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Eight of the Greatest Modern Engineering Achievements


Technology has made amazing works of engineering and art come alive. Problems that we didn't think were possible to solve have been solved with the cutting edge tools and designs readily available to use. Dreams of soaring skyscrapers and delicate, but strong cable bridges have become a reality. The eight engineering marvels that are listed below only scratch the surface of engineering achievements that have come about in the past 20 years. Bridges and buildings are named on this list, but there are also other objects such as a telescope and a man made chain of islands that are also on this list.

Millau Viaduct Bridge

Millau Viaduct Bridge

This cable stayed bridge was created to bridge a gap in the Tarn Valley and lesson traffic on the A75 auto route from Paris, France to Beziers, Spain. It has won numerous awards for its structure and architectural style. The cable stayed bridge was the winning solution in a competition held in July 1996. It was thoroughly tested for wind shear and for weight requirements. Construction began in 2001 with a finish date of December 2004. This cable stayed bridge has been named as the tallest bridge in the world.

Large Hadron Collider

Large Hadron Collider

Specifically designed to measure tiny particles and their properties, the Large Hadron Collider is known the world's largest particle collider. With this particle collider scientists have been able to discover new theories of how humanity came into existence and how our world works down to the miniscule levels. It was built between 1998 and 2008 with the collaboration of over 10,000 scientists.

National Stadium China

National Stadium (Beijing, China)

Known worldwide as the “Birds Nest” due to its likeness to a bird's nest, Beijing's national stadium is comprised of environmentally compatible elements and native steel guiders. The unique nest designs of the two buildings that comprise the stadium give it strength unparalleled in buildings of this unique porous design. The design components are not the original design components originally drawn in 2003. Various changes were made to improve strength and durability. It officially opened just in time for the 2008 Olympics.

Palm Islands, Dubai

Palm Islands (Dubai)

The palm shaped islands off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are part of a larger construction plan to give Dubai more land space. The floating islands consist of sand and blasted sea rock to create a crescent shaped breakwater. Erosion preventing water soluble solution (tiles) is then placed in strategic locations to create the island's base. Palm Jumeirah is one of the first palm shaped islands in the region. Construction began on the island in 2001.

USS G.W. Bush

USS George H.W. Bush

Constructed in 2003 and completed in 2009, the USS George H.W. Bush is the tenth and final Nimitz class super carrier of the US Navy. Environmental, operational and communication considerations are what makes this carrier a vast improvement over older class carriers. The engineering achievements with this carrier are the many environmental changes and improvements including self-automated refueling of jets on the runway.

The Bailong Elevator

The Bailong Elevator

Known as the world's largest outdoor elevator, the Bailong elevator travels 1,700 feet up a sandstone formation in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. Construction began in 1999 and completed in 2002. Safety concerns and structural integrity were the major reasons construction took so long to complete. The Bailong elevator is also known as the Hundred Dragons elevator.

Pan-STARRS Telescope


This telescope and rapid response system is designed to scan and observe the sky at different angles creating a panoramic view of the heavens. The key component is its tracking system to warn of approaching objects that could potentially endanger Earth. The first Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System came online in 2008. The combination of telescopes, astronomical cameras and a computing facility is a fascinating engineering marvel of symmetry and beauty.

Nord Stream Pipeline

Nord Stream (formerly North European Pipeline)

The concept of running a pipeline from Vyborg, Russia to Greifwald, Germany came into being in 1997. The logistics and construction of the 759 mile pipeline was bogged down by restrictions and time constraints. A feasibility study was done in 2001 with various environmental studies and cooperative ventures being set in place from 2005 to 2010. The first line was inaugurated November 8, 2011.

The vast array of engineering achievements in the past twenty years shows human ingenuity and the promise of more wonders to behold.