Public picks century’s best
National Engineering Week set its sights high this year by choosing the "five most significant Canadian Engineering achievements of the 20th century." A shortlisting process narrowed the choice to fiv...
National Engineering Week set its sights high this year by choosing the “five most significant Canadian Engineering achievements of the 20th century.” A shortlisting process narrowed the choice to five projects, then the public was given the final choice based on a survey done by Angus Reid. The results were presented on March 1 at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa.
The public spoke and its mouth was evidently in its heart. People chose the pacemaker as the most important engineering achievement. The device was developed by Dr. John Hopps, P.Eng. an electrical engineer and National Research Council researcher, working with Dr. William Bigelow and Dr. John Callaghan.
The first pacemaker was developed in 1950 using a 60 Hz household current. It measured 30 cm. long. With the advent of transistors the device was reduced in size and the first was successfully implanted in a Swedish man’s chest in 1957. Now a common medical tool used to regulate the heartbeat, it has helped millions lead healthy lives.
The other four shortlisted projects were the Canadarm, the IMAX film system, and two civil engineering feats, Confederation Bridge in P.E.I. and the Transcontinental Railway’s Rogers Pass. Stanley Consulting Group of Calgary with J. Muller International led the design team on the 13-kilometre link which won the Schreyer Award last year. Roger’s Pass in Glacier National Park, B.C. was completed in 1989 and designed by Canadian Pacific Railways engineers.
The shortlist was selected by the National Engineering Week executive committee based on research and with input from Canada’s four national engineering organizations, ACEC, CCPE, EIC and CAE.