Holistic Engineering: The Dawn of a New Era for the Profession

  • Domenico Grasso
  • David Martinelli
Part of the Series in Biomedical Engineering book series (BIOMENG)

The Golden Gate Bridge, in San Francisco, California, was the longest suspension span in the world when it was completed in 1937. At the time, it was widely recognized as an engineering marvel and a symbol of technology in harmony with its surroundings. When the bridge opened to a ceremonial trickle of cars, it would have been hard to imagine that an estimated 100 million tons would eventually cross annually between San Francisco and Marin County. Even less foreseeable, however, were the nearly two suicides per month, facilitated by this testament to the power of engineering thought. As we say in the profession, the bridge has exceeded its “design specs.”

The Golden Gate Bridge is a useful metaphor in considering the scope of the challenge faced by every engineer beginning a design project: how to design for a specific objective without creating unintended consequences. Avoiding unintended consequences has never been more difficult or important than it is today, as population soars and...


Golden Gate Engineering Curriculum Engineering Graduate Undergraduate Engineering Marin County 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Domenico Grasso
    • 1
  • David Martinelli
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Engineering and Mathematical SciencesUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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