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20th century's greatest engineering
:> 1. Electrification
In the 20th century, widespread electrification gave us power for our cities, factories, farms, and homes - and forever changed our lives. Thousands of engineers made it happen, with innovative work in fuel sources, power generating techniques, and transmission grids. From street lights to supercomputers, electric power makes our lives safer, healthier, and more convenient.
2. Automobile
The automobile may be the ultimate symbol of personal freedom. It's also the world's major transporter of people and goods, and a strong source of economic growth and stability. From early Tin Lizzies to today's sleek sedans, the automobile is a showcase of 20th century engineering ingenuity, with countless innovations made in design, production, and safety.
3. Airplane
Today you can go from Europe to America in 4 hours on the Concorde. In 1900, the same trip took 7 to 10 days by boat. Modern air travel transports goods and people quickly around the globe, facilitating our personal, cultural, and commercial interaction. Engineering innovation - from the Wright brothers to supersonic jets - have made it all possible.
4. Water Supply and Distribution
Today, a simple turn of the tap provides clean water - a precious resource. Engineering advances in managing this resource - with water treatment, supply, and distribution systems - changed life profoundly in the 20th century, virtually eliminating waterborne diseases in developed nations, and providing clean and abundant water for communities, farms, and industries.
5. Electronics
Electronics provide the basis for countless innovations - CD players, TVs, and computers, to name a few.
From vacuum tubes to transistors to integrated circuits, engineers have made electronics smaller, more powerful, and more efficient, paving the way for products that have improved the quality and 6. Radio and Television
Radio and television were major agents of social change in the 20th century, opening windows to other lives, to remote areas of the world, and to history in the making. From the wireless telegraph to today's advanced satellite systems, engineers have developed remarkable technologies that inform and entertain 7. Agricultural Mechanization
The machinery of farms - tractors, cultivators, combines, and hundreds of others - dramatically increased farm efficiency and productivity in the 20th century. At the start of the century, four U.S. farmers could feed about 10 people. By the end, with the help of engineering innovation, a single farmer could feed 8. Computers
The computer is a defining symbol of 20th century technology - a tool that has transformed businesses and lives around the world, increased productivity, and opened access to vast amounts of knowledge.
Computers relieved the drudgery of simple tasks, and brought new capabilities to complex ones.
Engineering ingenuity fueled this revolution, and continues to make computers faster, more powerful, and 9. Telephone
The telephone is a cornerstone of modern life. Nearly instant connections - between friends, families, businesses, and nations - enable communications that enhance our lives, industries, and economies. With remarkable innovations, engineers have brought us from copper wire to fiber optics, from switchboards to satellites, and from party lines to the Internet. Truly, the telephone has brought the human family together.
10. Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
Air conditioning and refrigeration changed life immensely in the 20th century. Dozens of engineering innovations made it possible to transport and store fresh foods, and to adapt the environment to human needs. Once luxuries, air conditioning and refrigeration are now common necessities which greatly 11. Highways
Highways provide one of our most cherished assets - the freedom of personal mobility. The story of their construction is one of the most remarkable of the 20th century. Thousands of engineers built the roads, bridges, and tunnels that connect our communities, enable goods and services to reach remote areas, encourage growth, and facilitate commerce.
12. Spacecraft
From early test rockets to sophisticated satellites, the human expansion into space is perhaps the most amazing engineering feat of the 20th century. The development of spacecraft has thrilled the world, expanded our knowledge base, and improved our capabilities. Thousands of useful products and services have resulted from the space program, including medical devices, improved weather forecasting, and 13. Internet
Initially a tool to link research center computers, the Internet has become a vital instrument of social change. Created via a series of engineering innovations, the Internet is changing business practices, educational pursuits, and personal communications. By providing global access to news, commerce, and vast stores of information, the Internet brings us together and adds convenience and efficiency to our lives.
14. Imaging
From tiny atoms to distant galaxies, 20th century imaging technologies have expanded the reach of our vision. Probing the human body, mapping ocean floors, tracking weather patterns - all are the result of engineering advances. Coupled with the computer, imaging gives us incredible new views, both within and beyond the human body and environment.
15. Household Appliances
Household appliances dramatically changed the 20th century lifestyle by eliminating much of the labor of everyday tasks. Engineering innovation produced a wide variety of devices, including electric ranges, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, and dryers. These and other products give us more free time, enable more people to work outside the home, and contribute significantly to our economy.
16. Health Technologies
Advances in 20th century medical technology have been astounding. Armed with only a few instruments in 1900, medical professionals now have an arsenal of diagnostic and treatment equipment at their disposal. Artificial organs, replacement joints, imaging technologies, and biomaterials are but a few of the engineered products that improve the quality of life for millions.
17. Petroleum and Petrochemical Technologies
Petroleum has been a critical component of 20th century life, providing fuel for cars, homes, and industries. Also critical, petrochemicals are used in products ranging from aspirin to zippers. Spurred on by engineering advances in oil exploration and processing, petroleum products have had an enormous impact on world economies, peoples, and politics.
18. Laser and Fiber Optics
Pulses of light from lasers are used in industrial tools, surgical devices, satellites, and other products. In communications, highly pure glass fibers now provide the infrastructure to carry information via laser- produced light - a revolutionary technical achievement. Today, a single fiber-optic cable can transmit tens of millions of phone calls, data files, and video images.
19. Nuclear Technologies
The harnessing of the atom changed the nature of war forever and astounded the world with its awesome power. Nuclear technologies also gave us a new source of electric power and new capabilities in medical research and imaging. Though controversial, the engineering achievements related to nuclear technologies remain among the most important of the 20th century.
20. High-performance Materials
From the building blocks of iron and steel to the latest advances in polymers, ceramics, and composites, the 20th century has seen a revolution in materials. Engineers have tailored and enhanced material properties for uses in thousands of applications. In aircraft, medical devices, computers, and other products, high-performance materials have a great impact on our quality of life.



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