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Professor Michael P. Collins – In Search of Elegance

Can you get youtube overseas?

From wiki

Collins has concentrated his research effort on understanding how cracked reinforced concrete resists shear stress. Shear failures can cause concrete structures to collapse without warning and hence, accurate analytical models for shear behaviour are critical for public safety.

Unfortunately, most traditional shear design procedures rely upon empirical design rules which lack a rigorous theoretical basis and can be dangerous if applied to new situations. The Compression Field Theory, and subsequently the Modified Compression Field Theory, developed by Professor Collins and his colleagues at the University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, provides a rational basis for shear design and has received worldwide recognition.

A Simplified Modified Compression Field Theory is currently the design standard in the Canadian CAN/CSA A23.3-04 which is the basic truss model, and soon to be updated and included in the European Building Code. He is the author of over 80 technical papers, 8 of which have received research prizes.

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Women in Engineering – Golden Gate Bridge Engineer – Ewa Bauer

Look I hate to use the “Woman” engineer tag but it is rare to see and hear about women in bridge design. When I first started teaching concrete design, my class had very few women in the class. Maybe one or two out of twenty. Now I have probably ten to twenty out of ninety. (Who counts anymore?)

Still, women bridge engineers in high positions seem to be rare. (Is this also true in Europe?)

Ewa Bauer, is now the District Engineer for the Golden Gate Bridge. A cool position if there ever was one.

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Engineers as Leaders, ahhh not so much.

I love engineering. Finding answers to problems is what we do, and we are pretty good at it.

But I think we are terrible at defining the problems. I have been on projects where meetings and arguments would rage for days about some minor technical aspect of a design when the solution is really a change in thinking. Maybe the problems would go away if you made the bridge a two span structure instead of three. Maybe concrete is not the solution to every problem. I’m just saying…

Leadership has been described as the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task. Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.

I would also argue that engineers are micro thinkers and often miss the larger picture. Maybe because it is difficult to quantify a large view, maybe because of the fear of the unknown. Maybe because we are used to working on the smallest details, once the big picture has been passed on to us. (I have had managers who argued for perfect plans with perfect details, but missed the obvious that the overall design was flawed from the start.)

Ahhh where was I, oh yeah, engineers as leaders. It seems obvious that engineers should rule the world. We have big brains, impeccable social skills and problem solving credentials out the wazoo but for some reason we are not leading the charge.

So what do you think, are engineers leaders or do we just work on other people’s  ideas?

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Sunday Night sketchup and odd thoughts

Rendered this for six hours. I need a faster machine…

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about change, especially how to change engineers. (It doesn’t have to be engineers strictly speaking, but it does boil down to changing minds.)

My wife, a vegan, believes that all meat eaters will eventually see the light and change to a plant based lifestyle once they are forced into it. By that I mean, they will face a catastrophic health scare and the Doctor will suggest a more congenial food regime.

Is that the key to changing engineering minds? Some kind of catastrophic occurrence?  How do you motivate change? Small nudges on a daily basis, or a major wallop to the frontal lobe? (Figuratively speaking of course.)

I prefer the wallop myself…

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Bridge Competition, sort of

The Happy Pontist wrote a post about a small bridge design competition. No money but it looks like fun. The biggest issue is of course money.

I’m not sure there is a more cost efficient solution than the one currently shown. BUT a better looking bridge for slightly more money is doable. Plus the better looking bridge will enhance the area and make it a more enjoyable place to live.

So to start some other ideas….may not be the best but doable.

Freight House Pedestrian Bridge / BNIM