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Engineering for the Ecological Age: Lessons from History

Engineering for the Ecological Age: Lessons from History

This video was recorded at Morison Prize Lecture in Science, Technology and Society. John Ochsendorf, a structural engineer, "fell in love with archaeology" during college. His senior thesis at Cornell involved a 600-year-old Incan suspension bridge made entirely out of grass. Ochsendorf learned that this apparently primitive structure owed its astonishing longevity to regular rebuilds by the locals (during a community festival), and the use of renewable, biodegradable resources. While Cornell's engineering faculty couldn't see the point of this research -- "grass bridges over highway overpasses"? -- Ochsendorf realized that historical structures held important lessons for modern building technology. The grass bridge raised several problems that now consume Ochsendorf's academic and... Show More

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