5 TED Talks every engineer should watch

The engineering profession relies on bedrock principles of math and science, but that doesn’t mean we ever stop learning. Much like the talented architects we work with on projects nationwide, the ideas in the following TED Talks provide insights into the future of our designed world. Whether you’re just starting out or are looking to infuse new ideas and perspectives into your career, we hope you find inspiration and practical learnings on everything from the power of combining art and engineering to the healing potential of design.


1. To create for the ages, let’s combine art and engineering, by Bran Ferren, technology designer

Technology designer Bran Ferren on how the oculus of the Pantheon gave him life-changing clarity into the worlds of design and engineering.

“Art and design are not luxuries, nor somehow incompatible with science and engineering. They are in fact essential to what makes us special.” -Bran Ferren, Technology Designer

2. The science of friction – and its surprising impact on our lives, by Jennifer Vail, tribologist

A mechanical engineer explains the unexpected ways “tribology” – the study of friction – could help create a better world.

“Tribology research has helped us reduce friction and therefore increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.” -Jennifer Vail, Tribologist

3. Architecture that’s built to heal, by Michael Murphy, designer

Design is about more than the blueprint. In this TED Talk, we learn how considering factors from airflow to light can heal individuals and repair communities.

“What if we could design a hospital that could breathe through natural ventilation, and meanwhile reduce its environmental footprint?” -Michael Murphy, Designer

4. Why doesn’t the Leaning Tower of Pisa fall over?, by Alex Gendler, educator

Over the years there have been many attempts to stabilize the famous tower. Educator Alex Gendler explains why, after more than 700 years, it’s still standing.

“The engineers and architects of the time were masters of their craft. But for all their engineering knowledge, they knew far less about the ground they stood on.” -Alex Gendler, Educator

5. How the world’s longest underwater tunnel was built, by Alex Gendler, educator

For most of its history, crossing the English Channel was a risky proposition. When a group of investors decided to change that, they embarked on the most expensive infrastructure project to date.

“Hopefully, the structure’s history can serve as a reminder that humanity is at their best when breaking down barriers.” -Alex Gendler, Educator