Cranes and Lifting: History and Hazards (Ethics)
Presented By: Karl D. Stephan, Ingram School of Engineering, Texas State University
From Egyptian pyramids to the newest skyscraper, construction of all but the smallest structures requires mechanical aids to lift building materials into place. This talk will outline the different ways of lifting wood, masonry, steel, and other materials through history. Ancient civilizations employed a surprising amount of ingenuity in constructing impressive edifices such as the Pyramids, the Parthenon, and Trajan's Tower. Moving a 300-ton piece of stone would be a technical challenge even today, but a Renaissance architect succeeded in 16th-century Rome where Michelangelo failed. Accidents have regrettably been a part of the construction industry since its inception, and one mishap during the reconstruction of Canterbury Cathedral in the 1100s was the genesis of a play by the modern mystery writer Dorothy Sayers. Moving to the modern era, the presentation concludes with analyses of two recent fatal accidents involving cranes.
Karl D. Stephan obtained a BSEE from Caltech, an M. Eng. from Cornell, and his Ph. D. at the University of Texas at Austin in microwave engineering. After sixteen years at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he joined Texas State University-San Marcos in 2000, where he is now Professor in the Ingram School of Engineering. He has published over eighty journal and conference papers in the fields of microwave engineering, atmospheric physics, the history of technology, and engineering ethics.