To Forgive Design: Understanding Failure
When something fails we are quick to blame the design or engineers that built them but upon a closer look a wider canvas emerges that often leads to other issues.
Engineering is exciting to general public when it works but gets intriguing when it fails. In an interview with Readara, author and professor Henry Petroski chronicles the well-publicized civil engineering failures of recent times including swaying of bridges, corrosion of concrete, space shuttle blow out, and the sinking of Titanic.
Most engineers are generally not aware of history of engineering and engineering knowledge is not always cumulative. The book highlight scores of bridge disasters and offers methodical descriptions of several recent failures including the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
No engineer wants to design that will not succeed but it is the failure that brings improvement and moves engineering forward.
- Why do engineered structures sometimes fail?
- What causes or starts the failure process?
- How engineers of the future will learn from the mistakes of the past?
- Why was Galileo interested in researching the strength of materials?
- What were some of the reasons of failures such as the Big Dig in Boston, the space shuttles Columbia and Challenger, and the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion?
- What were some of the commercial and technical reasons behind the Deepwater Horizon blowout?
- How have software developers looked outside the field to structural engineering and developed systems that offer better reliability?