Brains, blackboards and bumper stickers can take you only so far. That’s when brawn comes into play (and we’re not talking just about Wernher von Braun, either). There exist a thousand-and-one ways to make perpetual motion machines, time machines and a consistently good cup of coffee. Until, however, someone actually rolls up his sleeves and assembles one of these things from various spare parts, these ideas will remain merely theories and wile away their days inside some journal collecting dust.
Those geeks in the garage aren’t just bully fodder – they’re the folks that make everything go. Sometimes it’s simply amazing what a little bit of chewing gum, duct tape and a “Failure is Not an Option” mantra can accomplish. In today’s wonderful world of whizzing widgets and killer apps, sometimes we neglect to give the hardware its full due. Here, we honor the end products of those who think the perfect gift is a bigger and better tool box.
The Original Nominations
The following candidates were nominated under the Engineering category. Highlighted candidates have a separate description page already posted to this site. To view any highlighted nominees, place your cursor anywhere over the text of the nominee and click (pop-ups must be enabled on your browser):
Mariner’s Astrolabe (1295: Ramon Llull?)
Telescope (1608: Hans Lippershey)
Galilean Telescope (1609)
Cassegrain Telescope (1672 N. Cassegrain)
Spectrohelioscope (Pierre Jules César Janssen)
Greenwich Mean Time (1884)
Coronograph (1930: Bernard Ferdinand Lyot (1897-1952))
Radio Astronomy (1930s)
Mount Palomar 200” Mirror (1948)
Pioneer Spacecraft (1958-1978)
Weather Satellites (1960:Tiros 1)
Communications Satellites (1962: Telstar)
Ring Laser Gyroscope (1963)
Atomic Time (1972)
Viking Mars Landers (1975-1976)
Voyager Probes (1977)
Space Shuttle (1981)
Hubble Telescope (1990)
International Space Station (1998)
Not all the nominees made the top 100. Still, we’ve tried to include a short write-up on each of them. Any nominee that finished in the top 100 greatest images and imaginations in astronomy and space exploration will have its rank listed in the upper left hand corner of the specific page devoted to that nominee.