Sunday, December 4, 2011

RE: Research Suggestions (and Solicitations?)

I think the most pressing current issue for the civil engineering profession
is the growing lack of connection between architects, engineers and the
contractors who put the things we think we are designing up in the field. We
all come from different backgrounds and different interests and do not even
really speak the same language. Furthermore, we are all becoming more
specialized in what we are doing and less familiar with what happens in the
other critical areas of the design-construction process.
After almost 60 years in this work and educational area I have settled on
this, the effect of behavioral aspects of people in this total process on
constructability and risk creation, as an area to study and to investigate.
I hope to receive an M.S. in C.M. with this the central purpose soon and
then will try to extend that to the doctorial level.
Good luck with your pursuit into higher learning.
Richard Hess, S.E.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Polhemus []
Sent: Saturday, December 03, 2011 8:01 PM
Subject: OT: Research Suggestions (and Solicitations?)

Greetings, fellow dinosaurs still conversing via good old email instead of
web, Facebook or Twitter (or what may lie beyond them).

An update to my status. I have decided to pursue not just the one, but TWO
Ph.D.s in my impending dotage. The History thing is still on, but I simply
couldn't resist looking in on the Civil and Environmental Engineering
program at the University of Houston. Their shiny newish facility is next
door to the decrepit tomb of the College of Liberal Arts and Social
Sciences, and a tour brought me face to face with some enthusiastic faculty
members who urged me into their company. One of them - with one foot in
Emeritus, I think - has written extensively already on the history of
engineering from the Eighteenth Century (he seems to have been physically
present for much of it), and was very encouraging.

So, I hope to hear from them within the fortnight concerning acceptance -
and meanwhile have already registered for a survey course on the French
Revolution, so...

Anyway, I'm not sure I can "self-fund" such an ambitious program, but while
hunting for grant dollars in History might be adventurous I'm guessing the
money might be readily forthcoming in structural engineering research.

My problem remains as ever, that I simply can't limit myself to a very
narrow line of inquiry based on personal interest because there's really
nothing I'm NOT interested in within structural engineering. Perhaps I will
need to have some benefactor decide the issue FOR me, by waving research
grant money in my face.

So...what's hot, folks? What in your opinion are the pressing areas of
inquiry in our field? I will consider anything that doesn't involve
sacrifice of higher orders of mammals, or building a better concentration
camp, or what-have-you.

Would love to know your thoughts.

William L. Polhemus, Jr. P.E.
Sent from my iPad 2

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