where he worked for several years. In 1915 got married to a wife, Hilda who had a daughter.

It was until 1969 when Newton’s work was caught up by other mathematician and credited his work and himself as extraordinary genius and proficiency. In 1672, Opticks was published where he has explained that lights are made of particles soon he came with some criticiser, Robert Hooke, member of Royal Academy and a great scientist who has worked on optics and mechanics (Westfall R. 2019). According to his theory lights are composed of waves and quickly condemned his work. He was not the only person who had attacked Newtons’ work but also from a Dutch scientist, Christiaan Huygens and some French Jesuits (Society of Jesus) criticises. However, Newton was mostly affected by Robert Hooke, member of Royal Society and the argument reached a high level between both scientists, Newton almost ended up quitting the Royal Society, luckily, he was held up by his fellows. His work is mainly based on his theories he had developed where on the other hand Sydney Camm had worked mainly on the practical design. After the place where he worked collapsed, he joined Handasyde’s aircraft manufacturing company, where they build monoplanes (Hawker Restorations Ltd.). After working for several years, he joined the Hawker Aircraft Company situated in Kingston upon the Thames, worked as a senior draughtsman. At this time, he had designed his very first Cygnet and was promoted Chief Designer in 1925 for his great design. He utilises this time working together with Hawker MD Fred Sigrist, developed a construction system with jointed metal tubes, which at that time very complex to build as a welded structure (Hawker Restorations Ltd.). He had designed a 52 different Hawker aircraft types, in a total of 26000 were built. Around 1930’s most of the aircraft in RAF were designed by Sydney Camm. The most popular aircraft in RAF during WWII was Hawker Hurricane, the Typhoon, the Tempest and the Sea Fury. (Hawker Restorations Ltd.)

In 1678 Newton’s mother died and left devastated soon withdrew from public life. During this time, he worked on gravitation and its effects on the orbits of the planet. Newton’s important work, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, was published in Latin in 1687 which took eight months to complete ( (2014). His mathematical solutions gave answers to most of the problems. After an immediate publication, Newton soon came across again with Robert Hooke accusing him of plagiarising his work. However, he can never prove accusations against Newton which made him furious threatened to withdraw from another publication. Even with some controversies, Newton had to work with Robert Hooke’s work which he never wanted on the law of inverse squares. “Whatever you do comes back to you” a famous quote has once again proved to be true. Because of his wrong accusation from Robert Hooke against Newton, he soon starts to suffer where his niece and companion died immediately after the publication in 1687 (Westfall R. (2019). Robert Hooke turned out to be so stubborn that he never stopped accusing him with plagiarism until he died in 1703.

Newton was not only a great mathematician, but he has also contributed his work writing some religious tracts which include the literal and symbolic interpretation of the bible. He had been elected as a member parliament of England in 1689 (Westfall R. 2019). After few years Newton moved to London to join the Royal Mint in 1696 and started re-coining and obtained a job of deputy comptroller. He became one of the best-known Master of the Mint and continued to serve on this job for 30 years. These jobs required no responsibilities or labour, but Newton took it seriously and used to punish counterfeiters. He managed to change the pound sterling from silver to gold ( 2014). In 1705, German mathematician, Gottfried Leibniz, once again accused of stealing his research but later in 1712, an investigation team found Newton’s innocence ( 2014). Later he moved near Winchester, England with his niece and her husband. Due to his discoveries he had become famous all over the world, his work is still being followed until now. Newton had achieved several awards during his lifetime and worked in various government offices similarly Camm also achieved some important awards such as British gold Medal for Aeronautics in 1949 immediately after WWII due to his successful designs on winning the war for allies ( 2007). Due to Camm’s successful designs and development in the aircraft, Britain was saved from losing the war in WWII. His designed aircraft had destroyed many enemy’s aircraft and position. Sir Sydney Camm has developed the technology from biplanes to monoplanes with the Hurricane, it was built with new engine technology and can travel faster, higher than biplanes. When he first showed design, which enter the fleet with the Typhoon, had some issues on the elevator which has to travel higher speed and altitude was a challenge for him with a small team of 100 members. However, he managed to fix those problems making the Typhoon successful combat. Tempest another great design by him had fully designed by learning mistakes from the Typhoon. Another great design by him was Hawker Hunter which was manufactured around 1951 at that time it has achieved a world record speed (Hawker Restorations Ltd.). This single pilot aircraft was first introduced to service in 1954 as an interceptor aircraft. After the second world II, Sir Sydney Camm continued to design for Hawker where he designs the Hawker Siddeley P.1127 / Kestrel FGA 1, which directly involved on Hawker Siddeley Harrier (Hawker Restorations Ltd.). It was known for its unique capability of vertical take-off and landing. While developing vertical take-off and landing many technologies like vectored thrust engines and reaction control system for his great contribution to the aviation world was significant at that time.

