Category Archives: Engineering

Pre-stressed concrete: lessons for swing dancers

Recently in beginner’s swing dancing classes I’ve described the connection between lead and follow when dancing side-by-side Charleston as being a bit like how pre-stressed concrete works. I promised a…

Sorting out your lego – the Eiffelover guide

If you own a big pile of Lego, then sorting it into separate boxes for different sorts of parts makes it much quicker for you to build anything you want…

HS2, Seneca and the art of persuasion

  Persuasion is an important skill for designers: to convince the audience of an idea is it to allow it take root and evolve. Unfortunately, I never have been convinced…

The view from More London

It’s a curious place, More London.    

St Paul's in the distance viewed via the long axis of the Millennium Bridge

Stressed by stressed ribbons – teaching notes from Southampton

One of the groups of students that Ben Godber and I teach at the University of Southampton is designing a stressed ribbon footbridge as their entry for a design competition…

Sepia image showing the streets around the Rond Point de L'Alma flooded.

Qui l’eût cru – when Paris flooded in 1910

Seven years ago I was rummaging in the loft of my great grandfather’s old house in the south of France when I discovered a box of postcards, ninety of them…

In the can: the Bare Essentials of Soil Mechanics

  Today at Think Up I posted the first five videos of a series we are creating called the Bare Essentials of Soil Mechanics. The idea of the Bare Essentials…

The bridge between mechanical and civil engineers

Last night I was reminded of the fascinating world of moveable bridges. From the glorious transporter bridges of ports and river estuaries to hulking swing bridges of the New Jersey…

Image showing student in front of reactor vessel at Nuclear Island Big Rig

Build a nuclear power station in a week

It was three years ago, standing in the middle of my first Big Rig structure that I first had the idea of getting engineering students to build their own nuclear…

Human cantilever bridge demonstration. Black and white. Benjamin Baker. Forth Bridge

Building the Forth Bridge on Stage

For my first time on stage at Science Showoff back in November 2011, I decided to recreate the famous public demonstration conducted by engineer Benjamin Baker to reassure the public…