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Celebrating neurodiversity in engineering

Research shows there is a greater incidence of neurodiversity amongst engineers. Here we take a look at some neurodivergent individuals who have made a major impact on the engineering community.

A place to recognise neurodiverse talent

We know there are many neurodiverse engineers out there who are doing incredible work that is changing the way we live, work and interact as a society.

And whilst we developed this hub as a supportive resource for our neurodiverse community members, we also want it to serve as a place where the contributions these individuals bring to engineering are celebrated, and given the respect and recognition they deserve.

So we’ve gathered up just some of the most famous and influential engineers, scientists and technologists who have presented neurodiverse traits below – people have made an outstanding contribution to the engineering sector, and shown the incredible talent and capability of neurodivergent individuals.

How many do you recognise?

Michael Faraday Branded

Michael Faraday

Faraday was a British chemist and physicist who contributed significantly to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. He was believed to be dyslexic. While this made reading and writing difficult for him, it enabled Faraday to see things in a way most could not. His statue stands outside Savoy Place, the London home of the IET, and his name is given to a major resource aimed at getting young people into science and engineering.

Sir Isaac Newton Branded

Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton is believed to have had Aspergers Syndrome, or to have been somewhere on the autistic spectrum. Researchers from Cambridge University have shown that Newton presented many autistic characteristics, including isolating himself as much as possible, being notoriously awkward in conversations, struggling to keep friends, and favouring routines. There are even reports that he would become so focused on his work that he would go for days without eating or sleeping.

Thomas Edison Branded

Thomas Edison

The preeminent engineer Thomas Edison, who holds almost 1,100 registered patents in his name, presented traits that suggest he may have suffered from dyslexia. While at school he would regularly "daydream" and was even accused of "addling" and being "generally inattentive" by his teachers.

Alexander Graham Bell Branded

Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the first practical telephone (among other things), is another engineer and inventor who presented signs of dyslexia. His early school life was a real struggle, with his school records filled with absenteeism and poor grades. But despite this, his keen interest and skill in science and technology would make him a household name, in his own time and beyond.

James Clerk Maxwell Branded

James Clerk Maxwell

James Clerk Maxwell made significant contributions to the fields of kinetics, quantum mechanics, and special relativity, but is also considered to have been dyslexic. In his youth, he was criticized for being slow and idle, but would go on to be a very successful scientist and engineer.

Nikola Tesla Branded

Nikola Tesla

According to records of his time, Nikola Tesla – whose ideas were reportedly stolen by his rival (and fellow suspected neurodivergent engineer) Thomas Edison – suffered from a large number of phobias, and was extremely sensitive to light and sound. He isolated himself and was obsessed with the number three. This has led people to believe he may have been on the autistic spectrum.

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Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is a well-known engineer and scientist who graduated in Mechanical Engineering and Physics at Imperial College, London, before going on to build a distinguished career as a space scientist and communicator. Diagnosed with dyslexia when she was eight years old, she also got off to a challenging start and struggled in her early academic career – even going so far as to say that she hated her school days.

Jacques Dubochet Branded

Jacques Dubochet

Jacques Dubochet is a scientist and engineer who was jointly awarded the Nobel prize in Chemistry in 2017 "for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution." But he had a bit of a challenging start to his academic career, struggling with his early studies thanks to undiagnosed dyslexia. In fact, he admits that he almost dropped out before one of his teachers diagnosed him as dyslexic.

John B. Goodenough Branded

John B. Goodneough

John B. Goodenough, a scientist and engineer who helped to improve the design of the lithium ion battery, was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2013 and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2019. As a child, he struggled with undiagnosed dyslexia, being considered just a 'backwards student' whilst at school. He has said that his dyslexia was the cause of his poor reading and writing skills, which is what inspired him to study mathematics. However, he did manage to teach himself these skills as time went on.

Need support?

We know that when you’re struggling emotionally, practically and financially, often the hardest step to take is reaching out and asking for support. And these challenges can have even more of an impact if you’re neurodivergent. But everyone experiences challenges in life, and it’s important to remember that you are not alone – after all, there are thousands of neurodiverse engineers just like you around the world, many of whom may be in a similar situation.

Our support is here to help you live better and thrive – whatever your circumstances. So, if you’re ready to get in touch with us, we’re ready to listen to your needs and offer whatever support we can.


You are not alone. Hear from people across the engineering community on how they’ve managed their neurodiversity journey, and what being a neurodivergent engineer means to them.

Mikaela Sanchez Branded

Learn how we helped Mikaela get a diagnosis for ADHD so that she could pass her placement with confidence.


Read Brian's story of how he got a diagnosis for dyslexia - but wishes the signs had been spotted sooner.

Stuart Redgard DWH Branded

Read Stuart's story of his experiences with Autism – and how his diagnosis helped him understand himself better.