100 Years of Engineering

As 2020 is closing out, it’s worth taking a moment to look back and reflect on the last 100 years of engineering achievements. When you think all the way back to the 1920s, it’s hard to believe where we are today. We’re advancing at such a rapid rate that it’s almost impossible to imagine what the next 100 years will bring! Let’s take a look at some of the engineering highlights over the past century: 

Engineering Achievements 1920-2020

Frequency multiplexing concept
AT&T develops the frequency multiplexing concept, in which frequencies of speech are shifted electronically among various frequency bands to allow several telephone calls at the same time. Metal coaxial cable eventually is used to carry a wide range of frequencies.


Synthetic rubber developed
Wallace Carothers and a team at DuPont, building on work begun in Germany early in the century, make synthetic rubber. Called neoprene, the substance is more resistant than natural rubber to oil, gasoline, and ozone, and it becomes important as an adhesive and a sealant in industrial uses.


Pennsylvania Turnpike
The Pennsylvania Turnpike opens as the country’s first roadway with no cross streets, no railroad crossings, and no traffic lights. Built on an abandoned railroad right of way, it includes 7 miles of tunnels through the mountains, 11 interchanges, 300 bridges and culverts, and 10 service plazas. By the mid-1950s America’s first superhighway extends westward to the Ohio border, north toward Scranton, and east to Philadelphia for a total of 470 route miles.


Direct long-distance calling first available
In a test in Englewood, New Jersey, customers are able to make long-distance calls within the United States directly, without the assistance of an operator. But it takes another decade for direct long-distance dialing to be available nationwide.


Synthetic oils
Synthetic oils are in development to meet the special lubricating requirements of military jets. Mobil Oil and AMSOIL are leaders in this field; their synthetics contain such additives as polyalphaolefins, derived from olefin, one of the three primary petrochemical groups. Saturated with hydrogen, olefin-carbon molecules provide excellent thermal stability. Following on the success of synthetic oils in military applications, they are introduced into the commercial market in the 1970s for use in automobiles.


The first CD-ROM patented
James T. Russell, working at Battelle Memorial Institute’s Pacific Northwest Laboratories in Richland, Washington, patents the first systems capable of digital-to-optical recording and playback. The CD-ROM (compact disc read-only memory) is years ahead of its time, but in the mid-1980s audio companies purchase licenses to the technology. (See computers.) Russell goes on to earn dozens of patents for CD-ROM technology and other optical storage systems.


MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner introduced
The first commercial MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner arrives on the medical market. 


Human Genome Project
Researchers begin the Human Genome Project, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health, with the goal of identifying all of the approximately 30,000 genes in human DNA and determining the sequences of the three billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA. The project catalyzes the multibillion-dollar U.S. biotechnology industry and fosters the development of new medical applications, including finding genes associated with genetic conditions such as familial breast cancer and inherited colon cancer. A working draft of the genome is announced in June 2000.


100 million cellular telephone subscribers
The number of cellular telephone subscribers in the United States grows to 100 million, from 25,000 in 1984. Similar growth occurs in other countries as well, and as phones shrink to the size of a deck of cards, an increasingly mobile society uses them not only for calling but also to access the Internet, organize schedules, take photographs, and record moving images.


Apple Inc. launched the iPad
Its first tablet computer, which offered multi-touch interaction. The iPad became an immediate bestseller and only months after its release became the best selling tech product in history. By the mid-2010s, almost all smartphones were touchscreen-only, and Android and iPhone smartphones dominated the market.

It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come! What engineering achievements do you think will come in the next 100 years? Share this article and let us know what you think!

Submit Your Ideas! NJ Transportation Research Ideas Portal is Open

NJDOT’s Bureau of Research is asking for your best ideas for future transportation research.

Ideas that can turn problems into solutions that can be implemented in New Jersey.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation’s (NJDOT) Bureau of Research staff works directly with university and other research professionals to find solutions to improve the safety, mobility and accessibility of New Jersey’s residents, workers, visitors and businesses. Our goal is to enhance the quality and cost effectiveness of the policies, practices, standards and specifications that are used in planning, building and maintaining New Jersey’s transportation infrastructure.

