With far less fanfare than the Nobel announcements this week, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) unveiled its list of the top 10 greatest engineering feats of the 20th century. Topping the list was the Apollo Space Program, an undertaking by NASA that consisted of 28 missions and at its peak employed almost 400,000 people. The most famous missionApollo 11, which delivered two astronauts to the moon on July 20, 1969 (right)"turned a dream into an engineering challenge, on which the prestige of the United States would rest," notes ASME's Mechanical Engineering magazine in its October 2000 issue. ASME came up with the list by way of surveying members and tallying 1,400 responses. The remaining nine achievements considered major contributions to engineering progress and economic and social development during the past 100 years appear in the list below.


  • Apollo Space Program
  • Power Generation
  • Agricultural Mechanization
  • Integrated Circuit Mass-Production
  • Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing Technology
  • Bioengineering
  • Codes and Standards
  • Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
  • Airplane
  • Automobile