Engineer of the week: Brunel

brunel photoBorn 9 April 1806 in Portsmouth to a French engineer who had fled the French revolution, Isambard Kingdom Brunel was educated in  cutting edge engineering practices in both England and in France.  Starting work for his father, Brunel rapidly began planning major engineering feats and in 1831 Brunel’s designs won the competition for the Clifton Suspension Bridge across the River Avon.

Perhaps best remembered for the design and construction of the Great Western Railway, Brunel was not only a railway engineer building tunnels, bridges and viaducts, he also designed and built many major docks including Cardiff and Bristol, and co-designed the first screw-propeller driven ocean liner ever built, The Great Eastern, which dwarved even the later Titanic, so large it had almost equally large difficulties at its launch.  While never a commercial success in its time, it was later used to lay the first transatlantic cable under the supervision of renowned physicist Lord Kelvin.

Reportedly a cigar chain smoking workaholic who thrived on just four hours sleep a night, Brunel died following a stroke on 15 September 1859.

Read more about Brunel on the BBC website, BiographyOnline or, for University staff and students, Credo Reference.

You can read about Brunel in the Library:

Find books about Brunel and his work at 624.092/BRU (along the far windows of Area 1A on the first floor).

Photo by Père Ubu

Posted in Thing of the Day Tagged with: ,
One comment on “Engineer of the week: Brunel
  1. Lizzie Wildgoose says:

    See this too:

    https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand/index.php/prog/0DA59DB1?bcast=122832277

    Rob Bell on Britain’s Greatest Bridges on Channel 5 last Friday. Fascinating. Lots of stuff I didn’t know about Brunel and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Watch it on BoB.

Leave a Comment (note: all comments are moderated)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

(you can use <b>bold</b> or <i>italic</i> markers)

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.