Editorial Note by Historical Chair: "Tamara Gart is a senior Civil Engineering major at UT Arlington. Reprinted below with her permission is the "bull" paper she wrote as part of her November 2008 initiation into Chi Epsilon, the civil engineering honor fraternity. I saw her present this paper and thought you’d enjoy reading her refreshing fictional perspective on the history of civil engineering. Tamara was born and raised in the Soviet Union. She became interested in civil engineering because her father and older brother were both civil engineers. She holds a degree earned in her native country, and now she is working on the American degree. After graduation she plans to work for TxDOT and is currently most interested in working in the field of transportation.”
Changing Tomorrow by Tamara Gart
It was early in the morning and the cave was still dark. The cold wind from outside woke up the man from his sleep. His wife and children were still asleep next to him tightly cuddled up to each other to keep warm. Water exuded from the moss-grown walls of the cave. The hide covers were becoming heavy and the need to take care of the early morning needs was becoming overwhelming...
Something needed to change. The wind coming into the cave, the lack of light… all needed to be changed. Who could change the world around? Someone had to complete this change. The wheel appeared and with it the noises of carts squeaking could be heard. Who would get the grease to the wheel that squeaked, who would invent water utilities that would allow for inside bathrooms? Who would design and construct safe and comfortable places for people to live? Who? Enter the civil engineer! The wonder person, a person of insight, a person who would change the whole world! A civil engineer, faster than a speeding bullet, able to change the course of might rivers. A person with a pocket protector and a slide rule that would be used to design houses with heating and cooling. The civil engineer would create roads and bridges to connect the houses and cities together, so families could visit grandmothers on the holidays.
As the world’s needs became larger, so did the civil engineers abilities. Civil engineers were able to add to their weapons and super powers. They added the computers, CADD machines and Satellites. Now the civil engineers could find any place in the world, and improve and change that site for the betterment of a human.
In the early morning light, when a woman sends a man out in the cold morning dawn to get that loaf of bread or quart of milk, a man now walks on a paved street and under streetlights that guide him to the stores. The civil engineer, the super civil engineer, has changed all of what a human needs and is still watching over the world, looking for that new thing needed by humanity to start that morning drive, walk, run or fly.
Build a better mousetrap and the world will run as fast as allowed by speed limits to your door. The civil engineer has been building better mousetraps. Those traps are called “gridlocks” as the world fills up roads faster then they are built.
It has been said, the world was made in seven days, but it was the civil engineer who made it a better place to live. What is that in the sky? Is it a bird or a plane? No, it is Super Civil Engineer!
- John P. Wier, P.E., R.P.L.S., Historical Chair, Fort Worth Branch ASCE, February 2009