NJDOT’s Bureau of Research is interested in soliciting ideas from NJDOT’s research customers and other transportation stakeholders for the NJDOT Research Program.   We are interested in your research ideas – particularly, ideas that can turn problems into solutions that can be implemented.  We use this website to gather and share ideas as a first step in the development of fundable research proposals. 

How Do Ideas Inform Research Needs Statement Development?  Ideas are not research needs statements or proposals. After the deadline date of a research idea solicitation round, research ideas are prioritized by the Research Oversight Committee and high priority research needs are posted as proposals. Submission of a research idea does not preclude individuals or groups from Institutes of Higher Learning or other eligible research organizations from subsequently bidding on a Request for Proposal prepared and issued by the Bureau of Research. RFPs will be posted on our research RFP web site: https://www.state.nj.us/transportation/business/research/requestsforproposal.shtm

This is a first step in the development of fundable research proposals sponsored by the NJDOT Research Program.

Ideas can be submitted in six campaign areas:

  • Capital Improvement & Infrastructure
  • Mobility and Operations
  • Multimodal
  • Planning & Environment
  • Policy and Organization
  • Safety Management

Click here to submit your idea

You must be registered to participate.

Click on the Submit New Idea button to start the process. 

The deadline for this round is December 31, 2020.


Multimodal topics include: Maritime • Airports • Mass Transit • Freight • Multimodal Grants • Transportation Data • Railroads • Unmanned Aerial Systems

Engineering Student Scholarships You Should Apply For

It’s no secret that 2020 has been a rough year for everyone. Rising college freshmen and current undergrads must adapt to the new normal of going to college online and paying for college might not look the same as it used to. For that reason, many of you may be relying on student aid, grants, and scholarships to cover college expenses. Here, we’ve compiled a list of eligible scholarships for you to apply for! The best part about scholarships is that you won’t have to pay them back. There’s no harm in applying for as many engineering scholarships as you can.

SAME NJ Scholarship

The New Jersey Post SAME Scholarship Fund, Inc, for the calendar year 2021 will award a minimum of one, one-time scholarship based on merit to a college or university undergraduate student studying Architecture, Engineering, or a related science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) subject. The Scholarships are awarded to undergraduate students who will be entering their 2nd through last year of study at a Community College, four year College or University in the 2021-2022 academic year. Priority for Scholarship awards will be citizens of the U.S., residents of NJ, and/or matriculated in a university located in New Jersey. Scholarship applicants must have a GPA of 2.5 out of 4.0 or higher to apply

Deadline: March 11, 2021

Apply now >>

ACECNJ Scholarship

The American Council of Engineering Companies of New Jersey (ACECNJ) awards up to six scholarships each year to students attending an accredited engineering program in New Jersey. Students must be entering their junior, senior, fifth, or master’s degree year, in the upcoming fall to qualify for the general scholarships, as well as be a US citizen.

Deadline: February 5, 2021

Apply now >> 

Scholarships for Women Engineers

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) provides a huge list of engineering scholarships on their website for women in STEM-related majors/fields. SWE Scholarships support those who identify as a female/woman and are pursuing an ABET-accredited bachelor or graduate student program in preparation for careers in engineering, engineering technology, and computer science globally. In 2020, SWE disbursed nearly 260 new and renewed scholarships valued at more than $1,000,000!

Applicants complete one application and are considered for all scholarships for which they are eligible. Upperclass applications are officially being accepted and freshman applicants may begin applying on March 1, 2021.

View the list of scholarships >>

Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship

The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship seeks to attract talented, committed individuals, with backgrounds in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—into teaching in high-need secondary schools in Pennsylvania. The Fellowship has also prepared over a thousand teachers in Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio. Eligible applicants include current undergraduates, recent college graduates, mid-career professionals, and retirees who have majored in, or have extensively studied, one or more of the STEM fields. Includes admission to a master’s degree program at a well-established partner university teacher certification in science, mathematics or technology education and extensive preparation for teaching in a high-need urban or rural secondary school for one full year prior to becoming the teacher-of-record in a science or math classroom.

Stipend amount: $32,000

Deadline: Varies

Apply now >>


Not only do scholarships help you with college costs, but they would also look great on a resume! Apply for as many as you can’t and don’t give up! We wish you the best of luck!

Connect With Us