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The Invisible Creators Of Our World: The Engineers

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Author: Salvatore Corradi – FM Chairman

The human being is naturally inclined to change and improve himself. This spasmodic desire for transformation goes hand in hand with technological innovations and, in this regard, who better than an engineer can embody the role of the “invisible creator” of everything that surrounds us? The use of the adjective “invisible” is due to the fact that we are all aware of the existence, but these men and women frequently hide behind other big names, who tend (often involuntarily) to take most of the credit.

Everyone will remember Alexander Fleming, who is associated with the significant discovery of penicillin made at the end of the 1920s; but most of us will surely ignore the fact that, during the Second World War, there was the need to exponentially boost the amount of penicillin to supply. Fleming, being a pharmacologist and a biologist, had not provided solutions for this specific need; and this is where Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau came into play. The name of this woman has certainly not received a resonance equal to that of Fleming, yet she has the merit of having developed the fermentation process in a deep tank that has allowed the large-scale production of penicillin (guaranteeing 650 billion doses to the Allies).

There are many examples of this kind and this is the reason why it is clear that the contribution of engineers has always been crucial for our society. Starting from Archimedes, passing through Leonardo Da Vinci up to the more recent and extravagant Elon Musk, certainly there are countless engineers to whom we owe a lot.

It is interesting to see that there is someone who is particularly interested in recognizing the value of these design specialists, and this someone is nothing less than the Queen of England. In fact, in 2013 in the UK was established the QEPrize (Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering), which awards a prize of 1 million pounds to those who have carried out the best engineering project useful for the whole community.

The hope that all the admirers of the category have is that we will no longer hear about engineers only and exclusively when a bridge collapses or a plane crashes, instead we hope that there will be more and more admirable initiatives like the one conceived by the English crown.