School of Engineering and Science - Stevens Timeline

History of Stevens Engineering and Science

1784 - Innovative Entrepreneurs in American Transportation

John Stevens III, a colonel in the Revolutionary War, purchases from New Jersey the land included in the present-day 55-acre campus of the present University and the surrounding city of Hoboken. John Stevens has been called the "father of American patent law" for his role in petitioning Congress to pass the Patent Act of 1790, which created the Patent Board and established the rights of American inventors.

The Stevens family continued in John Stevens' legacy. Robert Stevens invented the T-rail, the form of railroad track used today around the world. Edwin A. Stevens designed and built ironclad vessels for the U.S. Navy. Together, they would build and operate profitably the first commercial railroad in the United States.

1870 - A Mechanical Engineering First

Stevens Institute of Technology opens its doors to students as one of the first institutions to offer the degree of Mechanical Engineer. Stevens has been committed to hands-on learning through a broad-based curriculum from the first days of the institution. At a time when mechanical engineering was considered a narrow field, Stevens recognized the importance of a multidisciplinary approach, implementing a broad-based curriculum incorporated all branches of engineering so that mechanical engineers had a wide scope of engineering knowledge.

1880 - ASME Founded at Stevens

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) is formed at Stevens. ASME has been a perennial leader in developing technical standards, from the screw thread to the Boiler Code that remediated the dangerous boilers so essential to steam power of the day. Today the organization has 125,000 members worldwide and conducts one of the world's largest technical publishing operations.

1908 - Alumnus Co-Founds GM 

General Motors is co-founded by Charles Stewart Mott (1897). Within a few years GM acquires Buick Motor Company, Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Rapid Motor Vehicle Company (precursor to GMC) and Oakland (precursor to Pontiac). The company's vehicles and innovative designs would forever change mobility and commerce in the United States and abroad.

1911 - Taylor's Groundbreaking Ideas

Frederick Winslow Taylor (1893) publishes "The Principles of Scientific Management." The work would revolutionize management techniques in the fields of science and engineering and beyond, with a resounding impact on project management today. His discovery, with Maunsel White, of the Taylor-White Process for treating tool steel revolutionized metalcutting techniques and paved the way for mass production methods.

1919 - Famous Artist Graduates Stevens

Alexander Calder graduates from Stevens with a degree in engineering. The innovative Calder used his Mechanical Engineering Knowledge to create the first truly kinetic sculpture, or "mobile," giving birth to a completely new form of art. His creation, The Stevens Mobile, hangs in the S.C. Williams library. His "stabile," titled Hard to Swallow, can be found on level two of the library.

1923 - Alumnus Modernizes Radio Communication

Louis Hazeltine (1906) patents the Neutrodyne, the first commercially-feasible radio receiver. Hazeltine's device created an antiphase signal that could be adjusted to neutralize the stray signal that gave early radio a high-pitched squealing sound. Best of all, the Neutrodyne could be easily tuned by the consumer and did not require specialized skills, a characteristic that separated the device from other radio receivers of the time. The device sold 10 million sets in four years.

1935 - Stevens: Maritime Innovator

Towing Tank Number 1, the first tank at Davidson Laboratory, opens for use. The structure stands 101 feet long, 9 feet across at the surface, and 4.5 feet deep. Model ships and yachts are tested in the tank's waters, including America's Cup competitors. Two more tanks are added over the years. The renovation of Tank Number 3 in 2006 made it the most advanced tank of its kind in the United States.

Stevens involvement with America's Cup began long before the completion of the towing tank. In fact, John Cox Stevens founded the New York Yacht Club and collaborated with his brother Edwin A. Stevens on the construction of the yacht America, winner of the 1851 regatta that would become known as the first "America's Cup."

1946 - Stevens Impacts Modern Transportation 

With car safety an increasingly important issue, the earliest versions of the now-ubiquitous Jersey Barrier are designed and developed at Stevens Davidson Laboratory. By 1955, barrier designs are standardized. Today, the barriers direct traffic and prevent accidents on hundreds of thousands of miles of American roadway.

1951 - Alumnus Co-Founds Texas Instruments 

Texas Instruments (TI) is co-founded by Eugene McDermott, valedictorian of the Class of 1919. McDermott had formerly pioneered the use of electronic seismic equipment used in oil and gas exploration. TI's development of the commercial semi-conductor would spark massive development in computing and revolutionize the way information is stored. Stevens would go on to be one of the first universities in the nation to network its campus and require students to own a personal computer. Today, Stevens is a leader in Computer Science and Information Security research, ranking among the Top 25 "Most Connected Campuses" as determined by a 2006 study by the Princeton Review.

