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Four Engineers and a Mathematician. ESE 251 Harry Wong . Joseph Louis Lagrange. Born in Italy during the mid-1700s Inspired by a paper by Edmund Halley to enter mathematics while studying at Turin College in Italy

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Four Engineers and a Mathematician

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joseph louis lagrange
Joseph Louis Lagrange
  • Born in Italy during the mid-1700s
  • Inspired by a paper by Edmund Halley to enter mathematics while studying at Turin College in Italy
    • Later studied under Euler and eventually succeeded him as director of Mathematics at the Prussian Academy of Sciences.
  • Moved to France in 1786
    • Survived the French Revolution
    • Reformed the systems of weights & measurements in France to what is currently used today
  • Made significant advances in diverse fields of mathematics
achievements of lagrange
Achievements of Lagrange
  • Method of undetermined coefficients
    • Very useful technique developed by Lagrange
    • A method for finding solutions to inhomogenous differential equations
  • Lagrange Multipliers
    • Used often in optimization problems
  • In number theory
    • Proved every positive integer can be expressed as the sum of the squares of four other integers

Died in 1813 and was Buried in the Pantheon

leonardo da vinci
Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Born in 1452 – Florence
    • To a notary and peasant
  • Phenomenal individual who accomplished many things as…….

A painter…

1452 - Tempera

1505 – Oil on poplar


An anatomist….

Extremely detailed drawings of body parts via dissection

da vinci the engineer
Da Vinci the Engineer

And most importantly – as an engineer

Made technical drawings/designs for machines way ahead of their times

the helicopter
The Helicopter
  • It consisted of a flat platform with a screw running through it
    • Instead of rotor blades seen in modern helicopters
    • Had no real hope of actually taking flight
  • Inspired Sikorsky - “father of helicopters” to start building helicopters
    • Made first mass produced helicopter

Sketch of Leonardo’s

Ornithopter Flying Machine

sikorsky s helicopter
Sikorsky’s Helicopter

Similar concept – use of rotors instead of screws to generate lift

Igor Sikorsky

Vought-Sikorsky VS-300 – First mass produced helicopter

the parachute
The Parachute

First modern conical parachute

Linen cloths supported by wooden poles

testing of leonardo s parachute
Testing of Leonardo’s Parachute

In 2000, Adrian Nicholas used the canvas/wood design set by Leonardo to make a parachute

Test jump from 10,000 feet was successful

Proved that Leonardo’s design worked!

nikola tesla
Nikola Tesla
  • A Serbian scientist born in Austria [1856]
    • Trained as an electrical engineer
  • Immigrated to the US in 1884
    • Worked for Thomas Edison for a while
      • Completely redesigned its direct current generators
  • Later formed his own company and made numerous advances in physics, computer science, and robotics
  • Died in 1943 after a long mental illness
  • The unit for magnetic induction was named Tesla in his honor
the invention of the radio
The Invention of The Radio
  • Credit usually attributed to Marconi
    • Tesla’s patent upheld by SCOTUS after death
  • Used a high voltage resonance transformer [Tesla Coil] to propagate radio waves
  • And a rather bulky receiver consisting of a strong magnet, a long steel wire, and various other components (like an antenna)
  • Used innovation to pilot a mechanical radio-controlled boat
other achievements of nikola tesla
Other Achievements of Nikola Tesla
  • Developed AC current (alternating current)
    • Electric current can reverse direction sinusoidally
    • Proved superior to DC
      • Transport electricity further at higher voltages
      • Used for domestic energy distribution
  • Developed induction motor
    • AC motor
    • Uses electromagnetic induction to get power to motor
      • “Electromagnetic induction is the production of voltage across a conductor situated in a changing magnetic field or a conductor moving through a stationary magnetic field.”
charles algernon parsons
Charles Algernon Parsons
  • Sir Charles Algernon Parsons was born in 1854
    • Graduated college with a degree in mathematics
    • Founded a company called C.A. Parsons and Company to market his invention of steam-turbines
      • Company is now part of Siemens
  • Died in 1931 in Jamaica
achievements of parsons
Achievements of Parsons
  • Primarily known for his invention of steam turbines
    • Uses pressurized steam to turn rotary blades producing energy
    • Showcased the capabilities of this technology in the Turbina, the first turbine-powered ship
      • Faster than any other ship at that time
    • Later used to power everything from locomotives to airplanes

Left: steam turbine

Right: Turbina

achievements of parsons today
Achievements of Parsons Today

Today, 80 percent of world electricity production is done via a steam turbine driving a electric generator

Above: Generator powered by 3 steam turbines – 1000 MW

alexander graham bell
Alexander Graham Bell
  • Born in 1847 in Scotland
    • Had two other brothers who died of Tuberculosis
    • He immigrated to the US in the 1870 to establish a school for the deaf for the purpose of teaching them how to speak using special method set up by his father
      • One of the students was Helen Keller
    • Later abandoned the school to devote his full energy to the telephone
  • Died in 1922
the telephone
The Telephone
  • Derived from Bell’s work on the harmonic telegraph
    • MAIN QUESTION: Can we use electric currents to represent sound waves?
  • According to patent: the telephone was an "apparatus for transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically”
    • Sound was converted into waves that were then transmitted by wires

Alexander Bell speaking into a telephone prototype

the metal detector
The Metal Detector
  • Developed the first metal detector
    • Device that detects metals by electromagnetic induction
    • Used to detect (unsuccessfully) the bullet lodged in President Garfield’s body
hydrofoil boat
Hydrofoil Boat
  • Bell with Casey Baldwin created first hydrofoil boat prototype
    • Based on the idea of hydroplanes
      • As speed of boat increases – hydrofoils lift boat steadily out of water – the hydrofoils generate lift
      • Allows the hydrofoil boat to reach amazing speeds
        • Created the Bell HD-4 that could reach speeds of 71 MPH