World’s greatest engineering movie: Down to 16 and time to choose again

WGEM: Down to 16

The first round of voting is over in the race to find the best engineering movie. In general the head-to-head match ups in the first round were mostly blow outs with two exceptions Weird Science vs. When worlds collide and Gravity vs. Fat Man and Little Boy. Weird Science ended up with 55% of the vote to the older When worlds collide got 45%. The closest run off was between two outstanding engineering flicks: Gravity, one of my favorites of the newer movies, which garnered 52%, and Fat man and Little Boy, which lost with 48%.

One of my favorites that took a beating, The Core, likely suffered from the fact that few people saw the movie. It also didn’t help that it was up against Apollo 13, a powerhouse of a movie and an engineering favorite that won two Oscars. . Another all-time classic and personal favorite, Destination Moon, a 1950’s movie that predicted the Space Race and was written by sci-fi great Robert Heinlein, also lost big time to Bridge on the River Kwai. But Bridge on the River Kwai is truly a great movie and earned 7 Oscars; Destination Moon only earned one.
Another personal favorite that went down in flames was Fantastic Voyage, losing 38% to 62% to Iron Man. I saw this flick when it first came out and the scenes of the miniaturized people and sub moving through the arteries and other body parts was incredible on the big screen. Plus, it has Raquel Welch. Despite its poor showing, it still ranks high on my short list of Great Biomedical Engineering Movies.

Now it’s time to vote in the second round and whittle the contenders down to eight. Here are the match ups:

Apollo 13 v. Iron Man

Real genius v. Flight of the phoenix

Bridge on the River Kwai v. Weird Science

World’s fastest Indian v. Star Trek IV: The voyage home

Gravity v. Tucker: The man and his dream

2001: A space odyssey v. Space cowboys

The fly v. The right stuff

Andromeda Strain v. Star Wars V: The empire strikes back

And here’s link to the voting page. Don’t forget, you earn points towards prizes whenever your choice, i.e., the movies you vote for, move on in the competition. And as the rounds progress, earned points increase for each movie that survive for another round

I think Apollo 13 v. Iron Man is the match up to watch in this round. Meanwhile, I’m pulling for Flight of the Phoenix . But let us know what you think of the results and which movie is likely to win.

Discuss this Blog Entry 2

on Apr 2, 2014

Typical-so many ignored the instructions and just put down choices. Also Sci-Fi is not engineering, it is fiction.
If you want fiction, try "The Illustrated Man" .
The best is most likely Andromeda Strain since it show cases several disciplines solving problems with real world knowledge and experience. An example is the parallel between a squalling baby and a sterno drinker. Twiddle that on your tablet.
The World's Fastest Indian is in a class by itself. Not only a great story, but a true one well told.

The best thing about this contest is a list of many unseen possibilities for a good movie or two!

on Apr 3, 2014

Though it's a bit late, you may want to add the current new Miyazaki film "The Wind Rises" (or at least see it). It was nominated for this year's Academy award for best animated picture.
It is about Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of the Mitsubishi A5M and A6M (Zero) and mostly about his career as an aircraft engineer, his dreams about flight and his romance with his wife. It also features slide rules!

Christopher D. Barry, P.E.

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A questioning, sometimes humorous look at technologies, engineering, and the world.


Stephen Mraz

Steve serves as Senior Editor of Machine Design.  He has 23 years of service and has a B.S. Biomedical Engineering from CWRU. Steve was a E-2C Hawkeye Naval Flight Officer in the U.S. Navy. He...
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