1957 - Invention of Bubble Wrap

After much trial and error, Alfred W. Fielding '39 M.S. '43 D.Eng. '86, invents bubble wrap along with a Swiss inventor named Mark Chavannes. The product was initially pitched as wallpaper, and then insulation for greenhouses, before the pair realized its optimal use was as a packing material. Fielding co-founded the Sealed Air Corporation to develop and market the product. Fielding serves as a paramount example of the entrepreneurial focus at Stevens, which encourages students to develop their innovative ideas into actual products in the marketplace.

Today Stevens faculty continue to develop innovative materials, frequently on a much smaller scale. Drawing from inspiration in nature, Dr. Pinar Akcora, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, is using her National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award to study the self-healing properties of nanoparticles and develop a foundation for diverse applications in "smart materials" resistance to wear even in hostile environments or conditions.

1964-1965 - Apollo Testing at Stevens

To assess safety issues of the Apollo Command Modules, Davidson Laboratory'swave tank is used to test the units. This research leads to new techniques for describing and predicting the response of a floating body in irregular seas. Davidson Labs, which celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 2010, continues to contribute to safety and use issues in naval and aerospace design.

1968 - Stevens Pioneers Synthetic Penicillin

Professors Ajay K. Bose and Magyar Manhas pioneer a breakthrough process to manufacture synthetic penicillin, which will become known as the "Bose Reaction." Stevens Pharmaceutical Manufacturing program today continues a legacy of bridging the gap between original research in medicine and the safe and efficient fabrication of drugs.

1969 - Alumni Contribute to Space Exploration

A human sets foot on the moon, thanks in part to the contributions of Stevens alumni. Aaron B. Cohen, M.S. '58, headed NASA's program office for the Apollo command and service modules and eventually directed the Manned Spaceflight Center in Houston during the Space Shuttle era. Alfred Africano '29 performed research on liquid oxygen fuels for propelling spacecraft such as the Apollo moon lander.

1972 - Alumnus Revolutionizes Medical Device Industry

Wesley J. Howe '31 M.S. '53, as president of Becton Dickinson, leads the "disposable revolution" as the company becomes the leading manufacturer of disposable syringes and gloves that prove indispensable for modern medicine. Stevens remains a regional and national leader in competitively placing graduates from Biomedical Engineering and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing programs. Today professors like Dr. Vikki Hazelwood work with students to develop solutions for unmet needs in the Lab for Translational Research in Medicine.

1986 - Alumnus Lays Foundation for E-mail 

Mark Crispin '77 invents the IMAP protocol that made early e-mail communications possible. Today, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is pioneering the software and hardware supporting widespread adoption of wireless communications through software-defined and cognitive radio research.

1995 - Alumnus Receives Nobel Prize in Physics

Dr. Frederick Reins '39 M.S. '41 receives the Nobel Prize in Physics for his co-detection of the neutrino. The Department of Physics and Engineering Physics at Stevens continues to push the edges of our understanding with special emphasis on atomic and molecular physics and quantum optics.

1998 - Alumnus Heads DARPA

Frank Fernandez '60 M.S. '61 is appointed director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) at this crucial time in the post-Cold War era of transition. Fernandez had previously founded Arête Associates, a leader in sensor and signal processing technology for defense applications, and received the Distinguished Public Service Award by the Secretary of Defense in 2001.

2003 - Stevens Recognized by NSA 

Stevens is recognized by the National Security Agency as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research. Students continue to benefit from this special designation through unique study, scholarship, and career opportunities with the federal government. In 2008, Stevens further gains recognition as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education.

2008-2010 - National Centers of Excellence at Stevens

Responding to new needs for security technology and research, the U.S. Government designates Stevens to host three National Centers of Excellence: Center for Secure Resilient Maritime Research (CSR), Atlantic Center for the Innovative Design and Control of Small Ships (ACCeSS), and the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC).

2011 - Stevens Looks Toward the Future

Over 140 years after its founding, Stevens continues to shape the future through its steadfast commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship. The Stevens motto remains as applicable today as the day the school was founded in 1870. Per aspera ad astra. Through adversity to the stars!

Image Above:Stevens Gate to Castle Point Terrace

Image Above:Steamboat Juliana

Image Above:1804 Experimental Engine for propelling vessels constructed by Col. John Stevens and successfully deployed on the Hudson River

Image Above:Circular track train prototype on Stevens Campus

Image Above: The S. S. Edwin A. Stevens

Image Above: U.S. Iron Clad Steamer, Monitor

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