8 | Parsons Building: The engine that revolutionised the 20th century
Charles Parsons's steam turbine
In the 1880s, engineer Charles Parsons invented the steam turbine, which allowed us to electrify the world. See an original small-scale working model of his turbine in the foyer of the Parsons Building 1 (home to TCD's Dept. of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering, and open in general Mon-Fri 9am-5pm), and compare it with the steam engine it replaced (the model by the door).
Parsons refined his turbine for propulsion at sea, revolutionising marine transport (Parsons's original turbine-powered boat Turbinia is at the Discovery Museum, Newcastle England). His home was Birr Castle, Co Offaly, where in 1845 his father, the 3rd Earl of Rosse, built the world's biggest telescope, the Leviathon.
Today, engineers here research a wide range of projects, in areas as diverse as nano-structures, transport, energy, the environment and digital media, as well as designing new technologies to aid elderly people. One TCD engineer even won an Oscar for his work on special effects software: Dr Anil Kokaram, in 2007.