After working hard in his life with some struggle in the early age, Newton started experiencing digestion problem at the age of 80 and in March 1727, Newton had severe pain in his abdomen and gained unconsciousness. On March 31, 1727, he died at the age of 84 from his severe pain ( 2014). Sir Isaac Newton works soon started to spread all over the world and was appreciated by many scientists making him one of the famous and motivational scientists. Later Sir Sydney Camm worked as a president of the Royal Aeronautical Society from 1954 to 1955 he further worked until his retirement in 1965, until this time he had achieved a lot of inventions and designs during his lifetime. He had unfortunately passed away on 12th March 1966 while playing golf in Richmond Golf Course (Hawker Restorations Ltd.).

As we have seen from the past, the inventions, and discoveries from the great scientists and engineers have changed the way we live in the 21st century. The great studies from Sir Isaac Newton on his work such as Calculus, Optics, Gravitational law had not only proved that he was correct but also influence the upcoming generation to research and develop on new inventions. Each and every step-in science the world has to follow his exceptional work from a simple calculus problem to gravitational law. He came across with many blames for plagiarizing on the similar work by some engineers from different countries around the world, but he had proved his innocence. His hard work and innocence convince to others that believe in yourself and the work. If he was unfortunate that he found to be guilty, his great inventions would have gone to other people who don’t deserve it. This also gives a lesson not to share work while working on it. Sir Sydney Camm interest during his early life has led to many successful designs manufacturing different aircraft at that time. His design such as Hawker Hurricane, Hawker Typhoon, Hawker Tempest and Hawker Sea fury has played a significant role during WWII winning for the allies. He never stopped designing in fact after the war he contributed to designing Hawker Harrier which has a unique ability called VTOL (Vertical-Take-off and Landing) (Hawker Restorations Ltd.). His contribution to designing Harrier had helped for an aircraft to land in an aircraft carrier with ease. The Hunter jet-powered aircraft which broke the airspeed record achieving the impressive 727 miles, one of the significant designs by Sir Sydney which was flown in 1951. The aircraft had impressively manoeuvrable which was a successful interceptor that RAF obtained those aircraft. Newton’s outstanding discoveries has somehow helped on designing an aircraft for Sir Sydney Camm where he had worked with Hawker Aircraft Company using calculus and most importantly gravitational law. The study and discoveries from these engineers and scientist were exceptional at that time and influential to the upcoming generation. The world has followed their work and has been a part on a history of science.

However, development of science has helped on every aspect of human being’s life but also led to a huge drawback i.e., pollution. The pollution has reached an alarming level due to which, every year nearly 7 million people die prematurely according to The World Health Organization (WHO). Natural disasters are occurring bizarrely in almost every part of the world killing thousands and millions of people every year due to global warming which are direct consequences of pollution. Earth’s average temperature has risen a lot compared to the 19th and 20th century due to human activities, the pollution and rapidly increasing population. Many plants and animals are on extinct and human being’s life span are decreasing if this continues the whole world is in danger of extinction. Therefore, it’s vital that every person should start thinking about reducing pollution if we want to live on this planet. This gives a vital lesson to everyone in this world that everything we produce, or design we must think about its impact on the environment thus saving our beautiful planet ‘The Earth’.


       J Turk Ger Gynecol Assoc (2013). Medicine in stamps-Ignaz Semmelweis and Puerperal fever [Online]Medicine in stamps-Ignaz Semmelweis and Puerperal Fever

       Medicine in stamps-Ignaz Semmelweis and Puerperal Fever

       Medicine in stamps-Ignaz Semmelweis and Puerperal Fever

 Available at: <>(Accessed: 21 January 2019)

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