Super Structures: The Science of Bridges, Buildings, Dams, and Other Feats of Engineering [NOOK Book]

Overview

Ever wonder how a graceful and slender bridge can support enormous loads over truly astonishing spans? Why domes and free-standing arches survive earthquakes that flatten the rest of a city?

Physicist Mark Denny looks at the large structures around us—tall buildings, long bridges, and big dams—and explains how they were designed and built and why they sometimes collapse, topple, or burst.

Denny uses clear, accessible language to explain the ...

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Super Structures: The Science of Bridges, Buildings, Dams, and Other Feats of Engineering

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Overview

Ever wonder how a graceful and slender bridge can support enormous loads over truly astonishing spans? Why domes and free-standing arches survive earthquakes that flatten the rest of a city?

Physicist Mark Denny looks at the large structures around us—tall buildings, long bridges, and big dams—and explains how they were designed and built and why they sometimes collapse, topple, or burst.

Denny uses clear, accessible language to explain the physics behind such iconic structures as the Parthenon, the Eiffel Tower, the Forth Rail Bridge in Edinburgh, and Hoover Dam. His friendly approach allows readers to appreciate the core principles that keep these engineering marvels upright without having to master complex mathematical equations.

Employing history, humor, and simple physics to consider such topics as when to use screws or nails, what trusses are, why iron beams are often I-shaped, and why medieval cathedrals have buttresses, Denny succeeds once again in making physics fun.

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Editorial Reviews

Architectural Science Review
It will appeal to the interested layperson who is curious about how structures work and about the factors influencing their development over several millennia. It would also be useful background reading for students of architecture and building (and even of engineering, if you don’t tell your professor).

— Peter R. Smith

Choice

Denny largely sheds the complexity of mathematical constructs, distilling their most salient features into a more qualitative understanding of radar and sonar systems.

Midwest Book Review
Extraordinary guide to the hidden secrets of modern man-made miracles... Highly recommended.
Physics World
Denny's new book is perfused with this sense of excitement... It is to be recommended.

— Len Fisher

School Science Review
This would be a good book to add to the school or department library, and anyone who is interested in the design of structures should find it an interesting read.

— Miriam Chaplin

Bat Research News
Indeed, Denny's writing is anything but dry and boring. He adeptly explains complex subject matter and does so with relatively simple language and minimal use of symbolic notation.
Contemporary Physics
Denny has written an accessible volume that should be informative and entertaining to physicists who are not expert in structural engineering.

— Derry W. Jones

Architectural Science Review - Peter R. Smith
It will appeal to the interested layperson who is curious about how structures work and about the factors influencing their development over several millennia. It would also be useful background reading for students of architecture and building (and even of engineering, if you don’t tell your professor).
Physics World - Len Fisher
Denny's new book is perfused with this sense of excitement... It is to be recommended.
School Science Review - Miriam Chaplin
This would be a good book to add to the school or department library, and anyone who is interested in the design of structures should find it an interesting read.
Mark Kidger
Denny's wry humor is fun to read and made me laugh out loud.
Contemporary Physics - Derry W. Jones
Denny has written an accessible volume that should be informative and entertaining to physicists who are not expert in structural engineering.
Science News
Structures stand, soar and collapse based on fundamental physics principles.
Choice
Denny largely sheds the complexity of mathematical constructs, distilling their most salient features into a more qualitative understanding of radar and sonar systems.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801899560
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 12/29/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 1,055,028
  • File size: 9 MB

Meet the Author

After earning a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Edinburgh University, Mark Denny pursued research at Oxford University from 1981 to 1984, then moved into a career in industry. He is the author of Ingenium: Five Machines That Changed the World; Blip, Ping, and Buzz: Making Sense of Radar and Sonar; Float Your Boat! The Evolution and Science of Sailing; and Froth! The Science of Beer, all of which are published by Johns Hopkins. Denny is now semi-retired and lives on Vancouver Island.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction: Heavyweight Engineering 1

Chapter 1 Building Blocks 8

Chapter 2 Truss in All Things High 41

Chapter 3 Towers of Strength 78

Chapter 4 Arches and Domes 106

Chapter 5 A Bridge Too Far 144

Chapter 6 Dam It 187

Chapter 7 The Bigger They Are, the Harder They Fall 209

Afterword: Highbrow Engineering, Heavyweight Art 231

Technical Appendix 235

Glossary 247

Bibliography 253

Index 259

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