What is the greatest engineering feat of all time?
The International Space Station
Location: In low orbit | Date of Completion: November 20, 1998 | Primary Challenge: Maintaining a livable space for astronauts in an ongoing research setting, including psychological and medical support.
Defining Innovation: Placing a long-term and habitable station into the Earth's orbit, enabling research to be carried out indefinitely. | Function: Offer a habitat for international astronauts to make observations and monitor real-time space data. | Materials: nickel hydride, plastics, aluminium, titanium, steel, carbon fiber | Fun Fact: In connecting its electrical systems alone, the ISS utilizes eight miles of wiring.
The Large Hadron Collidor
Location: Near Geneva, Switzerland | Date of Completion: September 10, 2008 | Primary Challenge: Designing an efficient manner of conserving energy while powering the facility's superconducting magnets and beam technology.
Defining Innovation: Expanding on particle collider design to make the world's largest facility in its class. | Function: Running practical tests involving particle physics and collision. | Materials: steel, concrete, magnets, aluminum, plastics, titanium, lead | Fun Fact: Particles accelerators, much like those found in the Large Hadron Collider, are used to set the paint on soda cans.
Location: Rome, Italy | Date of Completion: 80 A.D. | Primary Challenge: Utilizing the relatively new processes of concrete laying and vaulted arch placement to ensure structural stability.
Defining Innovation: Enabling almost 50,000 spectators to watch the gladiatorial games, which meets the capacity of many modern sports stadiums. | Function: Host all manners of combat, historical re-enactments, play performances, and other public spectacles for Roman citizens. | Materials: stone, tiles, bricks, limestone, mortar, lime, cement | Fun Fact: According to ancient sources, the Colosseum was capable of being flooded and used in mock sea-battles.
Location: Dubai, UAE | Date of Completion: April 30, 2009 | Primary Challenge: Creating an enveloping ring of breakwater stone to prevent waves from destroying a delicate rubble-and-sand foundation.
Defining Innovation: Forming one of the world's first large-scale and functional artificial archipelagos. | Function: Provide a luxury resort and vacation complex intended for the extremely wealthy, designed to hold a multitude of buildings and activities. | Materials: rock and sand | Fun Fact: Over 12,000 palm trees have been placed or grown on the island in its nursery habitats.
The Great Wall of China
Location: Throughout China | Date of Completion: N.D. (Construction discontinued by the Qing dynasty in the 17th century) | Primary Challenge: Safeguarding laborers against extreme temperatures and weather conditions.
Defining Innovation: Constructing a massive fortification spanning over 5,000 miles and mobilizing China's scattered labor force. | Function: Protection against invasion from raiders and armies on the Steppes, possibly taxation on Silk Road goods or border protection. | Materials: bricks, stones, rammed earth, lime, wood | Fun Fact: Contrary to popular belief, the Great Wall cannot be observed from space (or even, in most cases, from low orbit!).
Location: Dubai, UAE | Date of Completion: January 4, 2010 | Primary Challenge: Developing high-pressure pumps capable of transporting and laying concrete at dizzying heights
Defining Innovation: Challenging vertical limits with the addition of sky lobbies and terraced architecture | Function: Serve as a high-end hotel with an attached mall, condominium complex, night clubs, restaurants, and park grounds | Materials: aluminum, stainless steel, concrete, glass, silicone | Fun Fact: The structure was popularized in the action film Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which featured a death-defying rappel down its glass windows.
Location: Rome, Italy | Date of Completion: 312 B.C. | Primary Challenge: Properly fitting the stones of the conduit, which carried water from the source to its above-ground destination.
Defining Innovation: Using engineering principles to ferry water from one location to another without using buckets or other manual transfer methods. | Function: To deliver fresh water to Roman citizens with a centralized aqueduct system. | Materials: stone, lead, earth, wood, terra cotta | Fun Fact: The imprecise nature of this aqueduct's construction often necessitated frequent repairs and rebuilding, largely due to leakage.
Location: Florence, Italy | Date of Completion: 1469 | Primary Challenge: Overcoming the tremendous strain placed on a dome of that size and weight.
Defining Innovation: Pioneering an inventive system of octagonal ring support for a large and ambitious dome shape. | Function: Crowning the famous Florence Cathedral and solving previous architectural woes associated with dome collapses. | Materials: bricks, stone, mortar | Fun Fact: Although the dome was completed in 1469, the cathedral's façade was not officially finished until 1887.
The Golden Gate Bridge
Location: San Francisco, California, USA | Date of Completion: April 19, 1937 | Primary Challenge: Designing a bridge capable of withstanding extreme wind speeds.
Defining Innovation: Capitalizing on a unique design based around suspension cable rigging and new metallurgy techniques. | Function: Allow traffic to pass directly over the mile-wide San Francisco Bay | Materials: galvanized steel, concrete, epoxy asphalt | Fun Fact: Out of concern for passing ships in the Bay, the Navy requested that the bridge be painted with eye-catching stripes.
The Pyramid of Khufu
Location: El Giza, Egypt | Date of Completion: Between 2560 and 2540 B.C. | Primary Challenge: Lifting the large limestone blocks to the desired height using limited technology.
Defining Innovation: Organizing manpower and resource delivery systems to ensure a constant and productive work pace on the megastructure. | Function: Housing the entombed body of Pharoah Khufu. | Materials: limestone, pink granite, basalt, alabaster | Fun Fact: The Pyramid of Khufu is the only pyramid at Giza to have passages continuing upward and downward into the structure.
The Channel Tunnel
Location: Spanning from Kent, England to Pas-de-Calais, France | Date of Completion: May 6, 1994 | Primary Challenge: Working around the exorbitant costs associated with high-pressure drilling beneath the channel.
Defining Innovation: Developing a system of reliable and passenger-accessible transport beneath a major body of water. | Function: Permitting traffic and travel beneath the English Channel. | Materials: steel, concrete | Fun Fact: 85% of the passengers using the Channel Tunnel are British
The National Stadium
Location: Beijing, China | Date of Completion: September, 2007 | Primary Challenge: Balancing a unique steel aesthetic with the stadium's intended functionality.
Defining Innovation: Employing massive amounts of steel to create the world's largest enclosed space. | Function: Hosting sports such as soccer or track running. | Materials: steel, concrete, aluminum | Fun Fact: Midway through the stadium's construction, its budget was cut from $500 million to $300 million.
GOAT Staff Score - Engineering FeatThe candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
|Obstacles Overcome (35%)||Influence on the Future (25%)||Uniqueness (20%)||Practicality (10%)||Contemporary Reception (10%)||Raw Score||Final GOAT Score|
|The International Space Station||11||11||12||10||10||54||1100|
|The Large Hadron Collidor||10||7||11||8||4||40||865|
|The Great Wall of China||12||1||6||7||11||37||745|
|The Golden Gate Bridge||4||6||2||11||7||30||510|
|The Pyramid of Khufu||5||3||9||1||6||24||500|
|The Channel Tunnel||1||4||5||12||5||27||405|
|The National Stadium||2||2||3||3||1||11||220|