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RE: Unofficial Definition of Structural Engineering

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Mr. Edward L. Wilson, in his book “Three Dimensional Static and Dynamic Analysis of Structures”, cited as adapted  from an “unknown author”:


Structural Engineering is

The art of using materials

That have properties which can only be estimated

To build real structures

That can only be approximately analyzed

To withstand forces

That are not accurately known

So that our responsibility

With respect to public safety

Is satisfied


Jorge Jimenez, PE

From: Daniel Popp [mailto:drp181(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, February 09, 2007 1:29 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Unofficial Definition of Structural Engineering



I'm looking for a reference to the classic definition of structural engineering, roughly paraphrased as:

"The art of taking materials whose properties we can only estimate to design structures to resist loads we cannot accurately predict in such a manner that no one knows the difference."

I've seen this in print somewhere, but cannot find it.  Any ideas?

Daniel Popp