Golden Gate Bridge

The men who designed the Gothic Cathedrals of Europe knew no more mathematics than a typical middle school student.  To bring forth those magnificent structures they used a process of trial and error that has been called the three B’s of engineering; build it, break it, beef it up.  During construction they often suffered collapses.  After a cave in they would cart away the rubble and implement some new innovation until, at long last, they produced a structure that would support its own weight.  The construction of a medieval cathedral would require generations of workmen.  The men who laid the foundation knew that they would never live to see its completion.  The spires would be raised by their great grand children.

To better understand the motion of the planets Isaac Newton developed the fundamental theorem of calculus.  Students who read his work realized that with calculus they could reinvent the science of structural engineering.  It would now be possible to accurately calculate the load bearing capacity of an archway, tower or bridge before it was built.  As a result the Golden Gate Bridge took not generations but only 4 years, 4 months and 22 day to complete. 

Of what use is astronomy?  It was humanity’s  desire to understand the workings of the universe that gave us the tools to bring into existence such wonders as the Golden Gate.  The next time you drive or walk across it ask yourself these questions.  How do I know this bridge won’t collapse?  How do I know that I’m safe?   Our understanding of the universe has shaped the world around us and the way we live. 

  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Camera: LEICA X2
  • Taken: April 15, 2016
  • Flash fired: no
  • Focal length: 24mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/640s
    Golden Gate Bridge