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British engineers' inventions top most important innovations of last 100 years

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A young Alan Turing
A young Alan Turing

Inventions developed or spread by British engineers have had the biggest impact on humanity over the last 100 years, a survey has found.

The report, Create the Future 2017, found that Britons believe computers have brought the most change to people’s lives since 1917. Wartime hero Alan Turing is credited with significant development that led to modern computers throughout his career and as he helped crack the Enigma code.

The internet came second on the list, before MRI scans, the silicon chip and nuclear power. Although the internet evolved from US military networks, British engineer Tim Berners-Lee turned it into today’s ubiquitous presence by inventing the World Wide Web.

The survey was released to mark the 2017 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (QEPrize), which will honour the inventors of digital image sensors, including the UK’s Michael Tompsett.

“In addition to recognising engineering’s economic value, communities worldwide realise the continued need for skilled engineers,” said Lord Browne, chairman of the QEPrize foundation. “The QEPrize inspires young engineers by celebrating the very best innovations and highlighting the many talented, diverse individuals across the profession, while driving engineering towards a brighter future for everyone.”


Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily reflect the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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