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Re: Unofficial Definition of Structural Engineering

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A web search for the definition of a Structural Engineer revealed the following attributed to a SEAOC newsletter:
"Structural Engineering is the art of molding materials we do not entirely understand into shapes we cannot precisely analyze so as to withstand forces we cannot really assess, in such a way that the community at large has no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance.
....From SEAOC Newsletter"
I don't know how reliable the attribution is but it was from the website of Dennis McCroskey & Associates (Mendocino, CA). Dennis used to participate in the listserver in its early years and his information was usually quite reliable.
It was found at the following link:
which also has some other sayings about structural engineering.
Bill Cain, SE
Berkeley CA
-----Original Message-----
From: drp181(--nospam--at)
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Sent: Fri, 9 Feb 2007 9:29 AM
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

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