Alexander von Humboldt and Building a Better Bridge

Today’s scientists, engineers and resource managers know that a project’s success depends on a variety of factors, including the analysis of several environmental parameters. We know that the natural systems we are analyzing are complex. We know that water temperature, flow velocity, substrate type and other variables affect habitat for fish and other organisms. We […]

A Peek at the High-Tech Playbook: Lessons from Software Giants on Creating a Unique Work Space

Milton Hershey of Hershey Chocolate company fame, maker of unremarkable but affordable chocolate, established a company town in Hershey, Pennsylvania in 1903, complete with worker lodging, parks for employee enjoyment and other enviable conveniences. As we move into 2019, we learn that Microsoft Corporation is investing $500 million to create affordable housing in Seattle, Washington, […]

LiDAR Makes Waves in Engineering

Out with human surveying teams slogging across a project site to map a floodplain and in with slick UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle or drone) performing photogrammetry and collecting millions of elevation points in a matter of minutes. With the growing sophistication and cost-efficiencies of UAVs, the technologies of photogrammetry, lidar (Light detection and ranging) and […]

Hail to an Engineer Who Did It All

Legend has it that on January 12, 1828 during the construction of the Thames Tunnel in London, England, everything was fine—until it wasn’t. When the water started coming in there was little possibility for escape. This was the first project in the world to attempt to tunnel under a navigable waterway and it was a […]

At Work with the Intrapreneur

I came of age in the 1970s with the understanding that once I finished school I would, much like my dad and grandfather, work fairly regular hours at the same job, performing more or less the same duties, for the next 40 years until I retired. At that time, companies were managed according to set […]

The Onward March of Artificial Intelligence

More than just ordinary tools, in most cases your electronic devices can perform a series of tasks better than you can. Computers gain competencies daily in a variety of fields. Autonomous software agents trade on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. NEST security cameras distinguish between faces as they sort familiar features from […]

The Making of the First Digital Computer

In a scene from the 2014 movie The Imitation Game, the brilliant Alan Turing is urged by his colleague at Bletchley Park, Joan Clarke (played by Keira Knightley), to be more of a team player. Turing reluctantly agrees to try, and the next scene shows Turing stiffly sharing a bag of apples with his colleagues at Bletchley. […]

‘The Water Will Come’ Examines the Science, Politics and Humanitarian Crises Posed by Rising Sea Levels

Although rarely the topic of mainstream media reports, in many coastal communities planners, engineers and other municipal officials are hard at work on a very particular mission: how to keep the sea out of the city. In many parts of the world, the ocean regularly laps at people’s doors and pushes into the streets during […]