Isambard Kingdom Brunel was a civil engineer active in the 19th century.
Born in Portsmouth, England Brunel was the son of the civil engineer, Sir Marc Isambard (born 1769, died 1859) and his wife, Sophia.
At the beginning of his career, Brunel worked as chief assistant engineer on his father's project to build the first tunnel under the Thames in London, England. Following a bad accident on the project in 1828, he spent some time in Clifton, Bristol, England and became interested in the competition to construct a bridge over the deep Avon Gorge. Eventually, one of his designs was selected and construction began in 1836. Although the bridge was not completed during his lifetime (due to insufficient funds), this project publicised his talents and resulted in work on other major construction schemes.
Brunel became renowned for his work for the Great Western Railway, and his revolutionary ship designs, as well as for bridges.
Brunel married Mary Elizabeth Horsley (born 1813) in 1836. Their second son, Henry Marc Brunel (born 1842, died 1903), also became a civil engineer.