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Professor at Lehigh University

Professor at Lehigh University >

Learning to See and Understand Structure
Episode 1 of Understanding the World's Greatest Structures
How are ideas for buildings, bridges, and towers transformed from sketches to concrete reality? What are the three essential qualities that make a structure great? What's the difference between seeing a structure and actually understanding it?
The Rise and Fall of the Gothic Cathedral
Episode 12 of Understanding the World's Greatest Structures
Gothic cathedrals are lasting testaments to the power of a series of sweeping architectural developments in medieval Europe. After examining the roots of Gothic cathedrals in their Romanesque predecessors, focus on several structural innovations: including flying buttresses and pointed arches:…
Three Great Domes: Rome to the Renaissance
Episode 13 of Understanding the World's Greatest Structures
Trace the dome's evolution from the 1st century A.D. to the Renaissance. It's a journey reflected in the increasingly sophisticated domes of three great structures: the ancient Roman Pantheon, the Byzantine-era basilica of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, and the Renaissance-era…
Egypt and Greece: Pyramids to the Parthenon
Episode 10 of Understanding the World's Greatest Structures
Embark on your tour of different types of structures from around the world and across time. Your first stop: ancient Egypt, and the surprisingly complex engineering of pyramids, including the Great and Red pyramids. Your second stop: ancient Greece, where…
Technology in the Classical World
Episode 1 of Understanding Greek and Roman Technology
Begin your exploration of ancient Greek and Roman engineering by probing the technological edge that allowed the Greeks to beat the Persians at the Battle of Salamis. Then survey the aims of the course and preview an impressive piece of…
The Most Celebrated Edifice—The Pantheon
Episode 9 of Understanding Greek and Roman Technology
Conclude your study of great classical-era structures by examining the greatest of them all: the Pantheon in Rome. Imitated but never equaled, this temple to all the gods incorporates Greek as well as quintessentially Roman architectural features. The stupendous dome…
How Iron and Science Transformed Arch Bridges
Episode 14 of Understanding the World's Greatest Structures
Examine the development of arched bridges during and after the Industrial Revolution. See how the revolutionary Iron Bridge at Coalbrookdale paved the way for the development of science-based engineering. Also, see how science contributed to increasingly sophisticated modern bridges such…
The Great Skyscraper Race
Episode 19 of Understanding the World's Greatest Structures
The human aspiration to build upward reaches its climax with the skyscraper. Learn the story behind America's great skyscraper race and the increasingly sophisticated buildings it produced. Among the structural masterpieces you examine in depth are the Wainwright Building, the…
Suspension Bridges: The Challenge of Wind
Episode 16 of Understanding the World's Greatest Structures
In July 1940, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge dramatically collapsed in a steady 42-mph wind. In this concluding episode on suspension bridges, focus on how the Brooklyn Bridge, the Severn Bridge, and other bridges were designed to combat the second great…
The Rise of Iron- and Steel-Framed Buildings
Episode 18 of Understanding the World's Greatest Structures
How did iron and steel revolutionize building design? Find out in this trip back to late 18th- and early 19th-century Europe and America, where iron-framed structures: such as sheds at England's Chatham Dockyard, New York City's Equitable Life Insurance Building,…
Engineering a Roman Aqueduct
Episode 13 of Understanding Greek and Roman Technology
Design an aqueduct for a hypothetical Roman town. First identify a water source. Then consider its elevation and distance to the town, the possible terrain profiles for a channel, and the appropriate type of aqueduct. Conclude by examining the complex…
The Glory of Rome in Arches and Vaults
Episode 11 of Understanding the World's Greatest Structures
Learn why the arch is the principal structural feature of ancient Rome. Your detailed case studies range from simple bridges such as the Pont St. Martin and triumphal arches such as the Arch of Titus to massive aqueducts like the…
The Science of Structure - Forces in Balance
Episode 2 of Understanding the World's Greatest Structures
Explore how two types of external forces: loads (forces applied to structures) and reactions (forces developed at supports, in response to applied loads): act on structures such as Kansas City's Chouteau Bridge. Also, learn how these forces are related to…
Go with the Flow—Urban Water Distribution
Episode 14 of Understanding Greek and Roman Technology
Trace the flow of water through a major city such as Rome--from the aqueduct to water towers, public fountains, buildings and private residences, and ultimately to sewers. Among the questions you consider: Did the widespread use of lead pipes create…
Loads and Structural Systems
Episode 9 of Understanding the World's Greatest Structures
Structures are heavily influenced by the loads they're designed to carry. First, take a closer look at the most important loads structures must resist, including traffic loads and earthquake loads. Then, using the historic iron building at Watervliet Arsenal in…
From Quarry to Temple—Building in Stone
Episode 3 of Understanding Greek and Roman Technology
Gain a deeper appreciation for the ancient world's most important construction material by following a block of stone from a quarry to its final resting place in the wall of a Greek temple. Learn how stone blocks were extracted from…
The Substance of Technology—Materials
Episode 2 of Understanding Greek and Roman Technology
Study the engineering materials available in classical antiquity. First look at the simple physics of compression and tension. Then consider six specific materials: stone, wood, clay, copper, bronze, and iron. Examine how they came into use and how their properties…
Turning a Good Teacher into a Great One
Episode 18 of How the World Learns
Think about what constitutes good teaching, and look at the ways teachers teach in the U.S., Finland, Saudi Arabia, and Japan. Begin your comparison by looking at some of the school factors that influence teaching, including how teachers are trained…
Construction Revolution—Arches and Concrete
Episode 6 of Understanding Greek and Roman Technology
Learn how the physics of the arch solves the problem of the tensile weakness of stone. Then see how standard bricks and concrete greatly simplify and reduce the cost of monumental building. These technologies were the key to Rome's construction…
From Wood to Steel - Properties of Materials
Episode 4 of Understanding the World's Greatest Structures
Materials profoundly influence the form, function, and structure of great buildings, bridges, and towers. Using steel (which is superior in terms of strength, ductility, and stiffness) as a benchmark, compare the structural properties of wood, masonry, concrete, and iron: and…