Somewhat like the time-travel machine in the movie "Back to the Future", we have a modern marvel called the World-Wide-Web that allows us to go "Forward to Yesterday". Like most every other subject, there is much to be found on the web regarding the subject of Engineering History. If you enjoy exploring such, here's a few interesting links to get you started.
At this website you can listen online to any of over 150 audio editions of the "The Shape of Texas" weekly radio program heard locally on public radio. Each program is only about 2 minutes in length, and with many having background sounds and music pertinent to the project being described, this is an entertaining way to learn history. These are well done highlights of contemporary and historical architecture and places which, now or over time, define our Texas culture. Sponsored by Texas Architect Magazine, the Texas Society of Architects, and Texas Highways magazine, many of the highlighted projects gracing our great state are as much "engineering" as "architectural" projects. For instance, listen to "The Seawall", :"Highway Interchanges", "Bridge Technology", "Falcon Dam & Old Zapata", "Houston Ship Channel", "Waco Suspension Bridge", or "North Central Expressway".
The National Academy of Engineering sponsors a site at this link that details the "Top 20 Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century".
Part of the History Channel website provides audio recordings of great speeches. At this link select "Science and Technology", then "E-L" and then click the link under "Harold Ickes" that former Secretary of the Interior orate his 1935 speech at the dedication of Hoover Dam.
Try this website. And select the American Engineering Historical Sketch. Sponsored by the National Society of Professional Engineers, this website aims to help people understand just what engineers do, the role engineers have in the many facets of everyday life, and the fun engineers have in their careers. This campaign directly targets students in classrooms all across America and works with the media to bring this story to newspapers, magazines, and television screens throughout the country.
And last, but not least, information from ASCE's History & Heritage site can be found at this link.
- John P. Wier, P.E., R.P.L.S., Historical Chair, Fort Worth Branch ASCE, September 2002