With summer in full swing, our editors were having some fun talking about some fantastic travel destinations that engineers would love. From the search for extraterrestrial intelligence to the history of the information age, and from holograms and robotics to engineering feats saving entire cities, we present the Engineer’s Travel Bucket List for Summer 2017.
Curious about radio telescopes? They’re able to do and “see” things that optical telescopes can’t. Three of the largest are Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, Green Bank Telescope in Green Bank, W.V., and the Very Large Array of 27 dishes in Socorro, N.M. Visit to discover just why these telescopes are used, and what it’s hoped this research will ultimately reveal.
Engineers deal with things that can be measured: pressure, speed, length, mass, and so on. Here you’ll find more than 200 years’ worth of scientific instruments that were critical for measuring or discovering new (as well as age-old) characteristics and phenomenon. The precision mechanical instruments are a testament to human ingenuity and engineering. The Freedom Trail might be packed, and the Aquarium, U.S.S. Constitution, and other tourist sites backed up with lines of tourists, but this free, out-of-the-way museum is never crowded.
MIT isn’t just a great place for engineers to attend school; it’s also got a series of collections that will make any engineer’s trip to Boston more complete. From a general science and technology collection to a collection of 2,000 holograms, the MIT Museum has something for everyone. Be sure to check out the MIT Aeronautical and Aerospace Collection as well as their Robotics Collection, featuring archives from nearly 60 years of research into artificial intelligence.
This museum in Albuquerque, right outside Sandia National Lab (once a hotbed of nuclear weapons development) showcases a variety of historic items related to the birth of the atomic age, as well as weapons and various weapon-delivery platforms (planes, rockets, and even an incredibly large cannon known as Atomic Annie) designed to use nuclear weapons.
Think what you will about online shopping, but Amazon has made miraculous strides toward automation and robotics in logistics. The best part? You can sign up for a tour of one of the company’s fulfillment centers. The locations are scattered across seven states, and within the facility you’ll see the cutting edge of automation and robotics in logistics before all the other distribution networks go the same route.
Named for former President Lyndon Johnson, this Houston-based space center was probably most made famous by the phrase, “Houston, we have a problem,” The complex is a hotbed for mechanical engineers and space enthusiasts alike, featuring education programs for young and old, a museum of space artifacts, and a tour of the NASA Johnson Space Center, where you’ll see some truly out-of-this-world exhibits.
One of the first museums dedicated to preserving for the future the history of the Information Age, the Computer History Museum has a lot to offer the engineer. From a Demo Lab of IBM technology to exhibitions exploring the birth of computer hacking, the museum is an in-depth exploration of modern history. Be sure to check out the new History of Autonomous Vehicles exhibit while you’re there!
Electronics have come a long way, and the National Electronics Museum has been documenting its rise since its inception at a Westinghouse Family Day in 1973. There’s something for everyone here with historical exhibitions, explorations of radar technology, and a fundamentals of electronics exhibition that’s a great bonus for those less-engineering-minded travelers in your party.
Project Mose is the Italian attempt to hold back the rising waters of the sea and protect the cultural heritage of the city of Venice. Visitors can take guided tours exploring the immense mechanical and hydraulic apparatuses that are keeping the Mediterranean at bay, ensuring that future generations are able to behold the beauty of this Italian gem. Bonus: You’ll be in Italy!
No Engineering Travel Bucket List would be complete without the world’s largest hydroelectric dam, the Three Gorges Dam in China. Visitors can visit a museum near the site with exhibitions and working models demonstrating how the dam works and the history of its construction. English-speaking guides are available and an attractive option for travelers may be a Yangtze River Cruise, which will stop right next to the massive wonder.
You can visit CERN! On the tour you will learn the history of the laboratory and get details of the latest scientific discoveries that are being made deep underground. Visitors get to experience the operations center for experiments, take audio-visual tours, and learn about the amazing science behind one of humanity’s greatest contemporary endeavors.