75 Reasons to Become a Scientist
American Scientist celebrates its seventy-fifth anniversary
Heroes—Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Parsons, Ernest Ruther ford, in particular—excited me because they were giants who straddled the present and the future, and changed the world. They were also, to some extent, showmen. Parsons, a scientist-engineer, couldn’t persuade the Royal Navy to try out his turbines in its ships. Knowing that, if she lived, Queen Victoria would review the fleet at her diamond jubilee in 1897, Parsons researched high-speed hulls and propellers, and built the Turbinia. He streaked around the startled fleet at 34 1/2 knots, a then unimagined speed. From then on, not only the Royal Navy but every other fleet switched to turbines. By 1907 his marine turbines of 70,000 hp (52 MW) powered the 38-kt liner Mauretania. Who could not lust after a life like that?
David Gordon Wilson
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
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